15 July 2012

Nigeria: Dankwambo - On a Mission to Liberate Gombe People


At every critical stage of in human history, when the situation is dire and crisis has erupted in all facets of human endeavour and the people are seemingly caught up in a hopeless quagmire, a courageous and visionary leader suddenly emerges who takes timely, fortuitous and formidable steps to stem the tide of despair and despondency and take his people back on the path of renewal, redemption, socio-economic and political liberation.

In Great Britain during the calamitous days of the battle of Britain when the Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler had ordered an air and sea invasion of the British territory, all hope seem to have lost as waves and waves of missiles and strikers rained on London and other English cities and people were sent scampering for cover in air raid shelters and underground fortifications.

However, a resilient Winston Churchill, then British prime minister, rallied his people and provided bold and unwavering leadership which led to thwarting of the ill fated invasion. Also in the U.S after the debacle of the pearl harbour invasion, U.S president, Franklin Roosevelt stood firm and fought off the Japanese invaders leading to the victory of the U.S in the Pacific Ocean in 1945.

Coming back home, Gombe state is one state that has witnessed a high level of unemployment, underdevelopment, poverty, decay of infrastructure, political thuggery and retarded socio-economic progress since it was created in 1996. Successive administrations have failed to provide succor for the people and rather than take proactive step to lift the people's woeful condition, past leaders only worsen their plight and many were left with the impression that this pitiful condition might last 'ad infinitum'.

However during the last 2011 general election, Ibrahim Dankwambo, the "Talban Gombe" who was long before venturing into politics was deeply involved in developmental efforts geared towards adding meaningful values to the people of Gombe, emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP on a mission to revamp the economy, repair dilapidated infrastructure, create massive employment, curtail political thuggery and build brand new schools, health centres and boost small scale industries.

The people of Gombe state massively voted for this young, articulate and prudent accountant who held out hope in the sea of massive hopelessness, decay and despondency that prevailed throughout the state.

Gombawa felt that somehow a liberator had come to rescue them from dwindling fortunes and move the state on a sure path to political stability, economic prosperity and infrastructure modernisation.

So in their hundreds of thousands, the people trooped out to cast their vote for Dankwambo and as fate and providence would have it, he won overwhelmingly and was sworn in as the 3rd civilian Governor of Gombe state on the 29th of may, 2011.

When Governor Dankwambo took over power, he did not move in and start work in a haphazard and zig-zag manner devoid of planning and strategy but rather embarked upon a calculated and surefooted study of the political, economic, industrial and infrastructural dynamics of the state pinpointing areas of concentration and areas that needed critical intervention and the most deprived and most neglected urban and rural areas, that have never seen governmental intervention since the last 50 years, and these were achieved through the sector-based committee constituted earier by Talba administration.

Most of the infrastructure like roads, bridges, dams, etc were either dilapidated or at one stage of disrepair, construction or the other. Having completed a detailed study of what needed to be done to revamp the state's economy; and published a strategic master plan to lift the state from its doldrums, Gov. Dankwambo and his team made up of resourceful commissioners, special advisers and sector-based committee of interlectuals moved swiftly into action, allocating funds to contractors to carry out road construction, building of health centres, classroom blocks, culverts, dams, bridges, and those projects were under the supervisory jurisdiction of eagle eyed government officials who monitored the execution of such projects from the scratch.

If there was any deviation or laxity on the part of the contractors or they were found wanting for one thing or the other, they would either be sanctioned or made to refund the monies earlier collected. This strict regime of monitoring projects by the Gombe administration led to a situation where projects were completed on time and in accordance with specification and condition envisaged in the contracts.

To this extent Gombe has witnessed a massive transformation from a rear backwater state lacking in infrastructure and economic development into a major player in the nation's political and socio-economic arena with sparkling new model schools of international standard, state of the art health centres, hundreds of kilometres of well designed and qualitative macadized roads, strategic roadmap on small and medium scale industries, an improved security situation with patrol vehicles donated and other security gadgets to the security agencies, hundreds of tractors bought to boost agricultural production together with subsidised fertilizer sold to thousands of farmers in Gombe state.

In the area of transportation, a marshal plan was designed to revive the sector, especially to curtail the effect of subsidy removal to aid movement within the urban and rural areas.

One billion naira low interest loans from the bank of industry(BOI) were provided to youths, women and widows to aid them in their various trade, while the aged were place on monthly allowances per month each. Thousands of qualified applicants were employed in the state public service to boost employment in the state.

In the area of education, an e-scholarship and bursary awards procedure have been instituted to aid tertiary students in the state and federal institution within and outside Gombe.

Kera and Effiong wrote in from Abuja

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