By Bola Saliu
For a man who has radically and demonstrably rewritten the socio-economic history of Gombe State within barely 3 years of his stewardship as Governor, Muhammdu Inuwa Yahaya’s emergence as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC for the second term running was merely a red carpet of honour and appreciation for his superlative performance and sterling leadership qualities.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya who stood as a sole aspirant in the APC primary election received an overwhelming affirmation through a voice vote of 563 accredited State delegates.
The Chairman APC Governorship Primary Election Committee in charge of Gombe State, Dr. Danjuma Dabo who presided over the exercise in the presence of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC led by the Gombe State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Umar Ibrahim declared Inuwa winner of the primary and affirmed him as standard bearer of the Party in Gombe State for the 2023 general elections.
Magnanimous as usual in victory, the APC flag bearer said, ” the overwhelming affirmation will spur me to deliver more dividends of democracy and build on successes recorded “.
Over the course of Yahaya’s term, his administration has recorded so much successes in education, security, healthcare, and agricultural transformation, human capital development even amidst daunting socio-economic challenges. In terms of his performance, Yahaya was particularly praised for uncommon feat in healthcare development and the ease of doing business”.
Going through the Inuwa Yahaya’s Mid-term report, it is obvious that his administration has moved the State far ahead of where he met the Infrastructure. Such remarkable commendations deserve a good reward.
This perhaps explains why Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya’s nomination and expression of interest forms for his re-election bid on the platform of the All Progressives Congress was purchased and presented to him by friends, associates and political support groups to ‘persuade’ him seek re-election in the 2023 gubernatorial election.
One can then safely submit that it was in appreciation of his sterling performance that Inuwa Yahaya was returned unopposed in the APC Governorship primary election like his Borno, Lagos and Kwara counterparts.
Even before the primary election, it was clear that Inuwa Yahaya is the man to beat at the gubernatorial election in Gombe. Recall that after submitting the nomination forms on behalf of the Governor, the Chief of Staff, Inuwa Kari expressed confidence that Governor Inuwa will win both the APC ticket and his re-election in 2023 general elections.
He said: “We have a saying in Gombe and I will say it in Hausa, ‘Ko Gezau’ either today, tomorrow or now we are ready for the elections, no shaking.”
APC boasts of a performance and feedbacks that guarantee its success at the next elections.
According to Kari, the bold imprint of Inuwa Yahaya’s administration is a compass for a huge success in the forthcoming election.
“Any person that goes to Gombe state now knows that Governor Inuwa Yahaya has transformed the state over the last three years. The people of Gombe are grateful for what he has done. You go to Gombe today, you know you’ll see a new Gombe. And like one of his colleagues said when he came a few weeks ago, he called my principal the quiet storm and reference point of purposeful leadership. Gombe has changed and Gombe is for the better. So I invite you to come to Gombe and see for yourselves. The Governor has succeeded in creating a clear development roadmap and has placed Gombe State on the trajectory of sustainable development through a 10-year plan known as Development Agenda for Gombe State”. Kari said with pride.
The citizens too appear to be a lot appreciative.”As far as Gombe is concerned, there is no vacancy in the Jewel in the Savannah. We want the Governor to come back in order to consolidate what he started”.Says Muhd El-Bonga Ibraheem.
Another citizen a business moguland chieftain of the APC, Dr Bala Bello, praised Inuwa Yahaya’s passion and ability to navigate Gombe State away from the messy and stagnated water like scenario he met the state when he assumed the leadership of the State. It was akin to saying Gombe was bankrupt.
Records have it that the immediate past Governor of the State, would tell those in PDP who were jostling to succeed them that he pitied the next Governor of Gombe because the next administration would struggle a lot to the extent that they may not be able to even pay salaries.
But here is Gombe State today, not only paying salaries but clearing all arrears and paying backlogs of pensioners dues.
