100 DAYS : A TALE OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE IN GOMBE STATE
BY Ismaila Uba Misilli
In as much as politics is a powerful tool for governance, good governance must not be played with politics, at least, not by any government that hopes to make a difference in the lives of those that elected it to serve them.
This is an understanding that the Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has been able to get a grasp of, as evident in achievements recorded in his name in just 100 days of being in office.
Against all odds, Governor Inuwa Yahaya has made tremendous impact in the administration of Gombe State – breaking new grounds in development, changing the narrative in governance, challenging the status quo of corruption – as well as engineering a path towards righting the wrongs of the past.
Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has raised the bar in governance in all sectors of government by being responsive to the responsibilities assigned to him via the polls. From agriculture to education, health to water supply, infrastructural development to economic resuscitation, rural road networking to urban beautification, even the environment is going green with the 3Gs initiative to plant four million trees to mitigate the impact of desertification. In all these, if Gov. Yahaya was voted for only a 100-day tenure, he would rightly be judged to have delivered on his mandate.
Despite meeting an empty fertilizer warehouse, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya was able to avert a major food crisis in the state and even Nigeria; because Gombe has a national agricultural distribution chain, by securing fertilizers for sales and distribution at a record subsidized rate to farmers across the 11 local government areas. A look at what was left of the agricultural sector before the coming of Inuwa and the kind of quick-fix measures taken by His Excellency, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of the All Progressives Congress shows that election to the highly coveted office of Gombe State Governor is not just timely, but by every aspect, a salvation to Gombawas.
For the first time in eight years, just within a short span of a 100 days, Gombawas now understand that leadership is about solving problems based on the priorities of the people and not about using state resources to create bigger problems. The present governor has displayed a crystal understanding of clear and focused approach to problem-solving and has thus, been able to dodge banana peels such as misplaced priorities, hasty debts accumulation, as well as other issues typical of past the administration.
Gov. Inuwa has also been able to make it glaring to all that he had a clear action plan for implementation once he took over the reins of governance in Gombe State as evident in his swift responses to issues affecting the people, especially in areas where they had sought help in time past.
Before the arrival of Inuwa ‘gida gida’, water supply was seen by the people as a responsibility that the state government had relinquished to the them to handle. As we all know, Gombe State is amongst the many states experiencing acute water shortage. But that narrative is fast changing because Gov. Inuwa Yahaya, as part of his ground breaking package, has ordered immediate water supply in that regard, backing it up with a release of over a N110 million for reticulations and repairs to boost water supply. He made a further bold step to secure the $2.3 million World Bank water project grant by agreeing to pay the counterpart funding of 10 per cent of the project cost. This is the same project that was left to waste by the previous administration in spite of the hardship faced by the people with regards to water supply.
In the health sector, Gov. Yahaya, having conducted a tour of major health centres in the state, was devastated by the gross decay and extent of neglect of facilities in the health sector.
It is said that, ‘One of the tragedies of leadership is the fact that when a leader fails; he faileth not himself or just the people but generations yet unborn’. In that light, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya, after a thorough assessment of the critical state of the health sector, has taken up the challenge to ensure that the life of every citizen and visitor is saved on arrival at any health centre in the state.
In line with this, therefore, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya flagged off the scale up of the Nigeria State Health Investment Project (N-SHIP) in two Local Government Areas of Akko and Billiri, in addition to the four benefitting Local Government Areas in the state. Gombe state Government and N-SHIP have jointly supported the project with the sum of N118million for the 38 health facilities. The State Government has also indicated readiness to key into the Federal Government’s healthcare provision and funds by establishing a state insurance scheme to provide financial protection to the people against outrageous health expenditure. Also, worried by the plight of the malnourished children in the state and their neglect by the previous administration, Governor Inuwa Yahaya has committed the state’s counterpart funding to the nutrition project to enable the state access the ANRiN funds for nutrition intervention.
To underscore his seriousness in confronting the challenges of the health sector, the Governor has constituted a Taskforce to conduct a quick needs assessment of infrastructural status of the state specialist hospital and recommend improvements needed for the facility to attain the status of its name.
It is no longer news that Inuwa Yahaya has settled some of the outstanding debts in the health sector and has vowed to pilot and champion the wild polio eradication campaign in the North-eastern part of the country. More so, the state’s partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as UNICEF, is yielding positive results, especially in the area of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
The Governor has also secured UNICEF’s commitment to support the state in revitalizing 1 PHC in every ward of Kwami LGA and strenthening MNCH activities in the state. The state has also entered into partnership with US based ProjectCure to supply state of the art equipment to all the 23 Secondary Health facilities in the state. This is how leadership should be driven to secure the lives of generations by ensuring that all newborns are welcomed to our world without threat to their lives.
