By Ibrahim Sani
Reggae music legend, Bob Marley recorded the memorable line, “You can fool some people sometime, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.’’ In similar vein, Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.’’ Though these personalities are not Nigerians but their thoughts are strongly being practiced in Gombe State by selfish and visionless politicians like Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo and associates. Long before the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) primaries, lots of political pundits and astute observers of the political wave that shaped political intrigues in Gombe foretold that the PDP had an arrangement scripted in favor of the duo: Governor Dankwambo and Sen. Usman Bayero Nafada, which many saw as an exchange of political shoes ahead of the 2019 dance.
It is this same ‘you-take-my-position-and-I-take-yours’ arrangement that led to the denial of the most popular and masses-favored, Dr. Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna of the PDP gubernatorial ticket. Few days after the primary, the culminating activities of the PDP have been acting out the hidden scripts that are open secrets to the people of Gombe who are now wiser than at any other time in history. The truth is that the PDP can fool some people sometime (especially those who feed from the injustice of the party) but they can’t fool the people of Gombe all the time, as the people are now very wise.
The failure of the PDP to do what is right that led to the defection of Gwamna to the All Progressives Congress (APC) has definitely weakened the chances of the PDP and strengthened that of the APC ahead of 2019 general elections. It can be recalled that during the PDP primary that was disrupted by thugs, widely believed to be sponsored by the enemies of Gombe State, Gwamna was already cruising to victory when Nafada created a scene out of the proposed script by confronting Dankwambo and reminding him of their agreement before the duo went out of the hall for a clandestine meeting which resulted in denying JIG his mandate. As part of the same script, Muhammad Ribadu relinquished his senatorial ticket to Dankwambo. The truth of the matter is that this food had been cooked a long time ago but it was only awaiting the right time to be served.
Only last week, Junaidu Usman Abubakar, Senior Special Assistant on Press Affairs to Dankwambo, in a publication titled: ‘Of Political Marauders in Gombe’ ironically exposed his principal’s in a piece that was supposedly intentioned to commend his boss. He said: “I want to start by commending my boss, Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, Talban Gombe, who has faced insistent criticism and condemnations from these envious humans for sticking and fielding one man; the PDP gubernatorial candidate in Gombe state, Senator Bayero Usman Nafada.’’ The beauty of democracy is the power of the choice of the majority in any political setting. When such power is taken from the people then what is left can be anything but democracy. Pitiably, the PDP whose middle name sounds democratic isn’t democratic enough in actual practice. Junaidu Usman Abubakar said he commended his boss for ‘sticking and fielding one man’. This means that there was a plan which the governor stuck to. In addition, he acknowledged that there was a sharing formula. The BIG question is if there was a formula and an already written script, why would the PDP in Gombe sell nomination forms, knowing that the governor was going to field Senator Nafada? So the PDP gubernatorial primary was a hoax by all indications. I will like to nail this on the cluelessness of those that have taken to kowtowing publicly for the sake of defending injustice to justify their pay. It may not be out of place to defend their boss, but posterity won’t forgive them for using the position of Senior Special Assistant on Press Affairs to the office of a Governor to rape democracy on the pages of national dailies.
Furthermore, canvassing for a man who does almost everything on his chair and can barely walk 10 kilometres to be the next governor of a state that is home to over two million people is, to say the least, a figment of the imagination of self-deceptive minds and an evidence of a desire that is borne out of selfishness. I don’t think the people of Gombe want a chair-ridden person or one who walks surrounded by aides for fear of a possible slip. Similarly, the Senator is not just a physical misfit for the position of a governor, he is visionless and a poor administrator. How can a man who publicly said his manifesto is to continue with the legacy of Dankwambo be a governor of a state that is in dire need of good governance and purpose-driven leadership?
Every leader has a blueprint even though government is a continuum; so for the Senator to say he wants to continue the legacy of a governor who has failed is a testimonial of the disaster that is being planned for Gombe State using the distinguished Senator. Reiterating the Senator’s roots has nothing to do with politics. He cannot impact on his village with the basic necessities for better living. Nafada is ranked as one of the poorest regions in the state. Yet one man is proud to be from a poverty-threatened region with all the federal might at his disposal. Show me a man who has power and cannot impact on his village positively and I will show you a man whose people are wishing such powers should been given to the likes of Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya, the APC gubernatorial flagbearer in Gombe State.
It was the same Senator Nafada who accused the Dankwambo administration of favouring his friends and associates with contracts and patronage to the detriment of the good people of Gombe. Nafada made this revelation in 2015 in the period leading to the 2015 general elections. He said there was capital flight from Gombe, meaning money that was supposed to be spent in Gombe was taken to outside the state because most of the contractors working in Gombe were not of Gombe origin. Now he is saying he will continue with the works Dankwambo started. It is only the fools that can wait to be deceived with such baseless utterances. Gombe people cannot be fooled any longer. They are wiser now. Nafada has nothing to offer. The future of our state is on the verge of collapse. Let us wake up to the clarion call and vote for a visionary leader who can take the state to a greater height.
The seeming relinquishing of his senatorial seat by the PDP candidate, Muhammad Ribadu, which the governor is foot-dragging to accept on the grounds that he needs to consult with relevant stakeholders in the PDP is nothing but a ‘make-it-real-drama’ that will end in the final script of Dankwambo and Senator Nafada, which is that the governor will fly the PDP flag for the senatorial seat of Gombe North. To the PDP members, I have one clear-cut advice that should awaken your understanding of the reality of events as we approach 2019; the governor can determine who wins the primaries under the PDP, but the governor will not succeed in imposing Senator Nafada as governor because the people of Gombe are now more politically sensitive to the issues that trigger good governance which only the APC can offer.
Since the spokesman of the governor has acknowledged that people are clamouring for the Sardaunan Gombe, Dr. Jamilu Gwamna, let me quickly say that those people who form the majority at the grassroots have reasons to clamour for JIG. I will like to state categorically that the reason for the clamouring for Sardaunan Gombe is strongly based on his integrity, shrewd ability to manage issues that relate to the people of Gombe and his ingenuity to turn negative situations into positive for the good of the generality of the people. There is this fear that Dr. Gwamna, being a just and a no-nonsense business man, may end up probing the financial recklessness of the present administration which is evident in the misplaced projects like the Gombe Conference Centre. For an agrarian state and a state where portable water isn’t available even in Gombe metropolis as the people are now being forced to spend more on water and tanks, all in the name of taking loans to enrich their personal pockets that led to JIG’s denial of the PDP ticket by Gov. Dankwambo. If the PDP thinks the imposition of Senator Nafada as its gubernatorial candidate was hatched to protect the current administration, they had better prepare to get legal experts to defend them in courts because the APC’s fight against corruption at the national level will be replicated in Gombe to ensure that those who enriched their pockets with the resources of Gombe will face the music, when Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya assumes office in 2019.
To this end, many across political, social and religious divides believe that Dr. Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna, is the true champion of democracy having stood against the injustice of imposition as orchestrated by those who think they could take the place of divinity to ascertain for the people of Gombe State the person that should be their next governor in 2019.
Ibrahim Sani, a public affairs analyst, writes from Gombe