With APC, more are prepared to challenge Dankwambo
On assumption of office, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State gave a poser that suggested he was not going to run for a second term in office. He said, ‘only dull students repeat classes’ which many political analysts translated to mean that only those who cannot perform in their first tenure will seek a second term.
But the current body language of Governor Dankwambo suggests he is sure to go for a second term.
So far within his party, PDP, nobody has indicated interest in contesting with him. Initial reports that the Minister of Transport, Barrister Abdullahi Idris Umar, may run for the seat has been refuted by the minister.
Hence the race as far as the PDP in Gombe is concerned, is all about Dankwambo until the strengthening of the APC in the state which has given many an opportunity to challenge the governor. Currently, there are no less than three persons challenging the governor for the seat and all have things working for and against their chances.
Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo:
The incumbent governor, served as Accountant General of the Federation from 2004 to 2011. He was brought on board by the governor, Senator Danjuma Goje in 2011 to fly the PDP ticket, thereby denying about 10 contenders who had indicated interest in the seat the chance.
But since taking the mantle of leadership, the relationship between Dankwambo and his political godfather went sour. This is said to be so because Dankwambo refused to do the bidding of Goje as he is said to have told the latter that he paid his due to get the seat hence cannot be beholden to anybody.
The first sign of crack was when Dankwambo, immediately after clinching the party’s ticket, refused to make Goje’s wife the leader of the women wing of his campaign.
But even with the incumbency factor, he seems to be having trouble with public perception over his seeming lack of willingness to empower the people of the state. Critics say Dankwambo did not assist people with jobs when he was Accountant General of the Federation; that is still held against him by the people of the state.
Many also accuse him of arrogance, saying he claims to know more than everybody around him.
He has also retained most of those that worked with his predecessor, Goje, whose loyalty to the former governor is still intact.
The governor has however transformed the education sector and has done massive road projects spread across the state which can stand the test of time but his critics say most of the contractors used are not from Gombe, adding that is why there is no money in circulation in the state.
He has lately had the rank of his supporters depleted. Unconfirmed reports say one of the prominent PDP leaders in Gombe, Alhaji Ali Buwagal, is likely leaving the PDP for APC and this is said to be giving Dankwambo a serious concern.
Apart from that, Dankwambo, it is clear will not find it easy with Goje’s group which includes Usman Bayero, former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Inuwa Yahaya, former commissioner of finance during Goje’s eight years in office and other politicians in Gombe.
Dankwambo’s achievements in Gombe State have earned him some relevance and if these are going to be used as yardstick to determine his chances in 2015, there is no doubt he will defeat all other contenders for the exalted seat in Gombe State.
But even with few months to the 2015 elections, Dankwambo is yet to consolidate and build bridges, reach out to people politically. Early this year, one of Dankwambo’s Senior Special Assistants on Political Matters Sani Dugge, defected to APC on the ground that some cabals around the governor were making things difficult for him and even said more were leaving the PDP for APC before the year runs out. Just last month, too, one of his commissioners, Hamza Wuro Boggi, resigned his appointment. Though it is said that it was because he got a better offer but an insider who wants to remain anonymous told this writer that he resigned out of frustration.
Also, four councillors from Kwami Local Government Area were suspended by the state House of Assembly over allegation of breach of oath of office. But our correspondent reliably learnt that they were suspended following their decision to dump the PDP for the APC and that about 40 of them
Hence the race as far as the PDP in Gombe is concerned, is all about Dankwambo until the strengthening of the APC in the state which has given many an opportunity to challenge the governor. Currently, there are no less than three persons challenging the governor for the seat
are nursing the ambition.
One of Dankwambo’s shortcomings is that he hardly doles out to people, with many advising him that with elections around the corner he should pay attention to human development rather than capital development so that he can secure a second term.
Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya:
A business mogul from a very popular family fell out with Goje in the build up to the 2011 election when Goje decided to go with Dankwambo. But the two have recently reconciled and are now working together.
Yahaya served as Goje’s commissioner of finance for eight years.
Political analysts say Yahaya played an active role in ousting Hashidu of the then APP from office in 2003.
Some are of the view that if Yahaya had agreed to participate at the primary that produced Dankwambo in 2011, he would have defeated the governor because he was the shining star then. He had very strong political structures in all the 11 local government areas of the state.
Though some are saying he does not dole out money freely. They still see him as better than Dankwambo in that regard because he listens to people’s views and opinions.
Alhaji Usman Bayero Nafada:
Nafada had represented Nafada North constituency in the state House of Assembly in 1999 where he held the position of majority leader and later became the Speaker Gombe State House of Assembly between 2000 and 2003. He was elected member representing Nafada/ Dukku federal constituency on the platform of the defunct ANPP from 2003-2007. Shortly before the end of 2007, he joined the PDP and was re-elected to the house and became the Deputy Speaker House of Representatives on November 1, 2007.
Some are of the view that Bayero can be compared to Goje in terms of courage, determination, leadership qualities, charisma and simplicity. He is a man of the people. Those around him say he helped his people when he was deputy speaker.
He is loved by his people and by a very good number of politicians in the state. Another advantage Bayero has over other contenders is his ability to deliver his constituency, comprising of three local governments of Nafada, Dukku and Funakaye which are all Fulani speaking local governments. He also has links with the people of Gombe South. His only problem would be to convince Goje to support him to get the PDP ticket.
Alhaji Umaru Kwairanga:
Though a newcomer in politics, Kwairanga is the current chairman of the famous Ashaka Cement Company, and is one of the few people believed to be getting ready to slug it out for the Gombe Government House.
But since he is new in politics, not much is said about him but one thing that stands out for him is his ability to use his office as the chairman of Ashaka cement to secure employment for the teeming unemployed youth of Gombe.
Some however see him as a spoiler for Nafada since he is also Fulani and the Sarkin Fulanin Gombe. Some see his chances as brighter than those of Bayero if voting is on tribal lines.
Gov Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo
Alhaji Usman Bayero Nafada