By Gideon Mathew
In less than 30 months from now, Nigerians will be preparing for another round of elections across the country, except for states like Osun, Ekiti, Anambra, Ondo, Bayelsa,Edo and Kogi, whose elections are staggered as a result of court cases.Thus, politicking, political re-alignment and plans on who gets what for the 2023 elections have since kicked off. It may seem too early to some apolitically minds, but for political parties and gladiators, there isn’t a better time to start mapping out political strategies and brainstorming than now – to them, the earlier, the better. In fact, political orientation and acculturation determine one’s perception and possible viewpoint. Similarly, on its part, to further steam up the political atmosphere, the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has released the 2023 election time-table. The gesture is unprecedented in the history of the commission. Let me hurriedly recap the words of an American ink-slinger and political philosopher, Benjamin Franklin, who postulated that, “he who fails to plan, plans to fail”. In agreement with the famous scholar and father of America as he’s fondly referred to, the early shooters are doing the right thing; timely preparation is very vital in all our dealings. It’s apparent that there’s disquiet within the ranks of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Gombe state because there’s a kind of mistrust between the leadership at the centre and those who had supported the emergence of the present government in the state. Today, instead of the major opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to do the work of opposition by criticising the policies of the APC led administration, it’s the same members of the ruling party who are busy criticising their supposedly their own government.
The governor is often accused of being indifferent to the welfare of the party and his supporters who worked thick and thin to ensure his success in the 2019 general election. On several occasions, his supporters were heard on various radio programmes lamenting over the neglect they’ve suffered by the same government they brought to power. They always wrap up by sounding a word of caution to the governor of the possibility of losing the seat to PDP in 2023 if he didn’t turn a new leaf in the way he manages politics. It was on the same political woebegone and tactlessness that a stalwart of the party and in his capacity as the Director General of the APC’s Campaign Council for the December 19 local government election, Habu Mu’azu, called on the governor that while executing projects, concern should also be given to the welfare of the people. “It’s only in politics that one can be running while scratching his rumps concurrently”, he said. Yet to heed the advice and retrace his steps, a strong tidal wave is seemingly sailing towards what looks like Governor Yahaya’s misadventure ship that will sink by 2023 into the mucky sea of Gombe politics. Interestingly, mostly the discussion is centered on two political bigwigs, the incumbent Governor Inuwa Yahaya and Jamil Isyaku Gwamna (Sardaunan Gombe) who’s still in the same party with the governor, APC.
Though, Gwamna is yet to make any official political statement on whether he’s interested in the 2023 election or he’s returning to his former party (PDP), there have been strong insinuations that he’s going back to the PDP possibly to contest against Inuwa in the APC. In the meantime, Sardauna is still busy focusing on his business as the managing director of an electricity firm, Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO). On the other hand, in most of the programmes cited earlier, there are blizzards of calls by his supporters mostly from the PDP with some still in the APC that he should answer their clarion call to throw his hat into the ring come 2023 on the PDP platform. To most political pundits in the state, it was the failure of the PDP to produce him as their candidate in the 2019 governorship election that caused the party the poor outing in the last election despite having the incumbency factor. The emergence of Sen. Usman Bayero Nafada as the party’s candidate who eventually decamped to the party in July 2018 deliberately to contest the governorship election infuriated other contenders like Jamil Isyaku Gwamna, Abdulkadir Hamma Sale, Bala Bello Tinka and Engr. Abubakar Bappah, who decamped to APC before the election, believing that with Bayero as the candidate, PDP is bound to fail; he eventually lost the contest as predicted while the party lost virtually all the National Assembly seats.Also, most of us who rejected the candidacy of Nafada believed that he’ll not take the party to victory.
His major shortcoming to many of us is that he hardly identifies with the state in times of need, he rarely visits us to either celebrate our fortunes or console us over misfortunes. To his party members, apart from his publicised feeble financial war chest, his acceptability by the electorate was low and to justify all the allegations against him, since the day he stepped out of the state, he has not returned to the state till today. We have lost prominent sons and daughters of the state including late Magaji Mu’azu (Ubandoman Gombe) and there was a devastating flood in his own local government area (Nafada) during last year’s rainy season where houses and properties worth millions were lost and many rendered homeless, yet, he did not come. For us in the state, the off beamed decision of the PDP was what paved way to the emergence of the present leadership in the state who has within only one year, shown conspicuous administrative inadequacies and weakness. Today, seemed not have been adequately equipped with the requisite experience, the state government welcomed its citizens during the inauguration with sacking of workers appointed by the previous administration, while land allocations, promotions done, among others, were suspended as if they were done in breach of the constitution. To further thrown youths to the street, the government’s decision of abolition of the youths’ empowerment program (Marshal) established by the previous administration not only bring hardship to the affected people and their families, but has serious security implication because the idle mind is a devil workshop. Equally, over 40,000 okada riders have been rendered jobless by the present government by banning their operations due to coronavirus without providing them alternatives to ameliorate their sufferings. The tertiary institutions established by the previous administration were not also spared as their salaries and overheads were abruptly stopped by the government before they later considered them but with exception of the Gombe State University of Science and Technology, Kumo, because till today, apart from the management of the institution, other staff aren’t receiving their salaries. Gombe people are known for self-importance and self-esteem but the recent poor management of the Covid-19 isolation centre in the state where the occupants at different time and locations have protested, demonstrates inefficiency on the side of the government. It caused people even from the creek to ridicule us as a state. How do you expect someone who failed to manage ordinary isolation centre to effectively manage the entire state?This piece is not meant to unearth the glaring misdoing of the present administration but to add my strong voice by calling on Dr. Jamil Isyaku Gwamna to kindly reconsider contesting the 2023 governorship election in order to bring the state out of the woods. His sterling record of achievements speaks volumes. He is armed with intimidating academic credentials being a holder of BSc in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, doctorate degree in Economics, MSc in Business Economics and Finance from London Metropolitan University.
He has over 25 years experience, occupying and excelling in a range of leadership positions across various sectors of the economy. Before becoming chief executive officer of the Kano DISCO, Gwamna was part of the team that formulated the National Policy on Public Private Partnership in Nigeria in 2008. He was also chairman, Gombe State Water Corporation, member of other boards, notably, as director on the Board of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company.
Sardauna’s philanthropic activities especially in education and healthcare development cum youth and women empowerment are second to none in the history of the state.Finally, amplifying our voices to have him as a governor of Gombe state is a service to the entire people of the state. And from the prevailing political wind blowing withing the state, the scale is steadily tipping on the side of Dr. Jamil Gwamna.
Gideon writes from Gombe
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily