The announcement via twitter yesterday about the sack of Ahmed Gulak, President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Political Matters is one that is bound to send shockwaves across the Goodluck Jonathan support groups all over the country and outside the shores of Nigeria. Gulak was effectively positioned to direct the efforts towards GEJ’s yet undeclared second term ambition. Gulak had late last year threatened to resign if GEJ doesn’t contest in 2015, insisting that there was no alternative to GEJ for the 2015 presidency race. Even when GEJ banned all his kitchen cabinet members from campaigning for him, Gulak under the guise of merely marshalling support for the first term administration of Jonathan went ahead to create many support groups in the name of Goodluck and early this year went abroad to inaugurate several groups towards mobilising support towards 2015.
It was Ahmed Gulak who first sold the story that Aso Rock was backing Alhaji Bamanga Tukur until the whole story eventually became true – once the perception of Aso Rock supporting Tukur was widely held, it would have been embarrassing if Tukur lost and so GEJ had no option than to back him. Gulak and Tukur then worked together to (for lack of a better phrase) ‘hold sway’ over the president, positioning themselves as the most influential people in the only state that GEJ won in the North-East in 2011. Left behind was Murtala Nyako who worked together with Tukur and Gulak towards a GEJ victory at the time. Gulak was then the Director of Mobilisation in the Campaign group. I explained how that episode in this piece about Bamanga Tukur’s Waterloo.
Gulak, from Adamawa State, was particularly useful in replying northern critics of Goodluck Jonathan but he succeeded in sometimes creating enemies for the president inadvertently. In the heat of the PDP crisis, Gulak’s interests lay with Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as party chairman and he gave the impression that the president was adamant on Tukur being retained as chairman of PDP until Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio stepped in and forced the president’s hand. Gulak’s statements against the governors who formed the nPDP made it difficult for any reconciliation to be possible before they decamped to APC. The position of S.A. Political is largely a strategic one – as strategic as the office held by Oronto Douglas – your work should be seen, not heard. Gulak conducted himself more like an Okupe or an FFK who talks too much like I pointed out in this article.
Gulak has claimed that he was sacked because he is interested in contesting for the seat of goofy Adamawa state Governor Murtala Nyako but if that were true, he should have been asked to tender his resignation instead of being sacked outright and dropped like a bad egg. Truth is that he simply created too many enemies within the presidential villa and the PDP. Like the Americans would say, Gulak had it coming.
With Tukur out despite Gulak’s backing, it was only a matter of time before he would also be shown the way out. Nyako and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar crossed from PDP to APC, Buba Marwa is also going in the opposite direction and the permutation in Adamawa are now looking more dicey for Gulak than ever but his biggest undoing was to offend Godswill Akpabio – an anathema for any presidential aide or PDP hierarchy member.
As GEJ’s pointsman in the Niger-Delta and among the PDP governors, Akpabio’s influence is only comparable to James Ibori’s under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. Gulak went to his state to inaugurate a Goodluck Jonathan support group that is working against Akpabio’s senatorial ambition and his preferred candidate to succeed him as governor. By the time Akpabio and the PDP would issue a statement, the death knell was sounded on Gulak’s career as a Presidential Political Adviser.
He would be missed in the GEJ camp because his loyalty to the president was totally unshaken and he (and perhaps Princess Stella Oduah) alone have the wide network of solidarity groups that can work for a 2015 victory for President Jonathan. A soft landing may have been a wiser option rather than an embarrassing sack, announced on twitter. Ahmed Gulak is one ally GEJ shouldn’t let go so easily if he will contest and win the presidential election in 2015. Right now, the governors seem to have him in the same position Atiku Abubakar had former President Obasanjo just before the 2003 elections which I explained in this Politicus post. Like I said in this article when Tukur was eventually thrown out – the whole problem revolves around Jonathan’s ambition towards 2015.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.