As Nigeria was celebrating 56th independence, Gombe State also rolled out the drums to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its creation under the chairmanship of former military Head of State and later elected President, Olusegun Obasanjo. Judging by a cross section of the attendees of the event it becomes clear that the celebration was not just a party partisan affair. Well wishers across party and state borders graced the occasion. Among the political heavy weights that were present at the occasion include Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara (APC) and Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (APC) and Rev. Jolly Nyame (PDP). The presence of the royal father of Gombe, HRH the Emir Alhj. Abubakar Usman Abubakar added more royal grace to the epoch making event. Another prominent personality that graced the occasion was former First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs. Maryam Sani Abacha.
The celebration was an occasion to give gratitude to God for the journey so far, and a fitting opportunity for naming streets and major landmarks of Gombe after deserving personalities from within and outside the state for easy accessibility and faster response in case of emergency. More importantly, it was an opportunity to appraise the landmark achievements recorded by the present administration, challenges encountered, with a view to project a sustainable development plan for the future of Gombe state.
Prior to the D-Day, two committees were set up with clear terms of reference: One committee was to organize the events of the 20th anniversary celebration, while the other was to work out modalities for naming the streets of Gombe. The occasion also marked one hundred years of Gombe as a town established by the first spiritual and traditional ruler of Gombe, His Royal Highness Buba Yero.
Gombe State Down Memory Lane
On the 1st October of 1996, as part of the activities to mark the Nigerian 36th independence, the then military head of state, General Sani Abacha, created Gombe State along with Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Nasarawa, and Zamfara States. From creation to date, Gombe State has had two military administrators and three democratically elected civilian governors: (1) Group Capt. Joseph Orji (2) Mohammed Bawa (3) Abubakar Habu Hashidu (4) Mohammed Danjuma Goje (5) Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo. Each of these administrators and governors served and made their marks in the development of Gombe State. However, Gombe State has enjoyed unprecedented development under Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dakwambo.
The Stewardship of Governor Dankwambo
According to popular opinion Dankwambo has secured a place for himself in the history of Gombe State with his development initiatives. He has been described as a prodigy in state affairs, a visionary leader prudent in financial management of state resources and sagacious in policy formulation. There is no gainsaying that the citizens of Gombe State are grateful for the gift of a leader and an anchorman in the mold of Dankwambo, a man with revolutionary zeal for leadership and dynamism. He has proved that campaign promises can be fulfilled in politics. The people of Gombe are enjoying the dividends of democracy made possible by a man who refuses to barter social services for selfish interests and monetary benefits. It is not surprising then that despite the wind of change which blew PDP administration away and brought in APC in most states, especially in the North, Dankwambo’s PDP government remained unshaken because his people saw no need to remove a leader who has demonstrated an unprecedented penchant for creditable performance and making good his promises. Damkwambo’s administration has touched every aspect of development in the state, from construction of innumerable road networks and schools to wealth creation and pro-poor initiatives of skill acquisition programmes and industrialization policy that has seen to the revitalization and reinvigoration of key sectors of the state’s economy.
In his remarks, the former president, Rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo, who chaired the occasion of the 20th year anniversary celebration, commended Damkwambo for the good job he is doing in Gombe State. Recall that Dankwambo was the Accountant General of the Federation during Obasanjo’s administration. Obasanjo claimed that he worked with Dankwambo on recommendation and found him to be a performer. Indeed, Gombe State has good reasons to celebrate and as always, Tozali cameras clicked away to bring you the photo splash.