The essence of being in power as an elected representative of the people is to improve the well-being of the people. However, it is the job of the people to hold the government accountable by measuring their policies and programs with the reality on ground because governance is about reality rather than sweet-talk and self-hyping publications.
In the light of the above, lies the strength of this article as it would measure the claims of the Gombe State government in terms of performance and the reality on ground using certain indices such as education, health, agriculture and poverty alleviation.
The Gov Dankwambo-led administration has made an anthem out of their plans for the education sector in Gombe State by reiterating at every medium that education is the first, second and third priority of the current administration. It has over time as part of their paltry performance in the sector, claimed to have renovated several schools and constructed few. Despite the huge money the state government claimed to have spent in the education sector, in some schools within Gombe Metropolis, students have no seats and have been forced to sit on the floor.
If the claim of the state government as regards their performance is true, then it is either that the government had lied about the huge money spent in the sector or there were elements of corruption by those in the education sector in the state. How can a state that has had such huge allocations and self-acclaimed transformation in the education sector by aides of Dankambo, be placed poorly on West African Examinations Council (WAEC) performance score card? For instance, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Gombe State has placed 34th respectively in what seems like a hat-trick in failure vis-à-vis WAEC performance?
This abysmally poor performance is a show that the claim of the government that huge sums have been spent in education is nothing but politics of deceit. If you spend such huge money in reality, then the WAEC performance would have reflected so. With such records, one would be left in plenty doubt that the N19 billion in 2018 budget for education would have no effect too.
In a similar development, the state government has been budgeting billions of naira yearly for the past seven and a half years to improve the wellbeing of the people of Gombe but the indices of poverty in the state is unmatchable. Today, most youths in the state have been rescued by the federal government social investment programme: N-power, which has been constantly paying N30, 000 to youths in the state and has reduced the poverty level of the state and averted the social unrest that would have resulted from the impoverishing programmes of the state government. Poverty is a denial of opportunities and choices and a violation of human self-worth. Within the last seven years and more, many indigenes of Gombe have been denied their choices and opportunities to live in a manner that shows human dignity like the case of Abba Muhammed. One would need to look at the United Nations’ Global Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index report of 2015 to appreciate the level of poverty under this current administration. The report puts Gombe State’s incidence of poverty at 76.9 per cent when the national average is pegged at 46.0 per cent. Three dimensions: education, health and living standards were used in measuring poverty in the state.
We need to drum it loud that not until the people at the grassroots feel the impact of governance, every achievement reeled out on the pages of newspaper would remain nothing but a mirage.
In the health sector, the state government claimed to have renovated and ungraded hospitals and healthcare centres yet indigenes of Gombe die yearly of Cholera without efforts by the state government to address that so it doesn’t become a yearly ritual of some sort whereby the good people of Gombe wait for diseases like Cholera and the likes to take their lives on a yearly basis. The free healthcare services that were reserved for children within the ages of 0-5 years and pregnant women have not been given due consideration and the people battle to pay for healthcare services, which have made some people to resort to traditional method of treating diseases that would have required highly technological treatment in hospitals.
In the agricultural sector, the state government claimed to have bought 250 tractors in seven years yet most of our farmers still rely on traditional methods for farming. This is one sector in which one would have expected the state government to invest because over 80 per cent of the populace is engaged by the agricultural sector.
Aside the federal government programmes which have made loans available to farmers as well as improved seedlings and other countless trainings on how to use pesticides, Gov Dankwambo’s government whose primary aim is to strengthen the comparative advantage of Gombe in agriculture to fast-track developments from all sides has yet to initiate effective agricultural programmes to complement the federal government’s efforts in that regard.
Using what is obtainable on ground in terms of grassroots effect of governance in Gombe State and the available statistics of poverty and massive infrastructural decay, the government of the day has everything in mismanagement of resources and misplacement of priorities.
It is obvious that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government in the state has not lived up-to expectations as they have neither changed the fortunes of the state in terms of meaningful human capital development indices nor have they provided answers to propel a new course of governance that would give the good people of the state the worth of politics. What have the people really gained from the current administration in Gombe State if I may ask?
Abubakar writes from Gombe and can be reached via email@example.com