Ibrahim Dankwambo’s Gombe as the Miracle of the Savannah/

Gombe State as one of the States in the country that has had its own fair share of insurgency, has before now, been in the news for unpleasant reasons as a result of the activities of insurgents. This situation like it is with other affected states had further impoverished the state and caused a near-fatal disintegration of its socio-economic fabric.

However, the impoverishment has since been arrested and restoration of the dignity of the average Gombe indigene enthroned, thanks to the executive governor of the state, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo PhD, who has shown exemplary and unmatchable wealth of experience in the prudent management of resources for the greater good of the people.

Dankwambo and his team have been working tirelessly to improve the conditions of the people of Gombe State significantly through meritorious deployment of scarce resources into very critical areas of the state like education, agriculture, infrastructure, health, security, rural development, urban renewal among many others.

A visit to the state will leave one amazed at what is going on in Gombe, a State many outsiders think is as barren as a desert and as unproductive as a castrated mouse. The infrastructural development of the state is not only massive and classy but also of international standard ahead of many even in states far above its league in terms of financial buoyancy.

While almost all the roads in Gombe city are well tarred with deep, solid and well-connected drainage system including spurs and feeder roads, they are also well adorned with non-blinking generator and solar-powered street lights that leave the city not only well-lit everyday from 6.00pm to 6.00am, but also add to the city’s beauty that would attract fatal envy even from Abuja and its residents. The fact is, side by side with Gombe, Abuja might be standing overrated after all.

This has greatly contributed to the peace and tranquility which Gombe is enjoying today as criminals who thrive in darkness have been forced to give up their criminal endeavours for something more meaningful and productive since Dankwambo has dispelled the darkness in which they used to operate by massively lighting up the state. Gombe now passes as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.

In addition to this is the linking of several local governments which hitherto had been cut off and disjointed from each other and could only be traversed on makeshift bridges hanging dangerously on thin planks and ready to cave in at any time, with standard bridges and roads spanning several kilometres.

More and more people now throng Gombe for business and social activities, leaving the city bubbling with life like never before. Both Christians and Muslims observe their respective religious obligations freely, and without let or hinderance from any quarters. The state which many might want to refer to as a Muslim state is among the very few states in the north that has Christians as its deputy governor, Chief of Staff, Head of Service and other very senior government officials appointed by Gankwambo. This goes a long way to show that Ibrahim Dankwambo, as governor of the state is a man beyond primordial considerations and father to all.

To cater for the socio-political needs of those thronging into Gombe for socio-economic activities or to settle down, the governor has built a world class International Event Centre that could host conferences, rallies, shows and other fun activities. There is also a sprawling Petrol Tankers Parking Bay with needed facilities that could conveniently take 300 tankers built by Ibrahim Dankwambo’s administration so as to curb the menace and danger the disorderly parking of trailers on the streets pose to residents.

As a man who has attained the peak of education himself, Dankwambo knows that the best way to liberate humanity is to get as many indigenes educated. This is the reason one will hardly find almajiri children on the streets with bowls in their hands begging for crumbs like it is commonly found in States in the region. In Gombe State where the governor has not only provided many new schools but has also renovated/reconstructed many more just to ensure that as many children as possible are given the opportunity to learn in conducive environments, a high number of the children are in school.

There are state-built almajiri schools just like there are conventional schools dotting every nook and cranny of the entire Gombe landscape. What is more? While pupils/students of almost all other states in Nigeria still have to grapple with the misfortune of learning under trees and on the floor without writing materials, the schools in Gombe are well equipped with modern facilities like e-learning centres, e-libraries, ICT centres, laboratories, expansive classes, furniture, soothing ambience, well-motivated staff etc all of which have seen the state improve tremendously in external exams its students write.

