DAKUM AND THE QUEST FOR CONSOLIDATION
By Mathias Yakubu
“A Leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”
John C. Maxwell.
I like to always put Plateau and its people first – in the larger Nigerian context – and I do very much admire certain personalities from the state whom when they had the opportunity exhibited true and undying love for the state and its people.
Our very esteemed father of modern Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon, for instance, whom, while Head of State, ensured the creation of the then Benue Plateau State out of the monolith Northern Region and also, as well, ensured that Jos, the headquarters of his home Plateau Province, was made its capital is one of these personalities. Chief Solomon Daushep Lar was not called the “Emancipator” for no just reason. He, of course, was an exemplar of the true Plateau spirit. And of course as I have on some occasions also espoused another great Plateau Patriot, the chief proponent of the “Think Plateau, Act Plateau” mantra, Governor Simon Bako Lalong has been, and still is, keeping true to the Plateau interest. These aforementioned personalities, of course, are not all that Plateau has produced who have, or have had, Plateau’s interest in sentiment, and, also in deed. Professor Sebastine Seddi Maimako, immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos is, no one will argue, one who also belongs to this category of genuine and great patriots of Plateau State.
Dr. Patrick Sunday Dakum, the Plateau Patriot whom I have chosen to highlight in this feature even though, I must confess, I have not met before, is, however, someone whom I have observed from afar with keen interest – for over two decades now – from the 1990s – when he alongside his co-hosts, Tunji Adewunmi and Pastor Esther Ibanga, used to present the then (and still) immensely popular programme “Homefront” on the Plateau Radio Television Corporation (PRTVC) 90.5 FM Radio Station Platform. He, later, emerged as a State Commissioner and Member of the Plateau Executive Council, first as the Information Commissioner and later, as that of the Health Ministry, after formally joining the political spectrum before, also, later moving over to the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) as its Pioneer Chief of Party/Chief Executive.
I knew exactly when the Institute’s Jos Center commenced activities as its first ever operational base outside the Federal Capital, and I, over the years, started meeting a few of the many persons from the Plateau who had gained employment there through the auspices of Dr. Dakum.
For instance one of those I ran into in the past, in Jos, was one of my former teachers in secondary school at the St. John’s College, Jos, in the 1980s (an indigene of Chip in Pankshin Local Government Area) who, later, became either a Management Committee Chairman or Deputy Chairman of Pankshin LGA. And after exchanging pleasantries with him he then informed me of having since moved over to the IHVN Abuja headquarters where he held a very senior position there (that I noticed from his business card which he had handed me).
I also later found out about a retired female very senior Air force Officer whom I had once met over a decade ago when she still was in active military service, and whom, now heads one of the Departments of the IHVN at its Abuja Headquarters. The woman, from the Berom ethnic nationality is married to a spouse also from Plateau State and had once served as the Commandant of the Air force Girls Military School Jos and had, also, later served as the Pioneer Commandant of the Air force Girls Comprehensive Secondary School, Dawakin Tofa in Kano state, and was, as well, a Director at the Nigerian Air force Headquarters in Abuja.
So, of course, I already was in the picture that Professor Dakum (I understand that he, now, is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine in the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA) was doing his own bit to further the interest of Plateau and its people at his place of work but nonetheless I was more than pleasantly surprised when I recently (in June 2021) read the following statements credited to him which were from an interview he granted some select media executives from both the print and broadcast media and which went thus:
“Let me say something about my thoughts on leadership. I attended a Leadership Training somewhere in Hawaii in the year 2000, but I learnt something about true leadership and who a leader should be and it has never left me. It even helped me in my place of work now (IHVN) with over 900 staff in our institute spread over 23 states, 300 of those staff are from Plateau, because when I was going into the organization, the condition I gave them was Plateau must benefit, because I was not jobless at that point and to leave my position as the Commissioner of Health for a nongovernmental organization the stakes must be high. And so we went ahead and the training gave me an idea that, one, anybody who is a leader must know the way, which means you must know where you are taking your people to in terms of the different definitions of development and we measure it by the Human Development Index which stands in a tripod which are knowledge, longevity of life and purchasing power so it actually is your education, your health and your ability to buy and sell. If we say a community is developed we must ask how many people have finished primary school or secondary school. Secondly, how old will you live, should you measure what you can do with age, No.
“My boss in the university in the US is 83 years of age, and he is still working fulltime, the Chairman of the Board for the Institute of Human Virology in Nigeria will be 94 this year, so if you are to measure it in terms of longevity, people must be able to buy and sell in order to develop. So the leader must know the way but painting the picture of Plateau, we must also know that the leader not only knows the way but goes the way. I can’t say I know the way by not practicing it. So if we should paint the picture of what we want tomorrow, we must look clearly, in 2023, does this fellow know the way?
“Secondly, to go the way, let us go back to the antecedents of everyone, when he was a primary school teacher how many people did he affect? When he was put in charge of this, who did he employ? In his community what has he done? Because if you know the way without going the way you are not a good leader, so you must answer those questions, because you want to paint a Plateau Project, but lastly, you must show the way. So who are your mentees, how many people have you shown the direction that you want? So a leader knows the way he goes and the way he shows the way and those are the things we must look out for when we are painting the Plateau Project.
