How Inuwa Yahaya’s Governance Approach Stands Him Out
By Bola Saliu
When Mr. Godwin Emefiele visited Gombe the last time to witness the Rice Festival and unveiling of pyramids only one of the Governors present at the event got a special attention and a remarkable commendation from ‘ the Governor of Money’ as Emefiele is fondly called. Gombe State’s Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya was that Governor.
Inuwa Yahaya was singled out by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Emefiele as a visionary leader who in no time would drive economic values to the state he is presiding over. Emefiele observed that the visions and policies so far espoused by the administration within its short time is a clear attestation of a man with a blueprint of his destination even before the journey commenced.
Emefiele was downright factual! At the end of that fiscal year, through the pragmatic economic policies of the governor, Gombe State emerged as the Best State in the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.
The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Osinbajo personally commended the governor’s passion and drive for human capital development initiatives which he acknowledged as the factor making economic progress clearly visible in Gombe State.
Inuwa Yahaya came into governance well loaded with brilliant ideas and vision. It is these ideals that are being translated into economic policies and the policies into administrative initiatives which are now yielding fruitful results for all to see in Gombe today.
For instance, land administration is one aspect where the administration has made remarkable achievements. Land as a critical factor of production got Inuwa’s best attention. He radically digitalised the land system. The digitalisation was done to aid development of Gombe and to forestall incessant land disputes common in other climes which often disrupt the peace and economic stability of such places.
Land disputes will never be allowed by a Governor who has the future advancement of the State well planned out. Inuwa Yahaya strengthened the Gombe State Geographical Information System (GOGIS) through adequate funding, staffing and equipping to enable the agency deliver on its mandate.
For Inuwa Yahaya a just and efficient land administration system is necessary to guarantee ownership and security of tenure, provision of security and property taxation.
He initiated the Gombe Capital Special Development Zone project aimed at providing befitting structures, access roads and other facilities while also ensuring strict compliance with development control regulations in and around the state capital.
It was after the successful completion of the digitalisation of land programme that he automated the human capital system in the state which exposed hundreds of ghost workers and saved the state heavily in salary payments.
Having successfully tackled the land and human capital hitches, Inuwa Yahaya unveiled a 10-Year Development Plan (DEVAGOM) for Gombe State, the first of its kind in the history of the 25 year old state.
The policy thrusts of this development plan caught the attention of many investors and industrialists who are daily trouping into the state popularly called the Jewel in the Savannah. Inuwa Yahaya has made Gombe a true shining jewel thereby making the state the preferred destination of investors, tourists and other people.
Excellence in public appointments is another pivotal policy of Inuwa Yahaya’s administration. The governor who holds the traditional title of Dan Majen Gombe believes that the best man should man the post. Hence, he abhors mediocrity as a silent killer of political advancement and a retarding factor against economic development.
Inuwa Yahaya has zero tolerance of favouritism because it breeds corruption, underdevelopment, poor planning, low morale and bureaucratic bottlenecks. To avoid anything that could hamper the overall development of the state, all the governor’s appointments are merit based.
The governor’s infrastructural development policy implementation is anchored on even distribution of road and other projects in the state. His novel ‘Network Eleven-100’ Road Construction Programme is designed to ensure that every local government in the state gets at least a 100-kilometre road. The Network Eleven-100 is a significant means of opening up the rural communities thereby creating access into rural development. Available population statistics indicate that about 80 per cent of the people live in rural communities.
In the agriculture sector, Inuwa Yahaya’s policies are not just geared toward planting and harvesting but encompass tackling of environmental problems and overseeing the welfare of farmers. Agriculture is well prioritized with definitive policies. Timely provision of fertilizers and other inputs at subsidized rates are some of the high points of the governor’s incentives to farmers.
Gombe Goes Green project is Inuwa Yahaya’s answer to climate change where environmental challenges particularly desertification is getting the right attention.
The governor’s health and medical policies especially with regard to handling of the Covid-19 pandemic have been very exemplary, winning the state accolades and awards from reputable organisations. By instituting the Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) and partnering with international donor/development agencies, there is a deliberate effort to ensure healthcare is accessible to the people through adequate and sustainable funding which in particular serves the greater interest of the vulnerable ones.
