By Sunusi Kabiru
Like the proverbial gold fish that has no hiding place, the professional, political and public service career of national and global leaders are always in the public domain. Their performance or the lack of it stands them out as the populace, public affairs analysts and social affairs commentators are wont to publicly and vocally assess their varied contributions to the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizenry at large.
The above musing aptly describes the dynamic and highly resourceful Executive Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, within the backdrop of a higher calling that is currently tolling its bell on him ahead of 2019. For the consummate technocrat, cerebral chartered accountant and super-achieving administrative helmsman par excellence, much has been written and chronicled on his superb and superlative infrastructural and developmental exploit as well as his groundbreaking reforms both in Gombe State as the incumbent chief executive officer and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation that have repositioned and recalibrated the said offices for a more credible, responsive and efficient service delivery to the people and the nation at large.
Much of the publicity has been unsolicited as the unassuming and largely self-effacing Talban Gombe believes in silent and unheeded achievements, with solid and indelible administrative reforms and infrastructural projects on ground to speak for themselves rather than engaging in undue media hype or sensational headlines that are the province of many a politician.
However, much as Dankwambo might want to avoid the public limelight, his tremendous and all-encompassing performance at various levels of governance and administration has attracted unprecedented adulation and encomiums to the extent that no less an influential and prescient man of God, the famed Catholic prelate, Father Ejike Camilus Mbaka has predicted that the 2019 presidential mandate rests squarely on the broad shoulders of the highly respected Gombe State helmsman. The revered cleric did not mince words while prophesying that Dankwambo has the wherewithal to take Nigeria decisively and unerringly out of the woods of despair, despondency and decay that the APC- led federal government has plunged it since coming to power on May 29, 2015.
In an unequivocal and straightforward celestial pontification, Father Mbaka predicted that the savvy and articulate Dankwambo will inherit the presidential crown in order to repeat the magic that he has performed in Gombe State and at the federal level in order to bring the country closer to the standard of living and economic attainment of advanced countries in the global comity of nations; no more, no less. With the pronouncement of the Catholic Priest who is renowned for the authenticity and fecundity of his prophecies and who has never for once met Dankwambo in person, the whole political configuration, calculation and permutations for 2019 has been inexorably altered.
At the moment, the vast majority of the nation’s citizenry are lining up, locked in step behind the fortuitous and auspicious candidacy of the Gombe political wonder who defied all imaginable odds to emerge the only re-elected PDP governor in the whole of the North despite the fact that the rival APC swept the region in a massive tsunami during the 2015 general election.
Indeed, the Peoples Democratic Party leadership seems galvanized by Father Mbaka’s earth-shaking prediction affirming that Dankwambo is eminently qualified to assume the mantle of presidential leadership at any time and that his candidacy must come as a huge relief for legions of the party’s faithful as well as millions of ordinary Nigerians who are craving for a credible alternative to the directionless leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and his fellow travelers in APC. Without doubt, the last man standing, as Talban is affectionately referred to, won in Gombe on the basis of merit, hardwork, competence and exemplary performance. He touched the lives of the people of the state in all material spheres, be it in road infrastructure, health, education, power, water supply, rural development, agriculture, manpower development and women or youth empowerment. All these sectors have been decisively and positively affected by Dankwambo’s No-Citizen-Left-Behind policy. All the eleven local government areas of the state have felt the impact of the visionary leadership of the governor. For instance, immediately after the 2015 elections, the first set of roads that were constructed Dankwambo where in the enclave of his defeated APC gubernatorial rival, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya. This was in consonance with admirable mantra of Politics Without Bitterness of the Talban Gombe.
Indeed, the infrastructural revolution embarked upon by the indefatigable governor has been unprecedented throughout the nation, dwarfing those of Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom among others, on an income per capital ratio, given the fact that Gombe State receives a paltry N2 billion per annum as federal allocation compared to the over N15-N30 billion naira received annually by the aforementioned oil-producing states.
Tens of thousands of kilometers of urban and rural roads have been completed while a lot more are under construction. Hundreds of hospitals, maternity and health centres, primary, secondary and Arabic schools have been either constructed or rehabilitated with adequate supply of hospital equipment, drugs, desks, chairs and laboratory equipment respectively. In the agriculture sector, tremendous progress has been attained with fertilizer, seedlings, farm implements, tractors, harvesters, planters, sprayers and many more supplied or leased to agrarian farmers at highly subsidized rates to boost agricultural production in the Jewel of the Savannah.
Dankwambo’s youth and women empowerment programme is also a complement to his development agenda for the state as tens of thousands of women and youths have been trained in fish farming, rabbit and poultry production, bee keeping, hair dressing, barbing, sewing, tying and dying, soap making, as well as confectionary skills. All these are geared towards enhancing their income-generating and self-sustenance status. Thousands of graduates and other categories of staff have been employed in the Gombe State public service ever since the Talban Gombe assumed office on 29 May 2011.
Indeed, to catalogue the length, breadth and scope of the landmark administrative, infrastructural and developmental exploits of the Last Man Standing is beyond the breadth of this treatise, but it is fair to surmise that the nation needs, as a matter of urgency, the leadership sagacity of Governor Dankwambo, as well as his depth of experience, vision, vigour and fortitude to pilot the ship of the Nigerian State to safer and calmer shores come 2019 and beyond.
Sunusi Kabiru write from Jos