As Yahaya Leads Gombe into Era of Stability and Development…

SegunAwofadeji reviews the developmental programmes executed in the last five years by Governor InuwaYahaya to showcase the dividends of democracy to people of Gombe State.

Despite moving from one crisis to another (The Covid-19 pandemic, two economic recessions, global economic slowdown and geopolitical uncertainties occasioned by the Russia-Ukraine conflict), Governor Muhammad InuwaYahaya – led administration surmounted numerous challenges and braved through tough odds, and with the support and cooperation of the people of the state made remarkable strides and transformed Gombe to a model of excellence.

An in-depth analysis of the period under review shows there is no denying the fact that over the past five years, Gombe State has undergone unprecedented transformation across all indices of human development.

One of the most notable achievements in infrastructure development has been the construction of critical roads that previous administrations were afraid to undertake due to difficult terrain and significant costs. Notably, is the completion of the Degri to Talasse road, which now links the northern and southern parts of Balanga LGA, reducing travel time from traversing through five LGAs to less than an hour.

Other major roads include the MararabanJaba to Garin Wade Road in Akko LGA, the Malala-Zaune-Dukkuyel road in Dukku LGA, and the NafadaGari road in Nafada LGA. Only last week, the government inaugurated the Gombe Mega Park, a project that has the potential to transform the transportation landscape. All these projects underscore the administration’s commitment to building impactful infrastructure that connects the communities, facilitates trade, and unlocks opportunities for the people of Gombe State.

In the health sector, the government has made substantial strides by building a fully functioning Primary Healthcare Centre in each of the 114 political wards. It also remodelled the specialist hospital in Gombe, renovated two general hospitals in Bajoga and Kaltungo, and currently constructing a brand-new general hospital in Kumo and a 1,000-student capacity School of Nursing in Gombe, with both projects nearing completion.

At a public function recently, Governor  Yahaya declared that “our commitment to expanding primary healthcare access continues as we plan to add another 114 fully functioning Primary Healthcare Centres (one per each political ward). These efforts are aimed at providing affordable healthcare at the doorsteps of our people, thereby significantly enhancing the overall health and well-being of our communities”.

A look at the education sector, shows that the administration has made significant progress by upgrading five schools to Mega Schools standard, building four special schools and mopping up over 350,000 out-of-school children. Additionally, it is building special AlmajiriTsangaya schools and integrating them with the formal education system. This underscores government commitment to merging traditional and modern education so as to increase literacy rates and ensure that no child is left behind. The state government firmly believes in the transformative power of education as the best legacy it can leave for the younger generation by equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary for a brighter future.

Also, in its efforts to preserve the environment and restore ecological balance, the government has made significant investments in projects like NEWMAP and now ACRESAL, in partnership with the World Bank and relevant Federal agencies.

These projects, which include the monstrous GSU gully, and the ones at the FCE, HayinMisau, and GG Doma, are initiatives that previous administrations were unable to undertake due to the substantial financial commitment required. But today, the government is taking on these essential projects to protect the communities and their means of livelihood.

Gombe, often considered the erosion capital of the North-East, is demonstrating that even if nature places us at an ecological disadvantage, we can take decisive action to improve our situation and safeguard our environment for future generations.

Gombe State is steadfastly marching words with action in its commitment to economic development and investment promotion. Ranked first in ease of doing business in 2021 and 2022, it is no coincidence that the Federal Government chose Gombe to launch the Outsource To Nigeria Initiative (OTNI) in March this year, featuring a 2,000-seat capacity BPO centre provided by the state government. Similarly, the selection of Gombe by NIPC and UNDP as one of the three states to pilot the Nigeria Investment Certification Program underscores the attention its significant progress is attracting.

Investors and institutions are closely watching the giant strides the state is making, flocking to Gombe in search of partnerships and opportunities that will create jobs and equip the youth with the skills to seize emerging opportunities.

These efforts are transforming ideas into reality and positioning Gombe as a hub of innovation and development.

In his statewide broadcast to the people of the state on the occasion of the fifth anniversary celebration of his administration, Yahaya assured that “in the next three years, we will consolidate on our existing achievements in infrastructure by investing in the development of rural and urban transportation networks, expanding and pursuing urban renewal and development with renewed vigour through GOGIS, GOSUPDA and other agencies of government.

“Our administration will continue to invest in human capital development especially in the education and health sectors. Through our various initiatives, we shall train our youth, and equip them with the skills and expertise to succeed in 21st century economy. We shall also continue to improve on our business-friendly reforms in order to foster a conducive business environment, attract investments, and stimulate economic growth.

According to him, “In the healthcare sector, we will continue to build on our impressive achievements by leveraging on Go-Health and GSPHCDA to strengthen healthcare systems and infrastructure, thereby ensuring accessible and quality healthcare services for all. We will improve the capacity of our healthcare professionals through training and capacity building and partner with relevant stakeholders to implement programs that support the poor and vulnerable amongst us.

“In the area of water resources, we are undertaking a comprehensive upgrade of the Gombe water supply system to better serve neighbouring communities through the Gombe Regional Water Supply Project. In addition to drilling hundreds of boreholes, we are committed to solving long-standing water supply issues in areas like Dukku through LGA water supply schemes. This underscores our dedication to addressing perennial water shortages in Gombe and other LGAs, recognizing that access to potable water is crucial for health, development, and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The present administration promised that, in the next three years,it will sustain the principles of people-driven, needs-based, and participatory governance by improving on its open government policies, which enabled it to become one of the top seven states in the country in the 2022 Transparency and Integrity Index.

“We shall ensure efficient use of public resources and foster a culture of inclusivity and meritocracy in governance through the public service reforms we have embarked upon”, an elated Governor InuwaYahaya declared.

The administration under review has ensured timely procurement and distribution of subsidized fertilizer. It also ensured the provision of assorted seedlings and farm implements to farmers, as well as timely annual vaccination campaigns against major communicable diseases affecting livestock.

Yahaya emphasized his administration’s commitment to the development of Gombe State, citing the 10-year development plan, known as DEVAGOM. This plan, meticulously crafted through extensive consultations with various stakeholders, aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aims to drive growth, development, peace, and prosperity for all residents of Gombe State.

Highlighting key initiatives such as the MuhammaduBuhari Industrial Park in Dadinkowa, Yahaya also stressed the state’s focus on industrialization and job creation.

Of particular interest is Gombe’s abundant livestock and vast Wawa Zange grazing reserves, which he noted, with effective collaboration, could transform the state’s agricultural landscape and stimulate economic growth along the value chain.

While land administration has consistently remained a challenge in the development process, the present government established the Gombe Geographic Information System (GOGIS) as well as the Gombe State Urban Planning and Development Authority (GOSUPDA) In order to ensure efficiency in land administration and sustainable urban development. In this regard, the government also created new layouts and standardized existing ones, including the new Shongo Gardens layouts, as well as the verification and restoration of the BAP4 layout.

In order to revitalize the state’s civil service, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms was established so as to institutionalize necessary reforms. Promotions and other benefits are being implemented in both the state and local government service. In addition to being among the first states to implement the new 30,000-naira minimum wage, it also paid over N7.9 billion in gratuity liabilities inherited from the previous administration, while ensuring timely payment of monthly pensions to the retirees.

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