SPECIAL ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU INUWA YAHAYA (DAN MAJEN GOMBE) ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 2ND TERM SWEARING-IN AS THE GOVERNOR OF GOMBE STATE ON MONDAY 29TH MAY 2023, AT THE PANTAMI TOWNSHIP STADIUM GOMBE
Exactly four years ago, I stood before you, conscious of the responsibility placed on my shoulders, and took the oath of office as the 4th civilian governor of Gombe State. I am grateful to God Almighty for giving me the wisdom and courage to deliver on our promises which led to my successful re-election, culminating in the new oath of office that I have just taken. I am profoundly grateful for the trust you have placed in me. Your unceasing outpourings of support, prayers and goodwill shall continue to inspire me each day as we work together to build a better Gombe State, one that will become a source of pride to future generations and a model to the rest of the country.
As the saying goes, ‘the reward for doing well is the opportunity to do more.’ Your decision to once again trust me with your votes represents a resounding vote of confidence on our first term performance. Like I said during the campaigns, our excellent record speaks for itself. It offers our people a clear choice between progress and retrogression, hope and despair.
Now that the elections are over, the business of governance must continue apace. As always, I call on all stakeholders across partisan divides to join hands and move our state forward. On my part, I shall be just and fair to all, irrespective of political, ethnic, religious and sectional affiliations. The collective interest of Gombe State supersedes all other interests and considerations.
Over the past four years, we overcome many challenges. We lost loved ones, including hardworking officials, close associates and loyal supporters. We shall continue to remember them because they form part of our success story today. We also made significant strides in advancing the development agenda of Gombe state by investing in critical sectors such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, civil service, agriculture, energy, water supply, environment and sanitation.
On the education sector, we constructed and renovated over 1440 classrooms across the State; and mopped up of over 350,000 out-of-school children. We also upgraded 5 secondary schools to mega-school standards and constructed 4 special schools (to take care of special needs).We recruited 1,000 teachers, and strengthened vocational and technical education through various partnerships like the IDEAS (Innovation in Development and Effectiveness in Acquisition of Skills), which is a World Bank-assisted project.
These, among other efforts, led to a number of positive outcomes, including a sharp increase in the percentage of candidates in our public schools who passed WASSCE with 5 credits or above including Maths and English from 28% in 2019 to 73% in 2021 and 78% in 2022.
On healthcare, we ensured the provision of a fully functional primary healthcare center in each of our 114 political wards; upgraded the State Specialist Hospital in Gombe; while currently upgrading the General Hospitals in Bajoga and Kaltungo. In addition, a 200-bed general hospital in Kumo is being constructed. We are also building a brand-new 600-student capacity school of nursing technology.
Our administration also established the Gombe State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (Go-Health) in order to provide affordable healthcare for the vulnerable. So far, 35,116 beneficiaries have been rolled and are getting proper service. We also established the Gombe State Hospitals Management Board to provide leadership and direction to the administration of our hospitals, as well as the Gombe State Medical Consumables and Wholesale Supply Agency which aims to checkmate the menace of substandard and inadequate supply of medical consumables in the state.
In order to jumpstart economic activities and create jobs, we hosted the first-ever Gombe State Investment Summit which attracted billions of naira in local and international investments. The establishment of the ease of doing business council in the state also helped us to come first in the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) ranking in 2021 and 2022. Our drive to support small businesses and boost local economy helped us to provide over 500-million-naira MSME grant, and empowered 1000 small business-owners and 500 artisans. The Bubayero Microfinance Bank was recapitalized with 764 million naira in order to meet regulatory requirements and facilitate microlending support to small businesses.
Our commitment to invest in durable infrastructure and housing remain rock solid. To this end, we constructed over 700km of urban and rural roads under the Network 11-100 project which aims to connect the nooks and crannies of our state with serviceable road networks. The Phase One of the 1000-hectare Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park is nearing completion. Already, industries have started springing up to take advantage of the facility. We have also completed the Gombe Mega Motor Park in order to provide a befitting motor park to our people. Over 1000 homes are being constructed with the help of the Family Home Funds and the NEDC in order to reduce the housing deficits and ease its burden on our people.
The ongoing rehabilitation, upgrade and expansion of the Gombe Regional Water Supply Scheme has reached an advanced stage. We have also built and rehabilitated over 600 boreholes across the state through various initiatives like RUWASSA and SURWASH.
Our administration has ensured timely procurement and distribution of subsidized fertilizer. This year, the fertilizer distribution exercise will commence on 15th June, 2023 in order to enable our farmers take advantage of the early planting period. We also ensured the provision of assorted seedlings and farm implements to farmers, as well as timely annual vaccination campaigns against major communicable diseases affecting livestock.
While land administration has consistently remained a challenge in our development process, we established the Gombe Geographic Information System (GOGIS) as well as the Gombe State Urban Planning and Development Authority (GOSUPDA) In order to ensure efficiency in land administration and sustainable urban development. In this regard, we also created new layouts and standardized existing ones, including the new Shongo Gardens layouts, as well as the verification and restoration of the BAP4 layout.