Aside this, the introduction of the health insurance scheme in the state has further improved healthcare delivery. Also, the priority status that health enjoys in the current budget tells a fitting story of the Inuwa Yahaya administration’s commitment to good governance and wellbeing of the people. Considering the numerous ongoing health projects and programmes as well as the healthcare infrastructure across the nooks and crannies of the state, not leaving out the vigorous and commendable handling of COVID-19 pandemic, it can be boldly stated that Gombe is on a new pedestal in development.
Another vital sector where the governor has excelled is education with properly articulated and well intentioned policies and programmes. Mass accessibility and quality delivery are clearly distinct in Gombe’s education sector. Inuwa Yahaya declared a state of emergency in this critical sector at inception because of the great importance he attaches to it. It is not surprising that far-reaching strides and transformation have been recorded in the sector. For instance, many out-of-school children, including the almajiris, are now in public schools while girl-child education is adequately handled.
Transportation is another sector that has received a good boost from the governor. The procurement of 50 brand new buses as the first tranche of mass transit injection to the Gombe State Transport Service fleet, known as GOMBE Line, is one example out of several value added initiatives for robust inter and intra states transportation system.
Without stable power generation and supply, economic development will always be in jeopardy. This explains why the state government is liaising with the Federal Government to fast track the completion of Dadin-Kowa Hydro-Power Plant in the state. The power plant which has the capacity to generate 40 megawatts of electricity was put on the priority list from the very first month of Inuwa Yahaya’s administration.
The plant which was first conceived in 1959 and jettisoned by previous governments came to life with Inuwa Yahaya’s Midas touch, after 60 years of being moribund.
With the Dadin-Kowa Hydro-plant coming back to life, it was easy for the governor and his think-tank to contemplate a 1,000-hectre Industrial Park. The park, named after President Muhammadu Buhari, will ultimately create a cluster of industries which will boost the macroeconomic efficiency and a concomitant effect of mass employment of teeming youths of the state.
Inuwa Yahaya’s passion for developing his darling state sees him travelling to Abuja, the seat of power occasionally to seek strategic cooperation and alliances with like-minded institutions.
Any time the hardworking governor is in Abuja, he seizes the opportunity to visit up to five corporate organisations within the working hours and continue with engagements that bring valuable results for his beloved state till very late in the night.
I have personally tracked his itinerary once and I must confess that I was flummoxed by his charm, character and vigor. I am therefore not surprised at all concerning the positive results he is posting.
Inuwa Yahaya once looked at the ugly state of the federal roads in Gombe and headed straight to Abuja to meet with the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola. Within days of that visit, the Federal Government announced the return to site of contractors and the state is better off today with these roads now receiving attention.
Determined to expand the revenue base of the state, the governor has visited the President, Muhammadu Buhari on several occasions to stridently push for the commencement of oil exploitation in Kolmani area of the state so that Gombe would be listed among the oil producing states in the country.
Peaceful is an adjective fitting for Gombe State at the moment. Strategic alliances and support for security agencies by the Inuwa Yahaya administration has brought relative peace to Gombe. That has made Gombe the safest haven in the midst of turbulence and brigandage ravaging North East Nigeria as well as ensuring that investments and economic growth are unhindered.
It is worthy of commendation that both Muslims and Christians live harmoniously in Gombe State. Indigenes and non-indigenes cohabit harmoniously and happily. Indeed, the peace of Gombe is palpable. The joy of the populace is unfettered as well. The ambience of the state is generally beckoning indeed.
Can anyone then tell me why Inuwa Yahaya should not be the Outstanding Governor of the Year many times over? More so when the awards are coming from very responsible media organisations such as the 39-year old Vanguard Newspaper which itself has been many times Newspaper of the Year. Indeed Inuwa Yahaya’s compelling signature approach to governance, strategic execution of policies and passion for excellence stand him out among his contemporaries.
As I lend my voice of commendation today in celebrating a man of integrity, character and purpose, permit me to say that the reward for hard work is more work.
Please don’t relent on your superlative policies. Continue with your laudable strides, Inuwa Yahaya. One day, the whole of Nigeria will beckon on you for national assignment and Africa will seek you out for service.
Bola Saliu, a media practitioner writes from Abuja.
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