Testimonies from Gombe State have justified the words of Reverend Fr. Mbaka, erstwhile enthusiast of President Muhammadu Buhari, who, in a new year message to Nigerians, encouraged that Governor Dankwambo be projected and supported to succeed President Buhari.
He had praised Dankwambo for his sterling achievements and encouraged that he should be projected to fulfill the North’s turn. While this position was largely hailed as informed and reasonable, a group called Coalition of Gombe State Indigenes who picked holes in the prediction of Enugu State-based cleric, Rev. Father Mbaka, wherein he endorsed Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo as Nigeria’s next president.
According to Coalition, the priest spoke out of context in his assessment of the work and worth of the Gombe State governor, drawing attention to what it claimed are the flaws of the outgoing administration; viz: water supply, education and health among others, as points to to negate the stance of Rev. Mbaka and urging the cleric to travel to Gombe and see things for himself.
However, the body of Christians in Gombe State has differed with the Coalition, insisting that Ibrahim Dankwambo has performed effectively as governor and calling on elsewhere to lead with the fear of God and to move the nation forward, just as Dankwambo is doing with political power.
This position has also been given credence by the commendation given to Governor Dankwambo by the Gombe People’s Congress (GPC) for what’s described as great achievements. According to GPC, the governor has worked wonders especially in the area of infrastructure, citing network of Gombe Township Road, Kumi Township Road and Biliri Township Road’.
Within the Gombe City Metropolis alone, 87 roads including 6 dual carriageways have been constructed; Over 300 km cumulative length of asphalted roads in the state; Over 400 km cumulative length of surface-dressed roads; 53 km cumulative length of walkways with an additional 280 km nearing completion; 51km of roads have been provided with street lights to light up the city; Several bridges scattered across different towns and villages including the six-span Kuri Bridge to connect communities that were previously cut off’. A total estimated distance of roads constructed by the Dankwambo administration stands at over 3000kms and this is why the group has declared Governor Dankwambo as the best Governor in Northern Nigeria.
With torrents of great achievements being reported in Gombe State under Ibrahim Dakwambo, the story of Gombe, today, an exemplary one that excites and captivates. The revolutionary works that has taken place in Gombe state under the leadership of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, was achieved by a collective effort of the people and the government, and this has put the state in an enviable position among her peers. Dankwambo in his inaugural speech noted that his first, second and third priorities for Gombe state was education, to improve her human capital. True to his words, his administration’s investment in education has resulted to Gombe now recording an average of 26percent pass mark in exams as against the less than 1percent in 2011.
Under Dankwambo, Gombe now has the only state owned University of Science and Technology in the North East, College of Education Billiri, state Polytechnic Bajoga and College of legal and Islamic Studies Nafada. These are in addition to several well equipped technical schools he built where students are taught carpentry, electrical works, computer education, building works, among others. According to the governor, such technical schools and universities of science and technology are the future of Nigeria.
He emphasised that study of regular straight jacket courses should be discouraged. The government has also strategically included vocational studies, such as tailoring, barbing, computer education, hair styling into its educational curricular for primary and secondary schools. After secondary education, youths who are not able to proceed to institutions of higher learning, can make ends meet using the skills learnt in school. This is a leaf that should be borrowed by other states. In the area of tourism, the magnificent Gombe International Conference Centre, situated along the airport road, is an edifice to behold.
It remains a wonder how such a structure could have been constructed by the government despite paucity of funds. The structure which is 99percent complete have an exhibition space, four regular and two executive board rooms and other conference meeting rooms capable of sitting between 300 to 500 persons, with the main hall capable of siting close to 2000 persons. The centre is a match for conference centres in developed parts of the world and presently have no match in Nigeria. In fact, former president Olusegun Obasanjo was left in awe after touring the structure during his visit to felicitate with the people and government of Gombe state on her 20th year anniversary.
Also the Gombe international hotel built by the Dankwambo administration is another site to behold. The governor explained that his vision is to have a Gombe which would be home to political, commercial and professional gatherings in the North eastern part of the country. The former Accountant General of the Federation says he believes the impact of such gatherings will reflect positively on the socio-economic life of the people. On roads, the government has so far constructed 248 standard roads including 25 dual carriage ways across the state. Ringroads with amazing architectural masterpiece are common sights in Gombe town.
To improve the health situation, health centres have been established across Gombe, including the 1,500 bed capacity women and children hospital in Gombe, fitted with state of the art medical equipment. The government has also established the College of Nursing and Midwifery Dukku, as well as constructed dialysis centre in the state specialist hospital. That such developmental progress have been achieved in Gombe state despite low federal allocation, when compared to some other states, is highly commendable. Governor Dankwambo, could, like some of his colleagues, have fronted several reasons such as declining allocations, insecurity, low IGR, for failing to develop the state.
But clearly, this governor have demonstrated that much can be achieved with less, depending on the sincerity of the leader. His legacies will outlive him, and he will be remembered as a leader who initiated an all-inclusive government where the needs of the people was top priority. The Gombe story leaves one with questions of why some states with about same or more resources, can barely pay workers’ salaries, needless to mention embarking on meaningful developmental projects.