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Dankwanbo: The Redeemer Cometh?

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Ikechi Emenyonu

The meeting was so guarded it could have passed for the conclave of the cardinals in search of a Pope. It certainly was not a conclave of cardinals to elect a Pope. But it came very close. All, governors, serving and old, former ministers, elders of the party, professionals, respected public analysts as well as intellectuals and sundry public-spirited individuals who had been carefully selected across all divides, drove themselves to the meeting venue and left their security details in another venue. The session was intense and furious. In an attempt by different wings of the Nigerian elite to find who can lead the country to the future, this kind of nocturnal gatherings was expected. But nothing has probably ever come close to this high-level meeting as witnessed in Abuja that day.

For Nigeria, at least, the good news is that there is a serious search by the elite for a credible alternative to what many would consider the best turned the worst for Nigeria, one that has dashed hopes and smashed beliefs to smithereens. For the opposition, members of which actually convened this conclave, it is even much more. This is the time to retool for Nigera’s progress and remind Nigerians of the party of Alex Ekwueme, the G-18, the G-34, the party of Sunday Bolorunduro Awoniyi, the party of Isyaku Ibrahim, Shehu Yar’Adua, Umaru Yar’Adua Theophilus Danjuma, Solomon Lar, Audu Ogbeh (now in APC), the party that united all Nigerians. So, the meeting was to find a way of sending this message to Nigerians: the party that took Nigerians for granted is now ready to redeem itself and give the nation a purposeful leadership of knowledge and competence.

And the conclusion was that the kind of presidential candidate presented by the PDP for the next election would make or mar the party. Hence the seriousness of secrecy that day last week and the banishment of emotions, status and frivolities. Now, the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, has not come out with a presidential candidate Nigerians across all divides can relate to or identify with but the search may have been narrowed down to a few persons. Atiku Abubakar, the perennial and perpetually mobile candidate, who is well acknowledged as being well prepared as former vice president and an ideas man, is on the stumps.

Sule Lamido, former governor of Jigawa State is on the discussion table. Of course, there are others, currently in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, who are being speculated on account of their political origins, as likely PDP candidates. But at the meeting in Asokoro District of Abuja last week, the name that dominated all discussions was Ibrahim Hassan Dankwanbo, current governor of Gombe State and perhaps the most successful Accountant-General of the Federation Nigeria has ever had the benefit of his service. And as the world moves towards knowledge-driven and astute leadership, in the matter of Nigeria’s future leadership, Ibrahim Dankwanbo’s name and life journey so far gave that meeting some serious food for thought.

Is he the breath of fresh air Nigeria needs now? In addition to his intimidating credentials as a professional, a technocrat, a financial expert and a political leader with a wide reach across Nigeria, he is young, at 56, and has the kind of worldview the nation needs now. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, was born on April 4, 1962 at Herwagana Ward in Gombe town, 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 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 Igbinedon University, Okada.

Professionally, Dankwambo has proved to be 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).

APC will win more states in 2019 —Muazu

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, The then governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Abubakar Habu Hashidu spotted the unique qualities in Dankwanbo and appointed him the Accountant-General of Gombe State. He held this position until April 20, 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 organisation, He was the co-chairman, standardisation of federal, state and local government accounts in Nigeria, a body formed by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to harmonise 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 FAAC, 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 reign as the Accountant-General of the Federation brought about very laudable unique and revolutionary reforms to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation which includes the following;

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 minimised. Nigerians applaud Treasury Single Account (TSA) today, but they need to know the real hero behind it. Dankwambo, 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 computerises the Public Financial Management processes from budget preparation, execution, accounting and reporting.

