The most important route to acquire the trust of the people in any society, irrespective of race, ethnicity or religion, is the ability to match words with actions.
In politics, especially in this part of the world, talk is cheap and many political leaders do not care about leaving any legacy behind.
But in Gombe state, the reverse is the case. Gone are the days of cheap talk while good governance is sacrificed on the altar of greed and wealth acquisition.
Since the emergence of his Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, at the helm of Gombe’s affairs, there has been a consistent departure from the culture of empty promises as he has been matching his words with actions within critical sectors.
Frankly, Governor Yahaya’s leadership style is one sweetener to the taste of governance in Gombe State. Many have testified that it is the harbinger of great things to come for the good people of the state.
Of the many good works by Governor Inuwa Yahaya, his recent trip to the United States of America (USA) has received resounding applause for its prospective impact on the health, education, agriculture, water, environment and other sectors. His engagements during the trip are pointers to the fact that Governor Inuwa Yahaya understands the depth of damage he inherited and the urgent need to galvanise all possible assistance in partnership and collaboration to reverse the ugly trend and put the state on the pedestal of sustainable growth and development.
Hence, the US trip can rightly be said to be targeted at ensuring that the good people of Gombe feel the impact of his administration vis-à-vis promises made to them during the campaigns.
While in the US, Governor Inuwa Yahaya first, attended a roundtable on health and human capital development on the invitation of Bill and Melinda Gates and Aliko Dangote foundations in collaboration with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. He also met with the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Hajiya Amina J Mohammed, who also facilitated the Governor’s meeting with key UN agencies, including the UNDP, UNICEF and UNIDO.
He also visited the famous New York Academy of Sciences and the Qatar permanent mission in New York and most importantly, was able to get commitments that would assist Gombe state to achieve its blueprint for development and herald an era where the people would have value for their votes.
With an overwhelming crisis in the health and education sectors where emergencies have been declared, a major gain from the US trip is UNDP’s pledge to support Gombe state’s strategic development plan; as well as UNICEF’s promise to increase activities in the health, education, water, sanitation and other critical sectors in Gombe state.
It is to be expected, therefore, that in no time, there would be a significant improvement in the health sector – in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) – and other challenges, especially as Gov. Inuwa Yahaya is faithful with meetìng the counterpart funding obligations with partners.
As one leader that means well for his people, the governor always explores any avenue to sell his policies, programmes, mission and vision and that was exactly what he did throughout his stay in America.
While in New York, the governor told a team from the New York Academy of Sciences that the Gombe state education sector was under a state of emergency; from primary, junior and senior secondary schools to adult and non-formal education.
After stressing that efforts to reduce out-of-school children are gaining momentum, alongside girl-child education, the governor was able to secure the commitment of the new York Academy of Sciences on strategic partnership and support in education, innovation and technology.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of the academy, Ellis Rubinstein told Governor Yahaya that in collaboration with UNICEF and other development partners, the academy was piloting a proof of concept about the innovation in 6 countries including Nigeria, India, Singapore and others, assuring that the academy would select Gombe as the pilot state for the project in Nigeria. He added that the fundamental goal of the initiative would be to mobilise a global community of change agents in education, technology, and other sectors to explore innovation and build transformational skilling plans that will advance the educational foundation necessary to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
This is music to the ears of Gombe people who have suffered from effects of mismanagement of the education sector by past administrations as evident in nearly 700, 000 out-of-school children in the state.
It is expected that Gombe will soon record a drastic drop in a number of out- of- school children with these partnerships and collaborations in place but more delightful is the fact that the Qatar Permanent Mission in New York has shown commitment to improving girl-child education in the state. This will go a long way in ensuring that the girl-child is empowered to face the future with the requisite knowledge to stand up to their peers anywhere in the world.
For those that may think that securing commitment is not good enough, yes!
Governor Yahaya shares the same sentiment, hence his mandate to the state commissioner of science, technology and innovation and the special adviser on budget, planning and donor agencies coordination to engage the mission on details and modalities of the intervention for the overall benefit of the people of the state. This is the kind of purpose-driven leadership that Gombe could have benefitted from in all its years of existence.
Knowing the potential of the agricultural sector in Gombe state, the governor was also outlined the key priorities of his administration and sought for enhanced partnership and support in the sector to improve the economy of the state, knowing full well that over 70 per cent of its population are farmers.
As expected, Governor Yahaya, being a leader that is professionally conversant with figures, also attended the USA-Nigeria Business and Investment Summit, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia after a successful working visit at the UN headquarters where he had fruitful engagements with key agencies of the inter-governmental organisation.
With the summit aimed at promoting steady mutual economic growth and development between the United States of America and Nigeria, there is no doubt that Gombe state would also feel the economic impact in that regard. The governor used the opportunity to make a presentation on available investment opportunities and incentives that will attract foreign direct investment into the Gombe state.
“If we must make the people feel the impact of genuine leadership, then the suffering of the majority must not be allowed for the foundation of the wealth of few.”
This has been the mindset of Gov. Inuwa Yahaya as evident in his prudent management of resources and leverage on partnerships and collaborations (home and abroad) that would improve the lots of the people.
The attention given to him by world bodies shows the kind of pedigree the governor has and the integrity has been able to build within the few months in office.
When it comes to genuine leadership with sincerity of purpose, there are just a few folks like Inuwa. With the intentional moves of the governor in addressing the challenges before his administration, the signs are clear and we can now see that good governance is possible in Gombe state.
Misilli is the Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to Gombe state Governor