Alhaji Aminu Abubakar Dangaladima, is the Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, DCG, of Customs (Finance). He is at the same time, the District Head of Gulumbe, in Birnin Kebbi local government area of Kebbi State. In this exclusive interview with Newsdiaryonline, Dangaladima spoke on the initiative to empower people of his community, as a way of assisting government in the area of skills acquisition for self-reliance. Excerpts:
Gulumbe District was created in 1999 and you became the first District Head. What are your dreams for this District?
Everyone’s ambition of a place is to prosper, to be peaceful, to be developed and for its people to be self sufficiently reliant. As a human being with ambition in life, one of my dreams is to have a peaceful, prosperous and developed domain; one which people are happy. We believe that it is only with peace that you will have progress, prosperity and development. My ambition is to have a peaceful domain.
How do you combine the roles of civil service and that of a traditional leader?
When I became District Head of Gulumbe, combining the two roles was my initial problem. How I was going to cope, because I was not, at that material moment, ready to retire from active Federal Civil service. Fortunately however, the wisdom of my Emirate Council made it easy. I was made clear to me that a vicegerent would be appointed to assist me in the day-to-day running of the affairs of the District. As it is now, I have a vicegerent who attends all administrative functions of the District, on my behalf.
Are you a Philanthropist given the history of empowering your people in all ramifications? What is your motivation for this philosophy?
I am rather a mobiliser, not a philanthropist. Whatever you see me do, I don’t do it alone. I have friends and people of good will who are always ready to assist. Each time we have any project, I reach out to them. Tell them our problem and they will always be there for us.
Farming is the main occupation of the people.
… You are right. Quite a number of our people are farmers. This valley you see here is cultivated all-year round. Our people are engaged in irrigation farming all year through, and from time immemorial. With the coming of Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the Federal Government, a large number of our farmers have benefitted. They have received farm inputs, including fertilizers, chemicals, generators, etc for rice farming. When the services of Agric Extension Workers were optimized, Gulumbe was the centre from where they go to other places to provide services. Gulumbe people have been known to be in the forefront of not only rainy season farming but also irrigation farming. In onion farming in Kebbi, we are next only to Aliero. Farming is our mainstay here. Government is doing its best for the over growing population. So, people cannot continue to over rely on government, which is why, as leaders, we must put measures on ground to ensure that there is a good level of self reliance. Over relying on government for everything does not help us. And, we in Gulumbe have passed that stage. Our population is growing every day.
Through your magnanimity, Gulumbe women are being trained in many trades for self reliance. What’s your aim for doing this?
We are empowering the people to make them self reliant and shun criminality. When empowered, insecurity will be tackled. They will be preoccupied and not think of engaging in acts that could threaten peace. Having been trained, we plan to, through those that are assisting us, give them start-up tools on graduation. So, something reasonable will come their way. People are already making contributions towards their graduation.
On community mobilisation
The people of Gulumbe are known for community development. We built the road from Ambursa to this place. We used hoes, cutlasses and so on for the road. Anything you see here, is through collective efforts since 1967. Just recently, we have acquired a new cemetery through community efforts. Even the primary school, we use to carry out repairs. We have been enrolled for the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS. We have also been lucky to be in good terms with governments. I don’t have problem meeting any governor at any time for anything for Gulumbe.