Danjuma Goje: the 36th most loved Nigerians
In a pictorial story on page 4 of the Sunday April 27 edition of the Leadership entitled The 10 Most Hated Nigerians, Gombe State Governor Danjuma Goje’s name was featured among those the paper said are the 10 most unloved Nigerians living.
I write to express my surprise at the inclusion of Goje in that list. While some of the other personalities mentioned in the story do deserve to be so listed because of the infamous role some of them have played in our national life, I do not agree at all that Goje is an unloved or unlovable person.
Goje may not be without any fault but his sins are not such that he should be counted among the bad guys in Nigeria. If anything, Goje should be numbered among the 36 most loved Nigerians. I say Goje should be among the 36 most loved Nigerians because we have 36 states in the federation and if we are to select one person from each state to make a list of the best persons in the country, Goje should be able to emerged from Gombe because he has used his vantage position as governor to impact positively on the lives of millions of people in Gombe state and even beyond.
I am saying this partly because I am an indigene of Gombe and have been privileged to see and to benefit from the developmental dividends that Goje’s administration has brought to the people of Gombe. Many outsiders who have lived in Gombe before the coming of Goje to power as governor and how he has transformed Gombe in the past five years of his stay can also testify to the great difference he has made in the lives of the people.
Since coming to power, Goje has embarked on a radical approach to the provision of water to the people of Gombe. Perhaps Leadership has not heard of the eight billion Naira Gombe water project. Water was channeled from the Dadin Kowa Dam some 40 kilometres away from Gombe town in order to give the people clean water. Today, the Gombe water works is acknowledged as the most modern in the country.
It will be recalled that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo was so impressed with Goje’s achievement in the water sector especially with the Dadin Kowa Dam water project that he sent the governor of his home state of Ogun, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, to come to Gombe to understudy what Goje had done for possible replication in Ogun.
We all know that the former President is not a man who is given to flattery or one who suffers fools gladly. For him to have ordered the governor of his state to come look at the feat that Goje has achieved and copy it is an indication that something extraordinary and something worthy of emulation has been done. A man who provides water, a substance that is most essential for domestic and industrial uses; can he be a candidate for hatred? I do not think so.
We should also recall that at one of the meetings of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP), former President Obasanjo again asked the meeting to give Goje a standing ovation for being a pride to the party for the great things he has done in Gombe.
When Obasanjo paid a state visit to Gombe he commissioned over 40 projects and at a point confessed that he was simply overwhelmed by the monumental things Goje had done in so short a time. When Obasanjo returned to Abuja, one Sunday, he asked worshippers at the Aso Villa Chapel to pray for Goje. Governor Goje did not bribe the former President to receive these encomiums. It was based purely on the solid achievements he has scored.
Apart from the water works, the President no doubt had in mind, some of Goje’s other achievements like the building of the Gombe Airport, the establishment of the Gombe State University, the construction of numerous township roads in Gombe metropolis and the opening up of many of the rural areas of Gombe with tarred roads.
Goje has also built two general hospitals and two others are under construction. He has built several health centres to serve the people of Gombe. The hospitals that Goje inherited have either been rehabilitated or upgraded. Goje has also built from scratch, a school of nursing for the training of nurses to man the health institutions his administration has established across the state.
Goje has done theses and many more things to endear him to the people of Gombe. Indigenes of other states, especially those from the North East geo-political zone, who dwell in Gombe and are witnesses to the achievements of Goje in Gombe, are not a little envious of Gombites.
If any one is best placed to determine whether or not Goje should be on any love or hate list, it should be the people of Gombe and not some newspaper based in far away Abuja. We are the ones who live under the governorship of Goje. If he is good or bad, we are the ones who will feel it. If an opinion poll is held today inGombe to determine the popularity rating of Governor Danjuma Goje, I can say very confidently that Goje will score over 90 per cent.
The people of Gombe have no cause to score him any less. He has done everything to deserve a high rating. If other governors that had ruled Gombe before Goje’s arrival in 2003 had done as well as he has so far done in the past five years, Gombe would be among the first five most developed states in the federation.
The Leadership should have the sense of honour to admit that it made an error in listing Goje among an infamous list consisting of the likes of Adedibu and Anenih.
By Istifanus Hakila
Mr. Hakila is a politician and businessman based in Gombe.