UMAR - WHY GOVERNOR DANKWANBO WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT - Soul 2 Soul Mates Blog

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1/14/2018

UMAR - WHY GOVERNOR DANKWANBO WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT

UMAR - WHY GOVERNOR DANKWANBO WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT
Honourable Umar Suleiman is the Gombe State Commissioner for Information. He speaks with ABIODUN
AWOLAJA on the issues in Gombe politics, Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo’s presidential ambition and sundry issues. Excerpts:
GOMBE is one of the two PDP states in the North. With Governor Ibrahim Dakwambo’s performance, can PDP still retain the state in 2019?
The answer is yes. To me, there is no opposition in Gombe State. Look at the level of political activities that took place in 2011, and compare the margin of the votes given to the PDP and the opposition parties in the state. PDP is the ruling party in Gombe and from the way things are going, I do not think there will be any opposition that can overpower us, because we are united. We are one PDP and all members of the party are willing to ensure that we win the next election come 2019. If you look at the way APC members are doing things in Gombe, you will understand that they are not in any way united. They are fighting one another and that makes them to be in disarray. And how can a party that is in disarray be able to face the ruling party?  Although they have the Federal Government,  I do not think there is anything they can do at the state level,  because most of those in APC today were former PDP members. In fact, some of them could not add any value when they were still in the PDP.  At the end of the day, they just moved out of the party. So, there is nothing to fear. I don’t think they are going to win in 2019. It will never happen in Gombe.

The Buhari administration has one year left, what is your assessment of the administration?
In some areas, I can attest to the fact that it has done well, but it needs to  put in more efforts in other areas. Actually, more needs to be done in the area of economic revival of the country. The government needs to revive the economy. The economic team should be reselected because the economy is sick and something needs to be done. But in terms of safety, we that are indigenes of the northern states are happy with the Federal Government with regard to the security interventions and establishment of the North East Development Commission. These are very good initiatives that were embarked upon by the present administration.
But the government needs to do more work because so many things are not working to expectations of the people. In some cases, it’s like the All Progressives Congress (APC) has failed Nigeria and the common man. After security, what next do we need to address? We need to address the issue of hunger and diseases. These are some of the issues bothering Nigerians across the states. People hardly take three square meals because of the high cost of food. So, the government needs to do something either by importing to support the locally produced foodstuffs or any other means of ensuring adequate food in the society.



Governor Dakwambo recently promised to pay the proposed N56,000 minimum wage if approved by the Federal Government. Is this realistic, in view of the dwindling statutory allocations?
We all agree that, globally, there was an economic meltdown which eventually caused challenges, especially in African countries, and Nigeria in particular because of our sole dependence on oil. That is basically the cause of all the problems. But despite that, Ibrahim Dankwambo is a chartered accountant. He is someone that has the experience of serving in higher capacities. As a matter of fact, he served as the Accountant General of the Federation, with three different presidents. He worked with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan. Based on that, you would agree with me that this is someone that has a very good financial background and who can manage resources to achieve the desired goals and objectives of each and every state.
As I am talking to you now, we have paid workers’ salaries up to date. The civil servants are paid as and when due. He doesn’t owe anyone. We are in January now and December salary has already been paid; it was paid even before it was due. That is because of the talent and experience of prudent management of resources that the  governor is endowed with. God has given him the opportunity and vast experience he has gathered over the years while serving in financial institutions and the financial sector. He is such a financially disciplined person and this factor has made it possible for him to ensure that the salaries of civil servants are paid timeously in Gombe State and even beyond that, to the extent of executing some viable projects in the state.
Can you tell us some the projects?
An example is the construction of the International Conference Centre. I just picked a woman from the airport on our way to Gombe City Centre. The befitting edifice was constructed by the present administration and gulped close to N5 billion. The state government has taken delivery of the project from the contractor after its successful completion. And the balance to pay the contractor is less than N200,000. It didn’t stop at that.
The major priority of this administration remains education. Number two,  education and number three, education. That is the major priority of this administration and that is why the governor has embarked on establishing higher institutions across the state in order to fill gaps. He established the College of Legal and Administrative Studies in Nafada, College of Nursing and Midwifery in Duku, College of Education in Ileye, and, to sum it all, the University of Science and Technology has just been established. I am sure that in the next couple of months, it will kick off and start admitting students because all the facilities are already on ground. The state just got the certificate from the National Universities Commission (NUC) but the structures and everything required were on ground even before even securing the certificate . So, you can see that this is a governor that has the people and the state at heart.
His experience and level of education is sterling, He has a Ph.D in Financial Accounting, Ph.D in Financial Management, and is one-time Accountant General of the state, three-time Accountant General of the Federation and one-time Accountant General of Africa. These have given him opportunities and the people of Gombe are tapping from the opportunities and his wealth of knowledge. Alhaji Ibrahim Dakwambo has been practicalising all that he studied while he has also taken advantage of all his educational qualifications to manage the state’s resources. If you look at the federal allocation that comes to the state, Gombe is the second to the last on the list of the states. The state’s allocation is about the least in the federation, but that hasn’t stopped from embarking on different projects. The governor has also constructed more than 500 kilometers of roads across the state capital alone, while it has connected many areas and states like Yola, Adamawa, Bauchi and Maiduguri. The governor has embarked on agricultural revolution in  Gombe State by supplying agricultural implements, farm inputs, training of farmers and assisting the farmers with loans. So many things have been achieved so far.
A group within the PDP is urging him to contest the 2019 presidential election, do you think he has what it takes to lead this nation?

The answer is a definite: yes.  Presently, what Nigeria needs is someone that has a good financial and management background. If we decide to elect someone without a solid financial background, it will be very difficult for the person to turn around the economy. It is just like what is happening now. The president, Muhammadu Buhari is someone that is committed. But so many things need to be done to ensure that the economy is revived. Unfortunately, the government is saying that we are out of recession, but go round the town with a questionnaire, and have interviews with the people around the country, you will see how people are suffering. A bag of rice is how much now? Same with a bag of beans. They (Federal Government) are emphasising farming now, but at the end of the day, how much is a bag of maize because what we are growing in the country is not sufficient to feed us. All the borders have been closed down, making the prices of available food items in the country to go up. This indirectly is affecting the masses, but if we want a leader that has a vision, a leader that has financial and economic background; it is someone like Ibrahim Dakwambo that we need to be put in place so that he can turn around the economy of the country.
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