Governor Dankwambo’s Uncommon Touch on the Jewel of Savannah

Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo

By Erasmus Ikhide

Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of the temperate State of Gombe has demonstrated the immeasurable role of education in the political and economic life of a people or nation. His three points agenda: education,  education and education signposted his world view in modern governments as the precursor of positive governance.

The governor’s inclusive construction of over 45 model schools in all the local government areas of the state in conformity to international standards; expansion programme in the university sector with the purchase of equipment for the College of Medicine and Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science; multi-billion naira building of hostels, classrooms, libraries and laboratories in the School of Remedial
Studies at Kumo, are ready testaments of his commitment to his the points agenda.

The ongoing establishment of several top flight educational institutions like the Gombe State University of Science and Technology, Gombe State College of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry,
Gombe State College of Accountancy, Gombe State Institute of Journalism and Gombe State Institute of Sports Development perfectly mirrors what expect from desert state of Gombe in the near future. It’s good news that the governor has been spending N10 billion annually, more than 4% UNESCO recommended for educational sector, to arrest the decay in the educational system because those recruited into the Boko Haram terrorist group are basically and evidently illiterates, who are brainwashed and radicalized to hate fellow human being for unsubstantiated religious
reasons.

Dankwambo’s favorable educational desiderata paid off in his first term rather bountifully with the establishment of several prestigious tertiary institutions including the Gombe State College of Islamic
studies, the Gombe State Polytechnic and the Gombe State College of Education amongst other purpose driven institutions that have provided admission at very low cost to tens of thousands of Gombe State students as well as students from other parts of the country.

Governor Dankwambo loudly ventilated my position about history and education as the ultimate enhancers of human development. Elsewhere in the rocky country of …, caverns  have been turned into shinning marble cities and desert into flourishing glazing cities in Dubai!

The state earlier known for its unremitting poverty, backwardness and aridity has surgically undergo genuine transformation in the last six years under the stewardship of Dr. Dankwambo, a preeminent PhD holder in accounting in the political life of the nation and erstwhile Accountant-General of the Federation. In a country where the first eleven are hardly given a chance to serve it would be in order to argue that Dr. Dankwambo’s brilliant academy exploit puts him head and shoulder above most of his peers in the country.

During his tenure as Accountant-General of the Federation, Dr. Dankwambo introduced landmark programmes towards ensuring accountability, transparency and probity. These included massive
reorganisation of the Accountant-General’s office to make it more focused, pragmatic and
professionally suitable for efficient service delivery. He also commenced the computerisation of the federal government account. Among several others, he also put in place standardisation of accounts of federal, state and local governments in Nigeria while ensuring that all government revenues were captured into the treasury and properly accounted for.

Imbued powerfully by world class orientation in governance and his undoubted empathy for the socially displaced and positivity, Dr. Dankwambo needs no prodding for to appreciate the enormous task to redeem the long suffering people of Gombe.

His commitment to the attainment of crucial aspects of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of the United Nations (UN); his identification of manpower development as the basic resources for the actualisation of such initiatives has succinctly led to his understanding of the “undeniable potentials of indigenous artisanship to societal and national development.

His decision to nurture qualitative and quantitative education, the production of quality and adequate manpower for housing construction, automobile repair, steel work, renovation and fabrication works of various shades which currently pose a major challenge to individual citizen, urban managers and development partners across the country has not been equalled by any other state governor.

Interestingly, the governor has activated the Gombe State Investment Company from obscurity into one of the most formidable profit-oriented agencies among all the parastatals within the state’s public service, with a capital value of over N4 billion. An advocate of wealth creation with pro-poor initiative, his job creation efforts and  wealth creation efforts programme has increased activities in
agro-allied and solid minerals sector. Additional increase of N3 billion to an earlier N1 billion partnership deal with the Bank of Industry (BOI), has been disbursed to cooperative groups as soft loans to hundreds of thousands beneficiaries for the establishment of small-scale processing industries. As a result, 12, 000 jobs were created by the 133 Cooperative Societies, with the consideration of youths and adequate Gender balance.