The Inuwa Yahaya-led administration immediately coming on board, only struggled a bit, but thanks to the outstanding capacities of Governor Inuwa, the state was able to weather the storm. The governor collaborated with development partners and experts in order to outsource funds to the state. If he ha solely depended on the federal government, many things wouldn’t have been achieved today.Today, Gombe is one of the states that pays salaries promptly. While it is understandable that salary payment shouldn’t be applauded, it is pertinent to realize that some states owe civil servants several months.
During the inception of his administration, Governor Inuwa approved a whopping sum of N1.6 billion for gratuity to be paid in tranches. In March 2021,the sum of N755 million was released of the first tranche in order settle pension and gratuity; and in January this year, the second tranche of N755m was equally released. Interestingly, these are inherited expenditure dating back to 2012 where the PDP held sway and which enjoyed huge crude oil sell that culminated into a huge revenue for Nigeria as a whole.
Going further, Governor Inuwa successfully put up structures and friendly policies that attracted investments in Gombe. This therefore explains why Gombe was befittingly voted as the number one state in terms of ease of doing of business in Nigeria— ahead of states like Kaduna, Lagos, Kano, Rivers etc.
For the first time in the state’s history, Gombe recorded a huge rise in IGR under the leadership of Governor Inuwa Yahaya. In 2021, for example, Gombe generated a staggering N10 billion which is a huge increase compared to past figures. The above figure is an increase from that of 2020 where they generated N8 billion.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya has already exceeded the opposition’s expectations by clearing the mess they left behind.
Notwithstanding that Governor Inuwa came at a time Nigeria was on the threshold of another recession. Few months after taking over, the global pandemic hit the entire world where things got stagnated for a year. This didn’t deter him from his dreams of changing Gombe in order to make it great. It takes a very committed, visionary and exemplary leadership to have weathered the storm Inuwa Gombe State.
Gombe has recently been named as the most peaceful State in Nigeria and has been praised for it’s ability to manage its diversity issues without any ethnic conflagration. Many other tribes resident in Gombe feel most comfortable because of the State’s policy of equality for all residents who they refer and deal with as Gombe citizens.
An Ibo businessman, Osita Nwabugwu says ” We want him to come back and complete the plethora of network 11-100 road projects that seek to construct 100km of roads in every local government of Gombe. We want him to come back and complete the Muhammadu Buhari industrial park that will serve as the fulcrum of Gombe State’s industrial drive”.
His network of roads is a catalyst indeed for economic transformation of the State continued Nwabugwu.
“The gigantic project, if completed, will serve as a home to many industries, factories, as well as create jobs thereby adding to the development of not only Gombe but Nigeria as a whole”.
A Public Affairs commentator summarises the citizens expectations thus.”Inuwa Yahaya has exceeded expectations. Even members of the opposition know that the governor has performed and is still performing. They’re just playing games in the name of opposition politics which is what politics is all about anyway. One excellent terms surely deserves another superlative accomplishments from Inuwa Yahaya.
At the end of the Primaries it was a smooth sailing second term mandate for Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.
In his acceptance speech, Governor Inuwa expressed gratitude to the Almighty Allah for giving him another opportunity to emerge as the APC flag bearer.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for “standing firm and for providing good leadership in Nigeria in this hard time that there is indeed a global challenge, as well as the APC Chairman,Senator Abdullahi Adamu for effectively coordinating the affairs of the party.
He praised and appreciated the citizens of Gombe for the unflinching confidence in their ability in him to continue to lead them.
” I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the people of Gombe State are really very supportive and are ready to go with us because we move hand in hand to achieve all that we have mentioned to you in our manifesto and we are working in accordance with the guidance and perseverance of the leadership of the people”.
Governor Inuwa also thanked members of his team for supporting and working hard to produce results that have convinced the people of Gombe State, assuring that the confidence reposed in him through the affirmation would spur him to deliver more dividends of democracy to the people.
With the emergence of Inuwa Yahaya as the flag bearer again, it very obvious that Gombe State is up for another radical and dynamic lease of cosmopolitan development and prosperity for its citizens.
Saliu is an Abuja based media practitioner
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