“What are we looking for in a transition? We are looking for a person to paint a Plateau Project. What is that Plateau Project? It is a consolidation by my own definition of the gains of the past; using innovation to take Plateau State and move on to the next level and take it higher than what it is now. A place that is secure and inclusive for everyone and knows that human development is more important than infrastructural development, then we also want to paint a picture whereby we want to tell the Plateau people where we are going to, whomever will take us out of our problems but not only shows the way, but goes the way” (see “Consolidation is not a mere Political Slogan, but a Developmental Slogan-Dr Patrick Dakum”, Interview Published in “the NewsGate Magazine” Vol 19 No. 167, 30th June 2021 page 8).
I was totally blown away with this narrative and I will explain why. As revealed by Dr. Patrick Dakum the IHVN has around 900 staff nationwide and of this number 300 (or about one third) are from one state alone-Plateau-his home state- and all of them employed single-handedly by him! If that is not something done by a highly patriotic indigene of Plateau then I do not know what else to call it. And as for the condition he gave them (the international headquarters of the Institute of Human Virology in the United States) that “Plateau must Benefit” that, definitely, is the action of a man who loves his state passionately and is ready to go the extra mile to see it and its people progress. It takes only a man with a strong will and an immense love for his state and its people to ensure that at least one third of the employees of the organization which he heads (and remember this is an international NGO with headquarters in America and with offices in 23 states in Nigeria) hail from his own state of origin.
In view of that amazing fact that I discovered about Dr. Patrick Dakum in his most recent interaction with the media, in June 2021, I decided to take it upon myself to fine out more about this enigma and if indeed he is for real or whether he just is on a mission of image laundering ahead of the 2023 race. And how best to do that if not from his public statements made over the years and also, as well, from the comments/testimonials of those who know him best (family, friends, schoolmates, colleagues, associates etc). And I was lucky to find one or two books and also as well, some media publications in which our dramatis personae was specifically highlighted or featured.
The first book that I began my research with was one that I had actually bought from a bookshop since 2005 (16 years ago), and still had in my personal library, titled “Step by Step: A Collection of Biographies “compiled by J. J. Jibir and L.J Gukas and, which, was printed and published by Graceway Publishing House, Surulere, in 2005. One interesting fact I re-discovered in the 320 page book, in the section on Dr. Patrick Dakum from pages 92-96 (the book featured 75 prominent and diverse personalities from both northern and southern Nigeria), is that his philosophy in life is “Love of God and love of man” (see page 95).
It, also, was in that book that I had first learnt more than a decade and half ago, that "Dr. Patrick Dakum and the Maverick (then) Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (and now Governor of Kaduna State) Mallam Nasir El Rufai were classmates at the School of Basic Studies (SBS), Zaria, during which they both recieved prizes for outstanding performances" (See pp 95 - 96, "Step by Step: A Collection of Biographies").
But it was in a different book which I recently came across only after I began a fullscale research on Dr. Dakum that Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, incumbent Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Tetfund (A close friend and contemporary of Dr. Dakum who wrote the foreword of this book titled "The Ripple Effect: Dr. Patrick Dakum: A Testimonial" Compiled/Authored by his wife, Sarah Dakum, Published in 2018, and which, I will use extensively in this research) further enlightened me as to the reason why the 2005 Collection of Biographies acknowledged Dr. Dakum for his outstanding performance at the SBS Zaria.
According to Professor Bogoro (on page XVI) "He (Dr. Dakum) studied and graduated from GSS Funtua (Now in Katsina State) with flying colours and subsequently at the School of Basic Studies (SBS) Abu, Zaria in 1976 and graduated with "A" Cube (that is triple "A" grades in Chemistry, Physics and Biology, the combined grades that he shares with only Nasiru El-Rufai, His Excellency the Governor of Kaduna State who studied Quantity Surverying (QS) and one lady who studied Pharmacy. It is recalled that former Bauchi State Governor His Excellency Ahmed A. Muazu (Muazu, also, was Bogoro's classmate at BSS Gindiri), would always say that Patrick and the other two musketeers made sure those of us that got "A,A,B trailed them.” Ayuba Ibrahim who was Dr. Dakum's classmate in secondary school at the GSS Funtua still informed me in the book that Dakum "finished with all A's in the WAEC and final examination in the school" and also that "Patrick was one of seven (7) final year students from GSS Funtua which the school selected based on merit, bought forms for admission into the School of Basic Studies (SBS) Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1976 (see “The Ripple Effect: Dr. Patrick Dakum”, pp 184 and 188).
Furthermore Dr. Aaron Onah, Dakum’s classmate in Medical School at the ABU Zaria states that “Patrick was an all rounder; he combined his studies effectively with religious and social activities on the campus. Academically he was hardworking and highly successful in the class. He was one of the few of us who passed through the medical school in our set without staying back for the “September Conference” throughout the five years of study. “September Conference referred to the re-sitting of courses/subjects not passed during the sessional examinations in September of the same year. This also meant that Patrick’s name was always above the “failure/resit line” whenever sessional examination results were released and placed on the notice board” (see “The Ripple Effect”, page 196).
So we, by now, know that there is at least one fact that those who know Dr. Patrick Dakum from his childhood and school days agree on – that he is, and has always been, a man of excellence – in academics. And as we move along in this investigation we will still want to establish if all that he or others say about his antecedents (those which we will further find out) are valid and are corroborated by reliable witnesses. But, then, before doing so we will still want to know a little bit more about his early background.
