ANALYSIS: Why Nuhu Ribadu lost Adamawa governorship election, By Zayyad Muhammad

Nuhu Ribadu

All the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party who lost in the just-concluded 2015 general elections, especially in the northern part of the country, lost because of same factors regardless of their states. These factors include President Goodluck Jonathan’s extreme unpopularity in the north, Muhammadu Buhari’s cult-like followers in the region, and the fact that most Nigerians were angry with the PDP because of certain reasons, especially its failure to combat insurgency that has devastated the North-eastern part of the country with the attendant socio-economic effects being felt throughout the North. In fact, in some parts of Nigeria, including Adamawa State, the PDP was overwhelmingly rejected that anybody the All Progressives Congress presented was voted for.

Apart from the above generic factors that affected Nuhu Ribadu’s fortunes in the Adamawa governorship race, there are other factors which were peculiar to his ambition. Ethnicity, religion and money politics are deeply rooted in Adamawa politics and often shape the voting pattern in the state.

The Adamawa 2015 governorship election was characterised by deep religious sentiment. For instance, the Social Democratic Party governorship candidate, Markus Gundiri ran his campaign largely on the platform of faith – banking on only Christian votes. Mr. Gundiri’s envisaged that since there were three Muslim-Hausa-Fulani candidates running on the platforms of the APC, PDP and PDM, he would carry the day. Mr. Gundiri’s adventure affected Ribadu’s chances: most of the PDP strongholds gave their votes to him. In fact, Mr. Gundiri’s candidacy was a product of anger with the PDP for failing to allow the candidacy of a Christian. There were speculations that Governor Bala Ngilari supported the SDP instead of his party, the PDP.

The second issue that affected Mr. Ribadu’s chances was the SDP campaign style which forced the Muslim Hausa-Fulani to follow the path and direction of their cousins in the northwest- the famous APC SAK. Thirdly, Mr. Buhari has a special relationship with Adamawa people- his wife is from Adamawa state. In fact, Mr. Buhari’s voice was aired on some radio stations in most states in the north asking people not to disgrace him and his party, the APC. That singular statement was very instrumental in denying Mr. Ribadu huge number of votes especially from the Hausa-Fulani dominated areas.

The internal crisis within the PDP was also a disaster to the former EFCC chairman’s ambition. The crisis in the PDP was not settled up to the time of elections, the aggrieved were not fully integrated into the party.

The Atiku Abubakar factor in Adamawa politics was also an another albatross for Mr. Ribadu. At the tail end of the governorship campaign, Atiku became very determined to deliver his state to the APC. That affected Mr. Ribadu in the southern part of Adamawa, especially in the Chamba chiefdom.

The Adamawa governorship election results have some far reaching political implications on the state’s polity. There are losers and winners. Former governor Murtala Nyako is a winner- most of his political associates won elective posts, while all of his political foes suffered defeat. Atiku Abubakar is another winner- he has rekindled his hitherto strong political structure and kingmaker position in Adamawa. The Governor-elect, Mohammed Jibril Bindawa is also a winner – he has assumed a post of prime political relevance, though his political future will be determined by the way he approaches the much needed development in the state and his ability to free himself from the shackles of Nyako’s men who were associated with Adamawa’s underdevelopment. The APC as a political party is a winner; it has completely displaced the PDP. There are also quite a number of losers- the PDP, Governor Bala Ngilari, Marcus Gundiri and Ahmed Modibbo. In fact, Mr. Gundiri will have a long and difficult political journey if he is to re-establish himself into all-inclusive and ‘secular’ politicking.

Mr. Ribadu was the best governor Adamawa couldn’t have. He fought a good battle, but PDP’s extreme unpopularity already made his platform very weak. President Jonathan extreme disapproval in the north made it hard for people to approve anything associated with him, while the Buhari tsunami swept away anything and everything PDP — good, bad, or ugly.

Mr. Ribadu was a good candidate but at the wrong time.

Zayyad Muhammad (, 08036070980) wrote in from Jimeta, Adamawa State. He blogs at


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  • *effa*

    It’s a Big Political Miscalculation for Ribadu one wonders y he decided to defect to the PDP even when it’s obvious he could av stil won on the platform of the APC.Well,he should try again nexttime

    • Lawrence Aje

      I do hope the incoming federal government is magnanimous enough to give him a role to play in the government. Ribadu is a good man and a patriotic Nigerian. He must have accepted to be in PDP so he may have a chance to serve the people and also change the government from inside. But the way it turns out to be, it is the mystery of God. A good government will not cast out people like Ribadu.

      • Hajiya Bukki

        To give him a chance kini? Abeg, Ribadu shld concentrate on his business and try his luck 2019 to the Senate!

      • Olla Kellany

        On what rational should that be based ?

  • stevola

    Anyway, Ribadu remains my man any day anytime.

