Jibrilla Bindow, Governor of Adamawa State, is under pressure to ditch his Christian deputy and pick a fellow Muslim as running mate in 2019, SaharaReporters can report.
A source very close to the Governor told SaharaReporters on Monday that recent happenings in the state may have constrained the Governor to take the religious tilt.
The religious consideration was suggested at a meeting held by the Governor’s cabinet members, who saw last week’s protest against herdsmen by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as an affront on Islam.
The source said the Governor had become disenchanted with the Christian community in the state and was considering a fellow Muslim to deputise for him.
It was learnt that Bindow’s cabinet plans to leverage on a “thorough demographic survey” detailing the numerical strength of religious divides in the state.
The survey is said to have to have identified Muslims as the most populated in the state, thereby giving any Muslim an edge in a governorship contest.
The source said the Governor was angered by how CAN and some Christian leaders in the state were being used to oppose his government, alluding to last week’s protest that ended with the destruction of the Governor’s campaign billboards.
Two days to the protest, CAN Chairman in the state, Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza, had revealed that he was under immense pressure from the state government to cancel the rally.
Bishop Mamza named prominent Christian leaders Deputy Governor, Martins Babale, and Edgah Amos, a Permanent Secretary and Governor Bindow’s confidant, among those who mounted pressure on him to call off the protest.
At the meeting, which held in the Governor’s office, Bindow went into an outburst during which he berated Christian leaders and challenged CAN to test its popularity by fielding a Christian governorship candidate against him in 2019.
The Governor was reported to have bitterly complained against Christian leaders, saying he had patronised them to no avail in order to endear himself to the Christian community.
He reminded his audience that his media aides in particular are Christians, and that he elevated many Christians to the peak of their Civil Service careers by appointing them permanent secretaries.
Bindow, the source claimed, was detested by Christian leaders simply on the grounds of religious differences.
Suleiman Umar Alkali (better known as PA), a member of the State Assembly (Yola North Constituency) and a political strategist of the Governor’s, thereafter proposed that the group should get rid of Babale, the only Christian member of Bindow’s cabinet. According to Suleiman PA, getting rid of the Deputy Governor will send the right signal to CAN ahead of the 2019 polls.
SaharaReporters can further confirm that prominent Christian leaders in the state have been at odds with Bindow, accusing him of nepotism and sidelining Christians in the distribution of state resources and political appointments.