By Bola Saliu
Esteemed recognition only comes to a man who not only overcomes all odds, all the time, but also overwhelmingly exceeds expectations consistently. These are the attributes that come to mind anytime the name Inuwa Yahaya is mentioned in the media.
When the bell for the Governorship race began to ring in 2019, very few people would give Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya a raving review of a man capable of transforming the fortunes of the Jewel in the Savannah into an enviable one. Yet, within less than 3 years, the socio-economic pedestal of Gombe State, arguably the most peaceful, most welcoming and most thriving economy in North East Nigeria, has been transmogrified beyond pedestrianism.
To an avid reader, it is very glaring that no Governor of Gombe State extraction has enjoyed the media attention, friendliness and commendation enjoyed so far by the Inuwa Yahaya’s administration.
He is always in the news both for the right and the good reasons. Even when political hiccups come up as it is always to be expected, the openness and maturity with which the Governor and his team comport themselves will make the job of a Government handlers look like a tea party.
How has Inuwa been able to command such a stand alone grace of glorious recognitions?
He is said to be simply a superlative performer who tries to beat his own records and also likes to break records of performance of predecessors in an attempt to lift the bars of governance and accomplishments.
So how do we measure his performance indices. Very simple. How do we calibrate his legacy, even simpler. We can check out the record of his innovations, put it beside the gross abandonment of projects he met on ground, the debilitating heaps of debt and x-ray the remarkable progress he has brought to the stage.
Our deductions cannot be far from the headline of this write up. So far incomparable, nonpareil, peerless, unequalled, unmatched, unparalleled, unsurpassed are a few descriptions. But Inuwa Yahaya is not a man who dwells on the accolades and encomiums of men. He is driven by performance. He believes in hardwork and drives his team along the line of dignity of labour.
When your Governor walks for 18 hours in a day what excuse do you have to be indolent. Inuwa is matchless in diligence and dedication to duty. He has little or no time for leisure and frivolities. He is a man fully committed to a mandate given by love from his people. A people who have not stopped in demonstrating that they love their Governor. The rousing reception accorded him recently when he returned from his first and only foreign trip since he became the Governor of Gombe State.
Let me take you on a little ride about Inuwa Yahaya’s outstanding journey in Gombe State. Inimitability in Infrastructure Projects. No Governor in the history of Gombe has demonstrated the rare courage of even development for all at once. Only Inuwa Yahaya decided to do an even distribution of road projects in a manner that no one can grumble. He called his cabinet and said ‘ you know what? This is novel, but possible. Lets give each local Government a 100 kilometre of road’.
Gombe has 11 Local Government Areas. So Network Eleven-100 came to stream.
This project has signalled a sporadic opening of economic growth in the State with road networks now fully integrated for movement of goods and personnel.
He didn’t stop there.The Ultra modern Mega motor park has been completed successfully and with it, ease of transportation will be greatly enhanced in the State.
Also in the Mills is the multi billion naira Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park in Dadin Kowa which is under construction. Inuwa’s economic recalibrations in Gombe State has been lauded nationally resulting in Gombe emerging as the best performing state in the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.
Just recently, Gombe clinched 7th position in the Fiscal Performance Index in Nigeria
BudgIT an economic barometer agency looked the way of Governor Inuwa’s rigorous economic policies and programmes and accorded him a pass mark. BudgIT is not an agency that plays to the gallery. Their parameters of economic growth are as consistent as the North Star. If BudIT says Gombe is doing well. Then Gombe State is doing well indeed.
In its 2021 State-of-the-states Report released recently which reflected on the states’ performance in the year 2020, Gombe State, the Jewel in the Savannah ranked 7th out of the 36 states of the country by getting higher score points in the fiscal performance index owing to sound economic policies and good governance of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.
Gombe State beat all Northern states with the exception of Kebbi and Kaduna which came 5th and 6th respectively. Where Rivers, Ebonyi, Anambra and Lagos topped the list.
BudgIT stated that in spite of the distortion of COVID-19 pandemic to local economies and government revenues worldwide, Gombe State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) witnessed a +25.50% year-on-year increase from N6.80 billion in 2019 to N8.54 billion in 2020.
BudgIT noted that Gombe State pruned its operating expenses by -22.8% from N42.88 billion in 2019 to N32.62 billion in 2020, with its overhead cost component experiencing the greatest cut of -47.16% from N9.89 billion in 2019 to N18.72 billion in 2020. This, the report said, has contributed immensely to the State’s improvement in fiscal performance in the 2021 Report.
Although records have it that the Inuwa Yahaya administration came to power when Gombe State was overwhelmed with debt to the tune of about N119 billion comprising of bonds, external and internal debt which the state government services every month despite the meager allocation it gets from the federation. Notwithstanding, Inuwa Yahaya marches on like a courageous general who will not mind the odds but fixes his eyes on the prize of gallantry.
Despite the economic downturn and the debt burden, BudgIT expressed confidence in the economic policies of the incumbent administration in Gombe State under Governor Inuwa Yahaya, postulating that Gombe state is moving in the right direction when it comes to blocking leakages of government revenues.
Other areas Inuwa is scoring high includes
agriculture value chain, mineral exploitation, industrialisation and Public-Private Partnership.
The astute business acumen of Governor Yahaya has been given a further green light as being capable of sustaining Gombe State on the right tract of economic development.
Inuwa has the best records of awards for Excellence as a Governor. With already 5 Man of the Year Awards by reputable media organisations, including Vanguard and Leadership newspapers, Inuwa Yahaya in just about 3 years, still has the awards pouring in.
Just last recently, Gombe, the Jewel in the Savannah, recorded another first, as the state received two separate health awards in recognition of its exceptional performance and outstanding commitment to excellence as well as its contribution to the success of the implementation of the Pooled Fund project Window 2.
The two awards were presented by the National Secretariat of Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) through the Coordinator of the CS-SUNN coalition of Gombe State during the end of project meeting in Abuja.
Also last year, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya received the NUTRITION CHAMPION FOR THE NIGERIAN CHILD Award by the International Society of Media in Public Health in recognition of his administration’s disposition towards tackling the manace of malnutrition among children in the State.
The two year scoresheet of Governor Inuwa Yahaya is a compendium of uncommon achievements. With a solid and unique 10- Year Development Plan put in place for Gombe State, the first of its kind by any government in Gombe State, the administration of Inuwa Yahaya is clearly inimitable in policy formulation and clinical implementation of developmental projects.
Saliu is a publisher/public affairs commentator