Eggons Have to Support Al-Makura to Succeed, Says Allumaga

Barr Zakari Zamani Allumaga ran for the senatorial seat of Nasarawa north senatorial district in Nasarawa state under the platform of the Labour Party. He was the legal adviser of the outlawed Ombatse group that was fingered in the killing of about eighty security operatives in the state. Allumaga lost his senatorial bid, and dramatically decamped to the All Progressives Congress, which is the ruling party in the state. To many, his joining ranks with Governor Tanko Al-Makura came as a surprise because Allumaga had until then been the governor’s major critic. He speaks on many issues in this encounter.
Why did you decamp to the APC?
The politics of my zone is what happens at the spot. Any dogmatic person is on his own. Politics is associated with smartness. That is the essence of moving from one party to another. The Peoples Democratic Party is all about godfatherism; the APC is all about money, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance is mischief. I went to the APC where I would have soft landing.
How much did you contribute to Al-Makura’s victory?
I was in the Congress for Progressive Change, but left because of the crises that rocked the state, particularly the one between the Ombatse group and the Nasarawa state government. But I did not join any party, until I attempted to run for the Senate on the platform of APGA where the APGA mischief pushed me to the LP. When we were in the CPC that turned APC, there was the crisis in the state, which resulted in the death of many policemen. A commission of inquiry was set up to look into that, and its report indicted me and others. I went to the LP, hoping that if I had won, I would have used that position to negotiate my freedom and peace for the Eggon nation. Unfortunately I did not win. My kinsmen – Labaran Maku and Solomon Ewuga – contested elections under different political parties as it were. I did not see them winning anything. So if all of us were in different political parties and the APC won, we had to find a way to ameliorate the situation of the whitepaper. I was the legal adviser of Ombatse. I know the implications. If you allow a whitepaper to lie on the ground, you are simply waiting for the day police will come to pick you. I know that there is a political undertone therein. The best thing to do is to turn around, even if it is in the last minute so that the man who is going to win the election will appreciate that you are with him. My contribution is the goodwill that I brought to the APC. People see me as the brain behind the Ombatse group and the consequent crises. If it were a bad will, it now became goodwill. Everybody would say that ‘if this person who is notorious with Ombatse is now in the APC, then APC is home for everybody’. You will appreciate that the presidential election did not produce the kind of votes that the governorship produced after some of us joined the APC. I brought goodwill that cannot be quantified in monetary terms.
Did you join the APC to save the Eggon nation before the law or politically?
I want to save myself first before the Eggon nation. It is a unilateral decision. My going to the commission of inquiry was also unilateral. I also contested the election unilaterally.
President-Elect Mohammadu Buhari and Governor Al-Makura have said they would prosecute those indicted by the whitepaper. How safe are you in your new party?
Don’t forget that now I am part and parcel of the party. The crisis had a political connotation. Politics is what goes where and who gets what. The Eggon people wanted governorship among other things, but they never got it. I joined the APC on behalf of myself but carrying the goodwill of the Eggon nation. There is the likelihood that the state authorities would change their minds, and might not prosecute because we belong to the same political party. In any event, people should appreciate that we are not with equal bargaining powers with Tanko Al-Makura. He is on a higher pedestal. Government is stronger than any individual. I am coming from that disadvantaged position, but believing that one would be able to get Al-Makura have a re-think as well as the president. When I went to make my declaration at the Government House, which coincided with the APC stakeholders’ meeting; when I got into the hall, I discovered that everyone there was my friend. They were happy seeing me there. Hitherto I was an enemy. The Eggons are a common denominator; so are the Fulanis, the Migilis, the Agatus and so on. We are asking that other people should understand our predicament so that we can go back to the status quo ante which is to live in peace. It is not as if that I am in the APC, then the governor must drop the whitepaper. He has no obligation to do that. We attempted to stop the whitepaper by going to court, but we lost out. I am on appeal but I cannot prosecute it for obvious reasons. My going to the APC is concomitant with dropping my appeal, and taking a new approach to the issue. I expect everybody to do so.
You lost in the Senate, are you disappointed with your people?
Yes. If they had voted for me, I would have used that position to protect myself and them. The most reasonable thing to do is to go where I feel I could be protected.
What is your relationship with Senator Abdullahi Adamu and others that you used to criticize?
It is absolute. One thing you will appreciate is that they too appreciated the fact that the whole of the crises and my outbursts were all products of politics. In politics, there is no permanent enemy and friend. The practical aspect of it is that we have been living well. Let me take you back: at the commission of inquiry I did say that my relationship and that of the governor were excellent. I never saw anywhere where the relationship was broken. I went to the commission and gave evidence in the best of what I knew. The governor also confirmed that I was correct. I thought the best thing to do is to take the political approach by joining the winning team.
You have cried loudly that an Eggon man should become the governor of your state. Are you deserting the idea?
The whole thing is dynamic. Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Leadership has followership. When leadership starts to misbehave, the followership will change because the followers will also grow and see it clearly. We can’t run into ditches all the time. Much as there was agitation that an Eggon governor must be produced, but Maku and Ewuga became unnecessarily ambitious. Unfortunately the whole thing was truncated by the entry into the race by the then national president of EGDA, Chris Maman. The Eggon politics was that of hatred. I do not see the reason why they cannot agree on one thing, including possibly agreeing that I had at one time saved the Eggon nation, thus I should be elected into the Senate. I think it is not yet the time for us to begin to throw stones at the glass house.
You said you would be a spoiler if you lost at the polls as a result of actions of some people. How did it play out?
It did. I did not win in the Senate, but who else in the Eggon land won in the Senate. Check the nature of the result; it is clear that I was the spoiler. When we went into governorship, my statement was clear. Was the PDP not leading in the presidential election? Why didn’t it lead again during the gubernatorial election? I arrogate to myself that my joining the APC changed the tide against the PDP.
What do you project in 2019?
It is too early to say because we don’t even know exactly what happened. It is all blames, and I am also claiming the credit. It may turn out not to be so.
What message do you have in respect of the next four years of Tanko Al-Makura?
He is the governor. I was lately told that Maku has gone to the tribunal. If Maku wins, he will also become the governor. He will also be looking for support from everywhere. Al-Makura deserves the reciprocity of everybody. He is the number one citizen of this state and must be supported to succeed. Development of Lafia is evident. I also think the issue of unity should be highlighted because all the tribes united against the Eggon nation during the governorship election. If Al-Makura and probably alongside Senator Adamu could to unite other ethnic nationalities, it means they have the capacity to put together, and the Eggon must belong because we cannot remain outside. I think Al-Makura has four years, and we need to go along with him so that an Eggon person who will succeed him in 2019 will emerge from the APC. Should we follow another party, we have eight years or more to wait. The decision is ours.

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