The mood nationwide is genial as Nigerians celebrate 60 years of nationhood. To analysts and commentators alike, the situation is not different except the expected divergence of opinion on our level of success, depending on perceptions and may be convictions. While some would claim there is not much to celebrate, others are wont to believe that in spite of all the challenges facing the country right now, there is so much to celebrate particularly the fact that we are still together as an entity and hopeful that the lofty height of greatness we covet is still within our reach to accomplish. Perhaps, affirming this confidence, the Federal Government has actually sequenced the 60th anniversary as a year-long event, underscoring the importance attached to it.
For us in Gombe State, it’s a double celebration: we are marking our 60th independence as a nation and the 24th year anniversary of the creation of our drear state.
It has been a long journey now, relatively, from the inception when the state was administered by the military running into the civilian administration and the new vistas being heralded and engineered by the current leadership in the state.
At both national and state levels, issues arise as to the extent of success we have achieved or should have attained in maximizing our potentials just as we take stock of the challenges we need to surmount in order to make our desired marks in the future.
For Nigeria as a country, it is apt to say that it has been a mixed feeling. As juxtaposed earlier, many believe that we could have done better than the prevailing socio-economic and political situation we find ourselves today. But there are so many others, including yours sincerely hold the view that Nigeria has made real progress considering the circumstances of birth and challenges of nationhood compared with other nations of similar background and realities. Indeed that the future is quite great as we continue to work on our drawbacks and being realistic to cope with the issues of socio-economic and political development. Aside, it is unarguable that the current situation is not peculiar to Nigeria but exigent challenges nations around the world are trying to cope with in varying dimensions of success.
Somehow, the situation in Gombe State is one of exhilarating joy of triumphs, not only on the import of the creation of the state out of the old Bauchi State as a necessity to bring development closer to the people but also on the fundamental issue of real growth and development over time especially by some distinct leaders at the helms at different times.
In critical evaluation, the military eras were mainly devoted to laying the foundation for proper building of the state as we have it today. The respective military administrators made some noticeable impact upon which the successive leaders, mainly civilians, built and amplified the vision of the founding fathers.
Accordingly, it is imperative to salute the pioneering roles of military leaders like the then Group Captain Joseph Orji and Mohammed Bawa both of whom had some short stay in office.
And from 1999 when the 4th Republic took off, one is bound to reckon with the modest stewardship of Governor Abubakar Habu Hashidu, relayed and bolstered when Governor Mohammed Danjuma Goje took over amid tremendous efforts made to really move quicker to the mission and vision of why Gombe was created. Admittedly, Goje realized early the challenges faced by the relatively new state especially in terms of development, and worked hard with his team, which Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya was a key member as commissioner of finance and economic planning, make it possible to have a modern state where critical infrastructure and development initiatives hallmarked his administration. Goje remains an illuminating leader of modern Gombe, one who showed the way for a competitive stewardship and possibilities after his illustrious tenure. From him to the Ibrahim Hassan Dankwanbo administration, we also saw some gleam of contributions to the development of the state even in varying dimensions.
But many discerning minds are wont to believe that the coming in of the current governor of the state, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, is a turning point in some distinctive leadership, a situation which actually makes the celebration of Gombe State at 24 the more enthusiastic because of the innovations and extent of reforms that are reshaping the essence of development as basis for the creation of the state on October 1, 1996.
Governor Yahaya has in a revolutionary manner created a template that has modernized administration with major in-built mechanisms to foster effective, efficient and inclusive administration. We now have a formidable governance structure that is so institutionalized and working to deliver the goods.
We can see the critical concern to make governance work for the people as envisioned by the founding fathers of the state and in consonance with the dictates of democracy as a form of government.
In this regard, we are most certain on the landmark achievements of the government in the areas of education, health, environment and infrastructure, ensuring that government fulfills its promises to the people as a basic responsibility.
Other major indices of good governance as indicated in the quest to industrialize the state and serious citizen engagement and empowerment are particularly exciting and futuristic. So much is happening now with specific implications for the future greatness of the state.
But beyond the various admirable outlooks as we now see in the state, there is the greater accolade that Gombe is steadying towards a major revival in outstanding relevance in the comity of states in the country in no distant time with the vision of the current leadership being carried to a logical end. Besides being the economic cum political epicenter of the North East, the critical issue here is the question of leadership which Governor Inuwa Yahaya has so far imbued in the entire echelon of the administration, which he leads with distinction.