The very first paragraph in the section on Dr. Patrick Dakum in the collection of biographies “Step by Step” reads thus: “There is a saying that: “where you start doesn’t matter and what your parents or ancestors did is not the determining factor in what you do”. So it was for Dr. Patrick Sunday Dakum, who, very early in life, learnt about the saying that: “we should let the past be our heritage, the present our responsibility, the future our challenge” (see “Step by Step” A Collection of Biographies, page 92).
What this paragraph in essence is trying to elucidate us on is that while Dr. Dakum hails from very humble background that did not, at all, deter him from aspiring to and reaching the Zenith in life.
Patrick Sunday Dakum, born on 10th May, 1958, was the first and only one of his father’s 9 children (with 6 of them alive today) to be born in the small rural and very rustic village of Bwanzughum - Tilengten in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State, with all his other siblings born in the urban city of Zaria where their father then had settled and worked.
I was rather pleased to discover that Dr. Patrick Dakum and all his siblings are very proud of their humble beginnings and see it as nothing to be ashamed of, for it, was what moulded and shaped them into what they, today, have all become.
Nuhu, Dr. Patrick Dakum’s younger sibling, a Professor of Surgery and Consultant Urological Surgeon did not find it hard to unequivocally state on page 38 of the “The Ripple Effect” that”: “Our parents were not rich people. Our father was a driver/mechanic (of heavy duty machinery such as tractors and caterpillars) with Institute of Agricultural Research Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and through trainings was able to rise through the ranks. Our mother was a porter at the female hostel of the university. At another point she was a tailor.
"They worked hard to fend for us and also managed their resources judiciously. This has positively rubbed off on Patrick as he is a workaholic who is diligent in his work as I am sure his colleagues at work will attest to. He would leave his house early every day.
"This also showed itself when he had to serve Plateau State as a Commissioner. This hardwokring nature and entreprenuerial spirit has also had a ripple effect on the rest of the family as Patrick has set a good example for us just like our parents did. While in school Patrick would usually engage in vacation jobs to assist. At some point he would join our dad to drive the tractor and also work on the small family farm "(See "The Ripple Effect", pp. 38 - 39).
The following words may sound like a well worn out cliche but Dr. Patrick Dakum actually grew up and finished primary school before he got his first pair of shoes when he was going to secondary school. This was a fact I found out in a disclosure by his wife on page 88 of her book "The Ripple Effect".
That young boy from this very humble and less privilaged background whom by dint of hardwork and perseverace, has metamorphosed into the Dr. Patrick Sunday Dakum of today, ia a public health physician with an MPH (Masters in Public Health) obtained from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in 1990, in addition to an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) obtained from ABU Teaching Hospital in 1982. A Public health physician who has authored and co-authored over 120 research publications, Dr. Dakum, has also held the following positions:
1982 - 1983: House Officer, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria
1983 - 1984: Medial Officer i/c Comprehensive Health Center, Akure
1984 - 1985: Medical Suprintendent i/c General Hospital Lafia.
1986 - 1993: Principal Medical Officer, Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL) Plc
1993 - 1997: Regional Programme Manager, Access to Safe and Voluntary Contraception (AVSC)/USAID Jos Nigeria
1998 - 1999: Public Health Consultant, Help International Jos, Nigeria
2000 - 2001: Programme Adviser, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)- Bauchi, Nigeria
2001 - 2002: Regional Programme Manager, Center for Development and Population Activity (CEDPA) - USAID.
2002 - 2003: Commissioner - Information, Government of Plateau State, Nigeria
2003 - 2004: Commissioner - Health, Government of Plateau State, Nigeria.
2004: Adviser Emeritus to the Governor, Plateau State.
2004: Programme Director, Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
2004 - Present: Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria.
2005 - 2012: Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine.
2012 - Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Apart from political and other responsibilities that he has held both within and outside the country, Dr. Dakum was also an Elder/Secretary of COCIN Headquarters Church, from 1997 - 2003; Member Governing Council of the University of Jos from 2000 to 2004, Chairman, Board of the University of Jos, Consultancy Ltd, from 2001 to 2004; Chairman of the Board of the Plateau State Hospital Management Board from 1999 to 2002; Chairman Board of Directors, HELP International Organization, Jos from 1996 and Co-Presenter of Homefront Programme on Peace 90.5 PRTVC (FM) (See "Step by Step: A Collection of Biographies and "The Ripple Effect: Dr. Patrick Dakum: A Testimonial").
This then is the man whose life we have gone through right from his childhood days and this we have done for a purpose so that the reader can have a better perception of who he is before we dissect and analyze his antecedents as he himself, in June 2021, advocated be done for any aspirant for the top seat of the state in 2023. In that interview he confidently posited that the following questions be asked such aspirants. According to him:
"Let us go back to the antecedents of everyone, when he was a primary school teacher how many people did he affect? When he was put in charge of this who did he employ? In his community what has he done?” He also earlier in that same interview noted that" anybody who is a leader must know the way, which means you must know where you are taking your people to in terms of the different definitions of development and we measure it by the Human Development Index which stands in a tripod which are knowledge, longevity of life and purchasing power so it acutally is your education, your health and your ability to buy and sell" (See "Consolidation is not a Mere Political Slogan, but a Developmental Slogan-Dr. Patrick Dakum, "The NewsGate Magazine, 30th June, 2021 page 8).
We therefore, must also adjudge Dr. Patrick Dakum based on his very own words and this we will begin now using these same paramaters, most especially, as they relate to the Human Development Index.
