By Salmanu Jekadafari
The question above seems to speak the minds of some All Progressive Congress (APC) members in Gombe State. In Gombe State, the politicking is not only rocking between the members of the ruling party and the members of the opposition parties but rather, an issue where all categories of people in the State have raised their voices across the length and breadth of the State.
Six major categories of people make up the Gombe mosaic. They are the traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil servants, business men/women, politicians and the masses. These people have in one way or the other contributed toward the coming in of the present APC administration in Gombe State. Yet, the other question to put across is this: do these categories of people who have made invaluable contributions to the growth of Gombe state still yearn and aspire for the return of the APC administration in Gombe State come 2023?
A great pillar of development in Gombe state is the traditional institution. Their contributions to Gombe cannot be quantified. Because of their influence, and the respect they bring, Gombe State is peaceful and economically stable. They are the pathway toward the economic and political development of the state. Their wisdom and prayers have kept the state toward progress, and which is why military and democratically elected governors respect and value them.
Right from the military era to the era of Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the religious institutions in Gombe have been accorded their place in governance and in the decision-making processes.
Unfortunately, things have changed since from the buildup of the 2019 general elections to date. The institutions had lost their glory as a result of the change in the leadership system of the state where pride, egotism, threat, disrespect and ill leadership have taken over the political atmosphere of the State.
Currently, they are not accorded their value under the administration of Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of the All Progressive Congress, APC. Apart from being threatened to be dethroned, the revered religious leaders are excluded from governance, and disrespected by the present administration in Gombe State. Insiders say there is a plan to dethrone dozens of these traditional leaders after the 2023 elections in Gombe.
At a time, governor allegedly threw insults at the religious and traditional leaders in Gombe. He was quoted as having told them, “Marassa abun Yi”, meaning they have nothing to offer the State.
Disrespect for the religious leaders in Gombe State by Governor Inuwa is not confined to the Islamic religion but to the Christians as well. After they were used to get to power, their reward now are bogus promises and in most cases threats.
The Civil Service in Gombe too is not spared. It is one of the most abused sectors in governance in Gombe State. Promotion exercises of more than 80 % of the civil servants in Gombe State have not been carried out and implemented for the past three years; the minimum wage has not been effected, unlawful taxes have been introduced, 90% of resident doctors have left Gombe for other States. Some civil servants have been transferred, dismissed/disengaged and over 20,000 youths and women have been cut off from the government pay roll system. Pension and gratuities have been almost scrapped, recruitment in the civil service is a matter of no concern by the APC in Gombe State and retirees are dying of hunger and frustration.
Gombe economy no longer booms. Business men and women are all over the state crying for help. Since the inception of the present administration in Gombe State, not even a dime has been invested in the area of business development. Whatever little investment there is, is taken away by excessive tax. Estate business too is comatose, and local investors have been sent out of the sector. None has been given any opportunity to invest in the state. Local contractors have been pushed out of the state and our small scale and medium enterprises are no longer functioning.
Politics in Gombe State has experienced the worst of times. Since the return of democracy in Gombe State, none of the politicians in the State has been treated badly as they are under the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.
His administration came into being from the commitment of the power of 8 people who tooth and nail for him to win the 2019 general elections. Inuwa yahaya would have been nowhere if not as the result of the contributions of Sen. Muhammadu Danjuma Goje, Dr. Jamilu Isiyaku Gwamna, Alh. Bala Bello Tinka Point, Barr. Abdullahi Idris Umar, Alh. Habu Mu’azu, Hon. Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki, just to mentioned but only few.
Those politicians were the ones who came together against the previous administration of PDP and ensured that Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya succeeded as governor. Today however, they are the most abused in the administration of Inuwa Yahaya in Gombe State. Most of them have been attacked and even blocked from entering their home State. None of them is now with the present Governor of the State. None of them currently is involved in the governance of Gombe state, and most of them have left the APC for the PDP.
Gombe State was recently declared as a very poor state in terms of Human Development. The economy of the state has almost collapsed. The treasury of the State has been looted and the mandate of the people has been stolen by a minority. The unemployment and poverty rate is moving on 62/67 %, and more than 40,000 youth and women have been disengaged from the Marshall, Innex Cleaner (a company contracted for cleanup services for the state) and many other programmes where youths and women of the State make their living.
About 700,000 out of school children roam the streets of Gombe. Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, are no longer operating due to the lack of capital, opportunities and operational environment. The masses are living in a dire poverty, hunger and the political intimidation.
And so, we ask: under these circumstances, who will vote for Inuwa Yahaya?
Salamanu, a public policy analyst, lives in Jekadafari, Gombe State. (viaMBE)