By Aminu Mohammed
The April 11 Governorship elections in Gombe have been won and loss. But, like a huge stone cast into a still ocean, it has continued to generate spiral effects across the length and breadth of the state. And this is understandably so for many reasons. First, it reawakens the pending issues arising from the March 28 elections vis-à-vis the contentious results of the Gombe central senatorial district.
Putting it succinctly, the outcome of the last Saturday’s governorship and Houses of Assembly elections offers the right prism to viewing and understanding what took place in the earlier polls in the state. It raises hard questions about the previous elections results , especially, the Central senatorial contest between Sen. Danjuma Goje and Rep. Usman Bello Kumo.
In a curious circumstance, Goje had claimed victory even when full results were yet to be collated in that election and he was so declared by the Independent National Electoral Commssion (INEC).
Kumo has since rejected INEC’s verdict and certainly the last is yet to be heard of the contest. Many believed it was legitimately won by Kumo, who was leading in the already collated results until the announcement on Channels Television by Goje, that he had won.
Though, a relatively young politician, Kumo bestride the politics of his locality like a colossus. It was not surprising to many of his supporters, he had earlier, cut his political teeth as President of the Student Union Government in Bayero University, Kano where he served two consecutive terms, distinguishing himself as a major gladiator in the NANS struggles for better deal for Nigerian students and indeed, the youths. A ruthless mobilizer, Kumo who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2011, was soon identified by the House leadership who wasted no time in appointing him Chairman of the House Committee of Police Affairs. There, Kumo not only contributed immensely to the legislative successes the House recorded, he deployed his energy to serving his people, mobilising federal presence to his constituency to the admiration of many. Again, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) following strong recommendation from his people and the endorsement of his governor had no qualms presenting him as its sole candidate to rescue Gombe central senatorial zone and salvage it from obscurity and near absence of representation at the Senate.
Until his defeat last Saturday, Goje, a serving senator and former governor has held sway as a political godfather, a semi-demy god of some sort, who once arrogate to himself the omnipotence power of Allah, when he boasted that (“Exact quotations in Hausa language”) he planted Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo in 2011, and that he will uproot him in 2015. Such was the arrogance of a man who in his bestiality forgot that he is a mere mortal. How soon can a man be overcome by self delusion that he would forget the Islamic dictates that Power belongs to Allah.
Indeed, Goje was instrumental to the emergence of Dankwambo as Executive governor at the time. And the Gombians are grateful to him for identifying such a peaceful, visionary and dedicated man and recommending him as his successor. Remarkably, the former governor epitomises the opposite. Little wonder, the incumbent governor was embraced and loved by all and sundry. Aside his transformational strides within such a short time, he restored tranquillity and peace, like a river, to a state once visited with most atrocious reign of terror by Kalare boys, with Goje as Commander in Chief. The peaceful atmosphere was the needed impetus for the development the state.
What is generally agreeable among Gombians, even across partisan boundary is that Dankwambo’s first four years record of performance surpasses what Goje did in eight years. Even among his arch-enemies, Talba is regarded as a “desert magician” -a shrewd accountant places emphasis on value for money for the overall good of his people.
Unlike his predecessor, Dankwambo dispenses the lean state resources judiciously in a manner that puzzled sceptics given the fact that Gombe is only second to last in terms of revenue derivation from the federation account. Goje
That of course, explains the victory recorded on April 11. It also cast a dark shadow on the purported results of the March 28 elections. Not only did Goje who has since become a political Lilliput lost in his unit, he was roundly rejected in his local government by the same people he claimed voted him two weeks earlier. While this cannot be wished away as Buhari factor, it only explains the degree of irregularities and manipulations that went on with the final results of Gombe central senatorial zone in the Presidential and National Assembly elections of March 28. It is relevant to point out that the Goje’s efforts to rally support for himself using the Buhari sentiment has never work for him. The people never forget how the same Goje humiliated Buhari when he locked him out in 2007 when his campaign train visited the state. Buhari himself, in a veiled anger, snubbed him openly during his 2015 campaign in Gombe, in which he was lavished with the hospitality that we are known for, of course, at the pleasure of Governor Dankwambo.
The import of his far diminished acceptance was not lost on him. He begged Buhari, first to publicly identify with him during the rally, then to come back to the state on the eve of the Presidential elections and following the General’s rejection of his plea to come back for the third time for the April polls, Goje mobilized the remnant of his supporters to Abuja, to again, arm-twist him to make public endorsement of him and whatever he represents. He deceived the gentlemen of the press, cajoling a few to go with him on the pretext that the visit was at the instance of the President-elect, as later confessed by one of the journalists.
But like the old wise saying, falsehood may triumph for a score, the truth will certainly catch up with it someday.
Aminu Mohammed is a public affairs commentator based in Kaduna