The next stage in this investigate probe will be composed solely of what has been said by Dr. Dakum himself about his antecedents. These will be soucred from his biodata and also from two separate wideranging interviews he has done with the media, the first in 2020, when he was a guest on "Democracy Today", an interactive programme on PRTVC Peace 90.5 Fm Station anchored by ace broadcaster, Bulus Gambo, and published verbatim on pages 30 - 34 in "The NewsGate" magazine Vol. 18 No 153, of 15th February 2020. The second, his most recent media interview, also, was published verbatim in "The NewsGate " magazine Vol. 19 No. 167 of 30th June, 2021, on pages 3 to 8, which I have already quoted extensively from. Thereafter we will see if all that he has said about himself is reliable and if it is further corroborated by credible sources.
PURCHASING POWER/ABILIY TO BUY AND SELL
i. "All we need to do is to open up and create a conducive environment for young people to pursue their dreams. Now, when we say push your dreams my advice to young people is not for them to think of establishing a business of 1 million, 2 million or thereabout. Start a business of 50, 000 naira, infact if there is a business of 10,000 naira start with it get better at it develop it and then you now gradually develop your capital.
“Once upon a time I was a Secretary at the COCIN Headquarters Church (from 1997 to 2003) and myself and Solomon Chikan and others, Solomon Chikan said we need to do something about the young people.
“Let us put, together some money in the church and put it out there so that people can apply and use it for business. But when we said you cannot access more than 20,000-30,000 naira at a time a lot of young people said they were no longer interested because their proposals were within the range of four hundred thousand naira to one million.
“But there’s a particular young man that came and said that he’s seeing his opportunities wherever he goes. The man started with less than 20,000 naira and today he has some shops already here in Jos. So, can you see? He started with just 18,000 naira and now he has moved forward. I recall on a telephone conversation here in PRTV, a woman selling vegetables and food items approached me to help her grow her business. You’ll be surprised with just 10,000 that I gave her, the woman was able to triple her business and expanded rapidly. Fast forward to a year later, she was able to buy a motorcycle of her own and has even gotten some people to be working with her. She has grown from somebody that’s looking for employment to somebody that provides jobs for others to do and earn a living.
“So do not see employment as government jobs only, but any enterprise you can do to help solve the problems of Plateau State. Do you know how much people make from evacuating waste?
“Once upon a time I was a student doing my masters programme (from 1989- 1990 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital) and I did not have any money. I became a supervisor in a brick construction site. Secondly, I was able to get earrings from my friend who was able to bring Russian Gold and I was selling them as a Medical Doctor to enable me pay my school fees.
“So, its possible for you to look for opportunities rather than just watch TV all the time. Put on your thinking cap and start something. Yes there are challenges of getting somebody to open doorways but we will encourage also; that those God has placed in positions please open the doorways for young people. Plateau youths are very active, not lazy, intelligent and enterprising. All they need is for somebody to open the door for them.
"So, I let’s open the doors. Let every church and every community create and open doors for business for young people. Let the exotic fruits of Plateau be grown by different people in diverse quantities and we’ll see how God will bless the work of our hands" (See "I Promote Plateau Agenda - Dakum", "NewsGate" Magazine, 15th February, 2020, pp. 31 - 32).
ii. "There are two sides to mentoring which are the sides of the mentor and the person being mentored. We that are older hold and release the hands of the younger ones to ensure they do better than us. It is also sometimes a lifelong process. On the side of the mentor, you must have open minded people who can accommodate the younger one's ideas.
"I teach in the Sunday School, which is the youth class from ages 16 - 22. During the EndSars campaign I decided we should talk about the EndSars campaign, how we could build on the gains of EndSars and how did we lose it for the fact that some bad elements came into the mix, and I also asked what the age limit is for the old? Some of them said 30 above is too old. They said they are the "Gen Z age" and they have never known a world without the internet. So this generation is not thinking the same with what most of us here are thinking. To me engaging this age group, you have to conform to what they were born into but the most important thing as a leader and mentor you need to be openminded.
"Personally, I've been able to work with a lot of young people and a good number of them have risen up to certain positions. This young man wanted to be a miner but I said "you cannot continue like this, you will work with me but you must make sure you finish your degree". He became my Personal Assistant, I worked with him for a number of years and I told him to come explore a new world with me. And now they have established their own company, which has a turnover of almost a billion naira a year and he is an Executive Director for Logistics there. So I can beat my chest about him and others, but you must have the cooperation of the mentee. If I had said go there and he says "no", I couldnt have forced him. So for me the youths should be as interested as much and latch on to the mentor and hem of the older one's garment and should not let go.
"I'll give another difficult one. There was a young man who sold shoes to me in my own village of Jiblik, he had been putting pressure that he wants to see me, so I asked what he wanted, he said I should look for a job for him. That, he had finished the degree and managing with making the shoes and therefore, I should help him, but I looked him in the eye and said I will not get a job for him because he was a potential employer with very good skills. What should we do then? I said CBN is giving loan for anyone starting a business, even those with established businesses. So he said, I went there with only the name of the company and I didn't know how to register it, "So I told him to go and register the name of the company and I will pay for the bills. After that he registered the company, I then asked the lady working there whether he has come, she said there will be a training. I met him and he said he thought they will give him the money immediately.
"He then went for the training and I assumed he had gotten the money, but then, three or four weeks ago I met up with him and he said, "sir, I went to the bank and do you know what they told me? they said they would not give all the 4 million naira to me, that they would remove 70 percent of the money and use it to buy equipments for me. To cut the long story short, he is about to get the money, apart from that, now they have sent 10 people as trainees and they are paying them up to 30,000 naira in a span of six or nine months. he is now an employer.
