Opinion: Gov. Dakwambo and the burdern of leadership

by Junaidu Usman Abubakar

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 I make bold to say that, so far, the Governor has not been wasting the resources of the state – be it financial, natural, human or otherwise. Though the government has done so much, there is still room and need for improvement. The State government can only do so much.

The process of re-inventing Gombe State is still a green, on-going process which just began some time ago. Fast-forwarding or trying to derail the process will only be to the detriment of the State and its people who have been, so far, supportive of the Governor and his policies.

Anyone reading the Governor’s body language and gauging his mood will see that he is one man determined to provide the people with the dividends of democracy.

I make bold to say that, so far, the Governor has not been wasting the resources of the state – be it financial, natural, human or otherwise. Though the government has done so much, there is still room and need for improvement. The State government can only do so much.

The Federal Government secretariat, which is a working environment, should be made available to all the states. Also, spread in development should be encouraged, so that everybody can feel the impact of being one nation, and having one goal. For government to function, it requires certain things; basic ingredients, to be provided. If the Federal Government is bringing its offices to the State, Federal offices are required. But if they don’t have a secretariat, there will be too much pressure on the few houses that are around and costs will be inflated. Basic facilities such as water supply, access roads and a Federal Secretariat should be made available for the effective functioning of every government. Therefore, the Federal Government must spread infrastructures across all states of the Federation, so as to give every Nigerian state a sense of belonging.

Within the first two years of his administration, the Governor ensured the construction and completion of the 54-killometer Kanawa-Kuri-Jorogutel Road with some connecting access roads linking to the most fertile parts of the State (in terms of agriculture and other resources). It was considered a priority projects by the state government, despite the fact that it is a Federal road. Today, the state government is awaiting N620bn refund from the Federal Government. This is beside other 116 roads, of which some have been completed and others are nearing completion.

Besides the erection of more than 35 model schools (both secondary and primary) within the 11 local governments, the governor also became the first of all those who have governed the State to begin the visitation and inspection of primary schools at intervals.

On Friday, July 29, 2013, Governor Dankwambo unveiled 200 mini-brand cabs fuel-efficient cabs, 1100 tri-cycles (Keke NAPEP, to be given to people in the State) and 80 hummer buses (for the Gombe State Transport Service, through the Ministry of Finance), 220 brand new Marcy-Ferguson tractors (directly purchased by the State government), to be given to the people on loan-basis, for commercial purposes. The mini-cabs are highly fuel-efficient (three gallons of fuel will suffice for a trip 600km) and are on ground to be distributed by the Gombe State Leasing Company. The Governor, evidently, comes to the rescue of those who are enterprising and willing to contribute their quota to the economy by giving them a starting point which will make them independent in the long-run.

The Governor also established a new parastatal in the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agricultural Mechanisation Agency, which is to see and oversee all the farming machineries to be distributed to the farmers in the State. The tractors, purchased directly by the State government, are from one of the best brands in the world. They will be distributed to those who can afford them, at a highly subsidised rate (each was purchased at the cost of N3.5m). The others will be hired out to the farmers who cannot afford them, by the Agency.

Those who are castigating the government because it does not operate by the share-the-money policy will only, in the long run, have themselves to blame. It will be more profitable for them to learn a skill through one of the many avenues which the State government has made available, or better still, try to get some better education. Better still, they should begin farming, with the equipment made available by the State government. No reasonable governor will disburse and blow away the state’s financial resources to the four winds, his friends and cronies, when the people are yet to get the upliftment they desired when they voted him into power.

Dankwambo has proved to be a reasonable governor, one who has not deemed it fit to bring in his friends into government. Rather, he has aligned with the institutions in the State to bring government closer to the people and give them reason to re-elect him at the poll. It will be easier for Dankwambo to give some form of economic advantage to some individuals than give them money outright. With a skill, you can be self-sufficient tomorrow, but with money doled out to you at every turn, you can only ask for more tomorrow.

So far, his watch-word has been sacrifice, sacrifice and more sacrifice. He has also led by example, at every turn of the way. More so, he has led by example, giving his subordinates no option but to follow suite. But no good leader ever walks alone. Governor Dankwambo has been discrete enough to surround himself with a team of able men, one of whom is the Commissioner for Finance Alhaji Mohammed Hassan, who once worked under the current Minister of Finance, in the Debt Management Office. He was one of those who spear-headed Nigeria’s debts buy-back from the Paris Club and the World Bank, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure. Another young man is the Managing Director of the newly created Gombe State Leasing Company, Mallam Haruna Abdullahi.

He has brought his vast experience which he got in part from working with the head office of the Organisation of Oil producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The leasing company is responsible for the distribution of more than 250 Ford cars on loan to government workers and other individuals in the State. Another man who is helping to drive the revolution in the State is Mallam Kabir Tsoho, who was once a senior officer with the Federal Ministry of Finance. Now a senior special assistant to the Governor on the Gombe State Debt Management Office, he has combined his expertise with other members of the Governor’s team to ensure that all goes well. This is further proof that Governor Dankwambo has never operated in isolation.

Just to recall, besides increasing the salaries of all tiers of government in the state, Governor Dankwambo has never relented in his efforts of paying the civil servants in the State on time, whether the Federal Government sends allocation or not. All these, however, would not have been done without huge help from the government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

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Read this article in the Leadership Newspapers
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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