By Rakiya Abdulaziz
I read with growing concern the interview former governor of Taraba state, Rev Jolly Nyame, reeled out the other day and carried in some media. The interview titled “No one can stop me from joining APC” raised many questions in my mind. I asked myself: how long would Nyame continue to make a mockery of himself amidst his children? Where did he learn the bad habit of political prostitution? When would he learn his lessons and when would he get redemption? For someone like me who used to be an admirer of the former governor, his many flip flops are just too painful for me to keep quiet. As a governor, he did his best, and all he can do is hope that history judges him well but to start slamming another government is just too bad. After all, if we examine the Nyame regime critically, we shall discover many funny things. I would come to that later, but now I wonder if Nyame still has any advisers left. I wonder if he even prays at all as a man of the cloak because Allah (SWT) cannot allow him to be dancing naked like this all the time. This interview, like many of his public utterances, was as usual full of confusions, concoction and ecclesiastical hypocrisy. On the surface, you would think this is an elder statesman showing unbiased concern about the plight of his state and his party. A closer look and a second reading between the lines shows something else: a partisan apologist, trying to sway opinion his way. For Nyame is neither concern about party or patriotism. He cares only about his pockets and their contents. Let’s critically examine his interview in the light of truth.
His love for the PDP.
It is curious how in this interview, Nyame sounded like he is a PDP aficionado. Since when? You would be fooled to think that a founding father was speaking. But not everyone has forgotten the various roles, over the years, Nyame has played to destroy the PDP nationally and in Taraba state. Even right from the start, Nyame wasn’t a founding member of the party, but that may be debatable. But looking at PDP’s recent history, it is difficult to locate Nyame in it. Who has forgotten Nyame’s presence at a meeting of APC stakeholders with President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015? The picture from that event is still swirling in cyberspace and can be obtained with a click. Nyame’s presence in their midst even shocked some APC elders who then wrote a strong-worded advertorial in which they warned the president to beware of Nyame. They rightly noted then that it wasn’t too long ago that Nyame collected Dasukigate money to help former President Goodluck Jonathan win the election. They were shocked that for a man who worked against Buhari, he could easily show up at a meeting conveyed by the same man he campaigned against. In the picture after the meeting of APC stakeholders, Nyame appeared with Sen. Aisha Alhassan and other top guns of the APC in Taraba. It was Nyame’s way of showing that he has moved to APC but hear him in this interview sounding like he’s PDP. That’s national politics.
But even back at the local state level, Nyame worked hard to scuttle the chances of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku when Darius was a candidate. Nyame never supported the idea of power shift to the southern part of Taraba state in the first place as a major pro-Muri irredentist. Even when meetings were being held at his residence in Abuja, Nyame was busy using cameras to record everything, snitching on the cabal, reporting them and working against them. Thank God he didn’t put poison in someone’s food or drink in his residence where the cabal met without suspicion thinking it was the home of an elder. What he did was to be briefing the APC on everything the cabal was doing. So when did the backslidden Reverend start liking the party or its fortunes? If he worked against it then, he would work against it now.
Records in office
An unsuspecting reader of the said interview would think that structural development in Taraba state started and ended with the Nyame’s regime. According to the former pastor, nothing has changed since he left office. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. One thing Nyame didn’t say is that he never really paid for any of the big projects he mentioned. The motel, the stadium, the airport, the Federal Medical Center and others were NEVER paid for by Nyame. It was the Suntai administration that paid for them. The airport, for instance, it is the current administration that paid for works that brought it to life and is now functional. Without taking anything away from those projects, it is clear that they were conceptualized as conduit pipes for Nyame, first for cash and then for his sensual pleasure. And take a closer look at these projects. They were mostly designed to cater for the hedonistic tendencies of his fun seekers regime. In a backwater state like Taraba, you wonder what a multi-million naira stadium was meant for? Why was Mambilla neglected with all its potentials for sports tourism? The motel was designed to cater for his needs for frolicking, partying as Awilo and others took centre stage in those facilities. Today, they are serving nobler intentions, but when Nyame embarked on them, he wasn’t thinking “progress”. He was thinking ” pleasure”!
Nyame said the motel had been abandoned. Well, it hasn’t been. The current governor came from a hotel-owning background, and he already has a blueprint on how to rejuvenate the place. In the past, charlatans ran the place in a way that government was losing money. Governor Ishaku, on the other hand, wants to bring professionalism, taste and class into it.
Nyame ten years sojourn as a governor was a disaster. Even today, it took subsequent regimes to fix Zing – Nyame’s village. His legacy there is an old hotel called Bizare which continuously contribute to the loose lifestyles of the town. It took subsequent regimes to give Zing any form of civility, including a road leading to Nyame’s house.
Taraba as a whole still bears the marks of Nyame: thuggery, lasciviousness, underdevelopment, mediocrity and divisions. Nyame was the one who elevated crudity to an art. The civil service was a joke in his time. Educated people took the back seat as mediocre took over the political space. Nyame made a laughing stock of governorship when he suggested a rather off the mark successor. It took divine intervention to deliver Taraba from a disastrous fourth term of Nyame.
Until today, Taraba state can’t be said to have fully recovered from the Nyame effect. You still find it in the vestiges of thuggery, cultism and all the other vices in the Taraba airspace.
In the interview, Nyame was asked about his brother Godwin. Godwin is said to be interested in Darius’s job. Nyame seems to believe Godwin is good enough to be governor. Like seriously? On what records is Mr Godwin going to run? Godwin’s only claim to any credential is that Nyame made him commissioner against all the odds. That’s what makes him qualified? Even by Nyame’s standard, that’s a joke taken too far. Anyways how do you compare Godwin’s records with that of a three-time minister, an architect and a university don? Power comes from God, I know, but even God would use a prepared vessel.
Nyame also believes Ikenya’s defection would affect PDP chances in Taraba. Well, Ikenya once tested the power of the PDP and discovered how it is. What’s more, Ikenya is also a “political commercial sex worker”.
Path to Nyame’s redemption
The path left for Nyame is to stop his ” waka waka”! He must identify where he truly belongs. Right now, his integrity or what remained of it is at risk. His credibility or what remained of it has been eroded by years of back and forth. Those of us who still like the man pray he finds his mojo again to take his place in Taraba’s Pantheon.