"I want you to know that mentoring is not easy, some of the youths say, they do not have mentors but things don’t work that way, because it is a two way trafic, as a mentor I am not an idle person, I have a heavy burden on my head, I have to make sure that I should do the right thing and also lay the ground for you. Assuming I have ten of that man, when will I have time to do my own work. In regards to young people there are deliberate things the people could do to help. For example, why must everyone have to do a degree programme? If a young man prefers to make ceilings, why do we have to employ foreigners to do this work when we have people that can do it?
"There is this young Plateau girl I have met. I am praying if God gives me the opportunity to work with that lady, it will be really great, I want to tell her I want to train women learning mechanics. So imagine if we get this kind of multiplier effect. That means not everybody needs to get a degree. If someone wants to farm and do it better, the agricultural extension workers do not need degrees. They just need to be supervised by someone with a degree but have the relevant technology needed. So if you do that, you will find a lot of young people going into entrepreneurship. You will boost the economy and young people will boost the economy and people will get something to do” (see “Consolidation is not a Mere Slogan but a Developmental Slogan-Dr. Patrick Dakum”, “The NewsGate” magazine 30th June, 2021, pp 4-5).
“When I wanted to pursue a career in public health, I could have just sat down and said, well these people are not mentoring anybody, so what I do? Well I sought out for a mentor and I didn’t find somebody that was so advanced in what I was to do at that time and so, I had to look for a mentor outside the state.
“Somebody got interested and I told him that I want to pursure a career in Public Health and he told me to first of all ensure that I get a post graduate degree in Public Health. I had to pay my way, my fees and all kinds of labourer jobs and I succeeded eventually (in 1990). He then asked me to apply to any international organisation because it will expose me quicker. And then opportunity came, I applied and then I worked in an organisation headed by that person. I learnt a lot traversing left, right and center and doing quite a lot within the country. It gave me the opportunity to see the plight of people right at the village level and that’s why when some people feel that “Abuja people”, they forget that it’s only the office that’s in Abuja but the work takes you out there to interact with people at the rural areas and get to know them.
“So please identify people that are potential mentors and pursue them because every good mentor is not an idle person. He is very busy and therefore for him to pay attention to you it’s not easy. So I was able to move in my career because I did not relent.
“I met a young man somewhere in Abuja that was working in a construction site, carrying cement on his head. Eventually, we ended up being in the same Bible Study group and I advised him to go to school. He asked me who will sponsor him and I told him he can sponsor himself from the money he’s making at the construction site. I offered to be part of his mentoring team because you can have more that one mentor. Fast forward today, the man is now a lawyer working with a law firm in Abuja. So young people look for someone you think can be a mentor to you and pursue that person. Don’t give up on a mentor that seems to be too busy, you’ll always find a way around it.
And for the mentors, those that are in positions, please do your best. The measurement of your success in any organisation or any endeavour is the number of people that can take over your jobs that you have trained. If nobody is trained to take over your job, your accomplishments end up in zero.
“When I’m talking about mentors I am not just talking about commissioners, permanent secretaries alone. If you’re a driver, you can be a mentor to another person who’s learning how to drive. So, mentor-mentee relationship doesn’t always have to be with a rich person, highly placed or someone who drives a big car. You can be a mentor at any level. I am a mentor to several people but I am also a mentee to several people too (see “NewsGate” Magazine, 15th February, 2020, page 33).
My last born are a set of twins. One is Retji and the other is Plangji. When Retji went to the United States it was to study Computer Science but I got a call from the young man telling me that dad I have changed my course and I asked what are you studying and he said I am studying Photography. Photography? Did I spend that school fees just for you to become a photographer?
“And he said that you promised to support me in whatever I am going to do. And photography is my passion. It is what I love to do why wont you allow me to do it?
“After thinking about it, I said well, this is a promise I made, I prayed along with you that God will grant you success and God will open doors for you. Well the young man finished and I went to the graduation alongside my wife and other family members. He was chosen as the commencement speaker and when the young spoke about pursuing your dreams and your passion I got to understand that young people have to look at the talents that God has given them and to pursue those talents. What is it that you love to do and you have found out that you love to do it, do not give up even if you have be a labourer temporarily. Don’t give up that dream of what you want to be.
“We will not be able to have more than 2.5% to 5% working under government the rest will be working outside government. And where is this thing called outside of government definitely it is in private enterprise. Now the young man has finished and he is doing his masters in videography.
“This is because he said I came back to Nigeria and I am setting up a business but I realised that in Nigeria for me to make more money I need to combine both photography and videography so right now he is going on to learn how to become a producer” (see NewsGate Magazine, 15th February, 2020, page 31).
“I have to illumate the picture of our rural schools with our individual efforts. My wife took a project upon herself so that she could make thing conducive for people there, now some of us are paying the salaries of Maths, Chemistry, Biology Teachers. When we investigated there were no teachers for those subjects. They said their salaries was fifteen thousand (15,000) each, so we got some of our people and decided to pay the teachers salaries for the whole year.
“Everyone brought a little and we now have the Maths, Chemistry, Biology and we are paying.
