Right from May 29, 2011 when he mounted the saddle as the third civilian governor of Gombe State, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo insisted that the educational sector would remain his priority programme for development.
Social development experts see education as key to social wellbeing and an escape from the poverty trap. Education is also said to be a facilitator for social improvement and inclusion, the upgrading of human capital, increased opportunities, and enhanced freedom and welfare.
Based on this, it is understandable that Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambohas retained education as the main driver of massive developmental paradigm in Gombe State. Interestingly, the governor’s commitment and religious implementation of election promises of which education is number one has continued to bear eloquent fruits in the social transformation of Gombe State.
The Dankwambo administration has within a space of seven years become synonymous with quality education and sustainable socio-economic empowerment of future leaders.
Historically, Nigeria’s northeast has been bedeviled by multifaceted social challenges that have stunted educational development.
The region holds a large population of out of school children, compounded with the problems of girlchild education, where most of girls lack access to education due to a combination of factors, including government’s nonchalance and cultural practices.
But Governor Dankwambo has made a world of difference by tearing down those barriers. His administration’s strong commitment has been demonstrated through many interventions it embarked on to create educational opportunities for the people of the region.
With education as the priority of his administration’s attention, Governor Dankwambo has gradually eliminated abject poverty, poor personal hygiene, child abuse and sundry anti-social activities, especially terrorism in the region. In no distant time Gombe State would stand out as the bastion of quality education in the entire northeast geopolitical zone. Governor Dankwambo has continued to make monumental investments and improvements in the most precious assets of the people-education.
As someone who has tasted the fruit of good education and determined to bequeath it as his legacy to the state, the governor had stated: “I always say that the state of Massachusetts in the US doesn’t have Agriculture and much industry, but they do have education, and that is why we are developing education so Gombe can be a hub of education and talent development. We want to export talent from Gombe, and there is much potential in this sector.” It is on record that within the past seven years, education in Gombe State has steadily been given the largest of share the state’s annual budgets.
With that commitment alone, Dr. Dankwambo deserves plaudits for his efforts to make Gombe State a reference point in education. Dr. Dankwambohas constructed befitting new Central Model Schools at Gombe, Dukku, Funakaye, Akko, Billiri, Kaltungo and Deba Local Government Areas with over 584 and renovated 374 blocks of class rooms in both primary and secondary schools across the State.
The governor built up 93 laboratories and renovated 30 to improve the standard of science and technology education in the state and constructed new secondary and primary schools at Gabukka, Herwagana, Abubakar Umar Memorial and Kurjale.
Others are Auwaru, Futuk in Akko LGA, Lalaipido in Shongom LGA and Awak in Kaltungo LGA, etc. In order to ensure congenial environment for learning for pupils in schools, Governor Dankwambo decongested the classes from 100 or more to 40 students per class in all schools across the state. In the same breadth, the government also constructed and renovated hostels 370 and 211 respectively, constructed about 284 toilet facilities and renovated 78, he supplied 4, 320 double decker beds and 8, 640 mattresses in various boarding schools across the state. The governor also showed his commitment to providing the best teaching staff in both pre-secondary and secondary schools by recruiting over 4000 university graduates and over 2000 NCE graduates to make up the shortage of teachers in both primary and secondary schools across the state. He also mandated the purchase of over 5, 167 numbers of 3-in-1 desks for secondary schools and 5000 two-seater desks, reading and writing materials to primary, junior and secondary schools across the state.
Others include, over 636 tables and chairs for students in boarding schools and 1, 262 principals and teachers’tables and chairs respectively; purchase and supply of instructional materials and lecture’s aids in primary schools and construction and renovations of 98/16 Staff quarters and 68 VIP toilets in schools across the state.
To also ensure high quality teaching and learning in schools, the Dankwambo administration created a Quality Assurance Department, as well as, training of 5, 000 teachers as part of professional development and 3, 918 teachers consisting of 888 junior secondary and 3, 030 primary teachers. In his efforts to control the number of Almajiris on the streets of Gombe State, Governor Dankwambo constructed Tsangaya Primary Schools at Nafada, Kwami and WuroLadde with facilities.
Additionally, the administration has so far enrolled 2000 students for remedial programme with University of Maiduguri in which 55% have gained admission in to the University and Purchased and distributed JAMB/UTME forms from 2011-2018 and send 20 students for overseas maritime degree programme.
As a professional accountant the governor also made the payment of students’ scholarship easy by introducing E-Payment of Scholarship allowances and computerization of the Scholarship Board. Dankwambo’s determination to give the best in higher education is immeasurable. For instance, he has established five tertiary institutions including, the School of Basic and Remedial Studies at Kumo and Daban – Fulani, Conventional College of Education Billiri, College of Nursing and Midwifery Dukku (under construction), State Polytechnic Bajoga, School of Legal and Islamic Studies Nafada, Gombe State University College of Medical Science and the Gombe State University of Science and Technology Kumo.
The government has procured and installed laboratory equipment for the College and Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, Gombe State University, Gombe State University of Science and Technology and recently approved the establishment of another five tertiary institutions, which includes: College of Agriculture and Animal husbandry, College of Accountancy, Institute of Journalism and Institute of Sports. It is said that education is the key to development, but Governor Dankwambo has made it the master key in Gombe State.