Date Published: 10/19/09
GOMBI-HONG ELITES AND THE POLITICS OF ADAMAWA By Hassan Garba Pella
‘’We were looking at everything, we were not seeing anything. It is the blind that cannot see, but there are none more blind than those who even though they have eyes will still not see'’
Recent calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] by a section of elites from Gombi-Hong Federal Constituency for merger with the Adamawa North Senatorial District instead of Adamawa Central where they now belong seems deceptive and full of hidden political agenda considering reasons advanced which ranged from seeking a sense of belonging, proximity, close-cultural affinity and a desire to be re-united with their 'kith and kin' on the other side.
This was well captured in comrade Muhammad Khalid's article titled 'Re-adjustment of Electoral Boundaries in Adamawa' which was published in the Daily Trust Newspaper of Tuesday, September, 1st, 2009, in which he aptly described those reasons as not only untenable, but also myopic and self-serving in nature. He Also wondered as to who is now courting the other between Gombi-Hong and Adamawa North after having separated for centuries, and why? To this I want to give possible answers.
In my opinion, the real courtiers in this situation are the Gombi-Hong 'elites', especially those of Kilba extraction who seem dissatisfied with the present political set-up in Adamawa State and in Nigeria as a whole, since some of them or their cohorts lost elections and could not get political appointments. Many of them have been habouring the false notion that they are the only ones fit to be reckoned with as regards political issues in Adamawa.
They had hitherto constituted themselves into a kind of political demi-gods to the extent that no one could participate or even succeed in politics without their approval! Much to their consternation, they now see the emergence of some crop of young, intelligent and vibrant politicians who have been able to harness the political environment in Adamawa and are contributing tremendously to the political development of their state and the nation at large. These groups of ‘elites’ are not comfortable with this situation as these young politicians did not originally emerge from under their wings.
They feel somewhat frustrated and out of tune in the present political dispensation in Adamawa State and the Nation as a whole. They feel their position is being threatened and their influence at home waning fast.
Whether we accept it or not, the truth is that some of these Kilba 'elites' live in perpetual fear of imaginary political enemies. They see imaginary spiders jumping around, thereby making them suspicious and jittery at any shadow on the political arena.
A case in view is the animosity and heated criticism which followed the appointment of Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong, a relatively young politician of Kilba origin to the post of Minister in the present Administration. This is clearly seen in Edward Wabundani's numerous articles containing unprovoked campaign of calumny against the Hon. Minister. In one of such articles titled 'The Subversion of a People's Will in Hong', Published in Sunday Trust of May, 10th, 2009, he even described Dr. Hong as a “stooge” and “errand” boy of Senator Jibril Aminu, in a futile effort to discredit and belittle him. What a cheap and desperate blackmail!
The way Wabundani writes leads one to believe that he is being encouraged by some powerful forces within Kilba society ,who instead of rallying round a fellow tribesman with the necessary support and encouragement, are bent on destroying Dr. Hong's rising political profile in favour of their own selfish interests. Deeply engrossed in their scheme, these political detractors and their domestic pay-masters have declined to accept the fact that both wealth and power belong to Allah. He controls the abundance, and it is from it that He does bless whomever He decides.
They also failed to realize that even flowers have thorns in them. When pushed to the wall, Dr. Hong and his supporters are quite capable of reacting in same manner. Our people should learn to focus on merit and hard work, rather than primordial sentiments based on pure malice and selfishness.
Sometime last year, attempts were made by these 'elites' to join Adamawa North in their quest for the creation of a new 'Amana' State, but their efforts were hampered by a fundamental inconvenient obstacle. The whole area covering Gombi-Hong Federal Constituency had never been part of former Sardauna Province, and therefore unqualified to join in the bid. Moreover, the people of Adamawa North regard the people of Gombi-Hong with mutual suspicion because of their perceived domineering nature and expansionist tendencies. Now they have come up with this merger talk, which they hope would eventually qualify them to be part of the proposed Amana State in the future, more so as the Federal Government has stated categorically that it is not contemplating creation of states yet.
It is quite evident that some of these Kilba 'elites' would want to continue to perpetuate themselves and their influence and flaunt their affluence on the generality of the Kilba people so that the ordinary people would continue to view them with reverence. They would therefore do everything possible to prevent a demystification of their larger-than-life political disposition. This merger talk is one of their trump cards, and writers like Wabundani who had lobbied and failed to get patronage from Dr. Hong serve as ready instruments for propagating their self-serving ideologies, as can be seen in his article as published in Daily Trust Newspapers of Tuesday, 18th August, 2009.
The question now is why are they so desparate to join Adamawa North or even Amana State by all means? The reasons may not be far-fetched from their desire to move out of Adamawa Emirate and away from the jurisdiction and influence of the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Aliyu Musdafa, so that they could traditionalise the traditional institution currently in place in these areas, install themselves as local Chiefs and impose pagan rules on the good people of Kilba land thereby subjecting them to a serious political paralysis in this present Millennium. Such are some of their selfish political agenda which they have consistently refused to reveal, and are instead beating about the bush.
Little wonder then that a meeting held in Hong in the past to sensitize people on this matter ended in a stalemate as some interest groups on sensing their motives kicked seriously against it. Every right thinking person knows that our future is brighter in Adamawa Central Senatorial District and in Adamawa State for that matter. Our people have contributed immensely to the development of the North Eastern State in the 70s, to former Gongola State in the 80s and they have also been important factors in the socio-economic and political development of the present Adamawa State. Therefore, we cannot afford to move out of Adamawa State at this time. Not now, not any other time.
As for the non Kilba proponents of this merger, it is pertinent to understand that the Kilba have a maxim, “namn ng d’hu” [we are together], whenever they are pursuing any project in which they require the support of other neighbouring tribes. It is only when the chips are down and the bubble bursts would the other group get to know that they might have been used by the Kilba among them to help achieve their own tribal interests.
Allah has full knowledge of all that the heavens and the earth contain. He knows best what the creatures therein conceal. May He save us from the wrath of selfish, retired spent forces whose only intensions are to grab every opportunity to continue to massage their over-inflated ego. AMIN.
HASSAN GARBA PELLA 27 KATURU STREET