“Now there has to be a policy that guides all of these, which is a role at the state level, that puts a target that will have a reward system and a cumulative system. If I say that I am responsible for policies for promotions, you cannot say, “Because I have been a teacher for five years I should be promoted.” The question is what is the past grade of the school you are coming from? It will determine whether you are to be promoted or not. Therefore you raise it and put a target. I will give myself a target that within the first two years let us raise the literacy rate from about 35-40% or if it is 46% let’s see if it can be raised in two years and make it a target for the entire community including the PTA who will act on the attitude of the parents. We also know that finance is a barrier to parents in the education system. We are going to be working with the various PTA’s to see how vulnerable people will be helped.
“I define a developed community as a community that has the capacity to take care of the disadvantaged amongst them. For instance, if I go to a community and I ask, “are you doing well in your communities”, we should be able to ask, “to what capacity can you take care of those who cannot take care of themselves?” To what extent can they take care of the orphaned, vulnerable children and widows? The more they are taking care of it, the more developed you are” (see “NewsGate Magazine, 30th June, 2021, page 3).
LONGEVITY OF LIFE/HEALTH
“If you have compassion for people, you will always be on the lookout for how to help them. We need mentors and seniors that have compassion for people and not the ones that have compassion for their families and friends only. People who have compassion for the generality of the people, families and communities so much so that when you go to a community, you already know what you’re looking out for.
“I got to a community around Bassa with some friends from the USA, Miango area to be precise and suddenly these friends of mine from Cincinnati, Ohio saw some women with buckets of water on their heads moving. And they asked why are these women labouring this way? I said, well they’re looking for water. And they asked again why do they have to carry it, why can’t they just open the tap? And I said, there’s no tap because there’s no water there. And I also told them that if these people can get at least a borehole, their problems would have been solved. And at that time, a borehole cost about three hundred to four Hundred Thousand Naira.
“They said they’d go back to the USA and raise money for two boreholes. I was amazed at the compassion they have for others. They did not just raise money for two boreholes, but were able to raise seven hundred thousand Dollars and they acquired a borehole making equipment with the money.
“So let’s have individuals and mentors that are in a position to help the young generation. As a leader how many people have you mentored? How many people can actually look up to you and say that as a result of this person I have been able to catch a vision. And I am not talking about I give you money now because money is one tenth of what you need. But how have you helped the person to catch a vision. Sometimes you just need a pep talk from someone and you are good to go. My belief is that the link between mentors and mentees needs to be improved and strengthened from a position of passion.
“And that is where my faith comes in full stop for me without faith in God it is impossible for you to have a true compassion” (see “NewsGate “Magazine Vol. 18 No 153, 15th February. 2020, pp 32-33).
“Dr. Patrick Dakum is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.
“As a Public Health Physician and Chief Exeicultive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, he has led the institute to provide HIV counselling and testing for 8.3 million individuals, anti-retroviral prophylaxis for over 85,000 pregnant women, and enrolment of more than 465,000 people into the HIV care programme and over 3,000 multi-drug resistant patients into treatment.
“He obtained his medical degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria and subsequently his Masters’ Degree in Public Health at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital “see “Biosketch of Dr. Patrick Dakum” in “The Ripple Effect”, pp 213-214).
In this phase of this investigation we shall go through testimonies about Dr. Patrick Sunday Dakum’s antecedents and in them we will determine if in the past he has matched his ebullient words with action towards assisting in the attainment of a high level, on the Human Development Index, by his local community, his state and by all those that he has had cause to interact with. The people from whom we shall read testimonies on Dr. Patrick Dakum are very diverse-in nature-many from the Plateau, some from the north, others from the south, with even a foreigner- a white American.
Amongst them include clerics (at least 5 in number including two former Presidents of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), a former State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and also a former Vice President of COCIN), Royal fathers (including the Paramount Ruler of Mupun Land, his ethnic nationality, and also the Village Head of Jiblik, his home village); professional colleagues (in the medical field and also at the IHVN); school mates (in secondary school, at the SBS Zaria, and also at the ABU) and; as well, family members including his wife, and a sister-in-law.
At the end of all these testimonies one possible question that may come to the reader’s mind (it, indeed, came to my mind after going through them) is that “Is this man too good to be true?” But because of those who made the testimonies one is left with no choice at all but to take them at face value. Let the journey begin.
JONATHAN GUKUT (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LOGISTICS GENERAL HEALTH AND LOGISTICS INTERNATIONAL ABUJA)
“Long ago while still in primary school, we drew a lot of inspiration from the life of the young undergraduate medical student, Patrick Dakum. We saw him as a young hero worthy of emulation.
Later in life when he drew me close to himself and appointed me to serve as his personal assistant, I was able to encounter a hardworking man, full of commitment, able to multitask, a goal-getter and a man of tremendous compassion. In my moments of despair never has any man been such a source of encouragement and strength to me. Despite the appetite I have always had for schooling, he provided a push for me to enrol for a degree at the University of Jos at a time when it would be regarded as a young businessman with just a diploma. His constant encouragement kept me going.
His mentorship transcends beyond the physical and material endeavours. As a spiritual mentor, he mentored me to be useful in service to God through preaching and teaching within the body of Christ and be regarded as the perfect example of a believer in this philosophy.
"Givers never lack" is a phrase I grew up with in my household. Dr P.S. Dakum can be regarded as the perfect example of a believer in this philosophy.
