Gombe APC seeking common front ahead of 2019 guber race
Ahead of the 2019 gubernatorial election in Gombe State, there are indications that stakeholders of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) will need to be united rather than relying on federal might to displace the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Gombe APC believes that it has the capacity to give the outgoing governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, and the PDP a good fight in the next election.
But, how far the party could replicate the recent Ekiti State feat, which denied Governor Ayo Fayose the opportunity of installing his successor, has become a subject of intense debate among its stakeholders.
Nonetheless, one advantage the party hopes to capitalise on is if Dankwambo, who is currently associated with the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the PDP joins the race, then he would not have all the time to focus and plan for who succeeds him in office.
But for now, irrespective of squabbles in Gombe APC, some members of the party are optimistic that the party is waxing stronger with credible and united leadership produced from the last ward, local government and state congresses in May.
At the congresses, which were by affirmation 31 former executive members were returned with five new ones elected. Some of the party stalwarts confided in The Guardian that despite the little challenges, the congresses were conducted peacefully with adequate security presence contrary to what the ruling PDP in the state was dishing out to the public.
One of those who insisted the party was good to go for the coming gubernatorial poll is a former governor and Senator representing Gombe Central, Danjuma Goje. He emphasised on unity as a veritable weapon to dislodge PDP, saying: “This is the only way to win the general election in 2019. Our unity is the only path to victory; it is possible for us to win the governorship in 2019.”
Also, Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan Zarma, said the possibility of APC defeating PDP in Gombe in 2019 was very high.
He said: “We will definitely unite like what we witnessed in the last Ekiti governorship election, where our faithful closed ranks and did the needful.”
He contended that PDP was in power in Gombe due to some disconnect within the APC, saying, as soon as that disconnect was addressed, “we will bounce back.”
The state secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Adamu, maintained that APC is on ground and would clinch the governorship seat in 2019, just as he said the congresses showed the intimacy among members of the party. Adamu denied that there was anything like imposition of candidates.
But one thing that seems to be boosting the confidence of the APC to win the gubernatorial poll next year is the possibility of fielding a former bank chief, Muhammad Jibrin Barde.
Sources told The Guardian that Barde’s decision to contest the 2019 election is already unraveling the PDP with impetus to the chances of the APC ahead of the election.
Barde is said to be well equipped and prepared to win the primary as well as the main election. Analysts believe that Governor Dankwambo would have lost in 2015 if not for the internal crisis in APC, which resulted in protest votes among the faithful of the party.
One of the factors that could help Barde is his underground strategy principally aimed at capitalizing on the alleged failure of the incumbent administration. Barde is busy strategizing, empowering and mobilizing the people especially women and the youths.
However, the battle for who becomes the governor would ultimately be between the APC and the PDP. In the APC, the likely contenders are Muhammad Jibrin Barde, Abubakar Habu Mu’azu, Alhaji Farouk Bamusa, Alhaji Umaru Kwairanga, Senators Idris Abdullahi Umar, Saidu Ahmad Alkali and Usman Bayero Nafada.
Likely top contenders in the PDP are Dankwambo’s commissioners and associates-Ahmed Walama, Hassan Muhammadu, Ahmed Yayari and Bala Bello Tinka.