On assumption of office as the Accountant-General of the Federation, centralisation of Capital Accounts was a challenge to Dankwanbo. This centralisation had caused delays in implementing projects at the federal level. Dankwambo ensured that this centralisation 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 recognised 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 privatised or were in the process of being privatised. Some of these included Nigeria Airways, Nigerian Telecommunications Company (NITEL), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and many others. The office, under his leadership, also undertook successfully 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 has distinguished 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. An uncommon visionary, he is also the governor who 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, which is to bring about economic growth and permanently check the security challenges in the North-East sub-region.

A committed and principled politician, he is the one and only PDP second-term governor in the north of Nigeria who successfully stood against the so-called “Buhari Storm” and, as a result of his good governance, prudent financial management, justice, fairness and equity to his people, remained on his political platform to win re-election. As a banker, he set so much store of winning the people’s trust, as was in the days of the bankers of old, that he could be described as one of the real bankers, a sure banker or a man Nigerians can bank on.

Ikechi Emenyonu writes from Abuja

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Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Thriving in a Global Crisis

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By Kayode Emola

The last year has been a nightmare for the common man, finding himself responsible for footing the bills of high inflation, high interest, and the cost of living crisis, in the midst of a number of trying situations. Many Western leaders want us to believe that these all stem from the conflict in Russia; yet they cannot justify how, in these same circumstances, the rich are getting richer, and energy companies are declaring hefty profits. Whilst at the same time, the poor around the world have been left behind to fend for themselves through all of these tribulations.

Many of us are oblivious to the wider picture, unconcerned with the global financial tsunami that is currently stirring. However, we are all feeling the effects of inflation and the rising costs of everyday items; none of us is insulated, even in our ignorance. Therefore, I am going to discuss a few of the global events and potential ways to mitigate the challenges. For those who are conscious, this may serve as a precaution to prevent them from falling into a ditch; whilst for the less aware, maybe a note of caution will manage to bring them back on track.

It is undeniable that inflation is biting hard, causing prices of everyday goods to spiral out of control. A large contributory factor in this was the recklessly excessive printing of money by countries in Europe and America during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, with their economies suffering, it raises speculation about whether this has given the West a hidden agenda in terms of their approach to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Unquestionably, in the circumstance of war, certain parties are guaranteed to profit, namely, those whose business interests lie in the production of munitions. One may therefore infer that such parties would have a vested interest in prolonging the conflict, rather than dispensing with rapid and decisive intervention.

No one can justify Russia’s use of force; however, a more meaningful approach could have been taken to avert the war. Russia had amassed troops at the border of Ukraine for over a month, thinking that this will give it leverage in negotiating with NATO and the European Union (EU) for Ukraine’s continued exclusion from these entities.

Perhaps if the United Nation had intervened in time, the situation could have been de-escalated in a timely and professional manner. Instead, Russia felt unheard by the Western democracies; and, as a result, we all are paying the high price, whether we like it or not. The thought that the war is likely to go on for several more years is one that should chill the spine of every person around the world.

What is currently Happening?

Recently, we have seen the impact caused by the current crisis on the banking sector. Rising inflation has caused central banks to raise interest rates worldwide. Peripheral banks that had sold long-term products at lower interest rates now have to pay the difference themselves, thereby potentially jeopardising their own financial stability.

Secondly, banks that have invested in long-term government bonds have seen the value of those bonds fall. This has not only put customers’ money at risk, but the market response to the two conditions has caused two internationally renowned global banks (Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse) to have to be forcefully taken over. Furthermore, the Germany-based Deutsch bank is also having trouble. It takes only one event or mistake for everything to spiral out of control, and the whole house falls like a pack of cards.

People have seen their electricity and gas bills triple in recent months; and pump prices of diesel and petrol have been similarly impacted. An average household in the UK that was previously paying less than £80 per calendar month are now paying in excess of £300 pcm just to keep their homes warm. Despite all of this, major energy companies are still declaring serious growth and profit. Just this week, it was reported that the chief executive of British Gas, Chris O’Shea, had been awarded a performance bonus of £1.4m last year, bringing his salary for 2022 up to £4.5m. Yet concurrently millions of ordinary people are unable to afford to even heat their homes.

