The Oasis Reporters
June 22, 2021
Barely two years after the stunning victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Gombe State, Nigeria’s north east, calm seems to be slipping out of the party as major enablers of the victory achieved by it are calling it quits.
The biggest blow has come from billionaire stalwart and grassroots politician who is also one of Gombe’s most visible philanthropists and businessmen.
Abdulkadir Hamma Saleh has written a letter to the APC resigning from the party forthwith.
This is likely to be a source of great worry to the party that took over from the Ibrahim Dankwambo led People’s Democratic Party, PDP in a move that surprised political watchers in the beleaguered North east zone of the country.
There are reasons why the APC has cause to worry. Abdulkadir Hamma Saleh owns Hamsal Airlines, reputed to be strong in cargo haulage and with his deep pockets, his largesse has seen to the sponsorship of many Gombe youths to study through his Scholarship program in a region that has the highest indices of poverty in Nigeria, Africa’s largest nation in terms of population.
For ten years running Mr. Saleh has been awarding over thirty thousand naira as bursary to over 500 students annually.
The Seyi Makinde example of awarding bursaries to students over the years helped in no small measure to curry goodwill which translated into huge political capital that enabled Makinde to clinch the gubernatorial post in Oyo State.
Saleh seems to be very keen on that example.
However, it hasn’t been all too rosy politically for him as he started his political journey from the PDP where he was one of the PDP Gubernatorial candidates in 2019 at the party primary elections but lost to his kinsman, Senator Nafada.
The Senator himself ran a lackluster campaign and lost to the All Progressives Congress.
Some pundits say that Hamma Saleh’s defection from the PDP to the APC with his overwhelming grassroots support in his native Nafada homeland helped in no small measure to pitch the APC into the winning saddle.
Hamma Saleh has been in the political arena since 1998 with the return of democracy in Nigeria and has played a vital role in the development of Gombe State.
Where would he be headed politically ?
Political pundits in Gombe say, he’ll be back to the PDP and possibly pitch for the gubernatorial seat in 2023.
And the missteps of the APC government that has created so much rancour in Gombe South, the Christian minority region, traditionally PDP belt that crossed over to the APC due to major differences in choice of candidates in 2019 and helped them win the election, would make them go back to the PDP.
It has been widely said in Gombe that State Governor Muhammadu Yahaya ignored the choice of a traditional ruler for the Christian dominated Tangale ethnic group in Gombe South as the Mai Tangale (Monarch of the Tangale people). The governor imposed a less fancied Muslim like himself as ruler, leading to a crisis in the hitherto peaceful kingdom.
With political goodwill for the APC lost in Gombe south and dissention brewing in other zones, the party’s hold on the state may seem like a loosening grip.