By Adamu Abubakar Kumo
Democracy Day as a national public holiday is celebrated on June 12th each year from 2019. It is a day when the whole country commemorates the successful return of democratic rule after years of military reign. The day is a special time to reflect on the successes recorded in this democratic dispensation that started 23 years ago.
While in many states people are debating whether their states are progressing or retrogressing, in Gombe State the story is a palatable one, ‘Gombawa’ have enough reason to celebrate this day.
Created in 1996, Gombe a relatively younger state is having its fourth civilian governor, His Excellency Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya (Dan Majen Gombe) who came to power by defeating the incumbent at the polls in 2019.
Laden with much expectations and hopes, Governor Yahaya started the journey with devastating challenges capable of bringing the machinery of government to a halt. From heavy debt to unsettled projects, backlog of gratuities to myriads of bonds, the state fiscal strength was too lean to support it’s progress.
Amidst these fears and uncertainties coupled with world economic downturn as a result of covid-19 pandemic, the SWOT analysis of the chances of the state to get it right predicted rather a bitter results with blurred future for the state.
But, with good leadership, all these predicted misfortunes were not to be. It is said that leaders are made under pressure and their capacity to translate vision into reality against all odds is what makes them leaders. On the ‘odds’ Jocelyn Chong, opined that “challenges are the most opportune time for a leader to demonstrate true leadership qualities”. If this scholarly disposition is anything to go by, then we can unequivocally posit that, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has proven to be, not only a leader, but a good and exemplary one.
There is consensus of opinion among the citizenry and outsiders alike that the Inuwa Yahaya-led Administration has shown an uncommon commitment towards fulfilling his campaign promises and making a huge difference in the lives of the people.
To start on a solid foundation, Governor Inuwa ensured that the state has a well guided blue print to drive its development. The entire philosophy 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.
Another astonishing decision that put the state on the right tract and endeared many is Governor Inuwa’s resolve to continue with the projects initiated by the previous administration. The Governor believes that all projects belong to the good people of Gombe State, therefore none will be abandoned provided that it has prospects of benefiting the good people of Gombe State. The Multi-Billion Mega Park Project abandoned by the previous administration and many road projects in both rural and urban areas have been completed, institutions established without proper accreditation etc have all been rescued by Inuwa-led administration.
The three years of Inuwa’s stewardship has brought 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 state has improved tremendously in the critical development index compared to the inherited situation in 2019.
To prove his stance on education, Governor Inuwa declared state of emergency in the sector, increased the budgetary allocation by over 60 percent, 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.
The administration successfully mopped-up over 350,000 out-of-school children from the streets and established over 700 non-formal girl-child and Almajiri learning centres through Better Education and Service Delivery for All (BESDA) Project. The establishment of the Teacher Resource Centre in Kwami was also put in place to improve professional development of teachers in the state.
In the health sector, Inuwa Yahaya upgraded the State Specialist Hospital to a standard tertiary hospital which has also facilitated the internship training of graduate doctors. 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. Moreover, at least one primary health centre was established/revitalised in each of the 114 wards in the state.
Agriculture which is our economic mainstay has been supported in many ways to include supply of fertilizer, seedlings and other inputs to farmers as well as loans, reactivation of cooperatives and livestock development, collaboration with development partners to boost dry season farming especially of wheat production.
The Muhammadu Buhari Multi-billion Naira Industrial Park being established in Dadin Kowa is a justification to Inuwa’s drive towards industrialization and of course a key platform for the industrial takeoff in Gombe State. The park is capable of employing more than a hundred thousands youths in the state and beyond.
Through Gombe State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA), thousands of motorized boreholes have been drilled in several rural communities to boost water supply in especially areas facing acute shortage of portable water. Similarly, the State Executive Council has recently approved more than 11 billion Naira for the resuscitation, revitalisation and extension of Gombe Regional Water supply Scheme to cover more communities.
In the past three years, Gombe State has been featuring in the headlines as the relatively peaceful state, state with low crimes rate, Best state in the ease of doing business etc. This is indeed a function of the far-reaching reforms, good policies and we’ll planned strategies of the present administration under Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.
It is also gladdening to note that, so far, most of the debts and other financial liabilities impeding the growth and development of the state have largely been addressed.
As we all celebrates this year’s Democracy Day, People of Gombe State have more than enough reasons to celebrate not just for moving with the wind, but for the dividends of democracy brought by Governor Inuwa Yahaya Administration. The glitter of these achievements is visible in all nooks and crannies of the state.
With these achievements, one can boldly say that, having successfully secured the ticket of his party, the APC for his second term bid, Governor Inuwa is poised in sha Allah to win in the 2023 election with another landslide victory as a reward for his achievements in his first tenure.
Long live Gombe State under Governor Inuwa Yahaya.
Happy Democracy Day!
Adamu Abubakar Kumo writes from Gombe State