By; BOLA SALIU
“Good governance is the art of putting wise thought into prudent action in a way that advances the well-being of those governed”.
– Diane Kalen-Sukra.
Above submission aptly captures the colour and character of the current leadership of States in Northern geopolitical zone of Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.
Nothern Nigeria is about to begin a journey unprecedented.But predictably a journey of joy and jubilant expectations. Not because of certainty of facts, since no man is certain of the future except the maker of man, the Almighty God. But certainty of expectations because of the man that is leading this journey. He is a man who has not only demonstrated that he breeds brilliant ideas, but has also exhibited consistently his capacity for successful public policy implementation. That man is no other person than Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, the Governor of Gombe State and incumbent Chairman of The Northern Governors’ Forum.
Inuwa’s antecedents in policy formulation and clinical implementation of same into action which has been very beneficial to his State citizenry is about to impact progressively on the leadership of the Northern Nigerian States.
Someone once said that we must eradicate ignorance and illiteracy from our nations and continent to the nearest minimum for us to have a good development. Inuwa Yahayas’s successful education sector reforms in Gombe State is a compass for a rapid transformation of the education system and structure in Northern Nigeria judging by the successes he posted in Gombe State. In his first term as a Governor, more than 300000 (three hundred thousand) out of school children returned joyfully to school with a model learning environment compared to the best schools in the developed not only that, from a comatose education sector and exam success ratio of below 27% ,Inuwa’s radical overhaul, including declaration of a state of emergency in the sector, brought back the glory of education in the state. By the end of his third year in office, exam success ratio has increased to 78%.
This model will be fascinating to other Northern states if the Governors are ready for same.While not relegating the importance of Quranic education to the background,Inuwa has integrated the two together in a way that both the children and parents are happy with the policy.
Although, there are still many Almajiri children on the streets of Northern Nigeria, Inuwa Yahaya is one of the strongest voices on the plan to integrate these children who roam the streets into foster homes where they can be given a fresh orientation for a better lifestyle.The Northern Nigeria is sure to have a huge reduction of the Almajiri population during the era of Inuwa Yahaya.
In agriculture, the mainstay of Northern Nigeria, the farmer- herder clashes is another area the region stands to benefit a lot with the incumbent Chairman. Agriculture has been a top agenda on the mind of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and same with Governor Inuwa Yahaya. I recall during Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidential Campaign trip to Gombe how he eulogized Inuwa Yahaha’s Agricultural Revolution in Gombe State with a promise to imbibe and replicate same on a national level.
A tech-driven agricultural hub is evolving already in the Jewel in the Savannah as Gombe is fondly called.
Gombe State also prides itself in having the largest grazing reserves in Nigeria with vast hectares of land for herders and other pastoralists.The grazing reserve template can be duplicated in other Northern Nigerian States and serve as a panacea to the archaic nomadic style of cattle grazing. If Inuwa’s template is adopted, transregional migration of herdsmen which often causes infringements and resultant clashes with farmers will be drastically reduced.
Let’s look at infrastructure and economic development template in Gombe State and how that will rub off on sister states in the North.Gombe under Governor Inuwa Yahaya came up with the first development plan since the creation of the State. It is a 10 Year Development Agenda tagged DEVAGOM. It has a blueprint for sectoral development of the state with timelines and means of funding, clearly defined.
With a development blueprint such as this, and shared experiences, a wide spectrum of cross sectional development is imminent in Nothern Nigeria.
Look at the 1000 hectare Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park in Dadinkowa,Gombe State.This is a theme park for rapid industrialization of the state.It is a business enterprise hub that will fire up development of all sectors taking advantage of the huge economy of scale that comes with such development model. Imagine all the states in the geopolitical zone firing up their development turbines at full speed. Employment galore for citizens will be the concomitant end. A vibrant industrial economy that will catalyse sporadic expansion of the individual state’s economic growth is in sight.
The dynamic road network expansion witnessed during Inuwa Yahaya’s first four years in office is highly instructive for other Governors in the subregion.
Gombe enjoyed a road network program tagged Network 11-100.Via this agenda, Inuwa is constructing 100km roads in all the eleven local government areas that make up Gombe State.What does this portend for economic growth? First, the rural communities are linked up with good roads thereby making ease of movement a pleasant experience for both traders and travellers especially rural farmers who will like to sell produce to the urban dwellers.The smooth roads also mean a reduction in travel time and increased production turnover.
The transportation sector in the subregion is also open to emulation of the Gombe template. Gombe Line, state owned transport company has been vigorously rejigged by Inuwa with regular additional fleet.Inuwa Yahaya has also attracted a few more airlines to the State and also brought in the Federal Might to bear on the state.The State Airport has been put under the Federal Airport Authority to take advantage of more funding.
Now, if infrastructure is available and there are no serious investors, it will be a negation of efforts and denied success.Gombe State a most favourable investment environment at the moment.
Apart from it’s safe environment and less security threats, Gombe State has won back to back, the prized Best State in The Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria back in 2021 and 2022.This favourable investment climate has attracted investors from China, USA, United Kingdom and the Middle East into Gombe State.This hand of good business can be extended to all Inuuwa co-governors in Northern Nigeria.
Owing to the hardwork and versatility of Governor Inuwa Yahaya,Gombe State has started preparation for the exploitation of oil in the Kolmani Oil Field, making the State one of the oil rich states in Nigeria.With oil being explored in the North East Nigeria,the gate of oil-wealth prosperity is already in sight for all adjoining States.
Health Policies initiated and deployed in Gombe State by Inuwa is such that in each ward there’s a functional primary health care centre.What’s more? GOHealth, a comprehensive health insurance program initiated by Inuwa in Gombe has brought many people into healthcare solutions hub from both the formal and informal sectors of the state, including retirees because of its affordability.With a token of registration and contribution,each contributor has access to the basics and also specialist healthcare services.This template can add value to sister States in the North.
On the national politics of Nigeria,the current Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum has been a high flyer.He is well respected as a prudent and trustworthy administrator.
Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya is one of the few Governors who has an almost unfettered access to Nigeria’s Presidential Villa, getting swift audience with Mr.President and almost instantaneous response to all his prayers to the Presidency.
He is capable.He is serious minded.He is visionary.He is frugal.He is humane and above all, he is passionate about good governance.
With these garb of political savvyness, economic acumen and a dynamic touch to administration,under the leadership of Muhammadu Inuwa Yayaya, the altitude of governance and attendant benefits in the Nothern Nigeria is on an autopilot to excellent reports.
Saliu is a public affairs analyst and commentator