As the 2019 election year approaches, Nigeria’s major opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is rooting for likely credible candidates to fly its flag in the elections.
And the search has culminated in the meeting of different groups from which the consensus appears to be Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwanbo.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has also indicated interest to seek reelection in 2019.
However, while he is yet to formally declare his candidacy but his choice was informed by what a governor from the South- south region described as a desperate need for the PDP to put forward ‘its best face.”
According to him, PDP faces a crisis of credibility arising from its poor 16-year performance in power and “we need a candidate who is not only competent but has the appeal to erase our poor perception from the mind of Nigerians with his impeccable credentials.”
The choice of Dankwanbo is said to be supported by many serving and former PDP governors, ministers and other big-wigs who see in him the combination of competence and capacity. “He is also young and untainted. He has the capacity to appeal across all divides and can be trusted with the nation’s fortunes,” one of his governor-supportes said.
Dankwanbo was the nation’s Accountant-General before he contested and won the Gombe State governorship in 2011.
He is reputed to have turned the fortunes of his state around for the better, with little resources. He is also noted for his transparency and honesty.
Also in the race for the PDP ticket are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido.
Dankwambo, 56, was born on 4th April 1962 at Herwagana Ward in Gombe, Gombe State. He attended Central Primary School Gombe and Government Secondary School Billiri in Gombe State. He proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting second class (honours) upper Division, being the second best result obtained by any individual in the then Bauchi State. He further enrolled for Masters of Science Degree, in Economics from University of Lagos. Dankwambo was not satisfied with academic pursuit, he decided to study Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Science at the Delta State University Abraka, Delta State. He finally caps it up with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Phd) from Igbinedeon University, Okada.
Professionally, Dankwambo has proved to be an exemplar. He has passed through the qualifying examinations of seven (7) professional bodies and consequently was awarded membership of those professional Institutions.
He passed the examinations of the prestigious Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and qualified as a Chartered Accountant only a year after his graduation from the University, a feat most professional Chartered Accountants will agree is rare to achieve. Today he is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (FCIB), a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (FCIT), a Fellow of Nigerian Institute of Management (FNIM) and a Fellow of the Nigerian Economic Society (FNES).
Alhaji Dankwambo has had various international exposures by attending training programmes, which further molded and shaped him as a refined and seasoned Accountant, Economist and an Administrator.
He started his career at the firm, Coopers and Lybrand International, (Chartered Accountants), now PriceWaterHouseCoopers where he was from 1985 to 1988.
He later joined the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1988 and was there until 1999, when he was appointed the Accountant-General of Gombe State. He held this position until 20th April 2005 when the then Accountant General of the Federation Mr J.K Naiyeju was retiring. Again the unique qualities of Dankwambo became obvious to all, having served at various committees at the Federation Account and President Olusegun Obasanjo, who noticed his brilliance as well as efficiency appointed him the Accountant-General of the Federation, the position he held until he was overwhelmingly elected the governor of Gombe State.
Dankwambo has chaired and served in committees as well as served as board member of some government parastatals at various times.
He was the president/Chairman of the Forum of Accountants-General and Auditors-General in West Africa (FAAGWA), and had earlier served as the Protem Secretary of the same organization,
He was the co-Chairman, Standardization of Federal, State and Local Government Accounts in Nigeria, a body formed by the Federation Account Allocation Committee to harmonies the Accounting and Reporting of Financial Statements by the three tiers of government.
On assumption of office as the Accountant-General of the Federation, he became the Chairman of the Technical Sub-Committee of the Federation Account Allocation Committee, a committee saddled with the responsibility of determining how the national revenues are shared equitably amongst the three tiers of Governments, that is, the Federal State and Local Governments. He discharged himself creditably and earned the respect of all.
Dankwambo was also the Chairman of the Audit Committee of ECOWAS, a Board member of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Board members of the Debt Management Office. On the international scene, he was a board member, Royal Swaziland Sugar Company, Southern Africa and member of the board of Extractive Industries Transparency International. He also sat on the board of many successful companies across a wide spectrum of the nation’s or world economy.
Dankwambo’s tenure as the Accountant-General of the Federation brought about revolutionary reforms to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
He brought up to date the Financial Statements of the Federal Government, which were in arrears.
The revolution in the Public Sector towards a cashless economy began with Dankwambo, bringing about the implementation of the E-payment system, which was then a completely a new innovation in the financial services of the government. The use of cheques got eliminated in the government transactions at the Federal level. Contractors, Staff and Service providers started getting their accounts credited automatically through the mechanism of E-payment.
The Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is yet another giant stride achieved by Dankwambo as salaries of Staff all over the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) started being paid centrally, using an automated system.. This eliminated the complaints of delayed payment of salaries by MDA’s and ghost workers’ syndrome got minimized.
Nigerians applaud Treasury Single Account today but they need to know the real hero behind it. Dankwanbo, as Accountant-General of Nigeria was the one who ensured that he completed the institution of Treasury Single Account which is simply an account or set of linked accounts through which government transacts its financial operations in such a way that its financial position can be determined easily for the facilitation and timely reconciliation of cash balances.
In his quest to evolve a very robust Financial Management System of the Federal Government he worked tirelessly to install a financial Management system called the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS). This is an ICT integrated system, which computerizes the Public Financial Management processes from budget preparation, execution, accounting and reporting.
On assumption of Office as the Accountant-General of the Federation, centralization of Capital Accounts was a challenge to Dankwanbo. This centralization had caused delays in implementing projects at the federal level. Dankwambo ensured that this centralization was removed, thereby enabling Ministries, Departments and Agencies to process and make payments for contracts awarded after obtaining due certification for the projects.
Other reforms he embarked upon included the New Chart of Accounts, the Accounting Transactions Recording and Reporting System (ATRRS), which removed the stress of having to prepare and carry hard copies of Accounts by Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for Consolidation.
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) gap analysis was one effort by the Alhaji Dankwambo to upgrade the preparation and reporting of Nigeria’s Financial Statements up to International Standards.
He also embarked on the upgrading of the Federal Treasury Academy to University Standard for the training of Public Sector Accountants and affiliating it to a highly recognized Public Sector professional body in the United Kingdom, (the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) United Kingdom).
On assumption of office, one of the responsibilities he was saddled with was the payment of severance benefits to members of staff of some erstwhile government Parastatals and companies that were either privatized or were in the process of being privatized. Some of these included Nigeria Airways, Nigerian Telecommunications Company (NITEL), Nigeria Ports Authority and many others. The Office under his leadership also successfully undertook the payment of Severance Benefits to all right-sized employees of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as payment of Pensions nationwide. He discharged all these creditably.
As governor of Gombe State, Dankwanbo is known for distinguishing himself in the areas of education, which was his first, second and third priority, the provision of infrastructure, healthcare, water supply, environmental degradation control and economic empowerment.
He is the first governor to create a cogent development plan for Gombe State and has gone ahead to implement the plan, thereby putting the state on the right track for sustainable development.
He conceived of a Marshal Plan for the development of the North-east and organised the Northeast Economic Summit (2013) to bring the plan into a regional development blueprint acceptable to all stakeholders.
He is the one and only PDP second-term governor in the north of Nigeria who successfully stood against the so-called “Buhari Storm” in 2015 to win reelection as a result of his good governance, prudent financial management, justice, fairness and equity to his people.