The last time I was in Gombe was when I missed my flight to Yola in a scheduled trip to Numan, Adamawa State to attend the wedding of a classmate’s daughter. I called to inform him of the unfortunate turn of events. He advised me to take Arik Air to Gombe and requested Haruna, another classmate of ours who was billed to travel by road from Gombe for the same wedding, to give me a lift. It was a very good idea because I had not seen Haruna since my last visit to Biu via Gombe 13 years ago.
I am happy that the trip was successful after all and what I saw in Gombe inspired hope in me that Nigeria has a brighter future. What I heard about the Governor of Gombe State made me wish I met him in person.
Anyway, barely three months after my short and lucky visit to Gombe, I am inspired anew by the governor’s birthday to do this piece. So, let us go to Gombe and see how beauty has redefine urbanity modernity. Yes, in Gombe the sophistication of urban planning and aesthetic designs belies the serenity of the place popularly known as Jewell of the Savannah.
That the Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, is a man of style could be seen right from the very entrance to the capital city. Standing in grandiose solitude and architectural magnificence is the International Conference Centre.
As you drive further into town you won’t fail to notice the magnificent Rainbow roundabout. That is after you have bypassed the Tanker Parking bay, constructed by His Excellency to stop incessant road traffic accidents involving articulated vehicles in the metropolis.
The elaborate roundabouts and well paved roads, which lead to different sections of the city, underscore Dankwambo’s urban renewal master plan. Another imposing landmark is the Millennium Mega Motor Park, which serves as the major terminus of intra and intercity buses.
Commenting on the rationale for those structures, His Excellency once told a friend: “I may not be able to change the topography of Gombe, but I can do something about the incessant road traffic accidents.” With that he explained the vision that drove the urban renewal programme that changed the face of Gombe as the capital city.
No doubt, the proper planning and careful arrangement of public places helped in no small way to make Gombe an oasis of peace, security and development. As His Excellency explained, the Tanker parking bay and central bus terminal have helped to reduce the risk, control the environment better, organize commuters better, and regulate transportation better. That must be why movement in and out of Gombe is seamless and orderly, just as transporters provide the maximum service.
As an accountant the opportunity for revenue to the state was not lost on the governor, because he indicated that in the long run the Tanker Parking bay and other such facilities would become revenue generating projects, thereby self-sustaining. However, the governor has succeeded in providing enabling environment for security operatives to secure the state.
Down the road, within the city centre, the governor converted what used to be his country home, family compound into a modern public school so that Gombe children would go to school and get good education. That is the height of public spiritedness and patriotism.
What about the hospital where he was born in 1962, he has expanded it into a specialist Women and Children Hospital. Indeed, as a homeboy who grew up in the rusty Gombe, Dr. Dankwambo has brought his vision and good taste to bear on the environmental marvel that Gombe has come to be.
Of that hospital he had said: “That was where I was born, that is my place. I am Governor of Gombe state; I have responsibility to cater for all the people of the state. I swore to an oath that I will provide for all people of Gombe State, irrespective of religious belief, age, and their location.”
Talban Gombe explains in many occasions that he does what he is doing as governor because “I have responsibility to Gombe people, to provide them infrastructure, security, all sort of benefit that any other person from any section in Gombe State should be provided with, so I do it as a true citizen of Gombe state, it doesn’t matter where you come from.”
I was told that, as a technocrat and trained administrator knowledgeable in the importance of planning, what Dr. Dankwambo did on assumption of office as governor was to set up eleven committees, which undertook baseline assessment in the critical sectors of the economy of Gombe State.
“The committees were mandated to suggest the sustainable ways, projecting into the far future of what the state should be in years to come. The committees’ reports, it is important to note, are the foundation of what the administration of Dankwambo is doing in Gombe state since 2011”.
The religious implementation of the recommendation of the wise men has been earning the governor plaudits from within and outside Gombe State. How far Governor Dankwambo’s stylish embellishment of the metropolis and provision of top rate amenities, particularly the International Conference Centre, is helping to promote tourism cannot be quantified.
Although Gombe appears as a small state, planning and development has expanded its coast, because apart from cement and marble, people have become its attractive assets. Little wonder the governor remarked that people would come to Gombe if not for the provision of unique amenities that make the place comparable to other international destinations.
“So, what we are doing is all part of the package of making Gombe an investible and pleasurable destination for people,” the governor declared. You got it, Your Excellency, it pays to have a man of learning, good taste and style in leadership”. This is wishing you a happy birthday sir.
Prof. Iloabachie, writes from Agbani, Enugu state