Goje And The Democracy Day Celebrations
Bakura Mohammed Bajoga
The “Jewel” State would have had wasted years of lack of meaningful developments, and it would be at most critical position of its evolution, if not because Allah (SWT) has blessed it with a Governor who has the right ideology and programs that reflects the need of the people. Gombe State, which was carved out of Bauchi State in October 1996 and most of the city, was just a sprawling urbanized Ghetto with virtually nothing to indicate its status as a state Capital hitherto the advent of Muhammad Danjuma Goje as the Governor of the State in May 2003.
The predecessors of Goje, did not see the need to build new roads. The utterly irreducible minimum expectations there were for the government to maintain at least the major roads. Even this has failed to be achieved.
Goje, celebrated six years of the longest surviving democracy in Nigeria and his two years in office as the executive Governor of Gombe State. The Gombawas witnessed lots of physical achievements recorded by the Goje led PDP Government in twenty four (24) months, which few myopic citizens viewed as worthless, all in the name of opposition. Even though some opposes but others commend performance, Alhaji Nuhu Garba is the chairman, Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Gombe State who has this to say on New Nigeria Newspaper of June 13 and I quote “ the feat achieved is certainly worthy of commendation. Of course the achievements recorded by PDP controlled government in the state are too glaring to see by all, and even though we are in opposition party, we should not close our eyes and ignore good performance.” This is what we call positive approach to opposition. The AD chieftain is telling the government that; any attempt to digress from these developmental efforts will be an open invitation for the opposition to fire on. We should not forget that, it is always assumed that there is a link between democracy and development. For the average citizen, democracy is only meaningful if it delivers what becomes known as democratic dividend i.e. socio-economic or infrastructural development.
Goje met the state capital rusty, rattled and virtually empty. He managed the little resources and time at his disposal to give Gombe a facelift and provided it with some of the badly needed bounce like Education, water, Health-care etc which he wished to do to areas outside the capital city in the remaining two years.
We in Gombe are fully convinced that, even before Goje, the problem has not been resources but the ability and zeal to use the resources effectively. Even though, some people defend that those former administration’s embarrassing inertial has every right to keep on saying that, it has the will to work but not enough funds to implement its development programme throughout their years in office. I will like to draw the attention of the critics of Goje government that such excuses are no more tenable. But what really matters is how effectively any government deploys whatever funds it has to tackle the difficult challenges of development.
During the democracy day celebration in the township stadium in Gombe, Governor Goje presented his mid-term score card to the people. What constitutes the scorecard is what I will try to present in this write-up for the public to see and judge whether or not Gombe is better up during these two years.
Education is a process of training and instruction, especially of children and young people in schools and colleges, etc. In Gombe, there is the zeal to pursue education in our youth, but there are lots of shortcomings, which previous governments failed to fulfil.
On the scorecard of Goje’s two years concerning education in Gombe state, establishment of state University is number one. For this, I will borrow part of what Mohammed Bala said in New Nigeria Newspaper of june 3 where he said and I quote
“The kind gesture behind the giving rather than what was given is the most important aspect of giving out anything as a whole. The Goje led administration has won the heart of friends and foes alike by its singular act of establishing a University in Gombe State. Likewise for the teeming number of our youths that are eagerly looking to elsewhere for University education, it is a big relief of some sort, coming at the right time. The question before, on every lip was when, where and how do we get placement for our teeming qualified secondary school graduates, that has now turn to become, when are we possibly going to witness the first convocation ceremony of our own pioneer University graduates? The answer, of course is, patience and time,… and again he continued,
“Some critics and discerning citizens of the State are of the view that instead of establishing its own University, the government should have invested more into our primary and secondary schools. But what the critics are missing is the fact that of course, we have to start from somewhere. There is a beginning in whatever is to be started freshly and expected to blossom successfully into the future. The establishment of our University is indeed the beginning of a viable, equipped and well-organized University that will come to compete with any existing one in the country. After all, even big Universities like ABU; started from the scratch before becoming the big citadel of learning it is today.”
Establishment of School of Nursing and Mid-wifery in Gombe. This school was theoretically established since the Jewel state was created out of Bauchi. The predecessors of Goje did not actualize our dream in this regard. It is Goje’s government that established the school.
The other achievements also recorded in education are establishment of twelve (12) fully equipped vocational training centers spread all over the state; Provision of Computer to enhance IT literacy in our post Primary Schools; Construction of Sciences Laboratories in Government Day Teachers College, Gombe to mention among others.
Primary health care is another aspect that touches the life of the people directly. Goje’s administration foresaw the need for the setting of technical committee on improvement and reconstruction of existing Hospitals. This committee succeeded in winning the goodwill of Gombawa by actualizing a complete facelift of Gombe specialists’ hospital; completion of the abandoned Deba General hospital; construction of Nafada hospital, which is a joint project with the local government; renovation of Kumo and Kaltungo general hospitals. These are achievements to candidly see and appreciate.
Water is an essential of life. The Gombe regional water project is a baby of miracle, which is being handle with kid’s glove by His Excellency himself. This project is expected to be commissioned this year by the grace of Allah (SWT). The provision of the Water supply relief tankers, which I mentioned when Goje was one year old in office, is really a welcome development. Rehabilitation and construction of boreholes for rural water supply outside the capital city is also being considered.
The issue of good township and rural roads is one the priorities of the Goje led administration. The dualisation of the Tunfure – Liji road and other roads in Gombe, the state capital is there for everyone to see. The other road projects plugged up by His Execellency are that of Billiri, Kaltungo, Kumo, Deba, Dadinkowa, Hina and Dukku. All these are expected to be completed this year 2005. There are completed joint road projects in Doho, Malamsidi, Bajoga and Bage.
Security is the primary target when you take democracy and development as the backbone of peaceful coexistence. Political tolerance is key to the secret of Goje’s achievements in the two years of his stewardship. He succeeded in doing away with the “self enforced” security outfit under alias Alhaji Sada, who was alleged to have make and enforced laws side by side with constituted authorities (three ARMS). The notorious political thugs, alias ” ’yankalare “ were disowned publicly by His Execellency and job provided to about 3,000 youth across the genders to reduce idleness and adopted many politicians as Special Assistants and Personal Assistants outside the PDP caucus. Achieving this is indeed what makes our democracy day celebration peaceful and rancor free unlike the unfortunate happenings in Edo and Kogi States where thugs breached peace and took laws into their hands.
The Gombe Airport Project is what some political opponents/critics called the “white elephant project”. As many progressives said, there must be a beginning for anything. We are in a country where the central government is thinking of privatizing almost all investments and its installations are not sacred cows! It is my sincere belief that people will agree with me that, after nine years of its creation Gombe is lucky to have someone that foresaw the need to make foreign investment easy in our state, which deserves commendation not condemnation. The Gombe airport project is a child of circumstances, delivered from the crude oil excess revenue allocation share of our state. Goje is fully aware that the Federal Government will not spend a kobo to give us the most needed ingredients for foreign investment. The Airport is at this crucial time, so the government decided to make use of part of this money in Airport construction.
It is very important that we note essentials like education, Health, Roads, Water etc will not be exceptionally useful to those who provided them to the people. These are things that will benefit governments and individuals yet to come.
Every Nigerian has the right to express his views, but to be candid with you if not because of Goje, by now Gombe State would have had more wasted years of lack of any discernible development, and it would be at the most critical stages of its evolution as a state.