Dr. Jamil Isyaku Gwamna is a chieftain of the APC in Gombe State and Managing Director and CEO of Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO). In this interview, he explains how they joined forces and defeated the PDP in all positions in Gombe, as well as their contribution to President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory. Excerpts:
How has the elections reflected the maturity of democracy in Gombe in relation to the voting pattern in 2019?
Election is the best part of democracy as it presents the opportunity for the people to make decisions as to who leads them with a view to delivering the dividends of democracy. Election is often a test of democratic maturity, that’s why anytime it’s about to be conducted, it catches the attention of the world and observers are deployed and assessments are used to make certain judgmental positions on the political activities in a country.
In Gombe State for example, the elections have proven the maturity of democracy and the people of the state. The elections showed that power has been returned to democracy, and I must sincerely thank Mr. President for allowing the process to work without interference from the centre as it had been the case in the past. As far as I am concerned, the people voted for people that they believe will deliver the goods.
Your advice while in the PDP was ignored by the party, do you think it would have made the outcome of the recent elections different?
Like I said earlier, the people are the custodian of power and because Mr. President didn’t interfere with the process, it was very easy for the wishes of the people to come out clear and loud through the ballot. Since the process had been allowed to function and I having enjoyed the goodwill of the people as the Sardaunan Gombe, it was very easy to tell my supporters to vote for the APC. So, the magic of my influence was just to make a simple demand not by money or compelling them to comply, but through the goodwill I have enjoyed over the years from my interaction with my constituency; which is the people of Gombe State.
What is the political framework that should be sustained from the general elections in Gombe?
The principle of rejecting and resisting vote buying while insisting on the right people to do the job. That should be sustained if we must make headway in the political journey of Gombe as a state that deserves to be served right based on the resources available for development. If vote buying were retained in Gombe, the results would have reflected the opposite, but we are glad the people are now as wise as never.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari should be commended for jettisoning political sentiment of interfering with electoral processes; it really helped, and that should be sustained too. Political interference from the centre should be abolished. Today we have incumbents losing elections even to opposition parties, yet Mr. President allowed the process to roll. When did we ever have that in the past?
In what area do you think the next administration can focus to give good governance room in Gombe?
I believe the people of Gombe voted the APC because of the credibility of the candidates and based on political sincerity to the mandates that some were given in the past. Some people voted for candidates based on their manifestos; which is democratic. So I will advise the candidates to follow their blueprints. Whatever sector a candidate concentrates on with the people at heart, it will end up succeeding. So, the area I think the next administration should focus would be the people, the people and the people of Gombe.
How would you assess the APC-led government under President Buhari?
Under President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC has been systemic and democratic and not subject to dictatorial tendencies that previous presidents exhibited. Mr. President has done a lot which has been under-reported, but the people at the grassroots have felt the impact of his people-oriented policies through school feeding programmes, N-Power and Trader-moni. I love President Buhari because he loves the people of Nigeria and he is concerned with the poor.
As a chieftain of the APC, what is your advice to the national body as regards the senate presidency of the 9th Senate?
Mr. President needs the support of the legislature to build a strong base for democracy to thrive during his second term and after he must have left office. But like President Buhari that I know, he won’t interfere, so I will advise that the principle of democracy where the people are allowed to bring the popular senator should be applied by the party to avoid internal rancour which may hinder the present administration in terms of policy-related issues.
Taking into consideration your pedigree in Public Private Partnership, in what ways do you think PPP can help to boost the Nigerian Economy?
Partnership has remained the best way of strengthening and integrating an all-inclusive growth anywhere in the world because it avails one opportunity to benefit from collective intellectual wealth of parties involved in the partnership. I still recommend the PPP arrangement for the Nigerian economy because the government is not as buoyant as it used to be. With PPP, a lot can be collectively achieved and the ownership of such will have wider coverage because the people too will be involved.