Government world over is a subject of accountability. When a government makes proper accountability a legacy with a view to ensuring that the people get value for the resources spent while in office, it becomes a foundation for subsequent administrations to succeed.
In Gombe State, the history of legacy building has become intrinsical of governance as successive governments had made it an unassailable responsibility to see to it that the next administration does not get burdened to death by any means whatsoever. The present administration with all sense of caution has, in all directions, deviated from the norm of leaving behind legacy for the next administration through their misplaced spending that has shown that the people of Gombe have not gotten value for all the revenue collected in the last seven years.
The state government had reeled out the achievements of the Dankwambo-led administration, which included an upgrade of the 1500-bed Children & Women Hospital close to Id ground, construction of a dialysis center in Specialist Hospital Gombe, construction of the College of Nursing & Midwifery, Dukku, construction of a snake-bite treatment center in Kaltungo and the installation of 8 dialysis. Junaidu also said the government had rehabilitated pipelines to Kwami, constructed a dam at Boh, Shongom LGA. In the education sector, renovating more schools than constructing new schools. In the agricultural sector, the government boasts of procuring 250 tractors and the establishment of a non-functional micro finance bank within the last seven years for an agrarian state like Gombe.
It had also claimed to have up-graded the International Airport in Gombe. In addition, the government said it has constructed several roads within the state, built a N4 billion International Conference center as well as procured N4.4 billion hospital facilities, which lay waste at the warehouse. With the huge revenue collected from the federal account, Paris Club refund and IGR for seven years, the government could only claim the above achievements.
Without sounding immodest, the government has not given the good people of Gombe State the right value for their money within the last seven years. In addition to the revenue, the government has a huge debt burden of several billions of naira as domestic debts and millions of dollars as foreign.
As a matter of legacy, the people of Gombe must task the state government to be financially responsive for once by paying all their debts before folding the napkin of their debt-driven style of leadership in the state. With the N30 billion bonds secured, yearly average of N31 billion as FAAC disbursements to Gombe for seven years which gives at least N217 billion, the IGR and Paris Club refund, there has been an unprecedented neglect of infrastructure as evident in the Pantami stadium, International Airport, rural roads like those in Nafada axis of the state, hospitals and schools to mention but a few.
Unjustifiable borrowing, which is a characteristic of the Dankwambo administration and a proof that good leadership has lost its definition in Gombe State, has put the future of Gombe after Dankwambo in a very precarious situation that it would only take an administrative guru which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does not have in Nafada, little wonder everyone seems to be hearty All Progressives Congress (APC) members, to bounce Gombe back to become the jewel in the savannah in all sectors of governance in the state.
In 2016, according to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Gombe State received total FAAC allocations of 31.41 billion naira, while the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) stood at 3.57 billion naira to make total revenue of 34.98 billion. Similarly, in 2017, Gombe State received 31.23 billion naira and also the state government got 13.4 billion Paris Club refund. Despite similar allocations from 2011 and other IGR means of raking in more money the infrastructure that are on ground are not what the people expect to see.
Shockingly, in spite of the FAAC allocations to the state government, Gov Dankwambo on assumption of office secured N30 billion bonds in the name of the infrastructure that are either a proof of financial waste in large proportion or an evidence of a round peg in a square hole as far as governance is concerned in the state. Perhaps this is the reason Gov Dankwambo is seeking to impose Senator Nafada to become the next governor so that the debt status of the state will remain a mystery to the people. The governor knows that in a situation whereby Dr Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna had won the primary, it would have been difficult for JIG to be used as the governor’s stooge, in view of JIG’s impeccable character that has made him the Sardaunan Gombe and a vanguard of trust.
Furthermore, despite the constant FAAC allocations, Paris Club Refunds and other IGR sources of revenue collections, the state has a debt burden 63.89 billion naira in 2016 and 41.9 billion in 2017 as domestic debts while the foreign debt stands at 38.5 million dollars.
Hence, the people of Gombe State should as a matter of urgency see this as a wake-up call to demand thorough explanation and ultimately investigation so as to bring the government to account for their financial actions.
Muhammad Baba Gombe, writes from Gombe and can be reached via email@example.com
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