It is a well known fact that over 70 percent of the population of the state engage in agriculture and that makes Gombe an agrarian state with a population of over 3 million people and an arable land of 6, 099 square kilometres. Having this at the back of his mind, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has initiated a rural road network programme to connect the farmers in the rural areas to markets where they can sell their produce. This will go a long way in revamping and resuscitating the economic activities that had remained moribund as a result of the failure of the immediate past administration to tap or bridge the gap between the farmers and the markets.
Already, His Excellency has re-mobilized contractors handling 10 different roads that were hitherto abandoned to site, committing over 3.1 billion Naira including to the following road projects in order to link up and open up communities:
1. Construction of Gona – Garko – Kalshingi with spur to maidugu road to Messrs EEC Int’l Ltd
2. Dualization of 25km of the Bauchi -Gombe highway roads to Messrs Triacta Nig Ltd which was moving at snail speed before the coming of Governor Yahaya, who now committed resources to ensure speedy completion of the project.
3. Construction works at Jekadafari North IFO TRIACTA NIG LTD
4. Construction works at Malam Inna-Titi -kurba road with spur to Kundulum and Arawa IFO Tinka Point LTD and which will link up 4 local Government areas of Gombe, Akko Kwami and Yamaltu Deba.
5. Construction of Gona – Garko – Kalshingi with spur to maidugu road to Messrs E E C Int’l Ltd
6. Construction of Boltongo-Nono-Deba with spur to Garin malami to Messrs E E C Int’l Ltd
7. Provision of& Installation of street lights to Messrs Digibits control Nig Ltd
8. Construction of Billiri-Gujuba-kamo_awak
9. Operation and maintenance of Gombe Airport by JBI Tech
10. Construction works for Dukku-kalam-Jamari-dokoro road ifo Builders Engineering ltd
11. Construction works for Dukku-kalam-Jamari-dokoro road ifo Builders Engineering ltd
All the above roads project suffered years of abandonment either as a result of lack of payment of mobilization fees to the contractors or outright lack of political will by the previous administration to execute them.But thank God, with Governor Inuwa Yahaya, succour has come to the people.
At a time when the importance of education is no longer a sermon to be preached in any social setting in view of its conspicuous relevance in accelerating grassroots development, serving as a panacea to help children realize their dreams and visions as well as enhancing peaceful co-existence, Gombe students in WAEC and NECO examinations have for three years in a row, placed 34th position with corresponding acute shortage of teachers, a dearth of infrastructure and a pupil-toilet ratio of over 1000:1 in Gombe metropolis. However, just within days in office, Gov. Inuwa has taken action to prove that the present administration means well for the sector. It is no gimmick. In this regard, the governor has been consulting with relevant local and international stakeholdres, wooing massive investment to address the unpleasant gifts bequeathed to it by poor administrators. He has been able to so far attract massive interests from donor agencies and development partners especially with his commitment to providing the counterpart funds. Notable among them are the securing of N3Billion from UBEC, TETFUND Project, $6Milion project – tagged – BESDA – Better Education Service Delivery for All, a World Bank and Federal Government programme to reduce the over 450, 000 out-of-school children and improve literacy level in the state. The BESDA project has already been launched by the Governor and already the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba along side UBEC Executive Secretary, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi have visited Governor Inuwa Yahaya to sho appreciate for his excellency’s commitment in to revamp the education sector; $13Million USAID and AUN – SENSE grant for capacity building of 100 education Managers and 5,000 primary school Teachers as well as improve school system. This is a huge sigh of relief for the future.
For long, Gombe State alongside other 10 states, was listed as part of the 11 frontline states vis-à-vis desertification past administrations refused to release counterpart funds toward mitigating such environmental crisis. But alas! The change governor, Inuwa Yahaya, has released the state counterpart contribution of N500Million to access funds for gully erosion control under the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), a World Bank project. He took the environmental cake for icing by initiating the 3Gs (Gombe Goes Green) project to plant 4million tree seedlings in four years. The project has already been launched with 27, 000 youths being employed to nurse and watch over the trees.
Indeed Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has started on a bright note and the people of Gombe could not have wished for a better party and personality. His commitment to work is awesome. He has zero tolerance for corruption. Inuwa is a man that is not bankrupt in integrity at a time when the integrity of many was in short supply. Gombe now has a dependable Governor in Inuwa Yahaya, an accountability personified.
Misilli is the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Gombe State Governor
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