Growing List of Gladiators in the Race for Gombe Government House

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Segun Awofadeji writes on the chances of political gladiators from both the ruling People’s Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress who have indicated interest in occupying the Gombe Government House in the coming governorship election

The governorship race in Gombe state is becoming more interesting by the day as the real actors and pretenders in the race have emerged from the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which is in control of the state. While the PDP is determined to retain its grip on the state, the APC has put a very stiff challenge.

Leading APC aspirants include, Alhaji Musa Umar Farooq who is popularly called Farouk Bamusa, a very strong chieftain of the APC and a consummate businessman and industrialist of high repute who has been in the political scene for a long time since the inception of the present democratic dispensation.

Bamusa is from Kwami local government area of the state and holds the traditional title of Sarkin Arewa Gombe. THISDAY checks revealed that his foray into the gubernatorial race has triggered serious fears and tension among the other aspirants especially those in the camp of the State Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo who though are cabinet members but do not know the heartbeat of the Governor as regards who gets his support and endorsement.

In spite of his glowing credentials and soaring popularity, Bamusa is not only a grassroots politician but a very humble bridge builder who has high connection with friends and business associates from across the country.

He is a respected administrator, who many confirm as a man of honour and high moral character coupled with his very generous and friendly posture more particularly to the downtrodden which was vastly demonstrated during the last Eid-el Adha Sallah celebration when he doled out the sum of N40 million to executive members of the party at all levels in the State.

While giving out the cash gifts at the party secretariat before the Sallah celebration, Bamusa said that it was part of his own support to the party officials to celebrate the Muslim festival  because according to him, the APC as an opposition party in the state had many challenges, especially lack of financial resources, as such, the expectations and needs of its followers and loyalists may not be fully met.

Going by this and other things he has done to the teeming people of the state, Farooq Bamusa is considered as the leading aspirant within the APC fold.

Abubakar Habu Muazu

Abubakar Habu Muazu is another contender for the APC ticket in the state who called a truce following the election of the state executives of the APC in Gombe State after over two years of crises. He called on the party’s executives to continue to hold political activities as a way of consolidating on the gains of the new found unity.

Muazu who is one of the frontline 2019 governorship hopeful in the State made the call while addressing party executives in one of the local government areas of the state where he had gone and met all the 10 wards at the party’s secretariat in Talase, saying that there was no need for the party to continue in silence if it wants to capture power from the ruling PDP in the state, hence the need to encourage them to continue to exhibit loyalty to the party.

The party chieftain who was in Balanga as Chairman during the coronation ceremony of Professor Iliya Sarki Dong as the ‘Hasken Waja’, said he was not comfortable seeing the PDP continue to deceive the people of Gombe when their living condition is growing from bad to worse.

Muazu who is the Yariman Kashere is an astute political bigwig in the state having been a busy youth leader during the administration of Senator Danjuma Goje as the Governor of the state for eight years. He is a crowd puller anytime and is loved by the people of the state particularly the youths who he has always identified with through his generosity and frankness.

He has never hidden his intention to govern the state since he joined the APC and has been campaigning vigorously to win the attention of the party members in the state, a development that has made him the aspirant to beat.

Ahmed Khamisu Mailantarki

As the gubernatorial race becomes stiffer, another frontline member of the APC who has his eyes on the ticket of the party is  Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki who has joined the list of politicians seeking the party’s ticket for the office of the Governor come 2019.

Mailantarki indicated his interest at the party secretariat in Gombe before his supporters, the state chairman of the party,  Nitte Amangal and his executives members where he assured that if given the ticket, he has all it takes to wrestle power from the PDP controlled State government.

According to him, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo has failed the people of Gombe State in many areas stressing that he is the only experienced candidate that has what it takes to take power from the PDP in the State.

He however welcomed the resolve of national leadership of the party to adopt indirect primaries in nominating gubernatorial aspirants across the country and said he would accept the outcome of the party primary in the state, “whichever way it goes. I am campaigning enough, I am doing whatever that is necessary in preparation for the election; from our tour I know my people love me but I will leave my fate to God.”

Mailantarki who prides himself as the most consistent and loyal politician among the aspirants in the state said it is proper for the party to actually look at everybody’s records and ensure that whoever must emerge in APC must be a loyal and committed party member saying, “Considering my age, experience, achievements as a former member of the house of representative and also my effort in building the party in the state, I think I deserve to be the party flag bearer”.

Ibrahim Dasuki Jalo Waziri

He is considered as the underdog among the aspirants due to the fact that he is basking on his records as the Executive Chairman of Gombe Local Government Council during the tenure of his father in-law, Senator Muhammed Danjuma Goje when he was the Governor. He was also the National Chairman of ALGON during the period when local government councils had elected leadership.

It is, however, not too clear if he will be able to stand the other aspirants who have more sterling political pedigree, notwithstanding the fact, he is an aspirant who has a good chance of winning the party ticket.

