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Published On: Mon, Jul 16th, 2018

Youths unemployment: Another time bomb waiting to explode

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Two decades of democracy in Gombe: Pains, gains, and fear

By Aminu A. Mohammed Gombe

Democracyis government of the people for the people by the people as conceptualized byAbraham Lincoln (1863).It means the citizens participating in the affairs of governance from formation to implementation of policy and programs for the sole aim is to bring governance closer to the people either in short, medium and long terms for prosperous future inclusive of constructive criticism and positive suggestions.

Without prejudice to the era of military junta in Nigeria, Gombe state was created on 1st October, 1996, by the late General Sani Abacha regime. This was after much relentless efforts by some of our respected elites-stakeholders. The creation of Gombe state culminated into higher aspirations for better welfare and development for its citizenry sides by sides with anticipated and unanticipated numerous challenges bedeviling and to later bedevils the younger state. Among the many challenges bedeviling the state were shortages of municipal portable water for human and agricultural use; human capacity and infrastructural development and later to be insecurity.

The first democratically elected governor,AlhajiAbubakar Hashidu prioritized the water project by contracting a reputable Pakistani construction firm Shoukat and Raza to handle the multi-billionaire Gombe regional water supply. Otherprojects carried out by the administration of Hashidu were the Gombe Media Complex; Gombe International Hotel; Legislators quarters; the state House of Assembly Complex; Dukku General Hospital etc. most of these construction works were handledby indigenous construction firms within the country and Gombe state in particular which help adequately in economic development and capacity building. Roadnetworks, were constructed by his regime. Among which were the notable 14km Tumfure to Liji dual carriageway which was a death trap and had killed and maimed many life. Also Kaltungo-Bohlalipido and Gombe –Abba-Hashidu-Malala roads were all recorded as Hashidu’s achievement.

But above all the Hashidu administration had its owned challenges among which were the platform he was elected as the governor. The All Peoples Party, APP, which place the state into disadvantage position in term of Federal Government vs. State Government politics while the central government was under the control of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, under the leadership of the ebora of owo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The regime of baba Iyabo was characterized by contempt for the rule of law. The party differences between the state and the federal level adversely that affected the money allocation coming into Gombe state from the Federation Account Allocations, FAAC. Other ills of Hashidu administration was the too much number of psychofans politicians (dillalai) that surround the governments whose concern is mainly to get money without considering other objectives of state development this make Hashidu to stay reluctant ant without adequately making projects follow up for quality and need satisfaction for his imagination was that he will use money to win his second term. Then another major problem of Hashidu’s government was the way he tampered with the traditionalinstitutions without relevance stake holders’ consultation in the state, as he created more chiefs and emirates from the old Gombe emirate he also mistakenly created a number of Local Governments without adequate consideration of political history. This he may have done with good intention, but only prosperity will tell. While some people welcome the development, otherscriticized it at last. These and other reasons brought his regime to an end in 2003.

On 29th may, 2003, was dawn of a new era in which MuhammedDanjumaGoje, MDG, became the governor elect of the state as more democratic dividends were reaped by the citizens. He completed some of the previous administration projects not minding the political platforms of his predecessor and initiated new projects. His administration brought Gombe state university; lobbiedfor the federal university to be sited in the state.GombeInternational Airport and many othersinfrastructural development across the state. The Gombe International Airport at it early beehive of activities had received the former president Olusegun Obasanjo and it still receiving important dignitaries that fly into the state through it apart from serving as major revenue source to the state, the Airport alleviate the suffering of intended pilgrims as no more travelled through Yola International Airport in Adamawa State.

The healthcare delivery system also received the attention of MGD. All the existing general hospital in the state, the Specialist Hospital Gombe; General Hospitalal at Kalthungo; Biliri; Dukku; Bojoga; Kumo; Deba and Leprosy referral centre, Zambuk and the new General Hospital located at Kashere were all fully realized during his tenure and more importantly the standardization, completion and maintenance of Gombe regional water supply project.

Just as every society has her own ills, so does the administration of the MDG. The major challenge was that of insecurity. That is the political thugs that may have metamorphosed into a serious social vice in the state. These political thugs otherwise known as Kalare dwarf his achievements or nearly dwarf it. The formation or the origin of this phenomenon is still a mystery to many citizensof the state.Their original development however was the popular assertion that their development was mainly as the result rivalry force btetween Hashidu to depend his incumbency and serious struggle by Goje to depeat Murtala Aliyu Qs. And take over from Hashidu as Governor.