For example, at Doma Government Girls Secondary School, the students there scored 100% in Chemistry, Physics, Food and Nutrition, Geography, History, and Office Practice in the 2015 WAEC examinations. Is it not also interesting that in a State like Gombe, students of the same school scored high in both Islamic Religious Knowledge and Christian Religious Knowledge just like it recorded impressive grades in all the other subjects the students sat for that year?  While one admits that there is still room for improvement, Dankwambo, no doubt, has put the state on the upward movement above its neighbours.

His incurable commitment to education has seen the governor establish several tertiary and specialized institutions to cater for the higher education needs of the people. Among such institutions are the Gombe State College of Education, Billiri, Gombe State College of Legal and Islamic Studies, Nafada, Gombe State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Dukku, Gombe State University of Medical Colleges etc

As part of its industrialization process, the Dankwambo administration paid a counterpart funding of N500,000,000.00 to enable the state get a loan of N1bn for the establishment of the Gombe Groundnut Processing Mill which has formally employed about 4,600 people, 326 heavy duty machines milling 150 tons of groundnut, 80 tons of groundnut oil and 70 tons of groundnut cake respectively per day.

In addition, the State’s irrigation farming project located at Mangoro Kaba in the Garu District of Nafada Local Government Area, a border and remote village between Gombe and Yobe States, is a copious testimony to Dankwambo’s commitment to agriculture and the fact that the governor has deliberately spread state presence to even the remotest parts of Gombe State.

It is the same thing with one of the biggest cattle markets in Nigeria, the Kuri cattle market in Yalmatu/Deba LG. Cattle are usually loaded from here to several parts of the country. The state government intervention in that market which includes massive erosion control measures, expansive fencing, provision of security and a link bridge between that very remote area of Gombe and the rest of Nigeria has greatly improved business activities which was experiencing a lull due to lack of access, erosion and insecurity. The days when trailer loads of cattle used to fall with its attendant consequences on the people of the area due to the absence of a bridge, cattle rustling and other misfortunes that used to befall the herdsmen are over.

The health sector is another area the Gombe helmsman has made his indlible mark. Following the need to drastically cut down the infant and maternal mortality rates in the state, Dankwambo has established a new and well-equipped Mother & Child Hospital which has been completed and awaiting commissioning, to cater for the special needs of women and children at delivery and afterwards.

Kaltungo LGA is home to some species of venomous snakes which have claimed the lives of residents in the past. In order to stem the ugly tide, Dankwambo showed the humane part of him when he braved the odds and established yet another specialist hospital also in that remote area, this time, the Snake Bite Treatment and Research Centre. Patients are brought in from areas even as far as Cameroon for treatment. Since then, snake bite incidents and fatalities from them have reduced almost to the point of non-occurrence as the Centre also carries out research whose results have helped to control activities of the venomous reptiles.

The most surprising of all these is that Dankwambo has been able to achieve all this despite being the state with the least allocation in the whole federation. For example, while Lagos got a total of N178,549,361,363.13 as federal allocation between May 2015 and June 206, Akwa Ibom got N173,902,779,602.26, Delta N144,706,571,893.61, Kano N117,852,408,096.50, Bayelsa N95,408,284,755.19, Kaduna N83,447,953,776.39, Imo N71,694,047,410.89, Kogi N67,200,907,459.88 etc, Gombe got a meager N49,802,580,045.16 which is the lowest among the 36 states, yet, Dankwambo has shown dogged shrewdness in the judicious management of very scarce resources to achieve the much he has been able to achieve for his people.

It is for reasons of the foregoing that many now consider Gombe a miracle and are wishing Dankwambo could deploy the same expertise at a higher level, for, in their thinking, if he could perform this miracle in Gombe, what then will he not do when given a higher platform with more resources to serve?

To cap it all, in this era where governors seem to have found it convenient to owe workers their salaries under one excuse or the other, Gombe, the least federal allocation beneficiary has and keeps paying its workers up to date!

The simple lesson from Gombe is this: if Gombe can work, it means Nigeria can also work. All we need are selfless and inspired leaders like Dr Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo to take up the mantle and lead Nigeria out of wilderness to the Promised Land, for if he could do all this when the wood is dry, what will he not do when it is green?

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