A leader of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Gombe State, Dahiru Kera, has stated that the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, is wasting its time by challenging the re-election of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo at the election tribunal.
Mr. Kera, who served as the spokesperson to the campaign organisation of Mr. Dankwambo before the April governorship election, stated this in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
Read excerpts of the interview below.
PT: As Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo shifts his second term machinery into full gear, what do you feel he has in store for the people of Gombe State?
Kera: When you refer to kick starting his second term machinery, you may not be exactly correct as His Excellency, Talban Gombe, has nothing like first term or second term in his administrative lexicon. As far as he is concerned, his political, economic, infrastructural and agricultural program of action is one unbroken chain of kinematic policies and objectives geared towards uplifting the welfare and wellbeing of the people of Gombe State.
Our action governor does not see his government as demarcated by first term or second term considerations, whereby policies are implemented with an eye towards re-elected or revalidation of his mandate. On the contrary, ever since he assumed office in 2011, Gov. Dankwambo has never allowed political considerations to mar or distort his vision for Gombe State. All he is concerned with is the delivery of effective and axiomatic dividends of democracy to his dearly beloved people, nothing more and nothing less.
For instance, shortly after the presidential elections when the APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, won the elections, some people were sceptical of the PDP wining the governorship elections and even some of the dormant PDP elected or appointed office holders defected to the APC, but the Talban Gombe remained unfazed and unperturbed, firmly focused in his belief that power belongs to Allah and his pact with the Gombe people was sacrosanct and untouchable. Subsequent events including his landslide victory proved him right.
PT: But the APC has headed to the tribunal, claiming that the elections were riddled with massive fraud and irregularities?
Kera: That is indeed the problem with the APC; as the party, its candidates and some of its officials seem confused and inconsistent at all times. In fact, they can be said to be consistently inconsistent in all their actions and omissions. For instance, immediately after the governorship elections results were announced, Inuwa Yahaya, the APC governorship candidate, was said to have conceded defeat and accordingly congratulated Governor Dankwambo for his resounding victory, having swept 10 out of the 11 local governments in the state. However, a few days later, the same man astonishingly changed gear and declared that he was heading for the tribunal to challenge the results of the election, claiming that it was not free and fair. So the question must be asked, was Inuwa Yahaya not aware of this before he conceded defeat? What has changed since he conceded defeat, for him to now change his mind and declare that he is going to the courts? Your guess is as good as mine. I think Inuwa Yahaya and the APC are just wasting their time.
PT: But he has denied ever conceding defeat?
Kera: You see, someone is acting a script and that would justify the allegations that former Governor Danjuma Goje wanted to bring Inuwa for him to be able to rule Gombe people by proxy after his eight years regime that has basically left the people of the state in an absolute despondency, despair and dejection.
Anyway, he has the prerogative to accept or deny such, but I believe those that presided over the elections have done their best as a neutrally constituted authority and the tribunal was setup to look into the case brought before it and it will amount to a contempt of court to discuss at length on the matter that is before a competent court. Let me however, tell you that we are confident of emerging victorious at the tribunal.
PT: So what would you advice the APC in Gombe State to do?
Kera: Well, I’m neither their party member nor their political adviser, but if I may ask you, which faction of the APC are you are referring to? I ask because the party is currently enmeshed in a complex web of division, acrimony and politics of bitterness and rancour. The main reason for their polarization was allegedly the Danjuma Goje factor, which is characterized by imposition, intimidation, autocracy and arrogance of power and position. Senator Danjuma Goje, according to some of the aggrieved faction hijacked the party structures immediately he joined the APC, suppressing and marginalizing the original founders of the party in the state from the legacy parties which comprises the defunct CPC, ACN and the ANPP.
He was alleged to have moved and installed his loyalists and acolytes at all levels and positions of the APC to the extent that over 80 per cent of the party’s candidates in the 2015 elections were from the his camp, to the disadvantage and dismay of other interests within the party, which included a sitting member of the National Assembly, who was unjustly denied a ticket to run for the second time but he would eventually reclaim his mandate in court and that has evidently substantiated that something was wrong within the party.
At the moment, the APC as a party in Gombe is in pitiful disarray and many of the officials have openly rebelled against Goje’s dictatorial tendencies. For instance, APC chairmen in six out of 11 local government chapters, the Gombe North women leader, the state party chairman and the state legal adviser amongst others have signed a petition addressed to the APC national leadership accusing Goje as the architect of the party’s failure and poor outing in the governorship elections that led to the defeat of the party at various levels in the state.
Even in his own local government, the APC leader in Gombe state knows no peace as a strongly worded petition also addressed to the national leadership has slammed him for mismanaging party structures by alienating other party supporters and causing disaffection, disloyalty and disenchantment among party faithful and supporters. So, you can see that the APC is in serious trouble all across the state. It is difficult to pinpoint any person who’s really in charge of the party in Gombe State and how do you expect such a party to win a governorship election especially slugging it with Talban Gombe whose performance has endeared him more to his people?
PT: But don’t you think that there is an element of truth to the allegations of the APC?
Kera: Absolutely not, but the tribunal will determine that at the end of the day. Gombe State elections were among the freest and fairest in the whole of the nation as the opposition APC were allowed free reign all through the state and there was never a time that the state government attempted to muzzle or intimidate the opposition. In fact, it was the other way round.
During the numerous so-called mega rallies organized by the APC, thugs and miscreants were mobilized to destroy the posters and billboards of the PDP and its candidates while their supporters were openly attacked and physically assaulted at will. The elections were conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, with no violence or killings, and no public disturbances. Therefore, for the APC to turn round to condemn the conduct of the elections is a smack of hypocrisy and insincerity.
The fact is that, the victory of the PDP in Gombe is due to the delivery of democratic dividends by the Talban Gombe. His positive policies and programmes in the health, education, water, power, rural and urban development, manpower development, women and youth empowerment and agricultural spheres have endeared his government to the people of the state and that is why they gave him their massive support. The APC is just engaging in a fruitless exercise which will only waste their time and resources. They cannot achieve anything meaningful from their legal challenge of the election results.