By Sani Bulama
IN political hegemony, two things have described leadership and these are: success or failure of its harbingers. The proponents of the former were the silent few who believe leadership is only an avenue where one can avail himself to the services of his people to cardinally better their lot through the provision of good governance and purposeful stewardship. While the latter who were virtually eclipsing today’s political field of play are vulture-like leaders who had ventured into politics to simply acquire and accumulate wealth to the explicit disservice of the gullible masses. In essence, being in politics to change situation for the better could define the successful and accomplished political leaders on the one hand. On the other, those who patronise the system to siphon public treasury through various conduits, might end up not only as a failure but a total disappointment to their societies and families.
In the annals of socio-political history, individuals, personalities and successful leaders have emerged auspiciously to take their people’s destiny in their hands while resolutely steering their affairs to a level that has only enhanced the people’s welfare and societal wellbeing, leaving them in a better and more fortuitous position than before.
For instance, in the United States of America, USA, it is generally accepted that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a great leader and statesman who possessed the requisite vision, courage and dynamism required to lift the American people from the hitherto despondency and despair stage that culminated into the great depression while also given a fatal blow to the forces of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan during the historic Second World War. Indeed, great leaders and visionary statesmen as well as courageous political avatars and seasoned technocrats who have what it takes to change a socio and political environment for the better, thus averting stagnation, decay and regression in the system, have still been excelling and outshining.
In the Nigerian polity, much of the blame for the general political, economic and social malaise and failures has been placed squarely on the doorstep of the visionless and incompetent leadership desiderata of those who hold sway in the scheme of things. Yet, in every situation there must be an alternative and exceptions. Thus, in the case of Gombe State, the opposite scenario pleasantly applies as the incumbent Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, has demonstrated a refreshing capacity for honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, due process and purposeful leadership to the extent that right from the inception of his administration in 2011 to the present time, the astute governor has turned the state to a model city and distinguished himself from the political lie-dormant and riffraff.
Apparently, before the coming of Dankwambo’s administration in Gombe, the state was in shambles with few dilapidated schools and administrative structures, crippled economy and the state largely unsecured while the people lived in confusion because of the absence of governance. Against this backdrop, the sons and daughters of the state who dreamed of a new and better Gombe State, at the expiration of the Goje’s tenure decided to look out of the box to shop for a better candidate who could rescue the state and turn things around for the betterment of the people.
Though, there were an array of hopefuls who indicated their interest to contest for the gubernatorial seat under different platforms, yet the ever determined group went to all the nooks and crannies in search of the better option and found one in Dankwambo who was then the Accountant General of the Federation. Immediately, a clarion call was launched under the auspices of ‘’Talba Dawo-Dawo”, meaning ‘’Talba come back, come back”. It was after an intense pressure and wider consultations that Dankwambo accepted the call and resigned his position as the AGF and returned to pick the Peoples Democratic Party ticket and being the people’s accepted candidate, he overwhelmingly won the 2011 gubernatorial election with a wide margin, defeating his opponent, Abubakar Aliyu of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
The taste of the pudding, they say, is in the eating’. After his four years in power, Talban Gombe has wonderfully transformed Gombe State into a model city envied by many of his contemporaries with state-of-the-art infrastructures and alternative tertiary institutions, International Conference Centre, Petroleum Tankers Parking Bay, Mega Motor Pack, hospitals, over 1000 kilometres of durable roads, model primary schools in all the 11 local government areas. To his credit, the state’s civil servants receive their salaries regularly. For this, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Gombe State honoured Dankwambo with the award of the ‘Best Civil Servant’s Friendly Governor’.
Dankwambo’s cogent and enviable records in the state have endeared him more to his followers. This could be the reason the Buhari Tsunami that swept away his contemporaries in other states, especially in the north, during the 2015 general elections, did not affect Gombe State. The good people of the state were simply committed to renewing Talba’s contract by voting him to retain his office for a second term.
Therefore, without mincing words, though he might prove tough and difficult to be convinced, yet it’s another time to call on Dankwambo to consider joining the presidential race, come 2019. Indeed, the nation needs strong, foresighted, competent, honest , enlightened and detribalised leaders like Dankwambo.
*Mr. Bulama, a lawyer, wrote from Lagos.