It is arguable that the foundation of Gombe State is now cresting to the founding vision which, in most calculations, rest on the extent of leadership commitment and actual delivery on the wellbeing of the people, to live a better life within the basic index of development.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya is moderating a new clime of conscious idealism placed side-by-side with realism on the journey so far and the way forward on how best Gombe could be a model state.
The key pillars of this reality would inevitably be in the realm of economic prosperity and political stability, raising hope that the essence of good governance as defined by Plato is being actualized in the context of his valid argument that “politics needs expert rulers, and they cannot come to it merely by accident…that political decisions require good judgment”.
How Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya’s administration has fared in key sectors in the last one year plus.
Agriculture continues to play a crucial role in development, especially in lowincome countries like Nigeria where the sector is large both in terms of aggregate income and total labor force. The administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya knowing the huge potentials of agriculture as an engine of growth and economic transformation, has made agriculture a priority. As such, the administration made huge investments in the sector in order to effectively harness its role in the socio-economic development of the state.
1. Procured and distributed at least 1 truck of fertilizer to each of the 114 wards of the state for sale to farmers at a subsidized rate of N5,000 per bag for the 2019 and 2020 farming seasons;
2. Procured and distributed 19,500 bags of improved assorted seeds for the 2019 farming season;
3. Built Agricultural Resource Centers in Balanga and Kaltungo LGAs with support from Global Environmental Facility, UNDP and FGN;
4. Established Farm Demonstration and Technology Adoption Plots to train farmers on modern farming techniques in 10 communities of Balanga and Kaltungo LGAs;
5. For the first time in over 10 years, a state-wide livestock vaccination campaign was conducted to improve the health of livestock and increase the yield of its products;
6. Allocated the Wawa – Zange grazing reserve for the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP);
7. Concluded plans to launch a comprehensive Agricultural Transformation Programme aimed at harnessing the agricultural and manufacturing potentials of the state; and
8. Increased budgetary allocation to the Agricultural sector in the 2020 budget.
On assumption of Office, His Excellency Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya declared a state of emergency in the education sector to address the numerous challenges affecting the sector such as; the high rate of out-ofschool children, dilapidated structures, lack of teaching and instructional materials, poor capacity of teachers etc.
1. Built over 234 new classrooms in 80 schools across the state;
2. Renovated over 190 classrooms in 47 schools across the state and still counting ;
3. Rehabilitated 4 legacy secondary schools in the state namely GSSS Gombe, GSS Dukku, GSSS Kaltungo and GGSS Kuri;
4. Provided over 15,000 units of pupils and teachers furniture to over 120 schools across the state;
5. Established a modern Teacher Resource Centre in Kwami for continuous training and re-training of teachers;
6. Through the BESDA programme, has mopped up over 300,000 out-ofschool children and enrolled them back to school; and
7. Procured and distributed various instructional materials to about 119 schools across the state.
Gombe State is bedeviled with severe environmental problems such as desertification, deforestation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and decline in soil nutrients. In order to combat these challenges and mitigate the negative effects of global climate change, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya launched the largest environmental restoration initiative in the North East sub-region – the Gombe Goes Green (3G) project.
1. Gombe Goes Green (3G) project targets to plant four million trees within the space of his four years tenure;
2. Engaged and deployed 27,000 youths under the YESSO programme to nurture the trees being planted by the 3G project;
3. Established 5 nurseries across 5 LGAs;
4. Raised about 1.2m assorted seedlings ready for planting in the 2020 raining season, the largest conducted in the history of the state;
5. Established 100 hectares of woodlot plantations across 5 desert-prone LGAs; and
6. Paid counterpart fund of 500 Million Naira to the World Bank Assisted programme – Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) for the control of 3 major gully erosion sites threatening the state.
Emerging trends point to good governance as a panacea towards accelerated development in the economic, political and social sectors of nations. In Gombe State, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has introduced several institutional reforms and taken giant steps to entrench a culture of accountability, transparency and prudent management of public resources.
1. Created a Ministry of Internal Security and Ethical Orientation to ensure security of lives and property across the state;
2. Encouraged the participation by various social, economic, cultural and professional groups in the process of key governance decisions;
3. Empowered the State Fiscal Responsibility Commission and signed the Gombe State Public Procurement Bureau Law, 2019;
4. Introduced public engagement and transparency in the state budget process and reduced recurrent expenditure, so as to provide funding for more capital projects;
5. Established the Bureau of Public Service Reforms;
6. Constituted a steering committee for the preparation of Gombe State 10-Year Strategic Development plan;
7. Established the Gombe State Geographic Information System (GOGIS);
8. Established the Gombe State Information Technology Development Agency;
9. Supported the young innovators from Gombe State who invented a locally made Ventilator in their contribution towards curbing the Covid19 pandemic;
10. Paid about 1.6bn Naira pension and gratuity backlogs to 2015 retirees of the state government;
11. Secured the commitment of development partners such as The World Bank, GAVI, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc. to expand their interventions in the state;
12. Recovered Multimillion-naira worth of government properties including Exotic SUVs, Machineries and Lands illegally disposed off by the past administration; and
