These days, the major issues pre–occupying the minds of political pundits in Adamawa State is the lingering People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) internal crisis and the impact of the state of emergency rule declared on the state by President Goodluck Jonathan. Preoccupied by this,political observers are paying less attention to the activities of elected public office holders in the state, especially Members of Parliament at both the red and the green chambers; who are apparently having a field day.
Time is right for a performance appraisal for the parliamentarians. However, the big question is, by what parameters will they be appraised? Based on the ‘Nigerian’ way of politics and the MPs campaign promises; the following parameters can be used: first, the type of issues raised and quality of debate, the number of projects they influenced to their constituency; their public-friendliness and current ratings by the people in their constituency.
Senator Bello Tukur is representing Adamawa Central, he is one of the astute politicians among the Adamawa MPs, but he appears to be a seat warmer in the red chambers. Tukur’s accessibility and interaction with his constituency is very poor. Observers say he is more concern with the politics of 2015 than his constituency. There are rumours that he is eyeing the governorship position in Adamawa. Tukur is a ‘smart’ politician; he has already pitched his tent with the Bamanga Tukur camp. The Nyako camp described him as a gold digger, stating they are not intimidated. The Senator was once deputy to former Governor Boni Haruna when Atiku group was in control, then he jumped to Jibril Aminu’s camp, later to Nyako’s and now to Bamanga’s. The way things are, if Tukur decides to re-contest for a second term, he may have a smooth ride.
Senator Ahmed Barata is representing Adamawa South. He is the most experienced among the three senators in terms of legislative knowledge. He was a two term member in the House of Representatives. He is sharp when it comes to politicking and winning elections- most of the public positions he held were elective offices. Despite his public office experience, it was surprising to many observers that his performance in the Senate is still below average.
Senator Bindawa Jibrilla represents Adamawa North; he is the youngest among the three senators representing the state, but the least experienced among them. He came to the Senate riding on the strong support from the youths and his father’s esteem. Bindawa’s performance is below average in terms of quality of issues raised and project he influenced to his constituency. He recently donated motorcycles, grinding machines, and other such items to his constituency. Pundits maintain that such schemes are outdated in the 21st century. Being very young, Bindawa’s political future is bright, if he can redefine his engagement with his constituency.
42–year–old Aisha Ahmed Dahiru is representing the complex and most cosmopolitan of all the eight federal constituencies in Adamawa state- Yola North, Yola South and Girei. No one has ever won re-election in the constituency. The people of her constituency are known for their insistence on first rate performance from their MPs. Aisha’s performance in terms of friendliness and interaction with her constituency is excellent, but her contribution to national and constituency issues on the floor of the green chambers is below average. She enjoys an unprecedented strong support from women and youths in her constituency, but she is not acting ‘smart’ – she is still a loyalist of the Gov. Nyako camps, despite that it is now obvious the camp has lost the control of her party, the PDP. Her supporters are pushing her to contest for the Senate, but when it comes to Adamawa central senatorial district’s politics, she is a ‘toddler’. Contesting for the senate would be a serious political miscalculation from her.
Hon. Abubakar Mahmud Wambai, Madawakin Mubi, who started his career as a Grade III teacher, is representing Mubi North/Mubi South/Maiha constituency, he was a member in the 6th National Assembly on the platform of the PDP when he rode on the support of Gov. Nyako. He won a seat in the 7th National Assembly on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), riding on the popularity of Gen. Muhammad Buhari. Despite Wambai’s good performance on the ballot papers, his performance in the House is poor. There is already a wide disconnection between him and his constituency. He might find it hard winning a re-election.
Hon. Aminu Hamman Ribadu, representing Fufore/Song constituency, is not new in politics, he was the chairman of Fufore Local Government and also Senior Special Adviser to former Gov. Boni Haruna. His critics say his performance is very poor in all the parameters we are using to appraise the MPs. His critics also say, the number of words the 62 year old lawmaker uttered in the green chambers, since 2011, can be counted.
Demsa, Numan & Lamurde constituency is represented by a former Permanent Secretary in Adamawa State Government, Hon. Anthony Madwatte. Political pundits described him as a politician that has never gone through real political stress-test. This is because of the Numan-axis political style that operates in one direction– once you get the support of the bigwigs, victory is assured. Hon. Madwatte has been an MP since 2003. His critics described his performance as below average. But he is still very strong in his constituency.
Hon Titsi Kwaga Ganama is a first time member in the House of Representatives, he represents Madagali/Michika constituency. He is not new to politics- was once a commissioner in Adamawa state. He won his election on the platform of the ACN, though observers say; he is a beneficiary of former Governor Boni’s strong grassroots base in the Madagali/Michika/Mubi axis. 56 years old Hon. Ganama appears to be a seat warmer in the House, despite his intimidating educational and work experience. His connection with his constituency has nose-dived. If people like Boni Haruna give him support, he might return to the House.
Hon. Haske Francis Hananiya is representing Gombi/Hong constituency, he is a member of the ACN. His election to the House can be best described as the handwork of his blood-brother, General Haldu Hananiya. One interesting thing about Hon. Haske’s political future is, his brother and god-father, Gen. Haldu is now a strong stakeholder in the Adamawa PDP. Haske’s performance in the House in terms of his quality of debate on national issues and accessibility to his local people is not impressive. His return to the House would highly depend on rigorous political calculations, not by him, but by the big-shots. One interesting thing is, all the PDP MPs came to National Assembly through the support of Governor Murtala Nyako at the time the Governor called-the-shots. Now Nyako has lost control of the party. Any of the MP’s that desire a second term ticket must abandon the Nyako camp and join Bamanga’s. However, the Bamanga camp may take a different direction.
Gibson Kauda Nathaniel is among the old men in the green chambers. He would be 66 years by 2015. He is well- experienced in public office; he was a one-time local council chair and a member in the Adamawa State House of Assembly. He said his target is to achieve infrastructural growth in his constituency. But, Hon. Kauda’s grade is in the same class with his colleagues- 3/10.
Ahmed Fons Nwangubi- a retired school principal turned-politician is representing Governor Nyako, Bamanga Tukur and Atiku Abubakar’s constituency– Mayo Belwa/Jada/Ganye/Toungo. Though, Fons is also an experienced politician; being a former local government chairman and member of State House of Assembly, the current internal crisis in his party the PDP would have an impact of his political future. Hon Ahmed has not performed to his constituency’s expectations.
In a nut-shell, none of the MPs from Adamawa in the National Assembly has a sterling performance in terms of contribution to national issues and on issues that would impact their constituencies. During the 5th and 6th Assembly, Adamawa people witnessed an above average performance from people like Senators Silas Zwingina, Iya Abubakar, Jibril Amin and Hon. Awwal Tukur. However, the present MPs still have ample time to beat that performance, especially in the areas of quality of debates on national issues, and those that affect their constituencies, including constant interaction with the people that voted them.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, email@example.com, 08036070980.