On the 4th of August, 2019, I had written an article titled, ‘Gombe: on the cusp of economic transformation’, where I had said: Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has within a short period of time, set to turn around the fortunes of the people of Gombe by embarking on programmes and initiatives, that affect the lives of the people directly, which will in turn boost the economy. One of the most lingering crisis is the inadequacy or lack of portable drinking water. The Governor has released the sum of 110 million Naira for the repair of Gombe’s reticulation and water works so that all pipelines and other infrastructure that have broken down, are repaired immediately. He has set up a task force team with a limited timeline, to see to the completion of the repairs, that will include areas like Wuro Juli, Tabra, Nayinawa, Liji, down to Government Girl’s Science Secondary School Doma, and the Federal low cost areas.
It’s been two years today, and one cannot help but be awed by the urban renewal programmes, as well as rural development initiatives that have either been completed, or are nearing completion. Governor Inuwa Yahaya has touched virtually all the sectors of the economy, without leaving any governance portfolio to lag behind. Gombe has been very peaceful, despite the insecurity challenges that have ravaged the North East. He has strengthened informal intelligence gathering mechanisms by involving traditional institutions in the security management of their domains. This has gone a long way in preserving the peace that has reigned supreme in Gombe. Education is one other sector that has received a huge boost of an increase in its budgetary expenditure by about 62% in 2020 & 2021. He declared a state of emergency in the sector and vigorously implemented the policy of free and compulsory universal basic education. A state of the art Teacher Resource Centre was built in Kwami to also bolster the quality of Teacher-education content. 584 classrooms were built in 156 schools across the state. About 30,000 sets of furniture were provided to schools and informal learning centres. To provide conducive learning atmospheres for both the students and their lecturers in tertiary institutions, more than 119 million naira was paid as scholarship, to Gombe indigenes in tertiary institutions; and a whopping 150 million as allowances to staff of Gombe state University. There was also an increase of 10 million naira monthly allocation to the school. The Governor also granted a 70% PAYE tax reduction to staff of the University as motivation for improved performance, along with timely payment of salaries. State of the art Computer laboratories and science laboratories have been provided in 15 schools across the state.
The health sector has also been fully revitalised, with the full implementation of the Primary Health Care under one roof national policy. The Governor has also increased the budget allocation to the Primary Health Care Development Agency by 49%. 1 PHC in each of the 114 wards of the sector has been revitalised. The State Hospitals Management Board has also been established, along with the Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Scheme. The State Specialist Hospital has undergone tremendous upgrade and rehabilitation, and has secured accreditation to train internship doctors.
One of the most humongous and ambitious projects of Gov. Inuwa Yahaya’s administration, is the provision of access roads to all the 114 ward headquarters in the state, thereby linking rural and agricultural settlements to markets. Some of the roads include: Malala-Zaune-Dukkuyel road in Dukku LGA, Mararraba-Jaba-Samba-Daji-Pandi-Kola-Gwarar-Garin wada road in Akko LGA, and also the Degri-Bembelem-Reme-Dong-Talasse road in Balanga LGA. There’s also the upgrading of the Gona-Garko-Gujuba-Kalshingi with spur to Maiduguri road in Akko. Then also the upgrading of Billiri-Gujuba-Kamu-Awak road in Billiri LGA. We also have the construction of the Kwanan Rugaji-Kaceciya-Jagabari Petila-Kuka Bakwai-Almakshi with spur to Gargaldu road in Funakaye LGA. There’s also the construction of 3 span bridge at Lambo Dashi on Dukku-Wawa-Biri-Wuro Bapparu road as phase 1 in Dukku, Nafada and Funakaye LGAs. This is to mention a few, out of the very many road works being carried out in the state.
The Governor has also established the Bureau of Public Service Reforms with the aim of enhancing service delivery in the state. He has also granted the LGAs full autonomy, with each LGA in control of their own funds. The State is one of the first to key into the National Livestock Transformation Plan, with work ongoing, to develop the Wawa Zange Grazing Reserve, into a modern Livestock grazing reserve. Other areas of note, include the full implementation of TSA in the state. The State has also procured 50 brand new buses for Gombe line, the state owned transport service.The State is also working on creating a mini hydro power generation plant, and has already conducted preliminary site assessment and survey of Balanga Dam.
Gombe state has no doubt never had it this good, with Gombe state now in its entirety, as a park of urban renewal and rural development. It has become the toast of the North Eastern states of this country, where meagre resources are put to good use, with very purposeful leadership, at the helm of affairs. Gombe is lucky to have Inuwa Yahaya, with great prudence brought to bear, in running the government of the state. This is at a time when profligacy and misplaced priorities are the order of the day in most states across the country.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.