13. Refurbished ﬁreﬁghting equipment and other abandoned government vehicles to reduce cost of governance.
Health is a crucial indicator of development. In order to increase access to quality and affordable health care for the people, Governor Yahaya has invested hugely in the health sector which suffered years of neglect.
1. Thoroughly renovated and upgraded the Specialist Hospital Gombe to a modern tertiary health facility with state-of-the-art equipments;
2. Built and equipped a 12-bed capacity Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the State Specialist Hospital;
3. Revitalized at least one (1) Primary Health Care (PHC) facility in each of the 114 wards to provide 24-hour service;
4. Completed the over 20 years abandoned interns quarters at the State Specialist Hospital;
5. Renovated General Hospital Nafada and the Cottage Hospitals in Mallam Sidi and Bojude;
6. Partnered with a US based organization- PROJECT CURE to supply modern medical equipment and consumables to the State hospitals;
7. Established the Hospitals Management Board and the State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency;
8. Facilitated the state’s readiness for participation in the Basic Health Care Provision Fund programme;
9. Strengthened the activities of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency through the full implementation of the Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) policy; and
10. Mounted one of the best state response strategies in the country against the covid-19 pandemic.
Water is life! Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya upon assuming office took immediate steps to address the perennial water scarcity in Gombe State.
1. Restored regular supply of water to the metropolis and surrounding communities;
2. Extended water reticulation to Wuro Juli, Tabra, Nayinawa, Government Girls Secondary School Doma, Bogo, Kanoyel, Bye-pass and some parts of Federal Low-Cost communities around Gombe metropolis;
3. Rehabilitated 120 hand-pump boreholes and 30 solar-powered boreholes in rural communities of Akko, Balanga and Dukku LGAs;
4. Collaborated with Discos to improve electricity supply in the state;
5. Concluded arrangements to set up a 1,000-hectare Industrial Park leveraging on the 40MW hydro power plant at Dadin Kowa.
WORKS, TRANSPORT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses. By linking producers to markets, students to schools, workers to jobs, the sick to hospitals and rural communities to cities, roads are vital to any development agenda. In Gombe State, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya initiated Network 11-100 project aimed at constructing 100 KM of roads in each of the 11 LGA’s of the state.
1. Constructed 23.53KM of township roads within the state metropolis in Madaki, Dawaki, Bolari East, Nayinawa areas of Gombe metropolis;
2. Constructed 11.25KM network of township roads in Jekadafari North within Gombe;
3. Constructed the 11.5KM Mallam Inna – Kurba – Titi with spur to Kundulum road cutting across 4 LGA’s of Akko, Gombe, Kwami & Yamaltu Deba;
4. Procured 50 brand new 18-seater buses for the Gombe State Transport Service;
5. Construction of 15KM Marraraba – Jabba – Sambo Daji – Pandi Kola – Gwarar – Garin Wada road in Akko LGA;
6. Construction of 13KM Kumo – Kalshingi road in Akko LGA;
7. Construction of 30KM Ladongor – Kwiba – Amtawalam – Pobawure – Sabon Layi – Kulgul – Ayaba road in Billiri LGA;
8. Construction of Boltongo-Nono with spur to Garin-Malami in Yamaltu Deba LGA;
9. Construction of 21KM Degri- Bembelem- Reme – Dong -Tallase road in Balanga LGA;
10. Construction of 16KM Malala – Zaune- Dukkuyel road in Dukku LGA;
11. Upgrade of 26KM Billiri – Gujuba – Kamo – Awak road in Billiri and Kaltungo LGA’s;
12. Upgrade of 19km Gona – Garko – Kalshingi road with spur to Maidugu in Akko LGA;
13. Construction of 9.10KM Bambam -Mwona -Kutare road in Balanga LGA;
14. Construction of 11.5KM Mararrabar Gerkwami – Gerkwami – Daniya in Kwami LGA Construction of 15KM Bambam -Tula Yiri road in Balanga and Kaltungo LGAs; and
15. Attracted the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) which will construct additional 700KM of rural roads across the State.
By Ismaila Uba Misilli