"During his days as Commissioner in Plateau State, towards the end of the month, whenever he calls me on phone and begins the conversation with "Mallam", I quickly get my pen and paper ready because I anticipate what will come next. He will reel off names of people and various amounts of money for me to 'distribute' to them. By the time he is done reeling the names, I will realize that the total amounts is his entire salary. His answer to me whenever I draw his attention is: "people seek assistance from me because they are in need, if God has placed you in a position to be able to assist, then assist, you or your children will never go hungry because you have assisted people.”
"In the aspect of community development of Mupun Land, and by extension, Plateau State and Nigeria, Dr. Patrick S. Dakum displayed this during the 1999 elections. He was a founding member of the PDP and because of his commitment; he was appointed the Commissioner of Information for 1 year before he was reassigned to Health to go in line with his professional calling. He also served as Director General of Campaign for Chief Joshua Dariye and as one of the returning officers for the 2003 Presidential Election for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
"Dr. P.S. Dakum as an individual has respect for people with integrity. This is exemplified in his love for justice, fairness, equity and empathy towards people. He wants Nigeria's integrity restored and that is what he is compassionate about. He does not like injustice and is also interested in local and international politics. Despite their little political differences he has come to admire Chief Solomon D. Lar's political charisma. Remember that in politics there is no permanent friend or enemy, just political interest. My interaction with him revealed that, if he is to run a Government, his priority will be the creation of job opportunities and working concurrently to deliver other dividends of good governance.
“When he was appointed as a Federal Board Member of University (Governing Council Member of the University of Jos) from 2000-2004 a lot of the less privileged applicants who had been looking for admission into various universities in Nigeria for years without securing any became a thing of the past, from assisting one or two of them, the news went around like wildfire as such he directed me to keep a book and I did. And from records within three years he secured admission for over 150 applicants which cut across religion, tribe and state with 100% of them graduating in fields contributing effectively to the Nigerian economy.
"Dr. Dakum loves setting targets and goals. He sets goals that are achievable. While working with NITEL in Jos, he introduced routine checkups to forestall incessant cases of High Blood Pressure (BP) and Heart Attack. He equally worked with both local and international NGO’s. When he consulted for an NGO, it was to reduce the misconception about family planning... as Health Commissioner, he encouraged the establishment of the Plateau State Virology Reseach Center (PLASVIREC) which is today regarded as one of the best confirmation centers for HIV patients in West Africa.
“In Novermber, 2004, he became one of the Pioneer partners who established the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN). During his spare time, he counsels young and intending couples, studies the Bible and even teaches the younger ones to understand the Bible... Dr. Patrick S. Dakum is a harbinger of unity and has impacted a lot of lives either in the political, church, family or his work life. He does this without segregation to race, religion or tribe.
“His goodwill is legendary. From his local community, he was instrumental to the establishment of Jiblik Community Secondary School and its subsequent takeover (by the state government) and other basic needs like staffing. This gesture is also extended to G.S.S Jing, G.S.S Kagu, G.S.S Jack, G.S.S Asa, G.S.S Dyis among others in Plateau State, which created a lot of employment for Adults and enrolment of a lot of students, who are today occupying public offices. He has supported lot of churches and has built and donated classrooms in some primary schools. Other notable achievements are his support for the creation of chiefdoms and districts in Plateau State and he is actively involved in the National Christian Couples Fellowship (as its National Coordinator and Trustee). It is no gainsay that he gave leadership to IHVN that has now become a center of excellence in Abuja, Nigeria. The less privileged and widows within the society who come across my mentor, Dr. Patrick Dakum and particularty Jiblik land can attest to his philanthropy. He constantly sends me to make monetary assistance to them every December since 2003 to date.
“While still very active in service some of us are occupying certain positions with chain of other people directly or indirectly benefiting from what he has impacted in us (me)” (see “The Ripple Effect”, pp 124-128, Published 2018).
REV. PROFESSOR PANDANG YAMSAT (FORMER COCIN PRESIDENT)
“Prof. Yamsat describes Dr. Patrick S. Dakum as Zealous, dynamic and generous. He says he has known him for some time but he became close with him in 1999 when he was transferred to COCIN Headquarters first as an Associate Pastor and Vice President of COCIN before he subsequently became the President of COCIN.
“Dr. Patrick Dakum was at that time the Secretary of the church and so they used to meet as church elders. Spiritually, they were always at religious meetings together. Doctor was the one always designing the church programmes and the Rev. Professor sees him as zealous for the things of the Lord because he used to organize the Sunday school teaching materials with his whole heart. He also admired him for organizing the Sunday school group as well as his life in politics based on his zeal to ensure that politics in his state and the country goes in line with our faith. And concerning developments, he is also zealous, committed and desirous that things go well in the state and the country. Being a Medical Doctor, he is also concerned for the health of the people. Being a Mupun man from Jiblik village you find him in development initiatives such as MUCDA and he ensures that Mupun sons and daughters excel in their places of work. He supports them to get employment and succeed in all that they do. I have seen him excel in that greatly. Everywhere I go I will hear so and so say he is here because of Dr. Patrick S. Dakum. He has worked to ensure people who are qualified, well behaved and of good character get employed and not simply because he is Mupun or a friend”. (see “The Ripple Effect”, pp 114-115).
REV. DR. SOJA BEWARANG (FORMER COCIN PRESIDENT AND FORMER STATE CAN CHAIRMAN)
“I have heard about Dr. Patrick Dakum before meeting and working with him from 2000 to 2005 as Senior Pastor and the Secretary of the Elders’ Board of COCIN headquarters Church.
