BY ADEJO ADAJI
The great leaders recognized by the world today are those who made their bold imprints in minor and ignored aspects of governance, but which gave humanity enduring and admirable legacies. Hardly are leaders remembered for the number of skyscrapers they built during their reign, but are never forgotten for a soul they lifted from the dungeon to limelight.
Not many Nigerians know this truism. To most of them, leadership is just icing of the cake of fortunes for family, friends and the roots of ancestry. So, very few Nigerians exemplify leadership in its truest sense. The perks and paraphernalia of office is the strongest lure and fragrance one finds in some leaders in Nigeria.
Rarely, do you find a leader in Nigeria who blends his campaign pledges with action while in office. It is a widespread cankerworm that has eaten deep into the system. They ride on the sympathies of the poor and exploit their vulnerability while seeking for leadership. But the same poor masses are forgotten when such leaders climb the rostrum of leadership.
But it takes nothing really for a leader to show his milk of human kindness to the downtrodden or the poor of the poorest. They constitute the bulk of the population staring at Nigerian leaders every day. There are seemingly commonplace actions that spur appreciation from the beneficiaries and abundant blessings from the creator of the universe.
However, some emerging leaders in Nigeria today are breaking this jink. Incumbent Gombe state Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo has demonstrated a distinctive mark in this direction.
Dankwambo stunned both his admirers and critics when he came to the rescue of a minor, a 12-year old primary school pupil, brutalized by his Head Teacher, Malam Sirajo Mohammed to the extent of deformity over allegations of stealing a cellphone. Sadly enough, the severe and unbearable punishment meted out to the pupil resulted into medical complications. It led to the amputation of the pupil’s two limbs by doctors at the Federal Teaching Hospital (FTH) Gombe.
On an intentional, but surprise visit to the hospital through his Commissioner for Justice, Alhaji Abdulhameed Ibrahim, the Governor pledged to pay the medical bills of the 12 year-old amputee. He also promised to ensure the unlucky boy does not suffer in his condition, while legal options would be explored to punish the possible culprits.
Anyone could say, this is a sweet relief for the parents of the amputee, and son of a very poor father, Malam Yusha’u Abubakar. And he minced no words in expressing appreciation and never concealed the fact that had Governor Dankwambo not intervened, it would have been difficult for the family to even carter for the medical expenses of the hapless lad, who was pushed into this pathetic fate by his master.
In this singular action of Dankwambo, one can discern the eagle eyes of a good shepherd watching over his flock and attends to the least afflicted. He has redefined leadership as not only for the high and the mighty, but also for the underprivileged. It takes selflessness and humility of an ordained leader to condescend to such “inconsequential” levels of feeling for the least of those you lead.
Dankwambo is proving to be a different kind of leader in today’s Nigeria. Perhaps, the case of the amputee attracted media attention. But the Governor is an embodiment of this proclivity. He exudes an unbeatable passion and compassion for humanity, especially the less privileged.
In his vocabulary and actions, there is no social strata, as he believes and acts in accordance with the common humanity every other human being shares with him. He is not discriminatory or sentimentally attached to any affiliation, whether religious, ethnic or political.
Therefore, when Dankwambo spent nearly N152 million to organize the mass wedding of 720 couples in Gombo state, Muslims, Christians and even atheists were beneficiaries. His underlying philosophy is to bring comfort and succor to ripe marital homes, which are deprived by reason of resources and make the society a safer place for all and sundry. He said, “Our aim is to ameliorate the negative implications of failed marriages and the attendant consequences on our society.”
Therefore, aside settling the dowries of the couples, Dankwambo erased their ennui by purchasing and distributing to the couples food items, textile materials, furniture, kitchen utensils, as well as take-off capital for businesses’ of their choice.
It is therefore an understatement to assert that Dankwambo minutely thinks or dreams about the common man and how to make life more meaningful to him. He raises their hope of survival and self-esteem when all seems lost.
Nigerians are aware of the hard economic times. No one is in doubt that most parents cannot afford the cost of education for their children. To render a helping hand, aside a nearly free education in government schools in Gombe, Dankwambo has made it a policy to yearly purchase and distribute free JAMB-UTME e-pin to all categories of students due for the examination in Gombe state.
Even on this largesse to parents, Dankwambo does not discriminate, either on colour of skin or tribe. Everyone is courted to enjoy the resources of this state of jewel in the Savannah.
And Nigerians are quietly watching his detribalized character and soft spot for the less privileged. So, when Dankwambo signified his intention to run for Nigeria’s Presidency in 2019 under the platform of PDP, a barrage of voices have somewhat “embarrassed” him with words of encouragement, endorsements and support.
The Enugu state-based fiery catholic priest, Revd. Father Ejike Mbaka, whose prophesies and predictions hardly fall by the wayside loudly tipped Governor Dankwambo as the non-negotiable choice of Nigerians for President Muhammedu Buhari’s replacement in 2019. And Mbaka’s prophecy on Dankwambo is hinged on his sterling leadership qualities both as a Governor and former Accountant-General of the federation.
But if Father Mbaka is assumed wrong by some cynics, his prediction is actively backed by the those considered to be in the bowels of Governor Dankwambo’s kingdom and privy to his deeds. The Gombe State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) under the leadership of Rev. Isa Uba lent credence to the voice of Father Mbaka by endorsing Alhaji Dankwambo as Nigeria’s next President in 2019 for same exemplary leadership outings.
There is no cracking of the brain to say, it takes little to create an enduring and indelible leadership mark. Governor Dankwambo is gaining general acceptability and endorsement from Nigerians because of his humanitarian posture, humility, selflessness and unflinching determination to re-decorate the world of the poor, by putting smiles on otherwise, saddened faces.
It is his compassionate leadership that has sauntered Gombe State to the topmost pedestal as one of the most peaceful places on earth and a shining star in the North. His example is a great lesson in leadership humility worthy of emulation by Nigerians.
ADAJI is a Guest Columnist @ TheNigerian News Portal, London.