The Oasis Reporters
February 6, 2019
By Greg Abolo (with Agency reports)
One critical question Nigerians keep asking one another is why the citizens of the nation find it impossible to build a cohesive nation anchored on love, peace, unity and understanding. Some leaders and people always falling back to primordial positions and tribal security. This has not helped the nation build a virile and prosperous country devoid of suspicion.
Luckily and on the contrary, some leaders think progressively anchoring their forged unity and understanding based on interpersonal friendship and rapport.
It happened in South Africa during the post apartheid negotiations to usher in the rainbow coalition between the African National Congress, ANC and the White National Party, NP. The two key negotiators were Cyril Ramaphosa of the ANC, and Roelf Meyer of the National Party, who formed a close friendship by going fishing together. That personal friendship that deepened with a fishing hook incident and it produced an amazing result that dispelled racial suspicions and ushered peaceful elections and a post apartheid united Republic of South Africa.
Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo had that unique friendship. Governor Hassan Dankwambo was prepared early for it. His background as a northern ethnic minority from Gombe North made him see clearly the view and outlook of the South South minority man, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The added factor was that as a northerner,he attended the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for his first degree, then went down South to the University of Lagos in Nigeria’s South West for his Master’s degree.
He didn’t stop there. He further attended Delta State University, Abraka for his Post graduate diploma, capping it up with a doctorate degree at Igbinedion University in Edo State.
This has made him more cosmopolitan, more urbane and very friendly to all tribes and sections because he has thoroughly mixed with diverse range of Nigerians, different from his tribal enclave, region and religion.
Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo was so proud to receive then President Goodluck Jonathan in Gombe, the Gombe State capital, for the 2nd North-East Economic Summit in 2013. It was to evolve an intervention programme
specifically targeted at accelerating
the pace of socio-economic
development in the North-east geo-
political zone of the country. Then President Jonathan harped on the re-establishment of peace and
security in the zone, which was essential for the successful implementation of the measures and actions envisaged in the
Goodluck Jonathan further said,
“My administration is committed to
doing all within its powers and abilities to end the security problems of the North-East and help the region to productively harness its abundant resources once again for the benefit of
its people and all other Nigerians.
“There can be no doubt that the
unique experience that this region has had with Boko Haram necessitates aggressive and urgent action to revitalise its economy. Such action entails a functional partnership involving the Federal Government, state and Local Governments as well as
traditional leaders of thought in the
“There is a need for the North East to join forces with the Federal
Government in articulating a unique
transformation vision and plan to
drive the region’s future. The plan I
envisage must be based on a
partnership model in which all of us
must play our respective roles,”
President Jonathan said.
The President informed the gathering that the Federal Government was consulting with State Governments in the zone to define a shared vision, workable strategies and responsibilities of all stakeholders for the economic resurgence of the region.
Goodluck Jonathan also added, “While my administration has consistently rejected the notion that poverty and economic backwardness is primarily responsible for turning the
North-East into a hotbed of insurgence and terrorist activity in recent years, we have never denied the need to give the region all possible support to enable it develop at the same pace as
other parts of the country, provide
improved living conditions for its
people and contribute effectively to
overall national economic growth.
“I am here with you today because I
fully recognise that the North-East’s
current security challenges which we are doing our utmost best to address make it even more imperative that it should receive the greatest possible support and cooperation from the Federal Government to enable governments in the region define and implement effective programmes that
will accelerate the pace of post-crisis recovery and development.”
Governor Hassan Dankwambo therefore knew and understood the empathy and humane nature of Goodluck Jonathan.
So when some US State Department officials invited 12 northern state governors to Washington to seek their support on the need to achieve regime change in Nigeria during the 2015 Presidential election, in which former President Goodluck Jonathan, lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, making it a likely international conspiracy in the build up to the elections.
The statements made on the incident by both former Niger state governor, Babangida Aliyu and Dr Goodluck Jonathan were revealed in a book, entitled ‘Against Run of Play’ by Segun Adeniyi.
A senior intelligence official, Matthew T. Page, who provided the details of the meeting in an interview with Jonathan’s former aide, Reno Omokri, claimed that the northern governors came to the meeting with a prepared speech that read like a petition against the ex-President. His assertion which is contained in Omokri’s new book, ‘Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years: Chibok, 2015 and Other Conspiracies, provided details of the US meeting which was said to have begun at the State Department and ended in the White House. Page, who was Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Africa with the US National Intelligence Council and U.S. State Department’s top intelligence analyst on Nigeria before he resigned in 2016, told Omokri that he was present at the meetings with the northern governors.
In the book, Matthew T. Page alleged that “at that meeting, then Adamawa State governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako read out a memo he had written itemizing the case against Jonathan. He was so openly and almost violently against the Jonathan administration in his speech that he had to be openly rebuked at the meeting by the then Nigerian ambassador to the US, Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye, of blessed memory. “Admiral Nyako’s belligerence against the Jonathan administration was so venomous that it prompted a rebuttal from the Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who showed loyalty to the then Nigerian President. According to Mr. Page, this prompted most of the other Northern governors present to turn on him.
Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo must have reluctantly been coaxed into attending the meeting as a result of the Northern governors solidarity. But it was obvious that backstabbing Jonathan who was not there to defend himself, got the broad-minded governor very angry. And he expressed his feelings strongly and powerfully despite being perhaps, the youngest of the governors present.
He turned the tide against hatred, backbiting and unfairness, making him fit enough as a future leader to watch in Nigeria for unity and cohesion.