“We kept a very close working relationship when I became COCIN Vice-President (2005-2011) and COCIN President (2012-2013). Dr. Dakum has been my confidant thus, I know Dakum enough to write briefly about him.
“Dr. Dakum is from a very disciplined family. I know his late father and his mother who is a lovely Christian lady, faithful member of COCIN headquarters church and COCIN women fellowship.
“Dr. Dakum loves his parents and family members. During these years of my close acquaintance with Dr. Dakum whom I call “Likita” there are certain key principles in scriptures that I observed are the foundation and the driving force in his Christian life and service to humanity.
“Dr. Dakum doesn’t want to be seen as a failure in whatever he lays his hand to do, he believes in the scripture that says: “he who lays his hand to a plough and looks back is not fit for the job”, and while it could be said that one could be a jack of all trades and master of none, Dr. Dakum is the exception because he can be in study class, attending couples fellowship, giving talk on PRTVC Radio Homefront programme, and promptly at the Elders Council and still function very well as Commissioner of Information, husband and father.
“Dr. Dakum, as Daniel in the Bible, doesn’t want the business of the organisation he is serving under to suffer any loss, be it secular, religous or private sector. Thus, the success leadership story in Daniel 6:1-5 keeps Dr. Dakum in focus so he works diligently to make sure that: “the king’s business shouldn’t suffer loss”. This so because Dr. Dakum as in Daniel 6:3 has “an excellent spirit of God in him”. He believes in himself and works with absolute confidence.
“Dakum is a man of the people. That he loves his parents and above all his wife and children as I have said before is not an exaggeration.
“He speaks very highly of his family and of truth they are a very united family both nuclear and extended. He is very Jovial and his presence at any occasion lightens the atmosphere and creates lively conversations and interactions, cracks a lot of jokes and can hold both small and large groups happy for a very long time.
“Mercy my wife recalls an occasion when Dakum organised a birthday party for his wife Sarah, and what he gave Sarah as a birthday gift was “Gwete”. In the words of Mercy: Dr. Dakum is an exceptional husband and father, humble and doesn’t associate only with people of his level but stoops to relate with those of lower cadre.
“He is very humble and concerned about the progress of others especially the youth. He has given employment to many irrespective of tribe, religion and he is an excellent communicator. Above all he loves God, His word and His church. Because he is young, full of ideas, diligent and works within the scheduled time given to him, he is always admired by the church and members will always vote to nominate him for any position in the church.
“On one occasion I had to ask him to drop some of his church responsibilities in order to avoid burnout one day. He is visionary and often sees the light at the end of the tunnel. He is an excellent planner and an achiever. He has an admirable personality with immense intellectual pursuit.
“He has a deep courage with deep Christian conviction as a result Dr. Dakum radiates desirable cordiality with uncompromising commitment to truth, fairness and justice. He places highest premium on Christian service-driven activities and persuasive leadership which not only guides but aims at moulding the younger ones to engage in gainful ventures to improve livelihood.
“He has mentored so many within and outside the church. He is an encourager per excellence. The respect he widely earns within Nigeria and outside the country is thus rightly earned and well deserved.
“My two years as COCIN President couldn’t have been eventful without the high level of commitment of Dr. Patrick Dakum and others. His ideas along that of Professor Ochapa Onazi, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro and under the Chairmanship of Air Marshal Jonah Domfa Wuyep were instrumental to the speedy progress of the Karl Kumm University and COCIN Mission to the Nations.
“The Documentary they produced using one of his brothers who is a photographer was very timely and educative to raising funds for continued work on the Karl Kumm University and COCIN for continued work on the Karl Kumm University and COCIN Mission to the Nations.
“Dr. Dakum is an indispensable asset in the church. The COCIN Daily work with Christ couldn’t have been readily available without the dedicative role of Dr. Dakum. He is a preacher, a teacher, counsellor and peace lover. He is very generous and always willing to go the extra mile to do that which will please God and his fellow men.
“Any person who interacts with Dr. Dakum will certainly say blessed is the womb that bore him and parents and home that nurtured him” (see “The Ripple Effect”, pp 150-154).
REV. DR. OBED DASHAN, MNI (FORMER COCIN VICE PRESIDENT)
“I first met Dr. Patrick Dakum in company of Dr. Steve Daniyam. Ever since, the relationship grew and continued. Then I met him as Secretary of COCIN Headquarters Church when I became COCIN General Secretary till now (and later COCIN Vice President).
“There has been a remarkable growth and change in degree of grace. Dr. Patrick Dakum is a hardworking, task-oriented achiever in addition to being a faithful Bible teacher and a committed family spiritual Director of his home. He relates like a disciple-maker with his children.
“Dr. Dakum has great organisational and administrative skills. As a Member and Secretary of the Proposed Karl Kumm University Endowment and Funds Mobilization Committee he was one of the few that made the fund raising a great success. He is a good time manager. That is part of why he has chaired COCIN Literature Committee for many years now with increasing improvement and aspiration. Anything Dr. Dakum is asked to do is as good as done!” (see “The Ripple Effect”, 2018, page 155).
SYLVANUS YEPE (FORMER NATIONAL CHAIRMAN JIBLIK DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION)
“The man known and called Dr. Patrick Dakum has a set of qualities which make him stand out from the crowd. I have followed his track record from 1991 when he was the medical officer with the then Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd (NITEL) to date-a gentleman per excellence with towering personality in public affairs.