Senator Abdullahi Idris Umar

He is regarded as one of the top contenders considering the fact that he has been in the political scene of the state for a long time. He even served as the Senator representing Gombe Central, as well as, Minister under the Yar’adua/Jonathan administration.

He is loved by the people of the state particularly those that belonged to the clique that is presumed to be controling the affairs of the party, but the issue may be that the delegates may not be disposed to his political style of leadership and may therefore not give him the mandate if feelers gathered is anything to go by.

Mohammed Inuwu Yahaya

Another contender is Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya who has been campaigning vigorously to ensure that he wins the ticket of the APC. He got the party ticket against all odds in the 2015 elections but lost the gubernatorial election to the incumbent governor, Ibrahim Hassan DanKwambo of the PDP.

However, it is obvious that the crisis in 2015 which followed the refusal by those who lost to Inuwa Yahaya to bury the hatchet and support him for the unity and success of the APC in Gombe may rear its ugly head again if he eventually wins the party ticket for the 2019 election.

This division is manifesting again because the immediate former Governor, Danjuma Goje does not seem to know how his favourable disposition towards Mohammed Dan Barde is creating a divided house within the Gombe APC. This is the opinion of some members of the party.

Already tongues are wagging also about the two gladiators for the APC ticket, Inuwa Yahay and Dan Barde although people are insinuating that Inuwa Yahaya hails from Kano State but had served as Commissioner for Finance for eight years under the administration of Danjuma Gone.

Inuwa Yahaya has garnered some experiences in governance as well as politically and business and these are some of the background points that he is basking on to once again win the party ticket for 2019.

Most people in the APC know that Inuwa Yahaya is head and shoulders above other aspirants for the governorship seat but it is widely opined that unlike in 2015 when he got the ticket with much ease, this time around the role of party leader and godfatherism may work against him.

The PDP too has its share of political gladiators set to occupy the Gombe Government House.

Though the PDP won the recently concluded local government election, in all the 11 councils, the party has continued to suffer loses as its membership continue to flock to the opposition APC.

Despite this apparent challenge staring the party in the face, stakeholders in the PDP are said to be gearing up to retain the seat of power, come 2019.

Those in the forefront of the battle to replace Dankwambo from the same PDP include Alhaji Ahmed Yayari, Chief of Staff to the governor, Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar Walama, state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Nasir, State Commissioner of Finance, Bala Tinker, a businessman said to be a close associate of the governor and Alhaji Awwalu Lawal, businessman and also son in-law to former President Ibrahim Babangida.

Others are Muhammad Bello, businessman, Alhaji Yahya Ahmed, retired banker and former MD of the Federal Mortgage Bank and Ambassador Haruna Garba.

Dankwambo who is gunning for the nation’s number one seat is yet to pick his favourable candidate for the PDP gubernatorial ticket in the state.

It is widely speculated that Dankwambo might be backing Dr . Jamil Isyaku Gwamna to succeed him. Gwamna, who has extensive commercial and managerial experience at executive and board levels in the water industry, heavy equipment distribution, manufacturing businesses and consultancy is presently the MD/ CEO of Kano Electricity Distribution Company ( KEDCO ) .

The ceremonial and flamboyant entry of Jamil , who also holds the traditional title of Sardaunan Gombe , into the gubernatorial race has triggered serious fears and tension among the other aspirants , especially those in Dankwambo ’s cabinet . The resources he is spending and the crowd he is pulling has sent panic across the camp of other aspirants, giving credence to his highly speculated ‘anointment’ by the governor .

Apart from being a bosom friend of the incumbent Governor right from when they were both at the Ahmadu Bello University(ABU),Zaria  , Gwamna , who holds the national honour of the Member of the Federal Republic (MFR ) , also enjoys the goodwill of his late father, Alhaji Isyaku Gwamna , a respected elder statesman , who many testified is a man of honour and high moral character .

Those leading the pack in the race to take over from incumbent Governor Dankwambo in 2019 from the PDP included Alhaji Ahmad Walama,Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

Over the years, Walama had  gradually built a formidable structure , inspiring loyalty among the elected council bosses in the state, many of whom he ensured their victory at the primary elections years back .

Walama is banking on his political experience , which has seen him serve as local government chairman for eight years under former Governor Danjuma Goje and now as commissioner coordinating the affairs of all the 11 local government areas in the state since 2011 . Indeed , if the grass- roots level is any thing to go by , Walama , will easily pick the ticket of the party.

However, some watchers of Gombe politics who agree Walama, though sufficiently wealthy, lacks compassion for the less privileged. They claim “he is stingy even to members of his immediate communities”, and also noted  that his political influence lacks the external contacts and connections to fight the opposition APC In the state.

THISDAY checks also revealed that Senator   Bayero Nafada, who recently defected from the All Progressive Congress ( APC ) to the PDP may also run for the party ticket . Some political observers are even tipping him as the favourite, considering the alleged anti -party role he played in the 2015 election in ensuring the re -election of Dankwambo.