By Ismaila Uba Misilli
While lamentations ring loudly on the academic decay and debilitating state of Nigeria’s education sector, one man is holding tenaciously the light of hope with his educational policies and projects. This man is Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State and tripple award winning Governor of the Year.
Governor Inuwa has demonstrated consistently in his three years in office via his policies, programmes and projects, that education of the citizens of Gombe is the number one priority of his administration.
As a hallmark of a principled administrator, on assumption of office as the 4th democratically elected Governor of Gombe State, Inuwa Yahaya immediately declared a state of emergency in the education sector and moved on swiftly with the agility of a cheetah to match his promises with actions.The records speak volumes of the huge turnaround in the academic history of Gombe State.
What has never been done before in the history of education in Gombe was done with ease by Inuwa Yahaya in just three years.
He sounded it out and clear that he wants all children who are out of school to be returned to school. Whatever was responsible for that he promised to support the parents. He did just that.
He went on a public awareness campaign to educate parents on the huge benefits of enrolling children in schools. He made sure that the information is well mainstreamed. Many parents happily complied. Today, thousands of out of school children have been mopped up and returned to the classrooms.
On the occasion of democracy day celebration, Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya with a great joy and delight, commissioned the Alabura Model Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, Kumbiya- Kumbiya in the state capital. The Model School project is an initiative conceived and executed by his administration in the state to raise the bars of academic excellence above the near average status he met it.
During the inauguration of the magnificent twin complex, named after a famous educationist, Malam Alabura S. Kudi, Inuwa Yahaya stated that with the school being commissioned in that part of the State, he has brought to an end the unpleasant history of the Kumbiya-Kumbiya Community as the only ward without Government learning facility in the entire state.
The Alabura Model School is an edifice of 2 blocks of 18 classrooms each, totalling 36 classrooms, two offices, 2 staff rooms and 2 Computer rooms (e-Library) fully furnished and well equipped with modern facilities. In addition, the School has sporting facilities, water supply and good access roads to enhance total learning for the pupils and students.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya described the commissioning of the school, on the day of the 2022 edition of democracy day celebration as part of the dividends of democracy to the people and his determination to bring vitality to the educational life of Gombe State.
It will be recalled that the foundation of the school was laid on 12th June 2021 and it was commissioned in exactly a year to commemorate the 3rd year of his administration. This significantly paints Governor Inuwa’s administration as a promise keeping one.
Before Governor Inuwa Yahaya came into office, Gombe State was confronted with the problems of high number of out of school children, dilapidated structures and facilities in primary and secondary schools.
Hence, his administration wasted no time in declaring a state of emergency in the education sector which has since led to the total overhauling of the system.
In one of his speeches, he said “If we don’t put our children in school and we continue to say children are the leaders of tomorrow, then what kind of leaders are we going to give to the future? If it takes emergency approach to bring them back to school, then know that we MUST get them back to school by all means possible’’. If this is not what leadership with compassion entails, then I wonder how else to reflect leadership.
From inception of the present administration of Governor InuwaYahaya in 2019 to date, significant achievements have been made in the Education sector of the state.
The administration’s priority is the holistic approach in the development of Education following the declaration of State of Emergency in the sector which has today resulted into remarkable Turn-around of the inherited deplorable and decayed condition of public schools.
After careful study of the situation on ground in the sector, Governor Inuwa embarked on massive constructions and renovation in addition to provision of instructional facilities in all the public schools across the state.
These projects include, but not limited to the following: Establishment of Teachers Resource Centre; Establishment of 45 new schools at Basic level, Renovation of 857 classrooms in 484 schools.Construction of 160 units of storey buildings of 8 classrooms. Construction of 446 units of storey buildings of 4 classrooms, Provision of 30,166 of 2 seater student’s furniture, Employment of 1000 Teachers under the FTS programme, Supply of instructional materials to 247 schools, Supply of sports materials to 163 schools, Provision of Agricultural facilities to 95 schools, Provision of VIP toilet facilities in 135 schools, Provision of motorized boreholes in 159 schools, Distribution of staff furniture, Distribution of over 50 motorcycles, Training of Education Secretaries, JSS principals/teachers and Approval granted to Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for recruitment of 1000 teachers and 288 LGEA Graduate teachers upgrading.
The administration also ensures constant payment of External Examination fees such as WAEC, NABTEB, NBAIS and Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in addition to MOCK examination conducted every year.
Governor Yahaya’s administration is currently constructing 5 Mega Senior Secondary Schools as well as improving the standard of other Junior Model Schools in the State.
Inuwa sees the development of education as a potent tool in national development. He believes that if each state of Nigeria pays urgent and dedicated attention to educational development, Nigeria will develop at a faster rate than it is presently doing.
The academic ambience of the schools in Gombe State is a complete departure from what it used to be and Inuwa Yahaya says there is still more to come.
Looking at the overall performance of Gombe State in the last three years, education has indeed enjoyed a phenomenal attention.
There is now a remarkable progress in the general performance of the final year students in public schools across the state.
The most recent one is as captured in the summary of results analysis on candidates in respect of Gombe State Public Schools who sat for 2021 WAEC in which a total of 15,277 candidates in the State sat for SSCE Examination out of which 11,986 candidates, which translates to 79.5% of those who sat for the Exam qualified to gain admission into tertiary institutions.
A comparative analysis of WASSCE results from 2015 to 2021 indicates tremendous improvement in performance of candidates. The percentage rises from 12.7% in 2015 to 79.5% in 2021.
The recent outstanding performance of students in the Examinations is not unconnected with the state of emergency declared by the purposeful Governor and his total commitment and effort towards turning around the education sector for good.
A glance at the Third-year Scorecard and Progress Report of the present administration indicates that the Governor has recorded over 90% overall achievement in fulfilling the promises he made to the people of Gombe State.
The very fabrics of Governor Inuwa Yahaya’s several reforms in the education sector are embedded in Brad Henry’s quote (A one-time Governor of Oklahoma, USA) that “No other investment yields as great a return as the investment in education. An educated workforce is the foundation of every community and the future of every economy.’’ With these efforts towards revamping the sector, there is no doubt that we have in Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, a good investor who is concerned about the foundation of every community in Gombe as well as the future of the economy of the state.
Misilli is the Director-General ( Press Affairs) Government House Gombe