Murtala Nyako, Sani Ndanusa: Where are they now?

They were at different times in the public service of Nigeria, but many years after they left office, not much has been heard about them again; writes SUNNY IDACHABA.

Murtala Nyako

Murtala Nyako is a retired naval officer and former governor of Adamawa state. Besides these, he is a farmer and was president of the following associations at different times. These are, Horticultural Crops Growers Association of Nigeria, the Practising Farmers Association of Nigeria and the Apex Farmers Association of Nigeria. He is also said to be a patron of numerous farmers’ commodity associations in the country.

This retired naval officer is, no doubt, a successfully integrated farmer of international repute. For instance, he is sole owner of one of the largest dairy farms in the country, Sebore (EPZ) Farms. In addition, he owns the largest mango farm in the country; no wonder he is being referred to as Baba Mai Mangoro.

Nyako made a foray into politics in 2006, years after he left the military where he had a robust career spanning over 35 years.

He got elected as governor of Adamawa state in 2007 and in February 2008, the Election Petition Tribunal annulled his election, alleging electoral malpractices. Thereafter speaker of the state assembly, James Barka, was sworn in as acting governor. Nyako was, however, re-elected after a fresh election in 2008. Not too long after, the state assembly made moves to impeach him, but the move was dissuaded by the intervention of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, after which the executive/legislative relationship improved.

In 2012, after his first tenure, he ran for a second term and was re-elected, but for some reasons, he was impeached by the same assembly on July 15, 2014. This was after the assembly deliberated on the report of an investigative panel that probed 16 allegations of misconducts against him; but on February 11, 2016, a Court of Appeal declared the impeachment illegal and ordered that all his entitlements that accrued from the date of impeachment be paid to him and the judgement was upheld by the Supreme Court on December 16, 2016, even though that particular judgment declined to reinstate him into office.

Nyako had a successful career in the military; for instance, at the creation of Niger state in 1976, he was the military governor until 1977. In 1990 under former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, he was appointed Chief of Naval Staff, a position he occupied until 1992. Nyako who is in his mid 80s fought in the Nigeria Civil War; therefore, he can be described as someone who has seen it all as far as Nigeria is concerned. 

Sani Ndanusa

Sani Ndanusa was the minister of youths, sports and social development under the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2008, but was removed from office in 2010 in a major cabinet reshuffle. Ndanusa before then had served as commissioner for transport and social development. He is someone who has always had a knack for sports, for instance, he was at one time the vice president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation for four years before he assumed the position of president in 2001.

Within the same period, he was also the vice-president of the Nigeria 2008 Olympic Committee. Much later, Ndanusa was elected vice president of the Confederation of Africa Tennis in April 2003 and re-elected in 2007. In November 2009 while as minister, there was controversy following which the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) disqualified him from being elected president of the NOC. Undaunted by this, in December 2009, he vowed that Nigeria would put up the best performance at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.

As president of Wheelchair Tennis in Africa, he rooted for wheelchair tennis as a veritable sport in the country. He once said, “The wheelchair tennis is growing, but the growth is rather slow; we are however working very hard. We have one of the biggest wheelchair tennis teams in Africa, they are very well-tested. We have opportunities from CBN and other sponsors to bring in some tournaments. Last year, we had futures, one here in Nigeria. I’m on the board of the ITF Wheelchair Tennis and I’m also the African President of Wheelchair Tennis. I’m working very hard to see that wheelchair tennis is positioned properly in Nigeria.” Long after his exit from the cabinet, nothing much has been heard about him anymore.

Bayo Ojo

Chief Christopher Adebayo Ojo (SAN) was the Attorney General of the Federation in the last tail of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. He is also a one-time president of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA). Ojo who hails from Ife-Ijumu in Kogi state had his primary school education in Maiduguri and Kaduna and post-primary education in Zaria. He proceeded to the University of Lagos where he obtained a Bachelor Degree in Law in 1977. He was then called to the Bar in July 1978, after completing his law school programme. Subsequently, he began his career as a corps member when he appeared as defence counsel in a rape case before Hon Justice Anthony Iguh of the High Court of Justice Enugu in 1978. He however lost the case because of the overwhelming evidence against his client.

As Attorney-General, unlike his predecessors and successors, he regularly appeared in courts personally to argue cases on behalf of the government. He was also noted for his efforts at decongesting prisons by engaging lawyers in private practice to defend various individuals who were being held by the state without trial. He also had, though, a limited measure of success in advocating for improvement in the welfare of younger lawyers. Since he left office in 2007, not much has been heard about him nor was he noticed in any major public event. He is however said to have a thriving legal business in the nation’s capital, Abuja.