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Dankwambo and the challenge of quality leadership

By Oshalato Tade

PERSONALLY, I did have my reservations for his choice of party prior to indications and calls that he might be fielded for the presidency. But my concern has always centred on him as someone belonging to a different cast of politics and conscience.

Indeed, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the governor of Gombe State, is a politician who has clearly demonstrated the enormous power of exceptions. His party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, at some point in the past lost its bearing as a consequence of which it was swept out of power by a political tsunami carefully orchestrated by its rival, the All Progressives Congress, APC. Time has since proved that APC’s victory was nothing but a flash in the pan as the party has so far performed a lot worse than the PDP.

However, the simple fact that the APC tsunami could not sweep through Gombe State is a testimony to Dankwambo’s unique leadership credentials and the amazing support of the people of the state. Facing facts and figures, the people of Gombe State stood for reason. The people stood for evidence and a track record of excellence and not some deodorised but questionable record of performance associated with some past and present leaders. Gombe stood with and for reason. And they still firmly do.

Hassan Dankwambo

And for individuals like myself who were openly critical of the past administration, the consistency of the giant strides of the Dankwambo administration left us feeling deeply sorry for jumping to the assumption that nothing of worth was left of the tottering ruling PDP. In fact, I now somewhat highly regard them for retaining one of Nigeria’s finest. It now appears that the worst of the party were the ones who migrated to the APC and have now thoroughly corrupted it.

Dankwambo, it has emerged, can be counted among the finest few when it comes to quality, selflessness and far-reaching leadership. The news that the gentleman governor is being strongly considered for the party’s presidential ticket shows that the PDP is not without hope after all. Obviously, it stands to reason that track record of performance is now being reckoned with in such considerations. This is certainly worth celebrating.

For instance, it is reassuring that, while the education sector continues to suffer severe neglect under the Muhammadu Buhari administration that voted a paltry sum for it, Dankwambo is practically doing wonders in spite of paucity of fund. This only goes to show that placed side by side with Dankwambo’s giant strides in education, the Federal Government, going by its disposition, does not understand that education is key.

I have been privileged to assess some other states’ progress in education, and with the data obtained, I can say without any fear of contradiction that Gombe clearly stands out as a reference point of achievement in the education sector.

Of course, you don’t trust Nigerian data wholesale, but the facts speak for themselves of what Dankwambo has done in transforming Gombe State to a model city which has endeared him to even people outside his state, including the famous Catholic cleric, Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka and many other prominent Nigerians.

In fact, this is why I promptly packed my luggage when my professional friend, and a course mate during our master’s class at the Mass Communication Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Dahiru Hassan Kera who I always call the Chief Communication Strategist, offered me a ticket to go and have a sightseeing in Dankwambo’s Jewel in the Savanah.

As a tourist, I knew better than to be carried away by what I call tourist’s infrastructure. Tourist’s infrastructure are what authorities plant by the road to trick visitors that everything is okay. Gombe is not so. Development is wide and evenly spread.  As seeing is believing, I can confidently testify that, under the present administration, Gombe is a model state in all ramifications. And Dankwambo sure deserves every accolade. Surely. I’m equally not surprised seeing the brand manager and image maker, Dahiru Kera, always making a case and reference to Dankwambo when it comes to the issue of qualitative leadership.

In Gombe, public infrastructure are in the open: schools are well stocked with ultra-modern instructional facilities, road networks are as available in the urban area as they are in the rural.

Surely, Nigerians and indeed the PDP, could not be wishing for a Dankwambo presidency because he has money or because he has some rich backers, no, he has neither of these. His only capital is the great work he has done as a governor of one of the most battered states in the North of Nigeria with meagre resources.

Another alluring and bankable capital in the person of Dr. Dankwambo is his cosmopolitan nature which he has brought into leadership; prudent management of resources, and above all, his huge and intimidating qualification and his impressive working experience. It is instructive to emphasise that throughout his sojourn in many lucrative workplaces, Dr. Dankwambo has never been found wanting in the handling of resources under his control. This is integrity; a rare feature among many politicians.

Indeed, with these and many other unmentioned qualities of the Talban Gombe, Nigeria is sure to leap several steps forward and closer to our dreams should he win the presidential election after clinching his party’s primary ticket. It would mean that nothing else matters to us than our collective prosperity.

As the clock ticks  and strokes fast toward the 2019 general elections, only people with sound education, detribalised stand, and administrative acumen should be given a chance to lead this country. We should not repeat the mistakes of the past that plunged the country into chaos and politically-influenced killings.

I hope his verifiable track records prevail. If it doesn’t, then we might just be signing up to another four years of excuses and gross incompetence as we are witnessing now.


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