*His disappearance justifies charges against him — Presidency
By Soni Daniel, CLIFFORD NDUJIHE & Henry Umoru
ABUJA—There was a clear indication last night that former Adamawa State Governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako, who was sacked last week, had fled the country.
A competent source confirmed to Vanguard exclusively that the governor was not in Nigeria, having left the shores shortly after he was impeached by the state House of Assembly over alleged gross misconduct.
Although the source close to Nyako claimed that the man had travelled out of Nigeria to take a deserved rest after many years on the saddle, it was learnt that the retired naval chief fled the country in a bid to avoid being harassed by security agents, who have been looking for him.
The former governor, who has already filed an appeal against his removal from office, is also said to have fled the country because of security concerns about his life.
“It is true that Nyako had since left Nigeria to go and have a deserved rest but the main reason he left was because he was afraid for his life,” a close confidant of the former governor told Vanguard last night.
According to him, Nyako had to take the option of leaving the country when it became obvious to him that his enemies could even take his life while pretending to be working to remove him from office.
The source said: “Beyond the issue of trying to impeach the governor, he was really worried about people who could harm him because of their fear that he had so much information.
“So, I can tell you that as we speak, Nyako is not in Nigeria,” the source said.
Vanguard learnt at the weekend that the Federal Government was considering declaring Nyako wanted after its operatives had made fruitless search for the former governor both in Yola and Abuja.
It was gathered that security agents, who had been combing Yola and Abuja for the former governor, were frustrated over their inability to trace him.
According to a competent source in Yola, security aides of the former Chief of Naval Staff ferried him out of Yola to an undisclosed location same day he was sacked from office.
The plot to arrest Nyako was hatched a few hours after Adamawa lawmakers voted for his removal from office, having mobilised the required two third majority of the members to sack him.
Vanguard investigation revealed that the federal authorities were considering the option of declaring Nyako wanted as a last resort to compel him to come and face the charges that have been prepared against him by both the office of the AGF and the EFCC.
Presidency slams Nyako
In its immediate reaction, the presidency said with former governor Nyako running out of the country, following his impeachment by members of the House of Assembly last Tuesday, it was a clear indication thataccusations levelled against him were correct.
Speaking with Vanguard, the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the President, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who noted that those who had alleged that President Goodluck Jonathan was responsible for the former governor’s predicament will now hide their heads in shame.
He said:” There must be a reason for his running away and this means that those who accused him of mismanagement of funds are correct, the fact speaks for itself and it is now clear that those accusing the president of having a hand in his impeachment are lying.”
On his part, National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Alhaji Lai Mohammed could not confirm the whereabouts of the sacked governor. Asked his take on reports that Nyako was on the run and may be declared wanted by the Federal Government for graft and treason charges, he said: “I don’t know where he is. I don’t know whether he is on the run or not.”
PDP mulls Muslim governor
Meanwhile, ahead of the release of time table by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to conduct a bye- election following the sack of Nyako by the State House of Assembly, strong indications emerged, yesterday, that the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as well as the state stakeholders may have settled for a Muslim governor.
A source disclosed, yesterday, that the decision to have a Muslim governor was in reaction to insinuations by some people, who said that the state was no longer going for a Muslim governor after the exit of Nyako.
According to the source, after the emergence of the governorship candidate for the election, Nyako’s deputy, Bala James Ngilari, a Christian will return to his office as deputy as compensation for his loyalty to the party against the backdrop that when his boss dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Congress, APC, he refused to follow him.
The source said: “From all indications, we have viewed the situation and we are convinced that for the state to have peace, we must as a matter of urgency and expediency work out an arrangement for a Muslim governor if only to put the critics to shame that we have removed a Muslim governor.
“As it stands, the party is looking at the possibility of having a Muslim governor to succeed Nyako just as the deputy, Ngilari is being considered to return to his position for his loyalty to the party. We are trying to avoid any use of sentiment against our party.”
At the moment, aspirants to watch are a former governorship aspirant, Dr. Umar Ardo from the South; the Deputy Governor to Nyako, James Bala Ngilari from the North Senatorial District; Senator Abubakar Halilu Girie from the Central Senatorial District and Auwal Tukur, the son of the former PDP National Chairman Alhaji Bamanga Tukur also from the Central Senatorial District.
Others include Dr Ahmed Modibbo (central); former Deputy Governor to erstwhile governor Boni Haruna for eight years and past Chief of Staff to Nyako, Senator Bello Tukur (central); Ahmadu Umar Fintiri (former speaker and Acting Governor-(North); Brig. General Buba Marwa (North); Jerry Kundusi (central) and Engr. Markus Gundiri (central).(vanguard)