The words of the Adamawa State Commissioner for Agriculture, Patricia Yakubu, was instructive as we moved the convoy on Friday, from Jada – where a horde of party supporters had gathered to receive us – to Toungo, where the ‘Thank you’ tour was billed to take off. The momentum was the initiative of the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria candidate for the Adamawa gubernatorial race, Nuhu Ribadu and Patricia Yakubu encapsulated, with her profound feminine intellect, the essence of what has been happening in the Adamawa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the last three weeks.
In the words of the commissioner, the race for the party’s tickets is always riddled with infighting and intrigues but at the end of it all everyone buries the hatchet for the common good as no politician worth his salt wants to remain on the losing side.
The convoy, of course, was that of the party’s gubernatorial candidate and other aspirants for various positions which was on a door-to-door visit of appreciation to stakeholders and the party’s delegates who were instrumental to the candidates’ emergence.
But the thought process of Yakubu had struck a deeper philosophical meaning from no other corner than that of the Executive Governor of Adamawa State, Barrister Bala James Ngilari, a few days earlier. On Ribadu’s arrival in Yola, penultimate Monday, he went straight from the airport to call on the governor. The warm reception accorded the candidate and his entourage by the governor was itself a pointer that a new chapter, the chapter of a governor as a leader of the party, willing to support a saleable article of the party, had just been ushered in.
The words of the governor that afternoon at the Governor’s Office penetrates through the heart and gives the impression that a genuine reconciliation and a family spirit was beginning to germinate. The governor appreciated the fact that in all contests, there is certainly a victor and a vanquished. It is however a mark of the governor’s civility that one gets to appreciate this fact and forges ahead at the end of the contest. Mr. Ngilari therefore underscored the need for all party men and women to come together work for the success of the party in the two elections coming on February 14 and 28, respectively, because it is the only genuine solution, according to him that the state can rely on today.
Success requires unity to confront a common foe he said, and it was for this that Gov. Ngilari made a double-pronged charge to the victors and the vanquished. For those fortunate enough to be saddled with the party’s tickets, the governor emphasised the need to reach out to all and sundry, extend the olive branch and open doors for everybody. He noted that every party man or woman indeed has some stake and he or she should be fully involved and integrated into the party’s campaign train.
To those who fought hard but were beaten to the ticket or could not clinch the tickets, the governor asked for their large heartedness and the need to put the state and the party over any personal ambition. To set a precedent, Ngilari openly declared his total support and endorsement of Ribadu, by way of clearing any iota of doubt about his loyalty to the party. “You’re at home,” he told the candidate and his entourage, “I will do everything to support you, and I expect every other aspirant, at whatever level, to also declare and openly exhibit similar unflinching support.”
With this blessed and generous endorsement, the Ribadu campaign got the boost it requires as the coming days witnessed the collapse of acrimony and the emergence of bridges of brotherhood and sisterhood among all stakeholders in the PDP family. A high-powered reconciliation committee under the chairmanship of the Makama ofAdamawa, Aliyu Mohammed, which started its work immediately after the December 10 primaries, has gone on with its mediation efforts among all ranks of party stakeholders in the state. The work of the committee, which became easy with the warm reception and utterances of the state governor, recorded a number of successes. Aspirants at all levels hitherto at loggerheads, began making up with past rivals who are to fly the party’s ticket, in a renewed spirit of togetherness.
One observer said, “It is heartwarming to see PDP’s formidable juggernauts working hand in hand to uphold that history of Adamawa as a state won by the ruling party since the beginning of this dispensation.”
Aside Ngilari, key party leaders such as the two senators of the party; Senator Bello Tukur (Adamawa Central) and Senator Ahmed Barata (Adamawa South), members of the House of Representatives, members of the Adamawa State House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, and several other influential party men and stakeholders are unanimous on the need to work for the party.
The fruit of this concerted effort was visible as the entourage of Nuhu Ribadu toured four local governments in the southern part of Adamawa State. As the long motorcade moved out of Yola to Toungo and pulled up at the headquarters of Ganye, Jada and Mayo-Belwa, the reception was not only spectacular but indeed beyond the expectation of the organisers who had planned it to be a low-key outing. But of course with the caliber of politicians who have embraced the Ribadu project in those local governments and Adamawa in its entirety, it is practically impossible to hold back the crowd.
With the clock ticking towards the climax of the election, it is discernible that the Peoples Democratic Party is up for a smooth sail in Adamawa on account of two things: the party is deeply entrenched in the political landscape of the state, and has evolved a beautiful re-integration strategy to carry along all stakeholders. The second reason is not far-fetched. The candidate for the governorship seat, Nuhu Ribadu, is akin to an ornament whose dazzling qualities sell him anywhere. With these two critical factors in full view, it is evident that PDP is in for the win in Adamawa State.
Of course it is not over, as the saying goes, until it is over. Consolidating on the reconciliation and unification of all party members is something that is very much needed. With what is on ground, however, it is clear that the dust that trailed the process of producing candidates of the PDP in Adamawa State is fully settled and the chapter of working as a family is now before all stakeholders.
Abdulaziz writes from Jimeta, Yola