BY JOHN BULUS
More than six months after his inauguration, the inability of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo to form a cabinet is raising concern about his political trajectory.
GIven Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo’s newness the political terrain is apparent to almost everyone in Gombe State. Already, there are suggestions that those who drafted the governor into politics and the corridors of power in Gombe may be nursing their bruised ego at the moment.
Reason: their expectations may have either been delayed for too long or may in the aftermath, judging from the trend of events, fail to materialize as a result of a strange political system the governor has introduced.
That Dankwambo is still dilly_dallying over the constitution of the State Executive Council almost seven months after his inauguration is becoming a grave concern to many informed indigenes of the state.Indeed, there are apprehensions in some quarters that the Governor might be nursing the ambition of building his own political dynasty towards achieving further political successes.
The development is also assenting to rumours that the governor, who is widely seen as a civil servant than a politician with great aura and political finesse might on the contrary be leading the real politicians to their oblivion.
On the day of his inauguration, the governor had told his people that the new government would take stock of things in the state for four weeks and thereafter come out to tell the people the state of things.
However, the inventory started and ended with the convocation of massive committees which to many people, through their findings and recommendations, gave Dankwambo the leeway to co-opt the Permanent Secretaries of Ministries into the main stream of politics to supervise some of the projects which seemingly were the fallout of the inventory.
The development, Vanguard gathered has in no small degree vexed many people especially most professional politicians in the state on whose back Dankwambo rode to become the governor.
But the Governor is apparently not perturbed by the pressures even when he is constantly being reminded that the only appointments his government had so far made are those of the Chief of Staff, Secretary to State Government, SSG and the Head of Service. Instead, he has found reasons for his indulgence in a well-laced interview he granted journalists in Abuja.
Said Dankwambo: “On cabinet, we have to disabuse the minds of people. The constitution is very clear. The responsibility to run Gombe State is on my neck, not on the neck of an adviser, or special assistant, who is using a delegated power of mine, and I have to be sure of power that I’m delegating before I delegate to you.
“I cannot be a new person and delegate what I don’t know to a person who doesn’t know. So, that is why we have taken sometime. This is my own approach, so that we will chart clear mandate for any person that we are taking.
Today, if you are a commissioner or adviser on Works, you know what Gombe State and the people want you to do. If you are going to supervise the construction of roads, we have standards. We cannot say four centimeters and you come and do three, because you thought it is better, Gombe people agreed it will be four.
We have defined parameters to be used, and that is what we will use to advise or implement. Very soon, we will finish all these reforms and we will form our cabinet. From the report you would know whether you will be able to become commissioner of Works now in Gombe State.
“From the mandate we have with Gombe people you will know whether you will be able to drive it or not. Some people who are agitating to become commissioner, if I say come and become commissioner of Works you would know that you may not last two to three weeks”.
Dankwambo’s reasons may sound plausible but his style has elicited mixed views. While many accuse him of incompetence, others say he is still studying and gauging the political firmament of the state in order to acclimatize himself with the intrigues and intricacies of the times. But for how long? Indeed, by every conceivable standard, Dankwambo cannot be said to be a politician. He has not for once occupied a political office prior to now.
Various checks revealed that he has been a civil servant rising from being the State Accountant – General of the State to the Accountant – General of the Federation. Many have come to argue that Dankwambo is only hiding under his mantra of “doing the best for the state” to buy time so as to subtly learn the ropes and perhaps, build his own political structure.
This becomes true in the light of the fact that Dankwmbo prior to his resignation as the AGF in December, 2010, had no political structure which could be said to have been built by him in the state. The implication of this development is that the governor would have several people to compensate for the roles they played in making him governor.
Again, if this plays out eventually, the scenario might be viewed as having the governor being remotely controlled by forces outside his government which may mean that he has compromised the peoples wish.
However, some stake holders, Vanguard learnt, are perfecting strategies to compel the Governor to appoint commissioners. One of them is through constitutional means as the constitution did not provide for a state to be run by one person which is almost the case in Gombe State.
Section 192 (1) of the 1999 Constitution states: “There shall be such offices of Commissioners of the Government of a State as may be established by the Governor of the State.
Section 193 (1): “The Governor of a State may in his discretion assign to the Deputy Governor or any Commissioner of the Government of the State responsibility for any business of the Government of the State, including the administration of any department of the State.
(2): The Governor of a State shall hold regular meetings with the deputy Governor and all Commissioners of the Government of the State for the purpose of (a) determining the general direction of the policies of the Government of the State; (b) co_ordinating the activities of the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the Commissioners of the Government of the State in the discharge of their executive responsibilities; and (c) advising the Governor generally in the discharge of his executive functions, other than those functions with respect to which he is required by this Constitution to seek the advice or act on the recommendation of any other person or body”.
But yet again, the Constitution in its provision provides that some state functions be delegated to the deputy Governor. But suffice it to say, Gombe is a state without a Deputy Governor. Not at the moment. The Deputy Governor, late Mr. David Miyims Albashi who was buried November 12 died from accident injuries on November 4 in a German hospital. Even when there are many jostlers craving for possible replacement, the Governor is not even looking in that direction.
For nearly three months since August 28, 2011, when the late deputy governor had the auto crash that led to his death, the office had been vacant thereby bringing the activities in that office to a halt.
But even though, Dankwambo is aware of the constitutional provision, sources say, he is still not perturbed. The feeling presently is that the bulk of those who should ordinarily coerce Dankwambo to fill the necessarily vacuums in the state lack the moral standing to do so because ‘they were settled after the polls.’
It is to be seen whether or not Dankwambo will hearken to the voice of the people and fill offices or even explore the lacuna of time-frame in the constitutional provisions as feared by many analysts.
However, one thing remains clear in the view of many people: nature abhours vacuum and as such no political office should be left vacant for too long as the consequences may be disastrous.