By Ismaila Uba Misilli
Given the character of politics and governance in our clime, there is the tendency by the people to be cynical about pronouncements or promises made by political leaders especially during elections.
Of course, there is a legitimate concern perhaps as a result of experience by the populace over inability of governments to deliver on their manifestoes. Pointedly, this is a major issue in democracy.
It is noteworthy here that democracy itself aims to protect the best interest of the people not only through popular participation but also the inherent safety valves of its process that guarantee overall happiness of the people by serving the greatest interest of the highest number.
The foregoing are issues of public interest as Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya marks his third year anniversary in office.
Unlike in the recent past, there is a consensus of opinion among the citizenry and outsiders alike that the Inuwa Yahaya-led government has exhibited so much fidelity to his campaign promises and making a huge difference in the lives of the people.
Therefore, it strikes a common purpose of public good by interrogating the stewardship of Governor Inuwa Yahaya (Dan Majen Gombe) at this juncture and especially in the context of his second term bid having successfully secured the ticket of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is one crucial election he is poised to win insha Allah as a reward for his achievements in his first term.
What is so far seen in Gombe is the fact that Governor Inuwa Yahaya came into office well prepared with a broad vision and focus on the essence of his leadership and a good understanding of the development issues in the state.
We also take cognizance of his ideas-laden leadership and methodology, a clear process that speaks to his varied experiences both in the public and private sectors as a man with a Midas touch. The government’s distinctive success in the last three years, therefore, is a feature of consummate leadership that is so purposeful and determined to serve the people with commitment and serious about leaving a lasting legacy.
So when he said at inauguration in 2019 that he will fulfil all the campaign promises he made to all the 114 electoral wards and over 400 communities he visited to canvass for votes and as contained in his manifesto, he really meant it. He has now been vindicated as a promise keeper.
From education where the declaration of state of emergency has led to a revolution considering the scope and impact to health with similar performance to strategic infrastructure that has opened up Gombe State with several modern roads and the key issue of water provision trough the Gombe Regional Water supply scheme, the people are feeling a new sense of reality.
With over 200 capital projects executed in education, over 230 in the health sector and over 400 kilometres of roads under the Network 11-100 which targets the construction of at least 100 kilometres of roads in each of the 11 Local Government Areas of the state, the Jewel in the Savannah has changed tremendously in the critical development index compared to the inherited situation in 2019.
I think the revolution in education should be properly put into context here being a major interest of Governor Inuwa who on assumption of office had promised to break from the past by revamping the important sector. The first major step taken by the administration was to increase the budgetary allocation by over 60 per cent, a development that has significantly facilitated the construction, renovation and equipping of over 1000 classrooms in 156 schools, over 30,000 units of classroom furniture, sporting facilities, water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, laboratory equipment and other teaching materials. Of note here is the mopping up of over 350,000 out-of-school children from the streets and the establishment of over 700 non-formal girl-child and Almajiri learning centres carried out by the innovative Better Education and Service Delivery for All project (BESDA).The idea to designate 5 legacy secondary schools, namely, GGSSS Doma, GSSS Gombe, GSSS Kaltungo, GSS Dukku and GCSS Dadin Kowa as special schools to ensure qualitative education is forward looking just as the establishment of the Teacher Resource Centre in Kwami can only improve professional development of our teachers since they are critical to the government’s vision of qualitative learning.
Similarly, the one primary health centre in each of the 114 wards in the state is essential to healthy living and indeed basic to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where health is a major factor. Yes, the upgrading of the State Specialist Hospital to a standard tertiary hospital which has also facilitated the internship training of graduate doctors is now improving the number of doctors in the state. The government embarked on the upgrading of the state specialist hospital including the installation of relevant equipment that were hitherto lacking such as Xrays and Ultrasound machines, ECG, Echo, Endoscopy and equipping of the dialysis centre constructed by the past administration but left unequipped. In addition to that, one general hospital in each of the three senatorial zones is upgraded so as to make available to the people specialized services and reduce the burden on the state specialist hospital.
Perhaps, one of the fulfilled campaign premises that has so far endeared so many citizens of Gombe State was the provision of financial protection against catastrophic health expenditures through the creation of a contributory health insurance scheme and community based health insurance for the informal sector in the State. This, the Governor was able to achieve through the establishment of the Gombe State Contributory Health Scheme, popularly referred to as GoHealth.
Other landmark achievements by the administration of Governor Inuwa Yahaya include, but not limited to, the establishment of the Hospital Service Management Board for the effective management of secondary health facilities in the State and strengthening the activities of the Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Then the major support to agriculture as our economic mainstay through timely supply of fertilizer, seedlings and other inputs to farmers as well as loans, reactivation of cooperatives and livestock development have collectively boosted socio-economic development.While the Gombe Goes Green and other environmental friendly policies are yielding desired goals, the Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park in Dadin Kowa is a key platform for the industrial takeoff in Gombe State.
It has to be noted that these achievements, among several others, were recorded in spite of the weaknesses the government inherited from the previous administration, particularly on the debt profile of over 120 billion naira in addition to the many arrears in gratuity and pensions.
It is gladdening, however, that most of the debts and sundry financial liabilities have largely been addressed even in the midst of such terrible intervening disaster like Coronavirus with attendant disruptions on our local economy as an integral part of the national economy that equally felt the global shock of the deadly virus.
A key factor that also needs to be emphasized as we interrogate the achievements of Governor Inuwa Yahaya as the state turns three years is the strategic infusion of institutional reforms by the administration, a step that has created varied innovations and strengthened the governance system to deliver more efficiently on policies and programmes. Allied to this is the idea of partnerships with the various Federal MDAs and strategic institutions and NGOs which have yielded the right dividends.
Furthermore, one major pillar of the reform is the entrenchment of transparency and accountability which have made good governance possible. One can evidently see how the quest for sustainable development for the state was configured on the 10-year Gombe State Development Plan (DEVACOM) which has since formed the basis for the state’s medium term and annual budgetary processes.
It is indeed a function of the far-reaching reforms that the state not only earned the status of being the best state in the ease of doing business as affirmed by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, the reform also attracted a reward of millions of USD from the World Bank.
There is a general renewal in the apparatus of government and have collectively impacted on the state of efficient performance in government at all levels.Generally, the hallmark of Gombe State Government at three on the watch of Governor Inuwa Yahaya is the realistic redemption of our people from the yoke of past maladministration, setting up a truly democratic environment where the people truly come first and in a peaceful and more inclusive manner. We can all see a glitter of achievements.
Within three years of his stewardship, Governor Inuwa has won awards, accolades and commendations from reputable organisations and institutions. Two of the most recent awards bestowed on Governor Inuwa Yahaya readily come to mind. These awards are the ones by Leadership newspaper which recognised the Gombe State Governor as the 2021 Leadership Governor of the Year and Vanguard newspaper which declared Inuwa Yahaya as its 2021 most outstanding Governor of the Year. Both high profile recognitions came almost in quick succession in brazen admittance of Governor Inuwa’s giant strides in the social, economic and infrastructural development of the State.
Thus the remaining one year in the life of the first term of the present administration is expected to usher in a more prosperous socio-economic performance to the greater benefit of the people and not a few are yearning for continuity because Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has kept his promise.
Misilli is Director-General ( Press Affairs) Government House, Gombe