These are difficult weeks for Yobe state, politically. Both politicians and citizens were shocked when a group of people who called themselves ‘APC stakeholders’ had a meeting in Damaturu on Thursday 6. At the end of the meeting there was a communique signed by the deputy governor Engr. Abubakar Danlami Ali and Alhaji Idi Barde Gubana, currently a commissioner of Budget and Planning. Major declaration from the meeting was that they have given the governor the sole right to choose aspirant for APC governorship come 2019. Apart from anointing the governor with the power to choose his successor (mind you Yobe state is not a monarchy) the meeting bizarrely did the unprecedented act of giving Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam the power that only belongs to Allah and the people. That the governor who assembled his sycophants to stage this absurd drama forgot his rise from a deputy governor to a governor is a pointer to the amazingly intoxicating nature of power.
The following day, the governor rightly seated on his ‘throne’ of fantasy announced the anointing of Alhaji Mai Malah Buni, the national secretary of APC as his successor. This was followed by allocation of elective positions to his retinue. This ridiculous action can only happen in Yobe state. The assembly of sycophants who staged this drama on behalf of the governor consists of politicians who thrive on banking on state wherewithal to win elections. Without the state government behind them they will always be rejected at the polls. To confirm their positions in the ‘kingdom’ of Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam they offered him and he accepted a power that, i repeat, belongs only to Allah and the people. There was no doubt that those who met at that stakeholders meeting in Damaturu have not consulted their people on the position they took. And this again confirms the fact that they are nothing but selfish and self-serving politicians who could not even pretend to have respect for the will of the people.
Of course, Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam has the right to support any candidate. But it is obvious that his support for any aspirant implies that; state resources and powers will be deployed and used to the advantage of aspirants he favored. This can happen regardless of the fact that Yobe state resources are not and cannot be the personal resources of Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam. He is only a custodian on behalf of the people. But those stakeholders that gave him that unlawful mandate and himself have displayed the contempt for people that can never be forgotten in the history of our impoverished state.
Now, let us ask; what really gave Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam the audacity to behave the way he did? For the almost ten years he spent in power the people of Yobe contended with his legacy of corruption and tribalism. He elevated lack of accountability to the highest level. What really is the legacy of Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam? What important challenge of Yobe state has he addressed? He and his spin doctors always enumerated the same projects like the teaching hospital and renovation of local schools in Gwio Kira and Fika. The same project are repeatedly brandished as his achievements in the last ten years. He neglected parts of the state that he feels do not belong to people that he identified with. Less than a year to his exit from power he started a scam called ‘cargo airport’ worth N11 billion. Just as this dubious project was about to start he removed Hon. Surajo Wakil from the position of commissioner of works and replaced him with his relative Alhaji Lawan Shettima. In this instance tribalism met with an attempt to syphon public funds in the name of a phantom airport. How can a state without strong commercial and raw materials basis have a cargo airport; a state without a good hospital or world standard primary schools? A state with 90% poverty level needs schools, hospitals and large scale agricultural development not an airport.
Every indigene of Yobe state will never forget how just after the death of Senator Mamman Ali his successor started mindless acquisition of multi billion naira properties in Abuja, Kano and Kaduna. His palace on Enyadema Street in Asokoro is just one of many accumulated with public funds of a state where people go to neighboring Niger or Gombe state for basic healthcare. He aborted Late Mamman Ali’s of zonal hospital in Damaturu, Potiskum and Gashua. He ended Mamman Ali’s plan to provide boarding primary schools in parts of the state that need rapid basic education. Under his watch Daforga Water Company was brought to its knees. Even in 2018 Yobe state was last in WAEC performance. This is another evidence of the bad legacy he will leave behind.
Between Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam; both from Zone A, ruled Yobe state for 21 years. Both of them were from Manga/Kanuri tribe. People expected power to shift to other parts of the state even if Mr. Geidam and his Borno Empire connivers like Alhaji Babagana Kingibe wanted to keep governorship within their tribe. For their tribal agenda in Yobe no one qualifies to rule Yobe except a person from their tribe and from their zone. But their agenda is more sinister than tribal. As a state policy Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam shows hostility to the aspiration of Hon. Sidi Yakubu Karasuwa who lead APC to victory in 2007, 2011 and 2015. It was Hon. Sidi Karasuwa that brought Mai Malah Buni into ihe fold of current APC. But for them and their agenda Hon. Sidi Karasuwa is not qualified to rule Yobe state. When Alhaji Ibrahim Bomai joined APC he won lots of supporters for APC in Potiskum zone and he continued doing so. But in the game plan of Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, Bomai is an enemy he kept publicly saying he will never allow to exercise his right to aspire to any office.
In Mai Malah Buni, governor Geidam found a novice to keep and maintain his influence beyond his exit from power. That Mai Malah Buni was drafted in while still holding the position of National Secretary of APC shows that the party will never be neutral. His position can be used to manipulate the party to his advantage.
To perfectly manipulate the party indirect primary election was adopted; for all positions, using the gimmick that insurgency will not allow direct primary elections. Now that all aspirants expect fairness and neutrality from the party even with indirect primary elections, Mai Malah Buni and Ibrahim Geidam are now working to change the delegates using his position and influence at the party’s national secretariat. Their desperation is not surprising at all given the fact that they never hide their desire by hook or crook to retain power within their clique. It is all an extension of the attempt to firmly cover up all the massive corruption that took place from 2009 to 2019. Within this period an opportunity to move Yobe state forward was lost. Those billions of naira belonging to the people of Yobe state must be accounted for here or in hereafter.
This is a critical moment for people of Yobe state to rise and prove to Ibrahim Geidam that is not the emperor of a kingdom that he assumed he is. He is not the best of the people of Yobe state. His tribal agenda must not be allowed to succeed. His plan to impose a puppet on the people of Yobe must not be allowed to succeed. ‘King’ Ibrahim Geidam must be shown that he is only the emperor of an empire that existed only in his own imagination. The overbearing decisions made by Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam in the euphoria of honeymoon following his recent wedding must be challenged by the people.
Elections of 2019 is a golden opportunity for people of Yobe state have a break from dark days of Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam.
*Ahmed Bulama Gulani, Low Cost, Biu Road, Buni Yadi, Yobe State.