There is palpable tension in Gombe state as the state Governor, Hassan Dankwambo is allegedly perfecting plans to have his predecessor in office, Danjuma Goje, arrested on charges of instigating political violence in the state.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered from sources close to Mr. Goje on Tuesday that Mr. Dankwambo wants Mr. Goje arrested because the ex-governor appears the major obstacle he faces as he seeks re-election for a second term in office.
Mr. Goje, a serving Senator, was one of the top members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in October 2013.
His defection greatly enhanced the fortunes of the APC in Gombe state.
“The plot to arrest Senator Goje is being planned and co-ordinated by Governor Hassan Dankwambo in order to pave way for the PDP to win Gombe State by all means. It is believed that unless Senator Goje is put out of circulation PDP will never win the State,” said our source, who declined to be named for security reasons.
Mr. Goje’s associates claim that a number of charges bordering on security issues have already been compiled and submitted to relevant security bodies in Abuja for the immediate arrest of the Senator.
Another aide of Mr. Goje said Mr. Dankwambo is determined to have the former governor arrested by today (Wednesday) because “that is the only guarantee he feels he has of being re-elected”.
Speaking further, the aide said Mr. Goje’s travails was simply due to his defection to the PDP.
“They majorly accuse him of setting up a group of political thugs known as Yan Kalare, hence the continued persecution of him
“But we have someone accused of setting up the terrorist group, Boko Haram, who is not being persecuted but is in fact enjoying better security than even sitting governors simply because he has defected to the PDP,” the aide said, in apparent reference to ex Borno Governor, Ali Sheriff said.
The aide added that if anything, Mr. Goje deserves the respect of his predecessor in office.
“Apart from being a former Governor and Minister, Goje is also a serving Senator,” he said.
Efforts to speak with the spokesperson of Governor Dankwambo, Junaidu Abubakar, were unsuccessful. He did not answer calls and did not also respond to a text message sent to him.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Police in Gombe state, Fwaje Atajiri, said he was not aware of any plans to arrest Mr. Goje.
“I am not aware of any such plans, the police do not initiate things like that,” he said.
Gombe state has been experiencing political violence since campaigns started in the run up to the general elections slated for February.
The APC had last month issued a statement accusing Mr. Dankwambo of going after its members in the state.
The party’s statement followed a violent incident in Kashere, the hometown of ex-Governor Goje, after Mr. Dankwambo visited the Federal University located in the town.
In the statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, at the time, the party claimed that the governor’s actions in Kashere were despicable and barbaric.
“During his visit, Gov. Dankwambo personally ordered the removal of all APC billboards and posters in the town, ordered the police and the army to break into Senator Goje’s family house, where they broke down doors, teargased and arrested his relations, including children.
“The governor also ordered the same security forces to break into the family house of Senator Goje’s wife, where they similarly destroyed doors and teargased the occupants, including the 90-year-old father of Senator Goje’s wife and the Senator’s wife’s 70-year-old stepmother, while all her sisters and brothers were arrested,” the APC said.
The Governor, however, told PREMIUM TIMES at the time that it was Mr. Goje who sent assassins after him.
Speaking through his media aide, Junaidu Abubakar, Mr. Dankwambo said he was in Kashere on the invitation of the Vice Chancellor of the University.
He also said the governor’s visit was conducted peacefully at the University, but trouble started when he decided to visit the palace of the traditional ruler of the town.
“As is the tradition, the governor decided to visit the palace of the emir to pay homage, but our convoy was attacked by Kalare thugs near the roundabout right in front of the Police Station,
“The vehicle I was travelling in was the one that was first attacked because we were in front of the governor’s car, but they did not spare the governor’s vehicle and threw all sorts of objects at it. They destroyed the side glass where he was seated.
“In all of this, the governor ordered that no one should be maltreated,” Mr. Abubakar said.
He also denied that the governor ordered the arrest of members of Mr. Goje’s family.
Also, the APC claimed that the residence of its governorship candidate, Inuwa Yahya, in Gombe town, was recently raided by hoodlums suspected to be PDP members, where five vehicles were destroyed and a security aide badly injured.
The PDP on the other hand alleged last week that APC thugs burnt down several porperties belonging to the PDP in Gona town in Akko Local Government Area of the state.