Not only are energy costs increasing aggressively, but the central banks’ rising interest rates have led to mortgage rates returning to levels not seen since 2006, prior to the financial crisis. This has caused monthly mortgage repayment figures to rise by over £450 pcm, in some cases, a situation which is clearly unsustainable in the long run.

For my Yoruba folks, what does this mean for our survival? The mere fact that we are in Nigeria already sets us at a disadvantage when attempting to navigate the choppy waters of the global crisis. Despite the enormous challenges facing the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria last week increased its interest rates to 18%.

It is becoming clear that we must find a way to create our own financial system, in order to mitigate against soaring interest rates and inflation. We must put measures in place to ensure that the disastrous naira redesign policy, which devastated millions of our people, cannot recur in the future. A self-contained financial ecosystem built on blockchain technology would allow us to protect ourselves from hostile government policies. This would also help our people safeguard money for a rainy day.

Ultimately, we Yoruba need our own financial system. However, this is likely to be impossible until we exit from Nigeria. In the meantime, whilst we await the birth of our Yoruba nation, I implore us all to be aware that we are living in precarious times wherein only the prepared can survive. This is not the time to embark on frivolous spending, but rather the time to be careful and judicious with our finances. Protect your upside and ensure that your downside is covered, so that when the storms get heavier, you will be able to not only survive but thrive, when others are complaining.

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Adding Value

Adding Value: Get Connected to Succeed by Henry Ukazu

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Dear Destiny Friends,

One of the best things that can happen to any person is getting connected. Not only that, but having the best of connections. Connections come in various ways. There is always a distinct difference in the way you connect with yourself, children, parents, friends, colleagues, mentors, strangers, teachers, and boss. One must know what works with these people to connect with them, otherwise it might be difficult to get your desire, especially when it relates to opportunities.

You cannot underscore the importance of human or personal relationships. Despite getting formal education, good grades, and being the best in what you do, you must make an intentional effort to put yourself out there, and this entails relating with people both formally and informally.

The importance of human connection cannot be overemphasized; it’s just like a man who wants to get close to a lady. You must understand the love language, which can be words affirmation, gifts, acts of services or physical touch. All these entail connecting with the other person in the way they understand. When you use words instead of gifts, the lady might not respond positively; when you use gifts instead of time, you might miss the person, same way if you use words, gifts, physical touch but don’t show little act of service, she might see you as an unattractive being. This is why connection is very important.

Apart from being educated and doing what you need to do to succeed, did you know you need connection to succeed? Yes, you need connection to succeed because you might be the best singer, but if you don’t get an opportunity to sing, nobody might hear your voice. You might be the best writer, but if nobody gives you an opportunity to write, your work might not see the light of the day. We all need an opportunity to showcase our work to get publicity. The big question we need to ask ourselves is how do we connect to people?

Connection works in different ways. Everyone needs to have a connection. Your connection can be God, who you relate with spiritually; it can also be a mentor or benefactor who has the platform or access to the publicity you need. Most people even connect to a “god” who assists them with false wealth or opportunity. Your connection can be from the school you attended, social engagement/networking group you belong to or even strangers you meet on the streets. If you can engage them in fruitful conversation, you are setting up yourself for success

Connection can also be through a referral, recommendation, through marketing efforts, or an established platform. It could also be via your online presence where you share your work (article or videos)

To have the success you want, you need a connection with yourself, others, and your work. For connection to be effective, you must understand how your public, private and secret life works. Your public life is the way you relate with people while in public space, your private life relates with the way you relate with your family and close friends, while your secret life relates with the way you relate with yourself. Only you know this part of you, that’s why self discovery is very important. Let me explain how this works.

