The weaponisation of poverty has been the bane of the insecurity challenges gripping the Northern parts of the country, especially the North East, which has witnessed a protracted 10 years of fighting against insurgency; tagged boko haram. Calm is gradually returning to the North East, and the rebuilding and redevelopment of the region is taking place, step by step. Gombe State, which sits in the heart of the North East, is arguably the most peaceful state in the region, and perhaps in the North in its entirety. Despite being in the midst of the theatre of insurgency, Gombe ranks as the best state in the ease of doing business, emerging top in Nigeria’s subnational ease of doing business survey. The survey was conducted by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council. The homegrown indicators on which the states were measured, were in four thematic areas — Infrastructure and Security, Transparency and Access to Information, Regulatory Environment and Skills Workforce Readiness. The Infrastructure and Security theme involves four indices, namely; transportation, primary healthcare, and security.
It is more than apparent that Gov. Inuwa Yahaya is achieving all these, by predisposing his energy and resources, towards engaging the youth population in the state, with the various developmental projects he has embarked upon. The Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park is scheduled to provide 50,000 jobs for youths in the state. He has already established the Gombe State Security, Traffic and Environmental Corps, GOSTEC; a homegrown innovation which is providing 2000 youths and women with jobs in security, traffic control, as well as environmental cleaning and maintenance services across the state. It boasts of a women empowerment programme where 5000 women are being trained and funded, to embark on different business ventures of their own. When youths are taken off the streets, and the idle womenfolk are engaged with one business or the other, the society becomes safer and more ideal for government policies and other socio-economic programmes to thrive. Overall, the youth empowerment programmes are targeting 20,000 youths and women.
Another arm of this youth empowerment drive is the unprecedented provision of 2000 tricycles, popularly called KEKE-NAPEP. This is geared towards the socio-economic advancement and self-reliance of the common man. This was done through the human capital development initiative of the state government. The distribution of the Keke-Napep was done through the umbrella association of Keke Riders Association of Nigeria, Gombe state chapter. 1000 beneficiaries were drawn regardless of their party affiliation, their local governments’ or tribe to kick-start the initiative. This was in addition to the training and engagement of over 1000 youths, under the At Risk Children Programme (ARC-P). Another 3000 youths have also been engaged as development facilitators, working for the progress of their various communities. With the afore-mentioned programmes, the state government has institutionalised a framework that has guaranteed a steady and geometric surge in internal revenue, which has never been seen within the last 25 years of the state’s existence. To further bolster the human capital development drive, a database, capturing the 27,000 unemployed graduates in the state, is being deployed in an effort to link them to appropriate jobs in both the public and private sectors, based on their skills.
PWDs, persons with disabilities have not been disabled by the Gov. Inuwa Yahaya empowerment and youth development projects. A Mega centre is being built for them in the state, while various empowerment items, funds and training are being extended to them as well, just as the other able-bodied youths in the state. This is being done in collaboration with the Qatar Charity Foundation, which has executed over 400 projects across the state. It has provided medical services to more than 5000 people, with over 1000 eye surgeries and medical glasses. It has built more than 50 places of worship, in which youths were engaged, with marketers of various building materials in the state enjoying patronage. More than 140 boreholes were also built. PWDs were provided with tricycles for the disabled, and hundreds of sewing machines, grinding machines, and learning packages for PWDs.
A whopping 1000 fresh teachers are being recruited by Gombe state Teacher’s Service Commission. 288 Teachers under the SUBEB programme had applied for a transfer of service to the State’s Ministry of Education’s Secondary Schools and Technical Colleges. All of them will be absorbed into the recruitment exercise. These massive engagements of the youth populace into the state’s workforce, and other meaningful programmes, are going a long way in providing job and food security in the state. It is a key ingredient in maintaining law and order in the state. Jobless ones are mopped up from the streets, by providing employment and businesses that make them independent or self reliant. Gov. Inuwa Yahaya’s purposeful leadership is providing food on the table for the common man, jobs for the youths, and security for the state.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.