By Zayyad Muhammad
In my piece, “What Next for Aishatu Binani?” Published months ago, I postulated that the Adamawa APC Gubernatorial Candidate in the 2023 election, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani, had three options to choose from, which would make or mar her political future. First, Binani can continue to insist that she is the ‘Governor-Elect’, as declared by the suspended Adamawa INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Barristers Hudu Yunusa Ari. In this case, Binani will approach the tribunal with that sole demand.
The second option for Binani was to pursue her case through the tribunal while ignoring Hudu’s bizarre actions. The third option for her was to retreat and congratulate Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri. That’s to discard the option of any litigation and move forward for the future. Binani and her team chose the former; they opted for litigation. Now, the Adamawa Governorship Election Tribunal has dismissed her case, thus putting her in a catch-22 situation. If Binani has to pursue the case to the Appeal and the Supreme Court—she will overstretch her luck—in politics, when you overstretch your luck, you may hit the wall with your head.
Everything being equal, Binani will battle three issues: she has lost a good rapport with most Adamawa APC-critical stakeholders. Second, the party itself seems not to be on the same page with her. Thirdly, continuing the legal battle means pressure on her pockets while knowing she has no chance. All the politicians that will hang on Binani’s side will only continue to do so if it will oil their courses.
Prof. Jibrin Amin has a famous saying: Ba’a adawa, babu dawa (opposition only survives with resources at hand). Fourthly, her philanthropic activities will diminish because she is not in a government position that allows her easy access to the materials used for the philosophical activities. Fifthly, discontinuing the case will portray her as weak in the eyes of her supporters. All Binani diehard supporters heavily rely on ‘the court case’ to have temporary relief and hope.
To be fair to Binani, she is among the few politicians with cult-like followers. She has fought a good battle in her own rights, but now she has found herself between two dicey options: one: reformat her politics by discarding all the unnecessary legal tussles; two: mend fences with her party at the state and LG levels, including lowering her head to some APC stakeholders who, hitherto, she assumed were not important, but they have shown her their capacity and understanding of how Adamawa politics works.
Two: go with her cult-like followers, whose only hope and temporary relief is to continue with the extraneous legal battle. And, whichever way she follows—Binani will now battle with being absent from the scene—no federal presence and local presence were cut short by the tribunal dismissal of the case and loss of influence in the local APC chapter.
Another salient fact is that one cannot discuss Binani’s political future without looking at Barr—Hudu’s faith in the court. A federal high court has ruled that Hudu’s trial can go ahead. Hudu’s conviction will have an impact on Binani’s political future.
Furthermore, the Adamawa APC will continue to have two sides: the Binani side, who have suffered massive losses of positions and steam due to court judgements against them, and the other side, who are in absolute control of the party machinery, federal might, and also sitting akimbo, laughing at the former’s predicament.
Nevertheless, one big picture is that Binani, as a person, will have to sit down and look at things from one important angle—the feasibility of being the sole financier of an opposition facing a battle from two fronts—its party and the government in power. Will Binani resort to what she did after the 2015 elections? When she suffered a ‘not surprising’ defeat in the 2015 Adamawa central senatorial election, she imposed upon herself a premature retirement from politics. The 2015 senatorial outing was a product of a miscalculated political move—contesting for the senate on a very weak platform—the PDM.
Here is the big dilemma: if Binani decides to temporarily ‘abscond’ from the scene, events and ‘new’ people will take over her spot before the 2027 election cycle, and if she decides to pursue her case to the Appeal and Supreme Courts, it will be an extraneous and costly adventure.
Here are three suggestions for Binani: First, she has lost goodwill within the APC family but has strong goodwill within her supporters’ base, so it’s time for sober reflection and amendment. Two: Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri appears to be more calculative and bold. The Fintiri team—the Deputy Governor, SSG, Chief of Staff, and the rest—appear to work with the ‘books’ and off-the-shelf as well. In contrast, Binani’s team heavily relies on weak pivotal emotion hearsay and is confined to just a minute unit, which their eyes see, forgetting the wider picture.
The best bet for Binani is to congratulate Governor Fintiri and move on, as Mallam Nuhu Ribadu did to her after the APC Gubernatorial primary election tussle. The last suggestion for Binani is to make a deep soul search for where she wants to be in 2027 and the tough road ahead.
Congratulations, Governor Ardo Ahmadu Fintiri!
Zayyad Muhammad writes from Abuja. He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.