Dr. Sani Jauro is a seasoned administrator, a reputable civil servant, who rose through the ranks to position of Permanent Secretary in Gombe State. He also doubles as Principal Private Secretary to Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State. In this encounter, he narrates some of the exceptional qualities of Governor Dankwambo and why the governor’s name will forever remain in the hearts of Gwambawa (people of Gombe) and other Nigerians.
You have been working closely with Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State for some time now. How will you describe the man?
This is a very big question, and I can only attempt to give you an answer. Perhaps the best way I can describe Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo is to pinpoint 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.
Though located in the north-eastern plank of Nigeria, which is seen largely as restive, Gombe is largely peaceful owing to the rare qualities of its leader, who has been able to bring together its diverse people; making them reap bountifully from their heterogeneity. In Gombe today, very much unlike what obtains in most parts of the country, Muslims and Christians co-exist peacefully, and everyone feels a sense of belonging. And all well-meaning people are lending their hands to the unprecedented development drive of the governor, thereby contributing in making Dankwambo the exceptional leader that he has proven to be.
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 intelligent. Naturally his background plays a key role. This is
a man who is well read, with a degree in accounting, master’s 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, that 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.
Somebody driven by money and personal aggrandizement will rather stay in that high office and continue enjoying the perks there from. But not Dankwambo. He desired to serve his people; to take Gombe a notch higher, and today, he is able to record achievements that are unprecedented in our history.
You have harped so much on Governor Dankwambo’s humility, but there are insinuations that he is not approachable. What do you say to that?
As you very well know, I am not a politician, and I am not in the least engaging in politics by telling you about some of these qualities. But I want you to gauge the attitude of many leaders in other states, who have spent seven years in power. In the case of Governor Dankwambo, he is just being himself by remaining humble, level headed, tolerant and respectful of everybody. Let me give you an example. 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 the 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 quit. Only those of us that are very close to him will discern that he was crossed but you will never hear him bark.
However good one might be, there are
people who will always dislike or disagree with him; it is what psychologists will call individual differences. Where majority see light, there are always a tiny minority who will insist it is darkness. 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.
Looking ahead, what legacies do you think Governor Dankwambo will bequeath to his people?
The good people of Gombe will remember Governor Dankwambo for all the qualities I have mentioned to you. We will remember him for his outstanding ingenuity in financial management. He will be remembered for adding value to the system, in a way and manner that was never done before, we will remember him for his respect for the human person. We will remember him for his deep level of tolerance and for his good counsel all the time. We will remember him for his exceptional leadership qualities and we can only pray to have somebody like him; somebody with a very good foresight, somebody that is focused, somebody that knows what would be done to move the economy or the state forward, and somebody that is committed to implementing those ideas that can move the state forward, and he has done it we have seen it in the state, you can see the transformation, you can see the growth, the phenomenal increase in the purchasing powers of the ordinary farmer.
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 Northeast. The insurgency has engulfed almost the whole of the Northeast, yet Gombe has been peaceful under his watch.
There has never been an inch of Gombe that has being occupied by the insurgents, and this is all attributed to his humane policies; his creation of employment for the people; his pronouncements on issues, and generally on what he has said and how he handles the people. It can also be seen in how he has been managing his relationship with the security agencies and how he brings out the best in the people, making them his great partners in the enthronement of peace and economic prosperity
of the state. We will remember Governor Dankwambo for all these rare virtues
and continue to pray that the next person that will come would consolidate on these achievements and move the state forward.
In seven years of the Dankwambo Administration, name one sector that you will forever remember him for?
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. For example, he did not let the university to crash. In fact he built the faculty of medicine and pharmaceutical sciences and also established a new university of science and technology, he established the new college of legal
and Islamic studies, the college of education, Billiri, Gombe State polytechnic in Bajoga and is also establishing more higher institutions like the College of Agriculture which is coming up, the college of Journalism, the institute of sport, institute of accounting all these are coming up, he also built complete School of Nursing and mid-wifery in Dukku, it is a complete School, hundred percent, all the facilities required are put in place.
Anything more as a parting shot?
The good thing is that even other Nigerians believe Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo has performed exceptionally well and our prayer is for the Lord to continue to bless, protect and uplift him. 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.