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GOMBE: WINNERS AND LOSERS OF PDP PRIMARIES

By NBF News
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'Where are Deputy Speaker Usman Bayero Nafada and Mohammed Inua Yahaya?' This seems to be the question presently dominating the political landscape of Gombe State.

Usman Bayero Nafada, the second in command in the House of Representatives, was engrossed with the ambition of succeeding Governor Mohammad Danjuma Goje as the next governor of Gombe State. Before now, his campaign posters and billboards were mounted across the state in the pursuit of that ambition, and they still dot the environment.

But that is of no relevance anymore since the emergence of the the immediate past Accountant-General of the Federation, Alh Mohmmed Ibrahim Dankwanmbo as the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In fact, to say that the January 9, 2011 PDP gubernatorial primary, and indeed, other categories of primaries held across the state did not prompt a stir is to obviously shy away from the truth. Unlike before, the elections subtly witnessed an unprecedented distillation of wit and tact in which key political actors were virulently engulfed in bitter out_witting, out_maneuvering and out_flanking. Though candidates successfully emerged, it was not without inflicting emotional injuries on those whose hopes, politically, were dashed.

Interestingly, the drama appeared to have a division of two sides, placing the incumbent and out-going governor of the state, Goje against the camp of Nafada and company.

Prior to now, it is known almost in every quarter in the state that both camps are parallel lines. While Nafada relied and may have thought that his Federal exposure might give him victory, Goje was at home tightening up loose ends that eventually elevated him above Nadafa.

Though no one can say with firm precision when and how and where their face-off started, it is however, a common knowledge that the duo have not been on the same political ladder for some time. Sources say that Nadafa's 'sin' emanated from the way he carried after assuming the seat of deputy speaker.

The race for the governorship seat of Gombe State featured at least, 10 persons. They included Nafada himself; Dankwambo; the immediate past Commissioner for Finance in the state, Alh Inua Yahaya; the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prof Ahmed Rufai Alkali; a retiree from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Al Hassan Fawu; two business giants -  Abdukadir Hammah Saleh and Faruk Bamusa; a retired military general and former ECOMOG Commander, Timothy Shelphdi and two serving Commissioners for Local Government and Higher Education respectively, Alh Buba Biri and Mohammed Bala Magaji.

Indeed, if events were to be taken seriously, the plan to 'humble' Nafada and company was hatched and executed during the PDP ward congresses, just days before the primaries began. That perhaps, was when Goje decided to let everyone know that he was still in charge of affairs of the party in Gombe.

Fortunately for him, the brand of democracy (politics) practiced in this clime bequeaths much powers to the governors who pose as the Lord of Manor. This means that any politician, even from the cradle of councillorship, who must advance appreciably in his career, must fraternize with the governors of their states. And Goje is one governor who utilizes this privilege.

Certainly not satisfied with the proceedings of the congresses, the Deputy Speaker led a team of five aspirants, which included Yahaya, Fawu, Magaji and Shephidi to protest. Addressing a press conference, they said that the congresses were characterized by untoward irregularities and other sharp practices that threatened their chances and aspirations. They said that they were denied Forms and that the government imposed delegates on them.

Seeing the handwriting clearly on the wall, the trio of Yahaya, Nafada and Shephidi withdrew from the race. But unfortunately, their withdrawal could not stop the election.

Obviously, Nafada and Company were not the only losers produced by the development. Goje's deputy, Dr. John Lazarus Yoriyo was also 'systematically' edged out. He had queued up against other three contestants for the Gombe South Senate ticket but failed to even come third on the list. Despite his conceivable 'loyalty' in the past seven and half years, he crash_landed like one who was just debuting into politics.

Also, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon Manga Musa Bojude was yet another eagle that failed to fly. Despite his close warmth with the executive arm of government,  his Kwami West Constituency denied him a return ticket.

At the moment the winners basking in the euphoria of the Goje facilitated victory at the primaries.

Some of them were the out-going two-term Chairman of Gombe Local Council, Ibrahim Jalo Dasuki who is incidentally Goje son in-law, the out-going Akko Local Government Chairman, presiding over Goje's own Local Government Area who respectively got the tickets for the House of Representatives.

While Goje's former Commissioner for Information, Alh Saidu Alkali whom Goje elevated to the status of a Senator last August, to fill the vacant seat created by the death of the former senator, Kawu Peto Dukku, secured a return ticket for Gombe North senatorial zone, Goje himself got his Gombe Central ticket.