CONNECTION WITH YOURSELF

Self Leadership is a skill that needs to be developed if you are to maximize the potential you were given. You cannot connect with yourself if you don’t understand yourself. It is important to state that self-connection is the most fundamental and crucial of all connections because it will allow you to bring out the best in you, which means you’ll be able to tap into a purpose that lights up your life. It may come in the form of inner guidance, intuition etc. This connection is personal and can only be understood by you.

CONNECTION WITH OTHERS

As generally stated, success comes with a team. You need people to succeed in life. Without people in your life, your life might be hollow, especially when you need to get work done and can’t do it alone. While most problems you encounter stem from a connection to people, you wouldn’t want to live without them. It is instructive to note that connecting with the right people is hard and getting them to do things for you is even harder.

CONNECTION WITH YOUR WORK

You can connect with other people with your work. The desire to produce, contribute or create is in each and everyone of us. We all want the opportunity to engage in work that gives us great pleasure while being valued and handsomely rewarded. It is when you do your work perfectly well that your value will be noticed and appreciated.

A critical area of connecting with people is networking. Networking is about establishing, building, and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet. Like I always say, we live in a connected and social economy with the invention of the internet and social media where the world is now a global village.

Do you know that networking has gone global? Yes, who you know might open the door for you, but who knows you will give you the seat. This is because you might know former President Obama, but the big question is, does Obama know you? You might know Henry Ukazu due to his global works on youths and Human Capacity Development, but does Henry Ukazu know you?

Experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful. When you invest in your relationships -professional and personal – it can pay you back dividends throughout the course of your career because networking is a currency.

Networking is essential since it will help you develop and improve your skill set, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.

In conclusion, take time out today to think about the connections you have in your life and ask yourself, am I plugged into the right connection that will connect me to the success I desire? That should be your food for thought.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s a Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright to Success. He can be reached info@gloemi.com

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Opinion

The Flames of Character: Maximize your ‘Self’ for Global Impacts

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“The word ‘SELF’ connotes:

Sharing with

Everyone,

Loving unconditionally, and

Finding peace in your old age.

Your ‘SELF’ is what makes you or mar you. it is up to you to decide what to do with your “SELF””–  Tolulope A. Adegoke, Ph.D., MNIM, FIMC, CMC, CMS

If you do not think about the future, you may not have a brighter one.

If you cannot take a major step, you cannot have a future.

It is you acting deliberately in line with your goals.

Character is who you are when no one is watching. Charm is a woman’s strength, while strength is a man’s charm

Our job is not to see through one another, but to see one another through.

One of the most difficult thing to give away is kindness, because it is like a baton which usually return in unexpected manners.

When we hurt, there is no sweeter revenge than to forgive.

For every minute of anger, it is said that sixty (60) seconds of happiness is lost.

So, why worry? Chances make our parents, but choices make our friends.

Although, our tongues weigh practically nothing,

But how come so few a people can bridle it.

If you need a position, you must be positioned enough to have a mission.

If you need to fulfil your mission, you must have a clear vision.

Refuel your vision, through meditation for rejuvenation and revitalization.

To arrive at your mission, you must embrace stable or consistent submission.

If you must achieve your vision, then you must suspend the television for a while.

If you desire to be on the television, you must avoid the television as an addiction.

The height of your position is determined by the visions that you are exposed to.

And to have acute breakthroughs, you must actively breakthrough in your thoughts and in your words (and works).

One major thing that must break for you to go through is the ‘SELF’ in you…

The word ‘SELF’ connotes:

Sharing with Everyone, Loving unconditionally, and Finding peace in your old age.

Your ‘SELF’ is what makes you or mar you. it is up to you to decide what to do with your ‘SELF’.

Listen and download Spoken word single (MP3), titled: “CHARACTER” By Tolulope A. Adegoke via the link below:

https://www.reverbnation.com/tolulopeaadegoke/song/31231966-character-spokenword

OR contact: adegoketolulope1022@gmail.com

Thank you!

Dr. Tolulope A. Adegoke is an accredited ISO 20700 Effective Leadership Trainer

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