Today, April 16, 2020, a great and illustrious son of Gombe State, an accomplished banker, a boss, husband, father and brother, Jibrin Muhammad Barde is a year older.
He stands as strong as a rock, not by his wisdom alone but by his strong faith in Allah and his keen reflex, his courage and his bull-like determination to pursue a people-driven cause.
In 2018, this unassuming and brilliant young man felt the urgent need to serve his people and within few months of consultations, his name became a household name in the state. He became a threat to the political players although he was a different breed of politician. Peaceful but brave and courageous, intelligent, compassionate and a man with a heart of gold.
I learned so many things from him. He taught me that when i believe in a cause that is just, there should be no going back. From him, I learnt more that you begin to see obstacles only when you take your eyes of your goal. Dan Barde has a will cast in iron, his determination is etched in stone and his clarity of purpose cannot be disputed. He is firm, resolute and dogged.
There are very few of leaders in this category. Some come like a comet, only to fizzle out like the foam from a detergent, some like a temporary whirlwind, only to be still at its short surge. But he is consistent. Even when he couldn’t secure the ticket of his party to fly the flag, Barde was unflinching, never waning, but increasing in strength and capacity by every minute of the day.
Dan Barde believes in the people of Gombe. He pitched tent with the masses, his private home in Gombe serving as a rendezvous for all sorts of people. During my stay in Gombe, foods and drinks were served at his residence on daily basis. Nobody serves you. Just pick up a plate and dish what you want. Such was the simplicity of this man.
Initially, many didn’t take him serious but it was at their own peril. They expected him to back down, promises made, if only he could leave the stage, but it was too late. His alliance with the masses could not be thrown into the trash bin. He already had his gloves on, right in the ring, and would not have let down the enthusiastic but toil worn audience, whose liberation from the fetters of iron was tied to his victory. The intrigues that surrounded that primary election won’t be discussed in this piece.
What a great and accomplished man! This was someone who came with a blueprint and experience to move the state forward; in all the sectors of the economy, from education to health, from infrastructure to agriculture and it goes like that, he has designed the way forward.
His vision is to unify everyone in the state under a common purpose. He said, “My team and I would transform the various elements of the system, whether it is infrastructure, environment, power, economy or others. It is also our target to create millions of jobs for our youths and women.” He was quoted as saying,
“I have reached the pinnacle of my career as a banker, and it is time I give back to the society, and the only way I can do that is to take the position of leadership. I have a clear vision of empowering the youths, women and impact the lives of our people positively.
“I want to demonstrate that governance can be done with a high corporate responsibility. After he lost at the primary elections and supported his party at the state level, he was immediately appointed as the Deputy Director, field operations of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council and Director of Logistics, Presidential Campaign Council for Women and Youths. In spite of the role he played, while others are shuttling the corridors of power lobbying for appointment, Barde have been moving around the world, studying and developing himself.
Nigeria has been squelching through difficult and muddy pathways. The progress may be slow, and the steps not too fast, but Nigeria is not moving backwards. The state and our beloved country need someone like Jibrin Muhammad. He is principled, focused and I can beat my chest that he represents the present, tomorrow and the future. Dan Barde was not an accidental politician. He was and is prepared to lead the state in the near future. He has his blueprints and when the time comes, Gombe would stand tall again in developments, infrastructure, and human capital development and in other areas of endeavors.
Here’s a man who holds an M.sc in Risk Management from the NYU Leonard N. Stern Business School, New York University; an MBA from the Imperial College London, a Diploma in General Management from Harvard University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Management from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Abuja. Taking a sharp glimpse of his versatile and unmatchable experience in banking and management sector, one can deduce that, we cannot afford to miss the opportunity of having him as our next governor again. Jibrin was at Union Bank of Nigeria and Citigroup N.A and Barclays Bank in four countries across Africa and Europe. And prior to joining SunTrust, he was an Executive Director on the Board of Aso Savings and Loans Plc., and a former Group Head responsible for growing Bond Bank’s (now Skye Bank Plc.) business in Abuja and the northern region.
He has served on various boards, and was at a time, the National Deputy President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria; a Director of Premium Pensions Limited; Director, Federal Housing Authority Technical Board and a Member of the Presidential Committee on Affordable Housing. He was also, the Chairman, Board of Directors of the Gombe Jewel Microfinance Bank Limited.
Dan Barde is a detribalized Nigerian. He relates with the Igbos, the Yorubas, the Efik and others because of his cosmopolitan nature. His qualities are sterling, his intellect keen. His liberalism and sense of patriotism are not in doubt, so also is his passion for the renaissance of a great nation founded on justice, liberty and the dignity of man. As you mark your birthday in isolation, i wish you a long life, blessed with happiness and fulfillment of your desires.
Jonathan is a journalist and a PR practitioner in Abuja.