  • Ay Pointblank

    Only Ribadu can explain why he decamped to PDP. His future and followers were amongst the APC and neutrals.He would have gotten more than what he wanted in PDP in APC. The rest, they say, is history. Let’s hope he (and people like him) will learn from this experience … there’s nothing like being loyal and committed to people than loves you!

  • Emmanuel Maluba

    Good analysis from a man who is at home with the politics of Adamawa.

  • Salisu Suleiman

    Ribadu was so ambitious that he was willing to eat with the devils in PDP. Unfortunately, they served him a toxic miss of injustice, greed and imposition. His action in the last 1 year has exposed Ribadu as a fake progressive. The APC ticket was his to reject. . . .

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      It was his to reject indeed…but he is a man of limited political intelligence.

      I shudder at the quality of decisions he would have made as the President of Nigeria!

  • Raqruq

    I have a problem with this word Hausa-Fulani. Are they the same or separate ethnic group. And is everybody from the North a Hausa or Fulani man

    • Ad

      The word ‘Hausa-fulani’ is often used by people to denote people of the core north to some extend some people thought it’s the correct presentation of people of the north. but in real sense, Hausa is a different tribe to Fulani. I think the reason behind the use of the word is the fact that the two ethnic groups are to some extend linked to each other. But they are two different ethnic groups.
      And about everyone from the North being hausa or Fulani, that is not the case. There are numerous ethnic groups, probably running in hundreds, indigenous to the north. Only that hausa and Fulani are the predominant ones in the core north.

    • Maitama Tambari

      Raqruq, Hausa Fulani is a market concussion. A typical Hausa man is damn ugly while a Fulani extraction is very much beautiful. The Hausa man, because of his position in society and usually a trader or business man, is always reach to his eyes boll. A Fulani extraction, the female, is a lovely character as you can see in every part of Africa, beautifully decorating herself to attract male partners, sometime outside her tribe but within her religious belief. A Hausa man will try to hide his ugliness by marrying a Fulani extraction to have a cross breed child, which is refer today as Hausa Fulani across the North. At the beginning the cross breed was amongst the ruling class and Administrators, but now the traders and businessmen are more at it.

      There are also Yoruba Fulani around Ogun, Oyo and Ondo States. There are also Ndi Igbos Fulani extraction around Nsukka areas. The same reason extrapolated above applies to these regions with slight amendment. Around Kaduna, if you find Gwari woman with a beautiful, light completion child, the husband will tell you that a Fulani man had a good with the wife in the bush. So it is with Yorubas and Ndi Igbos. I came across them in the nineties and one of such extraction visited me in my Office in Lagos before her departure from Nigeria to USA. I have told her to find from her parents that somewhere there was a Fulani blood in them. One day she came to my Office and three friends from North also paid me a visit. They spoke to her in Hausa which she did not understand, but kept smiling at them which encouraged them to speak more to her. I then told them that she did not understand Hausa when the Hausa people insisted to speak to her in Hausa because they taught she was Hausa Fulani. She laughed all the more until I told them that she was Ndi Igbos. They disagreed with me. But the story of Cattle Fulanis activities in the bush with women was highlighted, they agreed with the excellent sample within us. Whenever you find a Yoruba light and pointed nose, and the same with Ndi Igbo, you should know where the beautiful structure comes from because by nature the three major tribes in Nigeria have no quality structure in them but for the inter breeding with Fulani.

      • Ed

        That’s a whole lot of nonsense. Light skin didn’t begin and end with Fulani herdsmen. Please limit your beers parlor story in your local beers parlor.

        • Alamu

          Blame Raqruq for asking.

          • Guest

            Lol, It never cease to surprise me, all manners of ways people can be misinformed.

        • mustapha Shehu

          Simple, hausa/fulani came about due to intermarriage between the two tribes.

      • yinkuze

        Complete cap my friend

  • Moe

    This is nothing but a compilation of generic talking points. Nothing of substance here.

  • Maitama Tambari

    Political prostitution is the main reason just like Engr. Gundiri.

  • Willow

    Your analysis is pretty good, but Atiku did not help neither Atiku’s factor helped Bindow win the election at all. After 2007 Adamawa people completely turned their back against Atiku!

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    Nuhu Ribadu must have learned his lesson bitterly at last despite defecting from APC to PDP and vying for Adamawa State governorship slot.APC now won Nigeria presidency and Ribadu loses Adamawa State gubernatorial position even as a PDP member as APC won Adamawa State governorship slot.Very unlucky Nuhu Ribadu now in the defeated PDP.

  • amazing2012

    No body trusted his political steadfastedness, also he is leveles as betrayer to Buhari in 2011.

  • Ed

    Ribadu’s lost was direct result of political prostitution’s limited appeal in the real world. The writer failed to capture the story.

  • David Adeniran

    This guy RIBADU has proved himself as an OPPORTUNIST. He doesn’t really stand for any principle but he is just like an AVERAGE Nigerian politician. Unfortunately, he miscalculated, so let him lick his wounds!

