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

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

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

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 Ibrahim
Dankwambo, “the last man standing”.

Erasmus Ikhide, A Social Activist writes from Lagos.

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