GOMBE: DAKWAMBO'S FIRST STEPS
BY JOHN BULUS
Just about when his administration was being criticised for a slow start, Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo now seems to have burst out from starting line. Penultimate Tuesday, Dakwambo was the cynosure of all eyes as virtually all streams of society converged in the State capital to receive the ingredients of the new administration's working plans.
It was a gathering to receive the reports and recommendations of eleven different committees constitute by the governor to postulate the nucleus of a virile economy for the state. The committees' reports were to redefine the schemes of things and chart a new way forward for the state.
Of a truth, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the new superintendent of public affairs in Gombe state has got a task to move the state forward, at least in the next four years he will be in office. And to get it right, the governor has deemed it very necessary to take governance to the people to ascertain their core needs in many spheres of life. This, according to analysts, also means that the governor does not want to pursue white elephants projects that may not have direct bearing on the lives of the people.
Just when his administration has come under heavy criticisms that one month after its inauguration, the governor was yet to make public his roadmap to development, Dankwambo, in a manner, many say has shamed most critics of his government, took tangible steps towards achieving a boost in the economy of the state.
To achieve this, the governor on Monday, June 13 constituted eleven different committees to critically review the key sectors of the economy of the state, and so, the mammoth crowd and the sea of heads that converged at the new Banquet Hall of the Government House on Tuesday, July 5, were to be a part of an epochmaking, foundational steps to get the state out of the doldrums of poverty and economic strangulations through an ossified political system.
The governor had on his inauguration on May 29, 2011 said 'we would take adequate stock of the situation within the next four weeks, and we will come out and tell the good people of Gombe state clearly the positions of things'. And true to his words, his first four weeks in office as governor climaxed with the setting up of the eleven different Special committees which submitted their reports last Tuesday.
The committees included Health, Education, Local Government, Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Mineral Developments, Agriculture, Revenue Generation, Youth Employment and Engagement, Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, Environment and Water Resources, Security, etcetera.
The members, Vanguard learnt included professors, technocrats and educationists whose pedigree was expectedly brought to bear in the onerous task of knitting concrete plans for the growth of the state. Again, their selection went beyond the ruling party's grip to include men and women of great resources.
Submitting their findings and recommendations, the Chairmen of the Committees took turns to intimate the governor the genesis of most economic problems in the state and the way forward.
For instance, the former Nigeria's Ambassador to Malaysia, Alhaj Yerima Abdulahi , Chairman of the Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Mineral Development Committee who extolled the economic potentials of the state also said 'Gombe State has one of the largest incidences of unemployed labour force which was estimated at 32.1 percent', submitting that ' the foregoing underscores the need for the Gombe State government to urgently initiate programmes and policies that will lift the state out of the doldrums of poverty and low standard of living'.
He however amongst other things recommended that the government 'needs to fine tune the current functions and organizational structures and staff positions of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Mineral Development as well as Gombe State Investment and Property Development Company and provide the necessary incentives/working tools for enhanced performance', adding that 'Government as a matter of urgent concern should formulate a policy on SMEs that should bring about the establishment of an Agency to harmonize all SMEs activities in the State and provide adequate land for such business'.
His Health counterpart, Professor Alhassan Yakubu, however, gave a startling revelation that the two institutes in the State Ministry of Health (school of Health Technology, Kaltungo and School of Nursing and Midwifery, Gombe) 'are without accreditation for the past 4 years due to not meeting the standards prescribed by the Regulatory Bodies of the schools.' He also said that 'staff mood is generally low and supervision is poor in many facilities which are generally understaffed'.
Enormous tasks ahead
Bearing in mind the enormous tasks ahead, the Governor, penultimate week embarked on an unscheduled visit to public Secondary Schools and Hospitals where he met dilapidated structures, promising to give the institutions a facelift.
Receiving the various reports, Governor Dankwambo said that the 'reports will serve as a beacon light and reference notes to the Government on future policies and programmes that will subsequently be implemented for the betterment of the state', stressing that 'the reports shall now be turned over to the 'Policy, Strategy and Coordination Committee', to synthesize and produce an Action Plan which is expected to highlight projects and programmes that are for execution by government in the immediate, shortterm and longterm periods within the context of time and limits of resources available to us'. He however said that the setting up of the committees does not in any way mean witch hunting anyone.
Dankwambo: 'Let me reiterate that the Committees are not probe panels and neither have they been set up to witchhunt anyone. All the issues that were discovered were as a result of neglect that has accumulated over the years'.
Indeed, with the latest developments, many have come to believe that the administration will meet the desire of the people in many ways.