  • Spoken word

    I dont know why anyone expects anything special from ribadu.he is just a common policeman.

    • Guest

      He was caught with government information on his computer about to give to a foreign government. Such spies are usually locked up in more advanced societies.

      • Spoken word

        The EFCC power got into his tiny head.

  • PolyGon2013

    Fulani have always appreciated beauty. Girls with pointed nose are beautiful generally. Even in Western world, white people do surgery to shape their noses. With Fulani, they have learnt to do it from childhood. To let your children have pointed nose, all that you need to do is to start squeezing it slightly and then, move it downward by releasing the pressure before they get to the tip of the nose. You do this with warm water. Eventually, their genes take over and shape the nose as sculpted. Recall that the bones at that time is still fragile, hence the reason they retain the shape. When this children grow up and have their own children, the new shape is passed down to their new offspring. In spite of this, you should still continue the slight squeezing. To see my point, plant a huge nose on the face of a Fulani, he will loo like an Hausa man. Fulanis love beauty, and they ensure that they do everything with their body. In fact, an ugly Fulani would ask his good looking friend to have sex with his wife so that they can have a beautiful child. Since Fulanis recognize that they are being admired by any other group in Nigeria, they tend to be very proud. In fact, most Nigerian women would marry a Fulani men any day. The same is true of other Nigerian men too, who would marry Fulani women in a jiffy. The next time you have a child, do not forget to squeeze his or her nose a little. But be careful o, so that you do not break their nose.

    • FirecloudOFGOD


    • Uncle Gaga (Bruce Wayne)

      you are an imbecile, the likes of which I have never encountered until now.

      Reading your statement above, my normally jovial demeanor palpably contorts into something as yet undefined, but is akin to what can be described as grave concern, encompassed by boundless sorrow, wrapped up in helplessness as I ponder humanity’s fate, knowing our future depends on supply from stock that includes you as a contributor.
      May God help us all.

  • FirecloudOFGOD

    The final factor is personal in that Ribadu shamefully and selfishly negotiated his return to Nigeria with PDP. He lost the moral high ground by renouncing ALL he ever achieved as EFCC guru when he denied what everybody knew as a fact with Patience and her escort were caught in Heathrow with millions of pounds. To me, his action was unprincipled and I lost ALL respect I have ever had for him. He, in one fell swoop, proved that he was made in the mold of the typical “fly by night” Nigerian politician! I have no pity for him as he could have been more patient.

  • Guest

    Don’t cry for Mallam Ribadu, soon he will serve his fatherland again by appointment to a national position. This is a blessing in disguise, Adamawa people loss is Nigeria gain.

  • Man_Enough

    Ribadu’s case can be likened to the fabled gold explorer who toiled and toiled and gave up his search after losing his patience. He auctioned all his resources and equipment, packed his baggage and went back home. The next explorer continued from where he stopped, dug for just a few meters and lo there was gold. Loyalty and dedication certainly have their rewards. Ribadu’s dumping of APC was simply ambivalent.

    • deetruuth

      How so true. Patience is a virtue and that’s DEE TRUUTH.

  • Uncle Gaga (Bruce Wayne)

    Blame everything (including the kitchen sink) for Ribadu’s loss but do not touch the single most culpable factor, the Man himself.
    This was a highly respected figure in Nigeria that was adopted as the Presidential Candidate for the main opposition party in 2011. Who knows whether or not he would have won the election against Jonathan back then had PVC been in use.

    What does he do?, he jumps ship to embraces the party he previously opposed (PDP).
    If that had been it, he would still have had a chance but he went on to give a speech that people in Adamawa State (and the North in general) should make the sacrifice of voting for Jonathan, as if Adamawa people and Northerners have not sacrificed enough (Boko Haram).
    He did not even package his speech sensibly, he came out to give reasons why the North MUST vote for Jonathan.

    The factors you stated above are generic and pedestrian. The single predominant factor behind Mr. Nuhu Ribadu’s loss is Mr. Nuhu Ribadu.himself.

  • New Nigerian

    Every great leader has a good read of gut-instincts. When I read of Ribadu’s choice of PDP and how he went about the business of trying to launder Jonathan’s image in the NE – I seriously wished him luck for his choices, and made it clear that he had abandoned the masses & some of us would continue to be with the change-bandwagon….I wrote about it publicly at the time. Ribadu’s stature was supposed to be enough for him to convince his people – irrespective of platform – to win the gubernatorial election in Adamawa, however, as the writer said, Jonathan and everything about Jonathan acted as a deadweight on his legs and he could not soar…he should have known this, Ribadu has proven to be an excellent technocrat, a courageous man, but a lousy politician lately – you don’t leverage your sterling reputation to bail out a sinking Jonathan in an election year and season as this….in the final analysis, it is what it is. I bet he has learnt some hard lessons that would help him grow as a politician and a better public servant – Always be on the side of the oppressed, and you’d never go wrong!