By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir Talban Bauchi.
Gov. Inuwa Yahaya’s fine ensemble of both human capital and infrastructural development, has ensured his victory at the just concluded 2023 polls, guaranteeing his second term as Governor of Gombe State. Continuity has been the bane of development in Nigeria’s democratic era and Gombe State has been quite lucky in this regard. It has been blessed with visionary leaders who have done so well in the infrastructural development of Gombe State, which has made it capable of competing with States that were created 20 to 30 years before the realisation of Gombe State. Despite being in the centre of the terrorism in the North East, Gombe is perhaps the most peaceful state in the entire North East, and arguably in the entire Northern hemisphere of Nigeria. If previous governors of Gombe State can boast of Infrastructural development, as much as Inuwa Yahaya has brought in, in just 4 years of his administration, non stands out as he has, in the area of human capital development. That assertion is buttressed by two very categorical developments lately in Gombe State.
The first is that Gombe, for the second time running, is crowned the best state in ease of doing business by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC. Gombe clinched the highest score based on empirical data from micro, small and medium sized enterprises, MSME, in the 2021 and 2023 subnational ease of doing business ranking. The award was presented to Gov. Inuwa Yahaya by The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at The Presidential Villa on the 26th of April, 2023, during the 5th PEBEC awards. The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council looked at 6 main indicators namely; Infrastructure, secure and stable environment, transparency and accessibility of information, regulatory environment, skills and labor and economic opportunity. Gombe came out brilliant in all these parameters.
Another attestation to Inuwa Yahaya’s unrivaled human capital development efforts in Gombe, is the award by The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, to Gov. Inuwa Yahaya as The Outstanding Pro-Labor Governor of the year. This is in recognition of his exceptional leadership and commitment to promoting decent work agenda. The award was presented to the governor by The President of the TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo. The state had done a lot towards improving the welfare and well-being of workers. The establishment of The Public Service Reforms Bureau, BPSR, has seen to a lot of innovation in the reforms of the State’s civil service, bringing about service delivery. Modern IT tools have been installed in all the ministries, parastatals and agencies in Gombe State along with proper training for the utilisation of these tools. Salaries are paid not later than the 24th of every month, with the implementation of the minimum wage despite the state’s meagre resources. The state has paid out over 7 billion naira as backlog of gratuities inherited from previous administrations. It has also paid out over 6 billion naira as payment to pensioners for their 2014 to 2017 entitlements.
In nurturing and employing the teeming youth population, thousands of youths have been engaged in the ‘Gombe Goes Green Project’, with the planting of 4 million trees. 0ver 2000 youths have also been employed with the Gombe State Security, Traffic and Environmental Corps, G-STEC. Another 1000 youths have been employed under the At Risk Children Programme, ARC-P. An additional 3000 youths have also been engaged as development facilitators, working in their various communities. The Teacher’s Service Commission, TSC, has also employed 1000 fresh teachers who are indigenes of Gombe State. Youths in the State have also benefitted from a massive 1000 tricycles, distributed to keep them engaged and gainfully employed. Special attention is also being paid to rural women as atleast 20,000 women and youths are given special grants and training in skills acquisition. The Buhari industrial Park when completed, will provide 100,000 jobs in the agro allied, agro processing and agro entrepreneurship fields.
Paying singular attention to Infrastructure alone usually leaves much to be desired in the human capital development of a state. Unemployed youths are fertile ground for the unfettered growth of terrorism and all that insecurity entails. Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has paid attention to this detail and has been able to harness the threat that would have been posed by an unemployed youth population, with idle minds as devil workshops. More of this will be achieved as the Industrial Park nears completion. He has also been able to get the best out of his civil service workforce through proper welfare and prompt payments of entitlements. Little wonder that Gov. Inuwa Yahaya is being touted as the next Chairman of the Governors’ Forum or the Progressive Governors’ Forum, simply as best among equals. Congratulations to Inuwa Yahaya on the many deserved awards and accolades and best wishes to the people of Gombe.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.