Gombe at 20: Dankwambo, Goje fallout over Projects


Seguin Awofadeji in Bauchi
Indications have emerged suggesting that relationship between former governor of Gombe State, Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje and incumbent Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo may have turned frosty following effort by the governor to challenge claims by his predecessor on some completed projects in the state.

THISDAY recalled that on Wednesday, September, 28 2016, Goje in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the state, placed advertorials in some national dailies tagged: “Some of the Major Contributions of former governor Mohammed Danjuma Goje” wherein he listed the construction of the multibillion naira Gombe Regional Water Supply, construction of the Gombe international airport and the construction of Gombe Central Mosque among his achievements as governor.

However, in a swift reaction, Dankwambo has opened up on how some of these projects were executed, saying he facilitated these projects while he was Accountant General of the Federation contrary to the initial claims by his predecessor.

Dankwambo, who chose the visit of former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who was in Gombe to mark the 20th anniversary of the state, opened up on the nature of these projects, drawing thunderous applause from a large crowd of supporters at the venue of a seminar organized as part of activities marking the anniversary.

The governor, who incidentally was the state Accountant General under Sen Goje when the latter was governor of the state, took Obasanjo as witness to debunk his predecessor’s claims regarding the projects.

On the issue of the Gombe international airport, Dankwambo dismissed Goje’s claim that he executed the project, stressing that it was his intervention while he was still AGF that gave birth to the project.

He recounted how former president Obasanjo had recourse to ask him on how to raise funds to complete the Katsina airport and he succeeded in persuading the former president to also include that of Gombe.

“In 2006, December, my responsibility was to collect all the money that was not paid in government and rule the line. Baba has gone to Ota for Christmas. Normally when I’m finished, I would call him and tell him the opening and closing balances. So that day I told him we were short, that the balances were not so much but he said I shouldn’t worry in 2007 the balances would be better. The remaining is history.

“But he said no, I remember we have to improve on one airport, Katsina airport, so how do we source for money? I said we can save money if we extend the year to end by March 31. He said that is very good. We extended it and the airport of Katsina was included but I said since you’re supporting Katsina, why don’t you also include Gombe? Baba said there was no budgetary provision. I said no, there is N2.5 bn, N1.5 bn was for Kwara, N500m was for another airport and N500m was for Gombe but I said why don’t we round it up and give Gombe N2.5 bn?, I’m not sure the total cost of Gombe airport would be more than N3.5bn. That airport we’re seeing today was as a result of that my intervention” Dankwambo explained.

Regarding Goje’s claim that he initiated and built the Gombe regional water supply scheme, Dankwambo revealed how while he was first state Accountant General under first executive governor of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Habu Hashidu, the idea of the water scheme was muted.

“In 2002, and earlier before then, I was AG in Gombe state. We had discussions with former governor Hashidu on the need to have and to dam Gombe water plant. The total contract sum was N7.2 bn. The intervention of federal government for urban water supply was 30 percent, which is equivalent to 2.5 bn. In 2002, November, Obasanjo, reimbursed Gombe state the sum of N2 bn for the water supply plant that was built in Dadin Kowa today” he disclosed.

On the issue of the Gombe central mosque and contrary to the claim by Sen Goje, the governor said he personally mobilized N200m out of N420m being the total cost of the building.

“One fateful day, I was sitting in my office after I came back from the meeting for the construction of the Gombe Central mosque. Coincidentally, Dr. Seun Obasanjo, son of Baba was with us and they brought receipts for me to mobilize and collect money for the construction of the mosque. Seun contributed to that and together we put together N150m in the first place and another N50m in the second place. The total contract for the building of the mosque was only N420m. Fifty percent was provided by me and my colleagues” Dankwambo said.

THISDAY checks revealed that throughout the one-week of activities marking the 20th anniversary of the state, Senator Danjuma Goje who was governor from 2003 to 2011 was completely absent, an indication that relationship between the duos may have turned frosty.