By Ismaila Uba Misilli

Today, 9th October marks the 60th birthday of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya. It is plausible if we interrogate the life of the amiable Governor with the enviable view of Laura Catherine Schlessinger on the essential quality of integrity. In her noble words, “people with integrity do what they say they are going to do. Others give excuses”. In this course of introspection, we particularly follow His Excellency from the private sector to politics and public service and as he clocks 60 years today, he has remained so attached to the basic principle of excellence wherein his leadership and vision have come to define his tenure as Governor of Gombe State in the last couple of years.

Both in private and public life, we have also seen a marked distinction of a man of honour, dignity and civility, who believes in our common humanity in spite of his privileged background. And from his days at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria to his civil service era and till date, he has devoted more time to the cause of the people, exemplifying the core idea about ‘ubuntu’, an African philosophy which simply means an expression of our common humanity.

Of course, these are important issues especially in the political arena where the consuming idea about interest holds sway. Governor Inuwa has definitely been above board so far, contextualizing what “interest” should be as our essential humanity derived from government’s service to the people and premised on his manifesto. The integrity question!

Thus it is this element of service as a public figure that will necessarily make this tribute to lean more on his stewardship as Governor of Gombe State and we can hardly fault such narrative as we celebrate with him on this auspicious occasion.

Needless to say that expectations were very high when he was elected governor in 2019, primarily on the strength of his antecedents as a tested leader and performer, dating back most prominently when he served as Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development during the Goje administration. Today, major indicators suggest that the optimism which heralded his administration into office has continued to blossom on account of his exemplary stewardship.

The remarkable successes recorded by the government obviously reflect a determination to create a new Gombe with limitless opportunities, thereby remaking the socio-economic and in fact the political fabric of the people towards a shared journey of good governance, prosperity and possibilities.   

Everything has worked as planned even when we have to factor in the very hard economic situation, required work and sacrifices. Yes, I think the political will is also important without which nothing much could have been achieved even as we relate with the challenge from some entrenched interests especially on the other side of the political divide in the state. I acknowledge that change is never easy anywhere but with openness and sincerity of purpose the people themselves have come to realize that governor Inuwa Yahaya means well for the basic public interest and as exemplified in his “Gombe First” philosophy.

Today, on account of his dexterity, Gombe is now the best state in the ease of doing business in Nigeria and adjudged the safest and most peaceful state in the North East sub-region. 

Moving forward in the years ahead, Governor Inuwa Yahaya and his team are working hard to broaden the scope of development across the state as government intensifies its strategic development goals and consolidates on previous achievements in infrastructure, education, health, agriculture and security of lives and property in line with his NEEDS assessment document.

This distinguished man of history wants to see a new Gombe that is competitive, fair, just and share greater partnerships at home and abroad, truly functional and devoid of inherited systemic failure. At the centre of this consciousness are the people, who as beneficiaries would have their welfare as a priority. It’s obviously about the governor’s compassionate disposition to governance, a pro-people inclination and enthusiastic response to ensure deprivation is very reduced as basis for a new lease of life. Of course, power goes beyond the title, it resides in the substance.  The governor’s sterling leadership and stewardship have changed our collective story, even in so short a time, making what may have been deemed impossible in the past now possible.

The pervading optimism is now giving our people a shared hope for a brighter tomorrow. The power of leadership and vision have reshaped our collective being, now dwelling more on the big picture of what Gombe State can be if we believe in ourselves and do the right things in a focused manner as we follow resolutely the development trajectory carefully drawn and being executed to fully harness our potentials.

In the true spirit of our renaissance, therefore, I am sure everyone who has followed the enviable turnaround in education, healthcare delivery, infrastructural development, agriculture and empowerment in the state will agree with the realities of a new era of excellence.

I think we can better relate with our developmental strides and rejoice with the governor in this wise when we reckon with the import of the huge investment in the key sectors on the future socio-economic growth in Gombe State. From all indications, the next foreseeable years will come with so much improvement in the quality of life for the people. This is a major point of considerable effect on why government exists and what should really matter in our evaluation of leadership as harbinger of change. From this standpoint, it is clear that the Inuwa Yahaya administration is strategically building a new Gombe State that is innovative, competitive and prosperous.

Our people are already appreciating the true meaning of the mopping up of children from the streets and the dropouts to continue their education just as the   importance attached to the girl child education, all free of charge. They  are equally appreciating the massive building of schools, upgrade of boarding schools and equipping them, enhanced investment in constructing many roads through his flagship project,  the network 11-100 and economic sense of boosting agriculture, building and equipping various hospitals, revitalization of healthcare centres statewide, providing water for all, solid empowerment to unleash the creative energy of our people in business and such ground breaking idea of establishing the Gombe industrial park which ultimately will attract a cluster of multiple industries that will create thousands of good jobs. The future of Gombe State is very positive and one is inclined to believe convincingly that the Inuwa Yahaya-led administration is doing a good job in the state. 

  Gombe State is truly being reformed to its pride of place as the heart of the North East and a beacon of hope for the entire country looking at its strategic position in galvanizing a strong economic revival and greater prosperity for the people of the region and Nigeria as a whole. In all of this, we have our indomitable governor to thank for his leadership and vision. Rather than giving excuses, he’s a promise keeper. He has led by example. He has also made a distinct success of his mission in government and there is more to come. Without doubt, Governor Inuwa Yahaya has made us all proud of the new era of possibilities. And we cannot but also notice the way and manner through which he’s achieving his quiet revolution in the state. It is a lesson in effective leadership: liberal, focused, very determined and responsible. His leadership style and understanding of governance have helped to facilitate this trend of success after success and I believe he deserves accolades from all of us especially on this propitious occasion which indeed reflects our shared journey to greatness. Happy Birthday to the renaissance leader, the Dan Majen Gombe!

Misilli is the Director-General (Press Affairs) Government House, Gombe


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