The political atmosphere is getting charged by the day as we inch closer to the much awaited 2019 poll.
Already, politicians are engaging in alignment and realignment, forming pacts and bloc and engaging in subtle permutations to either retain or clinch power.
In Gombe State where the incumbent PDP Hassan Dankwambo is serving his second and final term, some notable members of the All Progressives Congress-APC- are leaving nothing to chance in their avowed commitment to wrestle power from the PDP.
Although quite a handful of them have indicated interest, one man who stands out and is determined to take over from Dankwambo and ultimately rewrite the history of Gombe State is Muhammad Jibrim Barde.
He doesn’t see himself as a politician, but he realised that to make significant impacts in the lives of Gombe people, he needs political power and so Barde, an accomplished banker and a businessman; a goal-getter, ambitious, daring but not a desperate man, is seeking to succeed Dankwambo.
This man of great and uncommon trait is set to take Gombe State to a new level of governance as he has equipped himself.
He understands the peculiar needs of his people as he always feels their pulse. He is unhappy that his people have not gotten the best deal in the incumbent administration.
All these have already spurred Barde to painstakingly build a blueprint that would guide his affairs in the state if elected.
Unlike some members of the political class who are known for many promises with no intention to fulfill them, Barde has modestly promised just three things to the good people of Gombe State.
Firstly, to be fair to all; keep Gombe’s trust intact and to be honest in all his dealings.
It is however, important to note that there is really no evidence indicating that leaders are innately born. While some people have more of a predisposed personality, a few can become great leaders with adequate determination, self-reflection, open mindedness, experience and knowledge.
From health to education, from infrastructural development to reinventing commerce that the state was known for and diversifying the economy of the state with special focus on agriculture and the attraction of investors that would make the state a beehive of activities, Barde has all planned strategies intact ready for work.
He is not the richest man in the state but he has supported the party and its activities over the years. As modest as he is, he likes to be anonymous.
As a loyal party man and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, he has contributed financially to its sustenance.
Armed with an M.sc in Risk Management from the NYU Leonard N. Stern Business School, New York University; an MBA from the Imperial College London, a Diploma in General Management from Harvard University and a postgraduate diploma in Financial Management from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Barde is educationally prepared for the uphill task of governance.
Barde who has a rich experience in banking and management having previously held positions in Union Bank of Nigeria and Citigroup N.A and Barclays Bank in four countries across Africa and Europe,earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Abuja.
Prior to joining SunTrust, he was an Executive Director on the Board of Aso Savings and Loans Plc., and a former Group Head responsible for growing Bond Bank’s (now Skye Bank Plc.) business in Abuja and the northern region.
He has served on various boards, and was at a time, the National Deputy President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria; a director of Premium Pensions Limited; Director, Federal Housing Authority Technical Board and a member of the Presidential Committee on Affordable Housing.
Also, Barde served as the Chairman, Board of Directors of the Gombe Jewel Microfinance Bank Limited. He left SunTrust Bank as the Chief Executive Officer to pursue his political dream of liberating Gombe people from the shackles of poverty and under-development.
Dan Barde as he is popularly called, has a very clear vision for the gargantuan task ahead, and he needs and solicits humbly the support of the people, party leaders and stakeholders in the state.
He wants to ensure that the votes that would make him the governor should come across board and not just from APC members only. Given his overriding interest in the party, he is certain to secure his party’s nomination as candidate. Despite being an opposition party in the state, he is confident that the future belongs to the APC as from 2019.
According to him, his party’s manifesto resonates with the people’s ideology and styles. He has carefully identified the issues that must be addressed before the state can take her rightful place in the comity of states. The humble strategist said he would also focus on infrastructural development, human capital enhancement, job creation among others.
“My vision is to unify everyone in the state under a common purpose. My team and I would transform the various elements of the system, whether it is infrastructure, environment, power, economy or others. It is also our target to create millions of jobs for our youths and women.”
Barde has always harped on the need for human capital development, believing that without adequate human capital development, infrastructure projects will not work. So, he has long stood on the platform that empowering citizens with the right tools to get the job done should be a priority for us as a party.
He would prioritise the welfare of women and children by strengthening access to quality primary health care, supporting women in their various businesses with access to capital to grow, as well as providing political support for the improvement of women participation in appointive and elective positions.
Dan Barde recently bemoaned the fact that residents of the state spend not less than N5billion annually to buy water as a result of the failure of the state government to live up to expectations in maintaining the dam constructed in the state.
According to him, the deception of the government has led to the total collapse of infrastructures, assuring Gombe people that if elected, he will dedicate himself to the development of the state, adding that at the moment, all development indices you can think of have collapsed.
According to him, “I have reached the pinnacle of my career as a banker, and it is time I gave back to the society, and the only way I can do that is to take the position of leadership. I have a clear vision of empowering the youths, women and impact the lives of our people positively.
“I want to demonstrate that governance can be done with a high corporate responsibility. The PDP administration is full of deception. It is a time bomb waiting to explode. When you have young and energetic youths who are actually jobless, it is a fertile ground for a lot of negative things to happen. We need to harness these God-given resources and that is why I have decided to join the race.
“Our people have no access to potable water, and it wouldn’t take the state government anything to maintain the dam that was constructed. It is heart-aching to know that Gombe metropolis spends N5 billion annually just to buy water.
“Our education system has completely collapsed. Some of the children do not have classes, rather, they study under trees. The hygiene is below human standard. Our hospitals are just mere mortuaries. This is totally unacceptable given the huge amount of funds the state government receives.”
The people of Gombe believe that Barde would make a good leader. A good leader is the one with self-actualization. Self- actualisation is the highest form of human growth; it triggers the full functioning of human mind.
At different foray, Barde has displayed that he would be objective. He is ready to listen to people’s opinion. According to him, a good political leader does not take what is similar to his views as fact and base his decisions on that. He uses reliable and unfiltered information to make judgments and to come up with resolutions. In other words, he stands above beyond his beliefs to observe events objectively while the public fails to do so. In addition, he does not suffer from a self-serving bias.
His personal beliefs become his private matters and he learns to leave them behind the door once he steps into any leadership role. In other words, his belief expands as it includes everyone’s beliefs.
From my interactions with him, Dan Barde does not enjoy seeking fame and attention. He moves above and beyond any egoistic and primitive need for power, attention or establishing his personal agenda and works with the intention for the good of all.
He is blunt and does not believe in selling lies in the name of propaganda. The man we know as uncommon scholar is not going to hide the truth for the sake of looking good. He once told journalists: “I am not going to tell you anything but take a trip to Gombe State independently. Beyond the cosmetics of the metropolis, visit hospitals (health centres), schools, drive through roads in the 11 local government areas and publish your findings.”
–Jonathan writes from Gombe
A good leader says it as it is even if it feels uncomfortable for many to hear it. He is not a people pleaser in a sense that he would say anything to please others even if that means manipulating or misguiding the public. It takes a lot of courage to do this and a good leader has that courage. That’s what Barde stands for!
Barde would not make idealistic promises but realistic ones. He makes a sustainable promise and he is a man of his words…he will keep it!
He is a thinker on the global scale but acts locally. He realizes that in order for people to live in prosperity as a powerful and blessed state, reasonable steps need to be taken to make sure others achieve the same goals. Brade is aware that with power comes responsibility, and that now, more than ever, through technology, we are becoming more and more close and inner-related, globally.
Justice, a core media personality and a PR expert writes from Gombe
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