BY JOHN BULUS
Alhaji Dahiru Bubua Biri was one of the eight gubernatorial aspirants in Gombe State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Though he lost to the erstwhile Accountant –General of the Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, Biri who has just been reinstated as Commissioner for Local Government, his former portfolio before the primaries, spoke on why he supports the candidacy of Dankwambo and would work hard to ensure the PDP wins the guber polls the state.
How did you feel when you lost the ticket to Dankwambo?
Before I went in for the primaries, I knew that there was going to be only one winner. It could be me, it could be anybody else. I also made up my mind that if it was me, I expect another person to give me support and if it was someone else, I also made up my mind that I was going to give him support provided he was a PDP man. Of course, all of us are PDP people.
Before I went, I prayed to God and said, please, choose the best for me and as I gave God the choice, the fact that I did not win, I believe it was the best for me because, if you talk about what is best for you; winning may be something bad for you, losing could be good for you because you might have won and it could be accompanied by disaster, you could have lost and it prevented that disaster. Therefore, as a believer, I’m happy that somebody won. That is it.
Were you satisfied with the process that produced the candidate eventually?
I was part of the process. While I believe that there is no perfect system that may be free from any mistake, it is human management because I was part of the process.
Prior to the election, some aspirants withdrew from the race. What do you think was responsible for that since you were part of the process?
The most important thing is that they were not confident. Secondly, the process of choosing delegates, it was a party matter and whether we like it or not, individual contestants would try to have some influence on the delegate- to-be. This was what everybody was gunning for and because they perceived they had no advantage, they withdrew. Of course, we went and met the delegates. I was part of the process.
Their own delegates did not get elected. In fact, what I saw was that most contestants including myself tried to influence those who bought the forms and stood for the elections because you are trying to promote as many potential delegates as possible. So, I think at the end of the day, what they complained about was that they did not get the forms early enough.
We rushed for the forms. Everybody tried to assist his potential delegates to buy the forms and because we are on ground here, we rushed and bought all the forms. They bought their own forms from Abuja. So at the end of the day, because we are the people on ground, we managed to capture the number of delegates from the ward or they even perceived that they will not be able to capture many delegates. So they decided to withdraw.
But they said their forms were not accepted?
They were because I saw the forms in my own village_Biri. I’m not talking on behalf of the party. If I had not seen any contestant in my village, I would have said yes. But they went and contested. It couldn’t have been true, unless, only people from Biri and Nafada Local governments were given.
One would have thought that you would jettison the PDP and pursue your ambition on another party’s platform.
I cannot help in building a house to be so gigantic as the PDP and leave at the end of the day. Secondly, I was not contesting as a do_or_die affair. Naturally, there is a possibility of you losing and gaining and I want to challenge those who withdrew. We brought them into office particularly, the members of the National Assembly. At the time we were going together in 2007, the same process that we followed that brought us into power were exactly the same process that were followed in electing delegates.
If this process is wrong, why do they accept the process in 2007 as correct? The same people supervised the elections. I supervised Nafada Local Government. It was the same process that the government influenced at the time they came into power. So, it was correct for the government to influence their own election at that time and now wrong. So, if you look at it, it was a matter of selfish interest. You eat one food today because you have interest, tomorrow; the same food is rotten food.
Since after the primaries, has there been any move to reconcile the aggrieved parties?
Yes, there was a Committee of more than 10 members: elders, party members. Every individual that contested was invited by the committee.; grievances were expressed, apology was tendered. Each one was told to continue with the party.
Are you supporting the candidacy of Dankwambo?
I’m supporting him 100 % and I will use all my resources, connections to make sure that Dankwanmbo becomes the governor.
Have you considered the chances of the opposition parties? Are you not envisaging a tough fight?
Naturally, to grab that seat of governor is not easy. So there is going to be a fight and we will fight it.
One of you was rumored to be government candidate before the primaries?
I want to correct the impression that somebody was a government candidate. There was no government candidate as far as I knew. There was rumor there was a government candidate. In fact, the day I submitted my form, there was rumor that the governor gave me a jeep to travel and that I was the government candidate. The governor made it clear that he had no candidate. Now, for anybody to say at any stage, there was a government candidate was not correct.
However, in any party, the party or government may have inclination towards somebody at the final hour. The party is not independent of having an interest in an individual. But up till the time we went in for the elections, there was nothing in the open that showed that anybody was a government candidate.
Again, one would expect that you would leave the government after the elections, but you were reappointed. How did it happen?
I went to contest and at the end of the day, when the elections were over; the governor invited me and said, I’m sorry I want to sympathize with you. You have not won. What is next? I said, I’m planning my life and he asked, would you want to come back to your position, I said, yeah. I want to be part of the finishing process since we still have some months to go. So that was it.
What is your on allegations that the government purposely planted you to destabilize the governorship ambition of Deputy Speaker, Usman Bayero Nafada having come from the same Local Government?
That is not true. I came to contest as an individual of Gombe State. I contested independently.