By Segun Adeyemi
While it could be correct to posit that some people are born great and others achieve greatness by their deeds or attributes, it is fair to assume that nobody is born a hero as that status can only be achieved by one’s actions or orientation, therefore the assumption of heroship or heroic status is made of much sterner stuff than the phenomenon of greatness. That is why the recent conferment of Hero of the Year Award on Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo the Executive Governor of Gombe state by the Daily Times Newspapers Group has elicited a great deal of excitement, exhilaration and felicitation from the vast majority of Gombites and indeed other well meaning Nigerians who believe that the award in itself is a deserved recognition of the tremendous contributions of the action-oriented chartered accountant par excellence to the development of Gombe state and the Northeast region in general.
Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo’s assumption of a heroic status began immediately he took over the mantle of leadership from his predecessor, Senator Danjuma Goje as the former was bent on taking the delivery of crucial democratic dividends of the long suffering Gombe people to the next level not caring whose ox was gored in the process. Indeed this determined posture immediately put Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo at logger heads with Senator Danjuma Goje who was adamant at playing the role of godfather or puppeteer to the executive governor so that he Goje, would continue to perpetuate the iron fisted and autocratic leadership style that he had displayed throughout his 8 years of the locust in Gombe State. However, a clear headed Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo had other ideas on how to govern Gombe State and he studiously fended off numerous attempts by an increasingly frustrated Senator Danjuma Goje to dictate how the state would be governed. In fact Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo then appointed his team of commissioners and special assistants as well as heads of parastatals and extra ministerial agencies without Senator Goje’s imprimatur thus finally nailing the latter’s attempt at assuming the position of Puppeteer in Chief of Government House Gombe. Having successfully emerged as a hero in his battle to assert the independence and sanctity of the governmental apparatus in the Jewel of the Savannah, the next challenge that Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo had to tackle head on was the deteriorating security situation posed by the existence of the Yankaleri thuggery elements in the state that was used as an instrument of coercion and harassment of political opponents and dissident elements by the erstwhile Goje regime. Indeed the Yankaleri thugs and brutal enforcers had assumed an alarming dimension as they had grown like a Frankenstein monster unable to be controlled by their precursors, thus posing a grave threat to the safety and security of lives and property in Gombe as well as neighbouring states. Without much ado Governor Hassan Dankwanbo immediately enlisted the assistance of the Police, the DSS and other law enforcement agencies in identifying the hard core and softer core elements of the dreaded criminal gang, those that were capable of redemption and those that were beyond redemption. The former groups were targeted for reformation and rehabilitation while the latter group were arrested, detained, prosecuted and jailed for their
nefarious and reprehensible activities thus ensuring a safe and conducive environment for the take off of developmental and infrastructural projects and activities in the State.
Also closely related to the eradication of the Yankaleri criminal tendency, was the proactive efforts of Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo in suppressing the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency in the state as feelers emerged that some impressionable Gombe youths were predisposed to joining the Boko Haram insurgents having fallen prey to the obnoxious and demonic ideology of their propagandists and ideologues. In order to thwart the Boko Haram deviants from assuming a foothold in his beloved state, Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo immediately convened series of town hall meetings and sensitization sessions with traditional and community leaders, influential Gombe citizens, leaders of thought, religious and civic leaders with the stated aim of dissuading the youths from falling prey to the evil machinations of the Boko Haram terrorists. The swift intervention by the astute populist governor paid off as the vast majority of Gombe youths saw through the evil ideology of the terrorists thereby becoming vociferously opposed to their campaign of madness and mayhem. Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo’s main recognition as a hero of unprecedented dimensions can be ascertained from his unrivalled exploits in the infrastructural and developmental arena which cuts across the health, education, roads, power, pipe borne water, agriculture, manpower development, women and youth empowerment sectors where the veritable man of the people has constructed or rehabilitated thousands of health and maternity centres, hospitals, primary and secondary schools, classrooms, thousands of kilometers of roads, countless water borehole projects, electrified hundreds of thousands of homes, supplied hundreds of farm tractors, harvesters and farm equipment including thousands of metric tons of fertilizers to farmers throughout the state. Tens of
thousands of women and youths have been trained in numerous self-empowerment schemes complete with take-off grants.
Indeed the infrastructural technological and industrial revolution spear headed by Dr. Hassan Dankwanbo is his crowning achievement as the undisputed and unrivalled Hero of the Year.