A bridge-builder and people’s hero called Dankwambo!


“The acts of great men will remind us all to live a life sublime” And it goes that a common testimony on the lips of the folks of Gombe State and all that cherish good human conducts, will readily tickle the sensibility of the society people. That Gombe, a once rustic community wouldn’t have attained its present significant transformation, is only presented as a divine intervention, that Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, was the very man who wielded the magic wand that rapidly transformed it from obscurity to its present blistering forms, such that it is now an enviable state. Dankwambo, who is also unanimously regarded by the people as the ‘Father of a Modern Day Gombe’, is being so idolized as the leader of the people, following his two tenure elections as its governor, which translated into tangibility, from 2011 to 2019.

The meaning of ‘Talban Gombe’, a chieftaincy title for which Dankwambo is fondly regarded, is not immediately known to this writer. But, it is rather obvious that it couldn’t be isolated from his benevolent and inclusive persuasions and leadership style, which had birthed and etched Gombe as a state to be so acclaimed.

Travelogue is some writing done about transits, destinations or leisure, in which reporters are proned to fair and futuristic judgments. For instance, when this writer, between 1996 and 1999, joined few others in conducting ornithological (bird study) mapping of the quadrant Nigerian north-east states of Adamawa, Taraba and Bauchi, the then newly-created fringe state of ‘Gombe’, was among the four. Instructively, an exposé magazine’s report captured by this writer for the ‘Guardian on Sunday’ could have prophetically heralded ‘Gombe’, as a flagship revealing-state to watch out for.

When in 2017, this writer revisited the Gombe City state capital and environs, it was glaring that the ‘Jewel in the Savannah’, as the state is aptly nicknamed amidst the country’s existing thirty-six states and the Abuja Federal Capital Territory, had been amazingly transformed.

Remarkably, the heart-tending news of the Dankwambo’s tangible delivery to Gombe and its distinction is that he is still unrelenting in his sheer determination to replicate his feats of Gombe around the country, thus redifining individualistic patriotic and nation-building exemplary. And this is a rare gesture item in a present-day Nigeria that is in dire need of well-meaning individuals to build lasting bridges between the country’s strata and its diverse peoples that are hindered by disunity and loveless attritions.

After pioneering the establishment of various educational institutions and qualitative and affordable education schemes, which had made the arid state one of the educationally-advanced in the northern part of the country, Dr. Dankwambo, the erudite and liberated mind, is again winning hearts with his enormous support for educational philanthropy around the country.

The latest of his ceaseless feats was his recent investiture as Chancellor of the esteemed Bells University of Technology, Ota, in Ogun State. Following his appointment to this topmost position of the scholarly and privately owned ivory tower, torrents of encomiums emanated from far and wide, drenching a Dankwambo, for this unfettered honour he truly deserved. It is no gainsay, therefore, that Alhaji Dankwambo’s free-giving and love for education of Nigerians, knows no bound, as Igbinedion University, Okada (IUO), the first private university in the country, is one of the many lucky recipients of Dr. Dankwambo’s carefree giving. In 2020, he donated several buildings and educational equipment to the IUO School of Post Graduate Studies and Research. For this and other feats, he is a household name in Edo, the Nigeria’s ‘Heart Beat’ state and beyond.

In another instance, Dr. Dankwambo, well-known across the country as a nationalist and free-giver extraordinaire, rose to a long and outstanding ovation, when he was introduced at the recent burial ceremony of Captain Hosa Okunbo, in Benin City, the Edo Stated capital. The huge crowd of attendants at the ceremony, from within and outside the country, was ecstatic and so strived to have glimpses of Dankwambo, the ‘All Tall Na Do’, who had made such huge people-oriented feats possible. Ordinarily, that he took time to pay his last honour to the Late Captain Okunbo, from his far-away Gombe glorified a man who truly honours friendship and excellence. That the Late Captain Okunbo, a business mogul and a philanthropy, who is honoured even in his demise, is characteristic of the shared similarities between the Late Okunbo and the ebullient personality of Dankwambo, a toast of the Nigerian people. After all “birds of the same plumages flocks together”, as the ageless saying goes.

Much as Dankwambo, himself, is a personality who cherishes to go unannounced, as he tends to shy away from the public, but his goodwill wouldn’t let that be. Dankwambo is literally what a magnetic field is to the hairpins, the way his good deeds magnetize the people towards him. A notable Yakubu Mohammed, the veteran journalist and fastidious critic, couldn’t help it, bringing his respected voice to bear on the upbeat characteristics of the former governor. A famed and fiery Catholic priest, Father Ejike Camilus Mbaka, once peered beyond his realms of Catholicism and Christendom and in holiness to pick on Dr. Dankwambo as an ideal president that the hapless Nigerian people truly deserve to elect.

For Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the 59 years old technocrat and politician, who hailed from Gombe town of Gombe State, it was a rise from grass to grace, through sound education, dedication and hard work. He studied and obtained a first degree in Accounting from the frontline Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria between the years 1981 and 1985. He had a Master Degree in Economics from University of Lagos and in 1992 obtained a PhD in Accounting from the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State. As a Chartered Accountant he worked at Coopers and Lybrand multinational company. Between 1988 and 1999, Dankwambo was a staff of Central Bank of Nigeria, before he was in 1999 appointed Accountant-General of Gombe State.  On April 20, 2005, he was made Accountant General of the Federation (AGF).

On April 26, 2011, Dr Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo was elected Governor of Gombe State for a four year initial tenure and reelected in 2015 for a second lap, on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Dr. Dankwambo, a good mixer and easy-going one, who although was born in the Gombe northern part of the country, was nurtured across the country, is a people and development-oriented politician, who bears the OON and CON national titles. Being a truly detribalized Nigerian patriot, Dankwambo ardently believes in the freedom of worship and the “live and let live” mantra.

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