AFTER being out of power for three years in Gombe State, since the return to civil rule in 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is eyeing a return to the Government House.
To return to the Gombe seat of power, the party has many hurdles to cross. One of them is organising free and fair primaries. It has to remain united in the process of bringing out governorship candidate that will lead it to victory during the 2023 general elections.
However, if recent happenings in the party are anything to go by, a raging dust, if not handled well, could spell doom for the party’s quest to return to power. As it is, eyes are on Gombe State PDP Chairman, Abnon Kwaskebe; and the State party leader and immediate past Governor of the State, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo to mobilise the party delegates to chose one from the following contenders:
Alhaji Mohammed Jibirin Danbarde, former CEO, Suntrust Bank; Alhaji Jamilu Isiaku Gwamna, former MD, Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO); Dr. Abubakar Ali Gombe, former Minister of Health; Dr Babayo Ardo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs and AVM Shehu Adamu Fura (retd).
These aspirants are categorised as old and new comers, spoilers and saviours based on the time and the effect they made in the party which to an extent will determine their acceptance by the ‘almighty delegates’ and to a greater extent, the leadership of the party.
Some of the new comers are perceived as more desperate to get the ticket with some observers predicting the end of the PDP if the main actors did not leave selfish interest in favour of party and state interest.
One very important factor to be considered is those labouring and sustaining the party at least in the last one year, and the leader of the party such as Dankwambo, Abnon Kwaskebe as well as Mohammed Jibrin Barde, the front line contender for the sole ticket.
Some other aspirants have also made well meaning contributions to the party and the state in general while some, despite their ‘big status’, are relying on some other prominent figures.
Ahead of the primaries, the aspirants have many factors working for or against their aspiration.
Mohammed Jibrin barde (Danbarde)
He is unarguably the first to declare his interest over a year ago and has since traversed the nook and crannies of the PDP in the state.
Apart from the party leader, Danbarde is said to have a firm grip of the delegates having gone round the entire state and embarked on other humanitarian efforts in the communities.
- READ ALSO: Vanguard Award: DG commends Gombe Governor
Some analysts have asserted that because of the factors above, if the primaries were to hold now, Danbarde may take the day baring any fundamental change.
Another plus that Danbarde enjoys is how he dazzles his listeners with data and statistics of various negative indices that concern the state.
Danbarde is a known achiever in terms of serving the party because of his early entrance into the race, and is said have all it takes to wrestle power from the incumbent APC Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.
During a courtesy call on the party at the secretariat, recently, the Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Abubakar, reportedly said that Danbarde stood by the party throughout, and that it would be unfair for the party to field another candidate.
However, Danbarde is blunt to a fault. Shifting grounds may not be easy with him especially when he is convinced on what he is after.
Jamilu Isiyaku Gwamna
Dr. Jamilu Isiyaku Gwamna is arguably popular too. The traditional title holder in Gombe Emirate (The Sardauna of Gombe) is reputed to have touched the lives of many youths in the state through employment opportunities, a known philanthropist that has been involved in many humanitarian activities across communities in the state.
He had long been in Gombe political space, commanding a lot of supporters. He has also gone round the state, interacting with major stakeholders of the party, selling himself and making a lot of beautiful promises.
He has the sympathy of many Local Government chairmen and cabinet members that served during Dankwambo’s tenure and if this is anything to go by, he may have a sizable number of delegates.
However, it is not easy to forget the role he played during the 2019 general elections when he along with his supporters switched tent to the opposition APC after losing the party’s governorship primaries.
It was that act as well as his alleged jubilation after Dankwambo’s failure to clinch the Senate seat that might not be easy for Dankwambo to forgive despite having ‘reconciled’ publicly.
To many ardent PDP supporters ditching the PDP for the APC in 2019 is an ‘unforgivable sin’ that might greatly affect him during the PDP primaries, more so, his return to the party is barely three months ago.
Abubakar Ali Gombe
Alhaji Abubakar Ali Gombe is highly favoured to win the PDP primaries. He was a one-time minister of health, former Chief Medical Director of Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe, when it was Federal Medical Centre and a statesman.
One of the points highly favouring him to be Governor in Gombe State is his marriage to the daughter of the immediate past and late Emir of Gombe which most likely would make him secure the endorsement of the Emirate.
An authoritative source disclosed that Dr. Abububakar Ali Gombe was given an offer to contest the governorship by a very influential person in the state in 2019 but he declined the offer.
It is widely believed that if he had consented, he was the only person that had the popularity to beat the current Governor at the poll because he was regarded as a more indigenous person than Alhaji Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya.
In 1991, under the old Bauchi State, his father, Alhaji Ali Gombe, contested the governorship election with Alhaji Dahiru Deba but lost. Will he be compensated for his father’s loss? Much will depend on how well he can penetrate the political circle, convince the delegates to consider his vision and make him the party’s flag bearer.
Overall, he is a well respected gentleman that would have enjoyed massive support not only during electioneering process but also if given the governorship mandate but a drawback is that he is one of the late comers into the party.
Dr. Babayo Ardo has been well known in the state’s civil service as well as the Federal civil service where he is currently Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Though among the late entrants who joined a few weeks to the party primaries, Ardo, a philanthropist has very strong backers. One of them is the PDP National Treasurer, Alhaji Ahmed Yayari, who is also seen to be an ally of Senator Goje because they are all from Akko Local Government Area of the state. This is notwithstanding that Goje is of the APC.
His greatest weakness is the claim that apart from joining the contest very late, he has not laboured nor funded the party.
AVM Shehu Adamu Fura
AVM Shehu Adamu Fura, retd, launched himself into the political arena a few months ago and a few weeks after, he declared his governorship ambition very few weeks before the primaries.
Though a well known philanthropist and businessman, he has done very little or nothing to really have a structure in the PDP which affect his chances.