By Ismaila Uba Misilli
Someone once said, “Good leaders make things happen — both by taking action themselves and by motivating others to take action. This apt saying on Leadership exemplifies the political persona of the Man Inuwa Yahaya.
As the quintessential and amiable Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya clocks 61 today 9th October 2022, It is indeed plausible to take a stock of the life of this dynamic and enigmatic leader with the enviable thoughts 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 while others give excuses”. In the course of this introspection, we particularly followed His Excellency, Governor Inuwa Yahaya from the private sector pedestal up to the podium of politics and public service as well as his emergence on international leadership foyer.
As he clocks 61 years today, he has glaringly remained so attached to the basic principles of excellence wherein his leadership and vision have come to define his tenure as a distinguished Governor of Gombe State, albeit in a different class in the last 3 and a half years.
Both his life in private and public spheres have also seen a marked distinction of a man of honour, dignity and civility. Inuwa Yahaya is a man who believes in our common humanity in spite of his privileged background.
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. In words and in conduct, 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.
He has been able to give another dimension to the definition of ‘interest in political sphere to mean a shared patrimony of the state’s resources where in the people and the leadership are on the same page of benefits’.
On ‘the integrity question’, Inuwa Yahaya has brought a new face and panache to resource allocation making all local governments and all wards to enjoy dividends of democracy in a more evenly and equitabe manner. No segment of the citizenry is left outside the dragnet of Inuwa’s largesse of benevolence.
As we celebrate with this highly technocratic and ‘supersonic’ Governor of the Jewel in the Savannah on this auspicious occasion, it is this element of his selfless service as a public servant that will necessarily make this tribute to lean more on his stewardship as Governor of Gombe State.
The best gift we can give him is to look at his administration’s best gifts to the people he loves so much.
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 to when he served as Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development for 7 years 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 governor 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 face negative factors in the very hard economic situation, which required hard 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 challenges from some entrenched interests especially on the other side of the political divide in the state.
Much as 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 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 as well as a destination of choice for investors.
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 qualities 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 in Gombe State 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 human capital development in the state will agree with the realities of a new era of excellence.
Let’s start with the cosmopolitanism posture of Inuwa Yahaya. Gombe, the state capital, like most of the other towns around the state, has now grown so phenomenally big as a modern city with mind-blowing infrastructure and amenities as envisioned and we are certainly making history.
The educational status of Gombe which was at the base among the 36 States of Nigeria, with secondary school students success ratio of 29% is now at 87%. Thanks to Inuwa’s intervention through the state of emergency on education. Just in this year, Inuwa Yahaya led administration pumped over 4Billion Naira into the sector and declared an end to the state of emergency owing to the successes recorded.
Whereas the out of school children at the inception of his administration stood at almost 700,000, over 350,000 students have been returned to school with better facilities and equally well kitted for uptimum academic performance.
He equally pioneered the new model/ mega schools with modern buildings comparable to the best schools anywhere in the world.
On health, there is now at least one fully functioning primary health care center in every ward in all of Gombe State.
The Dan Majen Gombe set up Gombe State Health Management Board which was formerly non- existent in the state for better management of the health of the citizens.
There’s the GoHealth, a health care agency that brings all the citizens of Gombe under an umbrella of affordable health delivery via contribution of a token fee but full access to a full compliment of medical services.
Kudos to Inuwa Yahaya! The Kolmani oil possibilities latent for years has been brought to stream by the Inuwa Yahaya’s constant follow ups and engagements with relevant authorities. Gombe State is now among the oil prospecting states in Nigeria.
For the first time in the history of the State,an Industrial Park has been flagged off and construction ongoing in earnest. Named Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park, the exponential implications of the Park on the industrial revolution in the state is unimaginably huge. Gombe is set for the top among the industrialized states in Nigeria.
By major parameters, Governor Inuwa has excelled and even surpassed the records of his predecessors in all critical aspects of the state’s economy: roads, rural infrastructure, pipe borne water, health, education, transportation, urban renewal, agriculture, civil service reform, manpower development and women and youth empowerment.
His road construction strategy is legendary.The network 11- 100 Roads Project is historic. Inuwa ensured that via the programme, each of the 11 Local Government areas in the state has at least a hundred kilometers of road.
The youths have been empowered along professional leanings as well as artisanal orientation.
The agriculture sector has been receiving a yearly boost of farming implements while animals vaccination is now the order of the day in Gombe State in attempt to boost livestock production.
More significantly is Gombe State’s ascendancy to pre-eminence in national and international political terrain. It is quite historic recently when the Dan Majen Gombe was on the podium in the United Kingdom’s renowned Royal Institute of International Affairs known as Chattam House. The Chattam House is a political turf of World Leaders. Inuwa Yahaya was found worthy of being called upon to showcase the good works he has been doing in Gombe State’s health sector. His brilliance in Chattam House is still reverberating in Nigeria’s political circles.
On security matters, Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police at the recently concluded Security Summit in Gombe adjudged Gombe State as a state to emulate in terms of peace and balanced security status.
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 of 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. A 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 is fantastic.
The future of Gombe State is very positive and one is inclined to believe convincingly that the Inuwa Yahaya-led administration is doing exceedingly well 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 is leading 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 has been achieving his quiet revolution in the state. Inuwa Yahaya 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 61st Birthday to a renaissance leader, the Dan Majen Gombe!
Misilli is the Director-General (press Affairs) Government House, Gombe