President MuhammaduBuhari’s recent prompt and decisive message to the people and government of Gombe state immediately after the sad, senseless and devastating bomb explosions in the state capital a day to the last Sallah is no doubt an affirmation of such visionary and progressive qualities. Vice President YemiOsinbajo is an unassuming legal expert who has earned the dignified title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.
On the eve of Eid-el Fitr, marking the end of the last Ramadan fast, it will be recalled, some sinister persons detonated twin bombs at the crowded streets of Gombe main market which killed scores of innocent people and wounded many more. Less than 24hours after the incident, Vice President Osinbajo flew into Gombe, sent by Mr. President, to commiserate with the people of the state on this needless, in fact senseless, destruction of lives and property.
His visit is instructive for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was a festive public holiday which he sacrificed and travelled to condole with the bereaved and commiserated with the people of the state. Such promptness in response to human tragedy is surely commendable. Secondly, Osinbajo travelled to Gombe without the retinue of protocol, security and press personnel to underscore the apolitical intention of the visit. In normal political dispensation, such a high ranking functionary will have been escorted by a horde of self-serving aides more for ego boosting than humanitarian feelings.
Thirdly, his choice of places of visit in Gombe was well-thought out, relevant and devoid of political colouration. He visited the hospital to sympathize with the wounded; then the sites of the blast to see the extent of their devastation; then the house of one of the victims as a collective symbol of his sympathy to all those affected: and lastly to the Emir’s Palace who is the royal father of the emirate through whom he extended his heartfelt condolences and sympathies to all those affected.
Fourthly, his choice of words, comportment, facial expression and general body language were abundant evidences of a man genuinely in sorrow and dejection, who spoke nothing but the truth that flooded from the inner recesses of his convictions. It was a leader whose mind was truly with the grieving people of Gombe state, especially in a holy season that could have been marked with festivities, merriment and pious celebrations.
A remarkable point of note, however, was his free flowing eulogy of Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo at the Emir’s Palace during which he could not hold back commending the leadership qualities of the Governor as Gombe State helmsman. Dankwambo received the Vice President during the trip and conducted him round all the places of the visit.
The Vice President lauded and encouraged the people of Gombe State in these touchy words: “I am so happy and encouraged to see that the good people of Gombe state are not in anyway defeated by this terrible experience. They are standing like men. They are standing solid. Despite the fact they are mourning, they are not afraid, they are not cowed. They did not feel that there is no hope. They are resolute. They know that it is God who protects, and government can only do its best”.
Politics aside, the comments of Osinbajo on Dankwambo simply affirm what every fair-minded person knows about the governor’s capabilities, modesty, moderation and result-orientedness; as well as a confirmation of the genuineness of the assessment of the choice of Gombe state citizens as reflected in the declared results of the last governorship elections of the state. The Vice President proved what a true leader should be: fair, truthful, honest; and putting politics and party differences aside in assessing or judging the character or performance of others: whether super-ordinates, equals or subordinates; whether in the same party or in the opposition.
These fine qualities of political accommodation, humane feelings and promptness in responding to matters of urgency exhibited by President Buhari and his Deputy Professor Osinbajo are similar attributes always manifested by Governor Dankwambo which earned him the trust, confidence and electoral votes of the majority of Gombe state citizens in the last gubernatorial polls.
In fact consistent with these political virtues, only recently, precisely Tuesday July 21, 2015, Governor Dankwambo flagged off the distribution and sale of fertilizer to the farmers of the state. During the event, he was categorical that the fertilizer should reach out to every deserving farmer of the state irrespective of gender, economic class, religion and above all, political leaning.
He insisted that the fertilizer is for every bona fideGombe state farmer, warning that he will not tolerate any form of discrimination or abuse by those entrusted with it during the distribution or sale of the commodity. He then directed that the fertilizer should reach every nook and cranny of the state and only at the approved government subsidized rates.
This is clearly in tune with the change and transformation our citizens have yearned for; which are well embedded in the character and style of Governor Dankwambo. This is why Gombe state electorates did not need to change their leadership in the last gubernatorial election because all the qualities of fairness, moderation, good governance and transformation that will yield the desired dividends of democracy are in Dankwambo, and thus justifiably massively voted for his re-election.
Vice President Osinbajo as a Statesman, Legal Luminary and Frank Politician has taken the lead in telling Nigerian politicians in whatever camp they may belong that honesty and frankness in telling facts as they are should be the sacrosanct tenets of our modern politics. He has lain worthy examples and standards in public comments which even opposition politicians should imbibe. He has acknowledged in clear terms Governor Dankwambo’s exemplary antecedents even in this most unlikely circumstance and place. Let us therefore give the President, the Vice president and Governor Dankwambo the kudos they all individually and collectively deserve, especially for the very fine political qualities they share.
This is also a telling reason why Gombe state citizens and indeed the nation at large should extend similar support not only to Governor Dankwambo for his track record of achievements but also to President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo in their determined journey to lift this country to the desired new heights.
Akko, veteran journalist, is on the Media Committee of the Northern State Governors’ Forum