By John Bulus & Umar Yusuf
It was mysterious for many how Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State won back the applause after spending his first six or seven months mostly in the black book.
For over six months, the new administration didn’t form a cabinet to push through its plans for the economic development of the state. To worsen the situation, Dankwambo’s deputy, Mr. David Albashi who was expected to chart the new road for him consequent upon his wealth of experience gotten from almost eight straight years in the cabinet of the preceding administration of Senator Danjuma Goje died unfortunately within eight months in office.
Dankwambo was to all extent and purposes left handicapped. It was also not good for the new governor that he turned a deaf ear to the floods of criticisms that trailed his failure to form a cabinet. Some of his worse critics described the governor as incompetent as at that time, activities in the state were almost brought to a standstill. Governance was left in the hands of the triumvirate of the governor, the Secretary to the state Government, SSG and Dankwambo’s Chief of Staff.
Indeed, Dankwmabo’s inauguration as the new Gombe State Governor on May 29, 2011 heralded hopes of a new dawn. Dankwambo’s first step was the inauguration of eleven different Committees that were mandated to critically examine the various sectors/ministries in the state with a view to pinpointing the urgent need of the people.
The Committee, indeed, made waves when some weeks later, they submitted their findings and recommendations. One lofty thing about the development was that the recommendations of the committees obviously formed the roadmap and agenda for the new government which seems to be what the governor has been following.
Like his predecessor, Dankwambo’s first year in office has been focused on the construction and rehabilitation of roads.
The first 12 roads he awarded for construction in the state capital have been completed and commissioned. Of particular interest was the one named after the Vice President, Alhaji Mohammed Namadi Sambo who also commissioned the road on his recent visit to the state. Many are still under construction just as he has also awarded the construction of many rural roads in the 11 local Government areas.
Youth Rehabilitation and Empowerment Programmes:
About 1000 youths are currently undergoing training on various schemes at the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC orientation camp at Mallam Sidi, Kwami Local Government Area of the State. After graduation, they will be engaged in areas like Health, Road Traffic amongst others. Also, about N500 million was recently expended by the state government in conjunction with the Bank of Industry on loans to a number of Indigenes of the state that were to start off Small Scale Enterprises, SMEs.
His efforts nonetheless, the governor’s style of leadership is a bitter pill to some persons. For instance, he is rumoured to be tight-fisted and selective in some of his appointments. The sore part is the continuing speculation of a love-hate relationship between him and his political ‘godfather’ and predecessor, Senator Mohammad Danjuma Goje.
Dankwambo is, however, lucky that unlike in many states, opposition is almost invisible in the state. The only known voice of the opposition, Senator Saidu Umar Kumo who contested the governorship with the governor on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP soon after the inauguration ditched the party for Dakwambo’s Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Indeed, while the government basks in the euphoria of its one year anniversary, it is left to be seen whether such will be the case in subsequent years.
Our challenges, our plans — Gov Dankwambo
Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe recently spoke to a select group of newsmen on issues ranging from his first year in office to the issues of insecurity in his state and the country. Excerpts:
What are the challenges of your first year in office?
All is fine and excellent in Gombe state. We have enjoyed the co-operation of the people and have shown love, concern and collaboration. We have been able to achieve a long milestone in the process of developing the state and the second year will mark the beginning of the continuation of the good things that are happening in Gombe State.
The good things are in terms of infrastructure, creating opportunities for the youths, businessmen, investment in education and other sectors which tremendously have being happening in Gombe state.
How did you deal with the Kalare boys who before you held the state hostage?
Like we usually say, in Gombe state that no man or person is completely a useless person, unless a leader or the leadership does not find the right thing for that person or persons. So what we have done is to identify their potentials, invest in their potentials and they are doing well in the society.
There was no magic. The only magic was to identify what was good in them. They are good and kind people and are working hard now towards moving the state forward. Gombe is one of the safest states today in the country. There is no more Kalare in the state anymore.
What can the country do to ensure a lasting peace?
Like I always say, wherever there is conflict, the only solution is dialogue, because you must talk, no matter how long you fight, no matter how long you create problems, at the end of the day you must sit and talk. So we are encouraging and advising any aggrieved person or persons to do so. North East is just having a share of what is happening.
There are so many of such problems in other places. But, what we are saying is that which ever group is aggrieved should show-up. It is through this showing up that a process could be initiated so that there will be dialogue, there will be understanding, so that the grievances will be addressed. But, if I do not know what your grievances are, I will not be able to address your problems.