IT is not common practice to roll out the drums for an administration that has spent just one year in the saddle, yet where so many phenomenal achievements have been recorded, there is always an exception to every rule – written and unwritten.
My recent visit to Gombe State turned out to be a study in the art of governance, more so for a state that is second to the last on the table, in terms of resource allocation from the Federal Government. The visit afforded me the opportunity to appreciate how a prudent governor can change the fortune
s of his people for better, by utilizing available resources for developmental projects.
Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo clocked one year in office exactly on May 29, 2012, but Gombe State has continually witnessed tremendous improvement in the quality of life of its citizens. In what some analysts will call a “paradigm shift”, the Dankwambo administration on assumption of office ensured that he restored peace and orderliness in Gombe State.
Today, the hitherto restive state is enjoying unparalled peace and unity among its many diverse ethnic groups. People now walk along the streets without any fear of molestation, intimidation or harassment. Restive youths of the state no longer carry dangerous weapons, moving from one office to the other molesting innocent people and instilling fear in them.
In the educational sector, there is total overhaul as most of the primary and secondary schools are being rehabilitated as model schools. Part of the strategy adopted by the state government is to recruit qualified teachers to bring the teachers-students ratio to an acceptable limit. The administration has also gone a step further by rehabilitating the Gombe School of Basic Studies as well as College of Education Billiri.
In the area of infrastructural development, it is indeed marvelous that the Dankwambo administration has started construction of over 51 roads with a view to opening the nooks and crannies of the state to development. What is more gratifying is that the quality of the roads is adjudged the best in the entire North East Zone of the country. Simultaneously, the Gombe Water Reticulation and Expansion programme has commenced, and it is being extended to Kwami, Gadam and Bojude. There is also a plan to reticulate water from Balanga Dam and supply to southern Gombe and parts of Gombe central.
Equally, the administration has started a mini-power project in Balanga which would supply power to the new Gombe South Regional Water Supply Scheme. As the Dankwambo administration is poised to develop all sectors of the Gombe socio-economic life, they are also tackling gully erosion problems in the state; street lights are being installed along the newly constructed Gombe township roads, while the beautification project for Gombe Township has started in earnest.
Even as traffic lights are being installed at various intersections, the administration is tackling the issue of environmental cleanliness headlong by acquiring and deploying various types of environmental sanitation equipment to all parts of the state.
As the saying goes, “health is wealth” and in realisation of this maxim, the health sector has been given adequate attention under the Ibrahim Dankwambo administration. Even as the Gombe Specialist Hospital is being totally refurbished, the maternal mortality rate in the state has reduced significantly, while polio which has been ravaging most parts of Northern Nigeria has been completely eradicated in Gombe State. Towards ameliorating the burden of its citizens, his administration has been offering free medical services to pregnant women and new born babies from day one to five years old.
Housing for the citizens has also received the attention of the Dankwambo administration as 450 housing units are being constructed, while a state secretariat is underway.
On agriculture, which is the mainstay of Gombe State economy, the administration has embarked on the process of procuring over 20,000 metric tons of fertilizer for the state farmers, while 35 new tractors have been ordered from Pakistan, and another 25 tractors refurbished for use of the farmers.
Further to delivering democracy dividends to its citizens, the state government has procured and distributed transformers for the electrification of various communities, earth moving equipment for construction of roads, earth dams and such like projects in the rural areas. This is to guarantee that the urban and rural areas are being developed simultaneously.
On youths empowerment, the state government has designed a programme in which over 1200 restive youths are being trained as marshals and wardens at the NYSC Orientation Camp Mallami Sidi, under a programme christened ‘Talba Youth Re-orientation and Rehabilitation Programme’. As the Commissioner for Information put it, “the success of this pilot scheme will see more youths trained in like manner”. He also revealed that 350 youths who had earlier been trained at the Skills Acquisition Centre would receive soft loans of N200, 000 per person to enable them start meaningful business.
What sets Gombe apart from other states is the ability of the administration to accomplish so much in one year, its meager resources notwithstanding.
Chukwudi Enekwechi, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja