By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
The Gombe New Frontiers (GNF), a socio-political organization in the state, has taken a swipe at a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Deputy Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Fatima Binta Bello, over her recent comments on the new joint project development agency bill passed into law by the state house of assembly, saying her comments were borne out of ignorance of the objective of the policy and as such misplaced.
The new projects development agency is a collaborative body between the state government and willing local governments.
It has a management board which, according to the law, shall among others, analyse all proposed joint development projects, determine whether such projects are viable and in the interest of the community where they are to be executed, determine proportion of state government participation in any joint development project, determine the scope and mode of state government supervision and control in the execution of any agreed joint development project and determine how the profit of such investment shall be shared in proportion to the contributions of the state government and each participating local council.
Hon. Binta had in a press statement denounced the establishment of the new development agency and called for its rejection.
But in a statement in Gombe made available to the press, Secretary of the GNF, Mallam Saidu Hassan Baraya, said the new joint project development agency is a collaborative means of fast-tracking development across the state, adding that lack of such initiative in the past was behind the ruin and stagnation inherited by the Governor Inuwa Yahaya administration and was working hard to reposition the state in major areas of development.
He stated, “Hon. Binta obviously spoke out of ignorance because she and the PDP were rudderless in eight years. They lacked ideas and initiatives that could have developed the state but with the sad memory of ruin and stagnation all over. She should be asked any major impactful project her party brought to the local governments. Nothing except the locust years she shared with the PDP leadership in the state but Governor Inuwa Yahaya is changing the narrative and should not be distracted in the quest for renewal and ongoing major turnaround in Gombe State.”
The organisation was of the opinion that there was nothing to fear in the new agency, stating that it should actually serve as a model for others to copy in addressing the challenges at the grassroots level as against what was obtained during PDP era where local government funds were arbitrarily used by the governor without accountability.
He cited the example of similar collaborative body like the Niger Delta Power Holding where the Federal Government and states collaborated with the onerous task of tackling the challenges of power supply and as such the new agency was out to expand and sustain the scope of overall development in the state.
While rejecting Hon. Binta’s position which he said was partisan, mischievous and myopic, Hassan Baraya noted that collaboration by any of the local governments is voluntary as should not be misconstrued in a negative manner as the PDP chieftain had done.