Still on the Debt Profile of Gombe State

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By Muhammad Baba Gombe

After elections, the only thing that makes sense to the ordinary man who spent donkey hours on the queue to cast his vote is to enjoy the dividends of his democratic investment. Since, we are practicing democracy, the search for good governance is compulsory. To ensure that the leaders do not sway off the lane of providing the basic things that sustain the grassroots, the founders of democracy have hardwired political tools to cut the excesses of governance as a way of keeping political leaders in check, so they don’t end up as ‘emperors’ in a democratic setting. This is one of the major factors that separates democracy from military rule. Today, world over, everyone celebrates democracy because of what it can offer and what it offered in the past. However, in Gombe State what we have as driven by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is nothing but an ‘emperor in democracy’. The PDP neither listens nor gets checked by the political tool of the legislature in the state.

This is a very toxic trend that has made the PDP, a friend to bad governance or better yet an enemy of good governance. In view of the leadership mandate in its hand, the PDP has befriended Gombe to bad governance. The people of Gombe must shine their eyes to kick the PDP out in 2019, before they annihilate the common hope that we share in the future of democracy in the state. When you talk of the PDP administration in the state in the last seven years, there is always a ‘devil in the detail’. Not sounding immodest, the PDP with its actions and unrepentant desire to put the state not just in debt but to entrench poverty, I can tell you, is at war with good governance in the state.

In recent times, many articles have been written on the level of financial recklessness, wasteful spending, unchecked power of the government of Gombe, misplaced priority projects, propagation of fake achievements and the massive debt burden which when combined serve as an encumbrance to the development of the state and in a decent democratic make-up, enough to instigate a legislative check and subsequent impeachment of the governor, if guilty as charged. A coalition of writers from Gombe have written a lot on the abysmally poor performance which have drawn concerns from Nigerians across board on the true state of events as against the self-exhortatory performance that the Gombe government feeds to the world, yet the legislative arm of government in Gombe State controlled by the PDP has kept a ‘zipped lips’ and allowed the ‘emperors in democracy’ to feed on the collective wealth of the state. The PDP-led legislature has proven to all in Gombe that party loyalty, as well as, self-interest is more a priority than good governance. Hence, since they form the majority in the house, they have decided to keep silent even when the debt profile of the state is hitting an all-time record high. The problem is not the legislative arm of government in Gombe state but the PDP members in the house who have not allowed checks on the recklessness of governance by the state’s executive arm.

On May 30, the All Progressives Congress (APC) released a statement accusing Gov. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of committing an impeachable offence by sending a supplementary Budget of Local Government Areas, for the year 2017, on May 15, after the passage of 2018 Appropriation Law, seeking the approval of the house for an additional funds of N800 million. The loyal members of the APC were said to have resisted the illegality and gross violation of the Nigerian Constitution, which the APC house members say was against their ideology as a party. The APC members have done a lot in their own right to resist illegalities of the state government. The only APC member then: the minority leader who went in defence of the governor to support illegality, has been ‘moneyed’ out of the party as his consolations, to where his heart lies.

I am not surprised though, that the PDP had attempted to violate the constitution of the country. Even the constitution of their party has been violated in times that make counting a problem as evident in their just concluded unconstitutional primaries that was held in Government House, were Dr Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna was denied the ticket for fear that he will jettison the old lane of corruption and subject many of the bigwigs of the PDP to serious financial probe to recover the wealth of the common man whose geographical location stretches the North, South, West and East of Gombe. If not for the leadership of the APC, in the house, N800 million would have gone down the drain. Little wonder, Gombites have resolved to supplant the PDP government with the APC at all levels of governance in the state.

As far as I am concerned the PDP majority status at the legislative level is nothing but a political collusion to bring wealth to their members and the party at the expense of good governance, thereby depleting the resources of the people. The PDP members in the house have failed in their democratic responsibilities in terms of bringing the political tyranny of the executive to an end. Instead of protecting the citizens and providing what was promised to the people during election, the PDP-led administration has chosen to abuse the political power which has become the key feature of ‘Peoples (Un)Democratic Party’ as it ought to be, based on their style of leadership.

When efforts are made to put in public domain, the debt profile of the Gov. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo’ s administration, to keep the people of Gombe State abreast of the debt-driven style of leadership of the current administration; it looks as if someone was trying to blackmail the government of Gombe though the facts were presented. There are more recent evidence by The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) when it announced on Dec, 10, that Gombe airport will be grounded, listing it as one of the four airports, with a debt profile of N2.6 billion. Surprisingly, Gombe state, was allegedly having a debt profile of N607 million. This led to the threat of withdrawal of services by FAAN. If nothing is done, the destruction of the current tentacles of good governance in Gombe, would be a minor trauma compared to the catastrophe that will herald the continuity of the PDP in state.

Muhammad Baba Gombe, a public commentator can be reached via muhdbaba@yahoo.com