Dr. Sani Jauro is a seasoned administrator and a reputable civil servant who rose through the ranks to become Permanent Secretary in Gombe State where he doubles as Principal Private Secretary to Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo. In this interview with BEATRICE GONDYI, he speaks on how Dankwambo is repositioning Gombe State.
You have been working closely with Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo. 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 Ibrahi m Hassan Dankwambo is to pinpoint at 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 link between his achievements and his 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 intelligence. Naturally his background play a key role. This is a man who is well read, with a degree in accounting, masters 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, the accountant general of the Nigerian federation. An indicator of his Sal and 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 therefrom. 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.
So humble is the man that he is even shy to market those phenomenal achievements, asmany others would have done. He drives satisfaction in discharging his covenant with the good people of Gombe, and it is for that reason the people have vowed to stick with him. The people of Gombe are politically very sophisticated, and they have an uncommon ability to always sieve the grain from the chaff.
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 even 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 a 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. He is an extra ordinary person, and I am being very honest with you and saying this with the highest sense of responsibility.
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.
You have worked, as a very senior civil servant, with different Governors. What, in your opinion, makes Dankwambo different?
Well, it is not actually in my character to be comparing my superiorsor the people I have worked with in that capacity. I don’t believe it is the right thing to do. No two people are the same. God has created us differently. By talking about the leaders I have worked with inthe past, my intention could be misconstrued. And don’t forget, I am not a politician. I therefore leave that to politicians.
Alright, let’s narrow it down to incumbent Governor Dankwambo.
Ordinarily, the common man on the streets of Gombe should have been the one telling you about these qualities. And of course most of them always have one positive thing or the other to say about Governor Dankwambo. The overwhelming consensus is that Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo is exceptional, he is exceptionally humble, exceptionally tolerant, exceptionally intelligent, exceptionally enduring, and exceptionally committed to the objectives and principles of state policies as enshrined in the constitution.
He is a man that understands the system very well, who knows the financial system very well and Nigerians are seeing it in practice; in the way and manner he has been able to utilize very scarce and minimal resources to achieve the best and the most. Governor Dankwambo thinks in a very scientific way and that is why he has always been successful.
Looking ahead, what legacies do you think Governor Dankwambo will bequeath to Gombawa?
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.
He is indeed a leader 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 North east. The insurgency has engulfed almost the whole of the north east, yet Gombe has been peaceful under his watch.
There has never been an inch of Gombe that has being occupied by theinsurgents, and this is all attributed to his humane policies; hiscreation 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 hisfirst, second and third priority. He succeeded in walking the talk bymassively transforming the educational system, reducing the number of pupils per class, improving the teacher-student ratio, and theatmosphere 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 limitedresources, 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 alsoestablished another University of Technology, and let’s not forget,all the project executed by the previous administrations are beingmaintained by the governor. He did not neglect the projects of theprevious administrations, he consolidated on all the projects. Forexample, he did not let the university to crash.
In fact he built thefaculty 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, instate
of accounting all this are coming up, he also built complete School of
Nursing and midwifery in Dukku, it is a complete School, hundred
percent, all the facilities required are put in place.
This kind of foresight, this kind of commitments can only be found in
a rare individuals and in Gombe state we are so lucky to be blessed
with this very rare individual in the person of Governor Dankwambo. We
thank God that we the people of Gombe state are blessed. Let me tell
you there is no society on earth that has ever grown beyond the
quality of its education. So anybody that is really committed to
developing his people must invest heavily in education and that is
exactly what Governor Dankwambo did and it is only a committed leader
who loves his people that can do this.
Of course, he has made the accounting profession very proud. He has
made the people of Gombe very proud. May be somebody may say this is
what is expected of a person of his calibre, remember I told you about
his rich professional and academics qualifications, forgetting to add
that he is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a
fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, a fellow of
the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. The Gombe Governor is
also a fellow of the Nigeria Economics Society. These are things that
are not just for free. One has to sit for examination and pass through
stages before earning them.
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.
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