Above all what became a common knowledge was that their activities became so obvious during the regime of Danjuma Goje. While some believed the thugs were his creation. The question is if they were his creation why then did he form the Antikalare security outfit in the state? Or could it be that the monster could not be tamed, so the only alternative was to form the antidote? Nonetheless, their activities nearly if not dwarf the Danjuma Goje administration depending on where your perspective is coming from.

On 29th may, 2011, a former accountant general of the federation, a technocrat in the person of Ibrahim Hassan Dankwanbo, OON,PhD, became the 3rd civilian governor of the state. He initially had an overwhelming support and serious opposition. For those on the opposite side of the divide their reason was that during his tenure as the accountant general of the federation, he couldnot influenced employment of youth from the state into federal civil services particularly into the AGs office. He also lack adequate achievement in social responsibilities as well to do citizen from the state and couple with his exalted position in the federal government as the governor of Gombe Stategiven his pedigree as young and intellectually sound political economist and a professional accountant, there was high expectation by the citizens from him in terms of social welfare, open up opportunities and projects that have direct and short terms impacts to alleviate suffering.

On assumption intooffice, the Talban Gombe handled the insecurity in the state head on. Known for his zero tolerance for political thug, he rehabilitated the Kalere and jobless and other restive youth in the state by given them meaningful livelihood such as skill acquisition, training and engaging them as state traffic ward or environmental marshal across the eleven local government of the state. Indeed this was a good and commendable effort by his administration not minding the politics that maybe involved as no follow up and evaluation of their activities is been made.

The history of Governor Dnkwambo(Mailaptop) as he is fondly called in Hausa language by some people which literally mean, the father oflaptop would be inconclusive without mentioning hisother achievement among which are: the construction of the world standard Gombe International Conference Center; the Trailer parking Bay; new Gombe mega motor park and above all his giant strides in the educational sector.

Education as the bedrock of any meaningful development globally remains the number priority of his administration which culminated in the establishment of five new tertiary institutions namely: college of education, Biliri, state polytechnic, Bajoga, college for legal and Islamic studies, Nafada, college of nursing and midwifery Dukku and of recent university of science and technology, Kumo.

Despite all these physical development, the administration notwithstanding is also encountering some challenges such as non-payment of gratuities to retirees, uncoordinated developments pattern as projects were initiated more and more without timely completion, local contractors also suffered and have not benefited adequately from the implemented project, inadequate follow up of Federal Government Project in the state despite the opportunity of been in the same party with the central government of the past, Kalare are now seriously resurfacing, non-maintenance of the Gombe Regional water scheme, lack of adequate educational support to indigene (Huaman development), inadequate scholarship, lack of effective support to indigenous contractors and professionals In the political scene the government is also faced with lack of sincerity and strong stakeholders’ consultative forum capable of shaping leadership and drawing government attention on specific relevant issues for implementation rather than policy statement only. More so, the state is presently overburden with debt that was artificially incurred by the government which may have a long term negative effects on the next incoming government with possibility of strong economic hardship on the people of the state despite the fact that Gombe been a commercial nerve center of the north east region as this has not been explored.

At this juncture, it is pertinent to use this medium to commend the concerted efforts put in place by the federal government aimed at bringing succor not only to the people of Gombe state but the entire northeast geo-political zone. Some of the monumental project embarked are the Gombe-Yola roadcurrently under construction, Gombe-Numan-Jalingo, Gombe-Biu, gulley erosion projects, Federal University Kashere and the possible Federal Polytechnics project as well as Gombe inland container terminal on the pipe line insha Allah, and above all, the setting of the North-East Development Commission in a quest to ensure the speedy development of the zone that suffered from the Boko Haram insurgency for nearly a decade.

All said, now that the 2019 general election is around the corner, the people of Gombe state in particular and north-east in general are advised to look back at far experience and vote for people with adequate pity, Morality, God fearing and record of Social responsibilities as history is a better job of human action they should look back to the past and look forward to what is left and make up their minds positively to vote for credible leader with experience and capability of maintaining consolidated success and improving on the previous mistakes make and not money bag politicians, who are passionate of using money to make money and money to make power in order to enable them benefit more dividends in the coming years, .

With this everyone has to make his hay while the sun is shining, above all said,“Charity begins at home”.

Arc. Aminu A. Mohammed Gombe (MNIA) writes in from Gombe.

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