I was in Gombe all through the 2019 general elections and I am in the know of the pre and post-election struggles. Certainly, in all the two major political parties that participated in the polls, I remember one name that stands tall among all the aspirants – Dr. Jamil Isiyaku Gwamna (Sardaunan Gombe).
Gwamna contested primary election on the podium of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with an array of other strong contenders – former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Sen. Bayero Nafada, who puzzlingly picked the party’s ticket; Bala Bello Tinka; Abdulkadir Hammasaleh; Ahmed Abubakar Walama; Hassan Muhammad; Umar Bello; Alhassan Fawu; Abubakar Bappah; Ahmed Goje, among others.
Surprisingly, no one presumed that PDP would not pick the outwardly most popular candidate, Jamil Gwamna, who could have led the party to victory. But fate had it that 2019 wasn’t his right time and it was the cause of the obvious fiasco of the PDP, which lost virtually all the elective positions with the exception of four out of the 24 Gombe state House of Assembly seats.
In fact, the 2019 election was PDP against themselves not the All Progressives Congress, APC. This was primarily because of the windstorm of defection that rocked the party after the ill-fated primary election.
Nonetheless, while trying to quench my curiousity as to the reason the people of Gombe state are so much attached to Jamil Gwamna, I laid my hands on his intimidating and remarkably impressive credentials. I then realised that he has what it takes not only to be endeared to his people but also destined to govern the state meticulously. In fact, he his matchless!
Gwamna is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), the largest electricity distribution company in Nigeria, by customer population.Since the takeover of the company from the government as the primary investors in November 2013, Dr. Gwamna has exemplified a shift from a purely technical company to a customer focused utility leveraging technology to better serve KEDCO’s franchise area. He is a proven leader with expertise in change management and a focus on operational excellence.
In his over 25 years of experience, Gwamna has held a variety of leadership positions across various sectors of the economy. Prior to becoming CEO, he was part of the team that formulated the National Policy on Public, Private Partnership in Nigeria in 2008. He was also the chairman of Gombe State Water Corporation, a public utility designing and executing the master plan for the Gombe Township Water Scheme. He also serves on other boards including the Board of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company.
In his academic pursuit, Dr. Gwamna, a former lecturer at the department of economics, international business and finance, London Metropolitan University, holds a Doctorate Degree in Economics and Master of Science in Business Economics and Finance from London Metropolitan University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state, Nigeria. This is an educational background that blends for both local and foreign contents. What an intimidating credential!
Indeed, his political charisma has become a magnet that will attract massive support anytime he throws himself up for any political position within and outside Gombe state. He has helped many individuals, groups and lots more especially through his foundation, Jamil Isyaku Gwamna Foundation. The foundation has sponsored many sons and daughters of the less privileged to better schools within and outside the country. Those he employed will be so hard to be counted. Gwamna confronted a sitting government in 2007 and gave it a strong fight.
Still, in the APC, Inuwa Yahaya who eventually picked the ticket and won at the general election, was also not the popular candidate of the party but he took advantage of the PDP’s internal crunch and the doggedness of his former boss, Senator Danjuma Goje, who stood for him as the rallying point to make sure that none of his challengers at the primary election left the APC.
But, keenly watching the state of affairs in Gombe state, one would conclude that 2023 will come with its own peculiarities that may change the political narratives in the state and will subsequently alter the present status.It’s apparent that there’s disquiet within the ranks of the governing APC in Gombe because there’s a kind of mistrust between the leadership at the centre and those who had supported the emergence of the present government in the state.
Today, in less than 30 months from now, people of Gombe state will be preparing to have another round of elections, and from all indications, Jamil Gwamna will be the one to beat.
Though, Gwamna is yet to take a decision officially on whether he would contest the upcoming 2023 election and moving to his former party, the PDP, it’s obvious that if he succumbs to the people’s call and rejoin the PDP, he will become the next governor of Gombe state.
Kabir writes from Gombe