Speaking the Nations Mind

Gombe: Return of Self-exiled Political Hermits


By Ismaila Yahaya Kana –

Political ideology and orientation is very serious mind-sets. In serious climes, it is almost akin to a religion and it is an unforgivable sin to even consider ditching a family political bias, it is tantamount to pawning a family heirloom and you will be resented not just by the political party whose ideals you are dumping, but even the party you are jumping ship to and the rest of society in general.

In short, regardless of how buoyant your political capital is, it will vanish quicker than the hurricane sweeps away at everything on its path, the moment you venture into that dishonourable endeavour.

Take the USA for instance; it is unheard of for politicians to jump between parties, people are raised to be either Democrats or Republicans just the way they are raised to be Christians, Muslims or any religion for that matter. It is that simple.

The Nigerian situation presents a very interesting scenario that I suspect will make for a worthwhile study. Post independent politicians may have bequeathed to us this self-centred style of politics but to be fair, they maintained a certain restraint probably because first republic political parties themselves were firmly rooted in ethnicity and religion, something we thought 1999 will correct.

The 1999 politics came with hope and something else, something interestingly repugnant. It all started with OBJ playing god and converting virtually every opposition politician to PDP by 2003. However, it is the post OBJ proliferation of political ideology that leaves one gasping for breath; politicians cross carpeting at every convenience with some moving between as much as four different political parties within a calendar year but yet one has to be actively in one party. But, nothing prepares one for what is only now just beginning to take shape in Gombe State, North East Nigeria.

In Gombe State, we hear that even men who first fancied their chances of making a career out of politics as far back as 2007 and met a political road block that sent them into a self-imposed political oblivion have resurfaced, calling themselves politicians and aiming to make a run for the Gombe highest seat of power using naming ceremonies to gain political relevance. If this isn’t interesting then I wonder what is.

Politics like every game requires resilience, sportsmanship and a never say never attitude that helps you translate any failure at the polls to a momentary setback, a challenge to cultivate better political allies and maintain a robust political capital that you can draw from whenever the need to return to the polls arise. You must remain in the workings of the party if you have one, join in the charades and jamborees, make and break alliances etc.

Abraham Lincoln’s story of political doggedness should have been enough a lesson to help one understand that he don’t just drop out of the political radar of a state and return out of nowhere to make a claim for power or political platform. What happened to those diligent politicians who have maintained contact with the political machinery in the state, who have beenup to date with their party dues, who have had to come out even in the face of mortal threats against their persons to douse political tension, who have sponsored political education and have continued to oil the political machinery in Gombe state especially the 2011 and 2015 elections that produced Dankwambo?

This chicanery is outrageous and it spells an all-time low in the political affairs of this country even by our standard. Let’s just even ask, for the sake of asking; in what political party(s) will such political hermits run? How do they hope to cultivate followership? Do they think vibrant and viable politicians will just fold and allow themselves to be overran Or

could it be a good old political shakedown? What in God’s name will motivate old players who have lost touch with Politics Gombe to take a blue dive into a political arena in a state that is just about now being steadied by active and energetic governor?

Somebody should for the sake of propriety, advice these people to quietly return to where they’ve been nestling all these years, and leave the politics of Gombe State especially the PDP to Gombe politicians and authentic party men who have stayed the course, lest they be given the unenviable title of political distractors. Surely, they must know that it is in their best interest to leave now with their names still intact before they are brought before the wolfish hunger of politicians who have been biding their time to take a crack at the gubernatorial prize.

People must realise that the Nigerian electorates are more enlightened now.

It is almost impossible for ghost to contest and win elections like in the past where even convicts contested and won election from prison, Gombe State even presents a very interesting example. It is no longer news that despite the rage of the Buhari Tsunami that swept through the entire North-East, the PDP and the people of Gombe State stood firm to return their governor and where are you then and Why then do you think your name and money alone, probably made when the bulk of today’s voting population were still toddlers will offset the political balance in the state and give you PDP ticket?

Though, this is a friendly call, there’s a usual procession to things, you follow first before you lead. If you are so keen on rediscovering their political touch, the best thing to do will be to follow first, observe

quietly, get the lay of the land, and understand the fast paced, and join the party actively before staging a claim for leadership.

– Kana is communication strategist, a social media influencer and apolitical commentator.