Alhaji Adamu who is also the Secretary, Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ran the state for two terms of four years from 1999 to 2007. Unlike in some states in the federation, the finances of Nasarawa State under the former governor had been shrouded in secrecy. Neither incumbet Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma nor the transition committee headed by the former Commissioner for Science and Technology, Abubakar Akiga had come out with a clear statement on the state of finance when the later took over in May 2007.
Adamu was also silent on the actual amount he has left behind during his state-wide broadcast on the eve of his departure from office. Doma also kept mum on the amount he inherited from his predecessor since he took over.
While the Nuhu Ribadu-led EFCC was hooding past governors with questionable records into detention, Adamu was walking the street a free man. Visits by the EFCC operatives, acting on petitions by some individuals alleging abuse of office by Adamu through contract awards and misappropriation of state resources were said to have yielded no results.
Little wonder therefore that his arrest by the anti-graft body Monday, February 22 several years after he vacated the exalted seat coming two days after his public declaration for the Nasarawa West senatorial seat is fueling speculations that the move might have been politically.
Loyalists of the former governor,have as result of that accused Senator Abubakar Danso Sodangi as being behind his ordeal. Sodangi who is also the chairman Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is representing the Nasarawa West for the third term, having been there since 1999. Sodangi was said to have been Adamu’s godson and that he (Adamu) ensured that he (Sodangi) not only got the PDP’s Senate ticket for the senatorial district but also won.
He admitted this much during his declaration Saturday February 20. “I worked for Sodangi, gave him my support and the people supported and elected him those times. As far as I am concerned, I worked for him,” he explained.
Sodangi is reportedly nursing a forth term ambition. He told Weekly Trust recently that “I I want to remain in the Senate for the fourth term. I will highlight my achievements and what I intend to do if elected again..” Sodangi was said to have panicked when he learnt of Adamu’s plan to contest for the Senate. Sodangi reportedly vowed to scuttle the move and part of the plan, sources said, is to get the anti-graft body to scare Adamu into submission. Sodangi’s plan, Weekly Trust learnt, involve Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma and a higher officer in the Senate said to be very close to the governor.
The Doma-Adamu rift
Governor Doma was Alhaji Adamu’s rival in two elections. He provided the required opposition and had challenged the outcome of those elections at the tribunal. This soured relationship between the two prior to Gov Doma’s defection to the ruling party. The rivalry between the duo was said to have been legendary and dated back several years. So when Doma defected to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in 2005, the public could not help but wonder at the sudden turnaround.
However, Doma’s defection was said to be after a peace deal between the two brokered by elders in the state. Few years into his last tenure, Adamu was said to have been approached by the elders on the need for a credible successor. They had given the name of Doma as the person with the experience and maturity to take over. A gentleman agreement was said to have been reached to that effect.
However few months into the tenure of the incumbent governor, rumors of another face off between the two leaders started making the round in the state. The purported rift was linked to Doma’s dismantling of all structure built by Adamu and to put his own foundation in place. This made a group known as PDP stakeholders to accuse Doma of “initiating a deliberate plan of destroying all structures of the party” in the state.
This and other subsequent policy moves had pitched the governor with some stakeholders who were mostly Adamu’s loyalists.
With his fall out with major party stakeholders in the state, Doma desperate for second term, was said to be looking for a way around the former governor. One of the strategies was to break the former governor’s stronghold on the Nasarawa West. Some key figures from the area holding political positions at all levels were promised another term of office. Sodangi was said to have felt threatened when the rumour of Adamu’s plan to contest for the zone’s senatorial seat got to him. He was said to have rushed to the governor and plans to use the anti-graft body to scuttle Adamu’s ambition using a key leader in the Senate. The leader, who is also said to be close to the governor was approached with the story that allowing Adamu into the Senate would affect the power set up at the upper house in the next political dispensation. The leader was said have been disturbed by the story that Adanu was nursing the ambition of becoming the Senate President if he eventually gets to the Senate. The leader who is also from the North Central was said to be interested in the Senate president ship if he eventually returns to the upper house. The trio were said to have promptly went to work on the matter with the leader using his connection with the top echelon of the agency to their advantage.
The arrest of Adamu
Adamu was picked by the EFCC operatives on the 22 February, two days after he declared his intention to contest the Nasarawa-West Senatorial seat. A week and three days after his arrest over alleged N15 billion theft, he was arraigned alongside 18 others including two individuals and 16 corporate organizations on 149-count charges on corruption and abuse of office during his eight-year tenure as governor.
The allegations contained in the 54-paged document No. FHC/LF/CR/4/10 which was filed in by the EFCC include the alleged non-execution of N71.1 million contract for the construction of Engineering Complex, and N34 million for the construction of Administrative Block, both at the Nasarawa State Polytechnic in Lafia as well as the award of N1.1 billion contract for various projects without due process.
The charge reads in part: “that Adamu on March 25, 2002, agreed to do or cause to be done an illegal ACT to wit: illegal award of phony contract to Henry and Nick Associate company, for establishing a Corporate NMDC head office/Minerals Museum and the supply of furniture/equipment and minerals samples to the state in order to incur expenditure that was neither authorized or contemplated by the Nasarawa State Appropriation Law, nor approved by the Nasarawa State Appropriation Law nor approved by the Executive Council of Nasarawa State or the Finance and General Purpose Committee/Tenders Board and the same Act was done in pursuance of the agreement, you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code.”
The charges also included the non completion of the Farin Ruwa project despite the fact that money was appropriated for it and the embezzlement of ecological fund among others.
The speed with which the former governor was arraigned observers believed, goes to reinforce the growing speculation that his present ordeal might have political undertone. However, in an interview with Weekly Trust Senator Sodangi denied that he was behind the ordeals of the former governor. “It is not in my character as a Nigerian, a Muslim, a northerner to witch hunt my fellow human being. That I have never done and I pray I will never do that till I die. It is un-Islamic, it is uncultured, it is against the teachings of Islam. Politically I don’t use blackmail or go writing petitions against my fellow politicians, especially my leaders. I have tremendous respect for former Governor Abdullahi Adamu like I have for every other leader of mine in the PDP and in the country.
“I have some people warning me through text messages of threat as it were because since the former governor started saying he is contesting in the next election I have been receiving a lot of threats and intimidation from his own side. That is the truth of the matter but that doesn’t bother me now. In my own way of doing things I like to leave everything in the hands of God because He is the giver of life and only He can take it. If it is power He is the one that gives it and take it from whomever He wants.
“I have never ever written any petition against the former governor to EFCC or any other agency. I have not either verbally or documentarily, and I challenge him or his lawyer to provide the tape or the document that I have signed which is forwarded to EFCC or ICPC. I have heard that he said that I and the present governor are instrumental. I cannot speak for my governor but I believe that as a gentleman as he is and as close as he is with the former governor, I don’t think he would do that, but I don’t want to speak for him,” he explained.
Director of publicity and press affairs to governor Aliyu Akwe Doma when contacted said he cannot comment on the matter.