On February 25 2023, constituents of Gombe North Senatorial District will be set for another ‘showdown’ between their incumbent Senator, Saidu Alkali and their former governor, Dankwambo, as they go head-to-head for the second time in four years in pursuit of the lone Senatorial seat.
Who do the constituents favour as their preferred choice? Check out the piece to gain insight
Ahead of the National Assembly Elections in Gombe North Senatorial District, the two major parties in the country; the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the the All Progressives Congress (APC) are making frantic efforts to sway as much voters to their cause.
Leading the onslaught against the governing APC is Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the immediate past governor of the state. The ex-governor is expEcted to slug it out with Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali of the APC in the electoral battle described by many as a ‘return match.’
A former Accountant-General of the Federation and two-term governor of the state, Dankwambo comes to the race with an incredible profile of performance while in office; particularly in the area of infrastructure. Dubbed ‘the digital governor’ during his term in office, he was said to have brought some degree of probity and accountability to governance, perhaps due to his training as an accountant.
A point of praise for him among his supporters is that, unlike his ex-governor colleagues who have become regular guests at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detention facilities after their exit from office, he has never been invited by the anti-corruption agency to respond to any petition.
Supporters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state also hail him for been the lifeline of the party after their exit from power, as he has continued to provide leadership and interventions at very critical moments in the life of the party. This, they say is the hallmark of leadership.
Also in his favour is the fact that he hails from the densely populated Gombe Local Government Area which is also the state capital. An area known to have not produced a Senator since 2007, arguing that the time is ripe for one of theirs to take charge.
Dankwambo has however been accused of abandoning the people immediately after his exit from power in 2019. Some say he was probably angry because he lost his Senatorial bid to Senator Alkali, hence his decision to desert the State.
They say during critical periods of the COVID-19 pandemic and death of prominent figures, Dankwambo neither came to sympathise with the people nor sent delegations to do so on his behalf; only for him to come back to seek the people’s mandate.
Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a trained economist from the Dukku axis of the Senatorial district. He has served the state in different capacities in the past, including heading the State’s Ministry of Information and Communications during the Danjuma Goje administration.
First elected to the Senate in 2010 in a bye-election following the death of Senator Kawu Peto Dukku. He got re-elected in 2011 but elected not to contest in 2015. He would later return to the scene in 2019 defeating the then incumbent Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.
A grassroots politician, he is however accused by some constituents from the Gombe axis of the Senatorial zone of abandoning them. These critics argue that the lawmaker concentrates more attention on the Dukku/Nafada axis, and that his recent empowerment exercise is a pointer to that fact. He has also been accused of being inaccessible to his constituents.
His handlers however, say the allegation does not hold water given that he regularly interacts with ‘his people’ while away from his routine legislative activities.
Political analysts also opine that due to his years of experience in the National Assembly, Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali is well-versed in the workings of parliament. They stress that electing Dankwambo to replace him will be drawing the xonstituency backwards. An argument which is premised on the fact that Dankwambo will be coming in as a fresher and will take years to learn he ropes. These critics also stress that endorsing Dankwambo’s Senatorial bid will increase the growing list of former state chief executives accused of turning the Senate into their retirement homes.
The choice is however, up to the people to decide whether to retain Senator Alkali or bring in former governor Dankwambo.