By Sani Tukur
The two leading political parties in Gombe State, the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress have exchanged blames for the political violence the state has witnessed ahead of elections.
Gombe state has witnessed some of the worst cases of political violence in the run up to the election in the northern part of the country.
The governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo, said politicians with questionable integrity are taking advantage of the “integrity and credibility” of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to deceive voters ahead Saturday’s governorship election.
Mr. Dankwambo is seeking re-election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. His main challenger is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Inuwa Yahaya.
Mr. Yahaya enjoys the support of Mr. Dankwambo’s predecessor, Danjuma Goje, who was re-elected as a Senator to represent Gombe Central on the APC platform in the March 28 election.
Speaking through his spokesperson, Junaidu Usman, over the telephone on Wednesday, Governor Dankwambo said Mr. Buhari was elected not because of the party he belongs to, but for who he is as a person.
“People with questionable character, some, with even blood on their hands have now turned to saints just because they are in the APC,” he said.
The governor also accused the APC of importing thugs from neighbouring Yobe and Bauchi states to attack the supporters of the ruling party.
“Even yesterday, APC supporters attacked policemen in Kumo and injured the Divisional Police Officer of the area badly,” he said.
APC says PDP colluded with police to attack its members
The APC, however, denied the claim by the governor.
They said they are actually the victims of political violence directly under the supervision of the governor.
A chieftain of the party, who was also a former aide to Mr. Goje on Millennium Development Goals, Ibrahim Madugu, said Governor Dankwambo has been unleashing violence on APC since the presidential election.
“They arrested 10 of our members and locked them up at Mallam Sidi Police Station for no just cause,” he said.
He also said “As we speak the governor has brought in thugs and given them all sorts of weapons with which they are terrorizing everyone.
“They are doing this with the full support of the Police commissioner, we have complained severally, but no one is ready to even listen to us, it is unfortunate.
“How is it even possible for an opposition to so openly terrorise people the way it is happening now, it is simply not possible,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the claims. Police spokesperson for the state could not be immediately reached.
This is not the first time the APC in Gombe is accusing the Police in the state of taking sides with the government.
The first time APC accused the police of colluding with PDP to unleash mayhem on its members, PREMIUM TIMES contacted the spokesperson of the Police, Fwaje Atajiri, and he denied the accusation.
He said the Police do not take sides and are only interested in maintaining law and order.