In addition to that, precisely 755 trainees in various skin acquisition programme have successfully completed their courses and now self-employed. Gombe state currently stands out as a model on the roll call of 17 states under the BOI partnership programme. As a matter of fact, Gombe market
is now saturated with products and brands of various dimensions.

In furthering his industrialisation policy and wealth creation programme in the state, an industrial cluster cum enterprise zone for groundnut oil and rice millers has been established at Bogo/Nasarawo
Industrial Estate in Gombe with 300 slots allocated to the two trade groups for production shades. The administration also provided three Transformers at the site to ease power problems. Consideration is being given to the establishment of five more Clusters in the state capital to accommodate the increasing numbers of small-scale industries from the BOI initiative. The administration has also marked out an extension programme of 400-hectare Industrial Estate at Lawanti village along Bauchi road, adjacent to the Gombe International Airport.

This is aside the establishment of a multi-billion naira Modern Commodity Depot and Exchange Centre in Gombe, the state capital to promote Modern Commodity Trading which has been completed at the costs of well over N4 billion.

It’s on record that his administration singularly completed the construction of the 54km Kanawa-Kuri-Jorogutel road with some connecting access roads linking all the most agricultural fertile
parts of the state. This road is on the priority list of the Dankwambo-led administration in spite of its identification as a federal road, with a total cost N6.8 billion.

Early life of his government Dr. Dankwambo unveiled 200 fuel efficient mini-brand taxi cabs; 1,100 Keke NAPEP tri-cycles, combined with 80 hummer buses for Gombe State Transport Service through the State Ministry of Finance as a more meaningful approach to alleviating the scourge of poverty among the downtrends rather than the negative approach to survival of the fittest.

The main trust of this piece steams from Dr. Dankwambo’s single-mindedness, largeness of heart and leadership by example to engagement in the provision of portable water to the citizens of the
state at great costs. At a time public water system has collapsed across the country, venturing into the area by government should be acknowledged. Many people under the age of 40 can not boast of ever
using public water system. All that has disappeared, courtesy of leadership failure, even same promised Nigerians some 40-year ago.

In its effort at improve the supply of potable water to the citizenry, the administration has awarded contract for the rehabilitation and reticulation of pipelines in the state with extension to Kwami, Gadam and Bojude, and of late, extended to cover Kompulata and Tappi at a cost of well over N4 billion; while it has also awarded contract for water sustenance and maintenance of the Gombe Regional Water Supply Scheme.

Straddled by legions of commitments to the state and his efforts at providing lasting solution to the water crisis Dr. Dankwambo told news men thus: “Fortunately or unfortunately for us, there are some places where you cannot get borehole water. You will dig as deep as 500 meters in some places in Gombe and not get water. So, the only solution is to get a dam or treated water which is piped.

“Fortunately, we have a dam in Gombe but it is about 45 to 50 kilometres, so we are drawing the water little by little and it is a huge investment. The first one we did; when the water came into Gombe, we had to distribute in and around Gombe and that cost us about N4.2 billion. The next thing was to extend it to certain areas. In these areas, if you drive, it is like you are getting to almost the border of Gombe and in Gombe there is no ground water at all. So, we have succeeded in extending up to 78 kilometres of pipeline towards that side and that cost additional N1.8 billion.

“The Gombe reticulation is almost 90 to 95 per cent completed. Also when you take dam water, you are also adding to the cost of treatment and cost of maintenance. When I came, we ran the dam at about N90 million a month. As at today, the cost of maintenance is about N242 million”.

This is exemplary leadership. It is worthy of emulation and celebration by everyone who wishes to see Nigeria overcome her man-made affliction. We look forward to the time when our leaders will
freeze their frequent movement to America, Dubai’ and European countries and face the task of governance, like Governor IbrahimDankwambo, “the last man standing”.

Erasmus Ikhide, a social activist writes from Lagos. Tel: +234 805 6225 515 (SMS Only). Follow him on twitter @IkhideErasmus!

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