By Sadiq Umar
The recent development in Gombe State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in which seven out of 27 officials of Kumo East Ward purportedly expelled a two-term member representing Akko Federal Constituency, ordinarily should be treated as a storm in tea cup.
Reason being that democracy is in itself a game of number. Majority will always have their way. And rightly so, party leadership who saw through the plot as a charade and a serious deservice had taken it upon themselves to right the wrong of a few.
But for the deliberate attempt by one Dahiru Hassan Kera to distort facts and misrepresent history, some explaining suffice.
It therefore becomes imperative for the issue to be properly situated for the sake of posterity.
First, the said Kera misrepresented facts in his assessment of the relationship between Hon. Usman Bello Kumo whom he referred to as god-son and Gombe Central senator, Danjuma Goje, the acclaimed god-father having failed to contextualize the genesis of the said misgivings.
Kumo’s perceived iniquity emanated from the recent constituency empowerment program carried out for the benefit of his constituents. Since his days as the Executive Chairman of Akko Local Government, he has remained inseparable from his people who in turn accorded him an enduring love, support and loyalty that is uncommon among electorates and politicians. It is on record that Kumo served the people dutifully as caretaker and elected chairman for 6 years, Secretary to the Independent Electoral Commission for almost 2 year before his election as member representing Akko federal constituency at National Assembly between 2011-2015. He knows his people, his people knows him, a bond that has defined him as a grassroots politician of note.
This time around, having settled down for serious legislative work after a full circle of election litigation, Hon. Kumo had reasoned that there can be no better time to say thank you to his teeming supporters and party faithful than the opportunity offered by the long recess.
Acknowledging the State governor, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya as the leader of the party in the state, and rightly so, Kumo had invited the governor to preside over the occasion, a request governor Yahaya granted. And expectedly His Excellency’s presence added the much needed impetus to an otherwise community gathering, making it an enviable and resounding success. Unknowingly, that was Kumo’s undoing. He had just incurred the wrath of a god father who brooks no glory from any god-son.
But who could have imagined that an otherwise harmless ‘thank you’ gathering that serves the dual purpose of galvanising support for the party could breed envy and acrimony of such proportion, especially, giving Kumo’s usual courtesies and respect for the senator. Some have said there are more than meet the eyes.
Characteristic of Goje, he would have preferred that Kumo first submit the list of invitees to him to determine who should be invited and those who should not. But by deferring to Gov. Yahaya’s leadership of the party, Kumo earned a place in the list of imaginary enemies of an overbearing god-father.
Such duduction is tenable judging from the former governor’s antecedent. He is beginning to exhibit disdain and intolerance toward the emergent leadership which providence bestowed on the sitting governor. To many watchers of political event in Gombe, this is not surprising, bearing in mind the fact that he never wanted Yahaya to be governor in the first place. It is on record that Sen. Goje worked relentlessly against the emergence of Yahaya during the party’s primary. It is also an open secret that his preferred candidate was Alhaji Farouk Bamusa.
The aggression directed towards Hon. Usman Bello Kumo was unnecessary and therefore misplaced to say the least. Suffices to say that Kumo had suffered enough in his quest to represent his people. He was the only candidate that was dragged before Tribunal in the state in the last election. He won by sheer providence and his popularity among his people. In the party primary for the House of Representatives ticket, he ran alone against all odds polling 160 votes to defeat Goje’s preferred choice who scored two votes. In the State Assembly primary, Kumo rallied 90 votes for the incumbent State Assembly member while Goje’s preferred choice polled nine votes. As a Returning Officer in the election of governor Inuwa Yahaya, Kumo successful delivered and worked hard with others for the overall victory of APC at the last poll. Falsely casting Kumo in the image of an ungrateful lot is to debase gratitude.
Dwelling on Kumo’s political trajectory without underscoring his political relevance and value is also mischievous. The question arises, what is Goje’s special interest in Kumo if he is without electoral value. Is he the only politician in Akko. Why did he have to retain him as LGA chairman for six years. Why did he choose to draft him into the race for the House of Reps in 2011 if not for value addition to his own senate race. If Goje is so invincible and omnipotent as some would want us to believe, why did he need to work with other stakeholders to maintain his own relevance.
Kumo indeed apologized to Goje for running against him in the contest for senate seat in 2015. What is the qualms about that. After all, offering apology is the hallmark of both humility and greatness. Moreover, respect is part of the attributes of a cultured and well-brought-up Fulani man.
Yes, Goje without doubt is a worthy party leader in his own right. A former state Assembly member, former Minister, two-term governor and three-term senator. He is without question a father figure in Gombe politics and beyond. But he also started from somewhere. The role played by political forerunners and traditional rulers can never be obscured despite the vain efforts by the likes of Dahiru Hassan Kera to hide such fact.
Every living person in Gombe fully knows how Ibrahim Hassan, Sa’idu Fawu, Yarima Abdullahi and Dr. Sulaiman Kumo rallied round to make Goje politically. But for Senator Saidu Kumo, for instance, Goje would not have been made a minister. After being rejected by two other senators from his state, it was Senator Kumo who ensured that Goje was cleared in the Senate.
What is not known to many was the significant role played by a former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the late Emir of Gombe without whom Goje would have been a political destitute. It was Babawuro Barambu that introduced him to Atiku. Atiku did not know Goje from Adam. The mileage he got politically today can only be attributed to that recommendation given him by Babawuro. Allah used the late Emir of Gombe to assist Goje in no small measure. But for those, he would have been irrelevant today. The sad story however is that Goje not only betrayed them all, like Marcus Brutus in the infamous act of betrayal in Julius Caesar, he stabbed both Babawuro and the late Emir in the back, living the good men with deep painful wound until their death.
Goje recently announced his retirement from active politics, he deserves a good rest. He should not behave as one who professed to have let go of the proverbial goat but still hold on to the rope. This could only explain his unwarranted suspicion and acrimoniius disposition toward the new political leadership in the state.
And if he wants to continue to lay claim to morality, evidence abound to prove him otherwise. Again, if he chooses to go to the public square to wash his filthy linen, it is up to him and his goons. One thing is certain, there are can of worms that are waiting to be opened. And like they say, a word is enough for the wise.
*Sadiq Umar writes from Gombe