In order to revitalize our civil service, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms was established so as to institutionalize necessary reforms. Promotions and other benefits are being implemented in both the state and local government service. In addition to being among the first states to implement the new 30,000-naira minimum wage, we also paid over N7.9 billion in gratuity liabilities inherited from the previous administration, while ensuring timely payment of monthly pensions to our retirees.
Our administration is committed to improving Transparency and Accountability in Governance. In this regard, we ensured people-driven budget consultation process, timely publication of budgets and audited accounts, as well as compliance with the World Bank-led State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability framework (SFTAS) of which Gombe is among the best performing states nationwide. We also repositioned the Gombe State Internal Revenue Service, leading to automation of revenue collection procedures and improvement in revenue performance.
The maintenance of harmonious working relationship between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary is very fundamental to the success of every democratic setting. Our actions and activities are always tailored towards preserving and respecting the independence of the legislature and judiciary. Similar treatment is also extended to our local government councils, in order to ensure their financial independence and administrative autonomy.
Our administration has adopted a three-pronged approach to dealing with youth unemployment, climate change and insecurity. Through our Gombe Goes Green (3G) program which targeted the planting of 4 million trees, we are able to engage 27,000 youth in the program, providing them with job opportunities and mitigating climate and environmental degradation which induced farmer-herder conflicts and its attendant consequences. We also recruited 500 youth under the Gombe State Security, Traffic and Environmental Corp (GOSTEC) to protect our environment, bolster local security and enforce traffic rules.
In our commitment to promote security, stability and peaceful co-existence, we established the Ministry of Internal Security and Ethical Reorientation and introduced ‘Operation Hattara’ to support and complement the efforts of our security agencies. We also embraced local stakeholders to ensure coordinated and proactive response to security challenges, and convened the first-ever Gombe State Security Summit in order to boost local security and foster regional cooperation.
It is noteworthy that these achievements were recorded despite domestic and global economic headwinds especially the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic meltdown. It is gratifying that our administration was able to wither the storm and deliver strong performance which earned us local and international recognitions and accolades. While there is still much work to be done, we must build upon our achievements so as to reach greater heights.
In the next four years, our administration will focus on the following key areas:
Economic Empowerment and Job Creation: we shall continue with our ease of doing business policies so as to consolidate our position as the most business-friendly state in Nigeria. These policies are designed to foster conducive business environment, attract investments, and stimulate economic growth. We shall also train and upskill our youth, invest in ICT skills and innovation, and harness our agri-business potentials in order to enhance food security and create employment opportunities.
Education and Human Capital Development: our administration shall continue with ongoing upgrades of school infrastructure, provision of instructional materials and improving the capacity of our teachers and administrators. We are committed to expanding access to education, particularly for out-of-school childen, girl-child and other marginalized groups, through various initiatives like the Adolescent Girl Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE). We are also committed to enhancing vocational and technical education to align with the needs of the rapidly evolving job market, particularly the agriculture, energy and oil and gas sectors which are fast taking shape in Gombe State, especially with discovery of oil and gas at Kolmani.
Healthcare and Social Welfare: we are going to leverage on Go-Health and GSPCHDA to strengthen healthcare systems and infrastructure in order to ensure accessible and quality healthcare services for all. We shall Improve the capacity of our healthcare professionals by investing in training and capacity building, as well as partner with FG and other relevant stakeholders to implement social welfare programs that support vulnerable groups and alleviate poverty.
Infrastructural Development: we are going to consolidate on our existing achievements by investing in the development of critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water supply, and electricity. We shall improve our rural and urban transportation networks, and investing in climate-friendly and sustainable projects. Urban renewal and redevelopment, especially in the State capital and the local government headquarters will be pursued vigorously in order to ensure decent living and also attract the much-needed investment in hospitality and tourism.
Good Governance and Accountability: we shall sustain the principles of people-driven, needs-based and participatory governance by improving our open government policies which enabled us to become one of the top 7 states in the country in the 2022 Transparency and Integrity Index. The efficient use of public resources through plugging leakages and reducing wastage will foster a culture of meritocracy and inclusivity in governance, thus improving the efficiency of the system.
My fellow citizens, I cannot achieve these ambitious goals alone. I need your continued support, active engagement, and constructive feedback in order to succeed. It is only by coming together as one united people that we can transform our aspirations into tangible realities. I am confident that, with your continuous support and prayers, we shall overcome these challenges, seize emerging opportunities, and create a future that is brighter and more prosperous for every resident of Gombe State.
On a final note, I remain eternally grateful for your support, and the opportunity to lead Gombe State at this critical point in its history. I will continue to count on your support, goodwill and prayers. Let us embark on this journey together, hand in hand, as we build a Gombe State that our children and future generations will be proud to call home.
Thank you and God bless you all!
God bless Gombe State!!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!