By Sani Jauro
Though as a career civil servant I am not a politician, the compelling motivation to write this piece was predicated on an interview I granted some newsmen during the week, in which they asked me questions regarding my principal, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo. The press men, obviously amazed at what the governor was able to achieve with so little resources, felt I was the right person to shed more light on what some of them correctly termed the Dankwambo phenomenon. In this article therefore, I am going to paraphrase some of the things I told them, believing it will be useful to all readers, and may serve as a kind of compass for upcoming generation of leaders in the country.
For me, the main selling point of Governor Dankwambo is his trademark humility and uncommon intelligence. Whenever you are in his presence, he makes you feel at ease, such that you might forget you are in the presence of a serving governor. In Dankwambo, we have an exceptional leader possessing the ability to accept alternative viewpoints. Many a leader will simply dish out directives and insist you must carry them out, but not Governor Dankwambo. The Gombe Governor is also very, very tolerant and hardworking.
Is there any linkage between his achievements and his social or educational background? I believe there is. Governor Dankwambo hails from a well to do family that has distinguished itself in pro-people entrepreneurship. His unassuming mien and his uncommon humility belie a persona that is deeply insightful and intelligence. Naturally his background play a key role.
This is a man who is well read, with a degree in accounting, Masters degree in Economics, PhD in accounting and a post graduate diploma in computer science. He rose to become the accountant general of Gombe state, and later, the accountant general of the Nigerian federation. An indicator of his desire to selflessly serve his people could be seen in that he took the risk of leaving his comfort zone by voluntarily resigning from that high post, to launch into the murky waters of Nigerian politics.
For the seven years period we have been working with him at the Government House, Gombe, Governor Dankwambo has never raised his voice or looked down on anybody, from the Deputy Governor down to a cleaner on the streets. Nobody who is truthful and honest will ever tell you that the governor had raised his voice against him. If anybody does anything that annoys him, he simply keeps quite. Only those of us that are very close to him will discern that he was crossed but you will never hear him bark.
So the allegation of Dankwambo not being approachable is misplaced. This is a governor who takes governance right to the doorsteps of his people by paying them visits, inspecting projects aimed at making their lives better, and who many of them reach even by phone. But then the most significant thing is not all about individual having access to the governor. It is about whether the governor is working towards advancing the cause of the society; towards taking the state to higher realms, and generally through the kind of sacrifice that seek to make for a better tomorrow for one and all. That, to me, underpins Dankwambo’s governance philosophy. And it informs why he is exceptional.
In Dankwambo, we are talking about a governor who has shown deep commitment to workers, who operate the engine of government. Under Dankwambo, Gombe has never experienced a situation where workers have not being paid their salaries. That in itself has been helping in making the wealth to circulate, and the market is overlying all over the state, and the payment of salary was made very easy in Gombe state despite the recession and also despite the fact that Gombe is in the middle of the North east. The insurgency has engulfed almost the whole of the north east, yet Gombe has been peaceful under his watch.
Is there one sector the governor regards as closest to his heart? That sector is education. Governor Dankwambo made education his first, second and third priority. He succeeded in walking the talk by massively transforming the educational system, reducing the number of pupils per class, improving the teacher-student ratio, and the atmosphere in most of the schools has been tremendously made conducive for teaching and learning. As everyone is aware, the number of pupils per teacher in the class impacts heavily on the understanding and assimilation of curriculum in the classroom. With limited resources, Governor Dankwambo built more schools, more classes.
To decongest the classes, the governor also recruited more teachers, and ensured they are trained and retrained. The governor also established another University of Technology, and let’s not forget, all the project executed by the previous administrations are being maintained by the Governor. He did not neglect the projects of the previous administrations, he consolidated on all the projects.
This kind of foresight, this kind of commitments can only be found in a rare individual and in Gombe state we are so lucky to be blessed with this very rare individual in the person of Governor Dankwambo. We thank God that we the people of Gombe state are blessed. Let me tell you there is no society on earth that has ever grown beyond the quality of its education. So anybody that is really committed to developing his people must invest heavily in education and that is exactly what Governor Dankwambo did and it is only a committed leader who loves his people that can do this.
Clearly, these are the qualities that endear Governor Dankwambo to millions of Nigerians, and they inform why the people have continued to crave for him. In the global village that the society has become, whatever you do in a small corner of the globe will get to be known elsewhere. These unprecedented achievements are the very reason Dankwambo has remained a darling of the people; the proverbial gold fish that has no hiding place.
Dr. Jauro is the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Gombe State