By Muhd El-Bonga Ibraheem
In a viral social media video marking the end of Ramadan Tafsir in one of the Izala mosques in Gombe, Bello Tinka, an APC Senatorial aspirant for Gombe North, made some scathing revelation that further unmasks the kind of mess Governor Inuwa Yahaya inherited in his bid to steer the Gombe ship to a promising land.
Of course the challenges were not new, and the Inuwa-led administration had already informed the people on two occasions: first, during transition period; secondly, during the fledging days of the administration. All the messages carried one bold, unambiguous message: Gombe is bankrupt.
During the tail-end of the Tolba administration, many potential successors pervasively emanated from across the nook and cranny of the state especially those in his cabinet. Many of them wanted to be anointed as his successor. However, while they’re scheming to obtain the ticket, Bello Tinka— who was very close to Tolba and one of the top beneficiaries of his administration that led the neighbor-to-neighbour campaign for his re-election— said Tolba would tell them that he pities the next Governor of Gombe because the next administration would struggle a lot to the extent that they may not be able to even pay salaries.
The shocking but advertently expected prophecies by Tolba had already manifested because when the Inuwa Yahaya-led administration came on board, they struggled but thanks to the outstanding capacities of Governor Inuwa, the state was able to weather the storm. The governor partnered with development partners and experts in order to outsource funds to the state. If he has solely depended on the federal government, many things wouldn’t have been achieved today.
While other states were crying and whingeing, desperately awaiting bail out funds from the Buhari administration, Inuwa was already forging ahead during the wee days of his administration. Today, Gombe is one of the states that pays salaries promptly. While it is understandable that salary payment shouldn’t be applauded, it is pertinent to realize that some states owe civil servants several months.
During the inception of his administration, Governor Inuwa approved a whopping sum of N1.6 billion for gratuity to be paid in tranches. In March 2021, he forked out the sum of N755 million to mark the release of the first tranche in order settle pension and gratuity; and in January this year, the second tranche of N755m was equally released. Interestingly, these are inherited expenditure dating back to 2012 where the PDP held sway and which enjoyed huge crude oil sell that culminated into a huge revenue for Nigeria as a whole. All these remarkable feats aren’t mere coincidence but a product of deliberate effort towards accomplishment of goals as well as having the right team of experts to bring home the bacon.
Going further, Governor Inuwa successfully put up structures and friendly policies that attracted investments in Gombe. This therefore explains why Gombe was unsurprisingly voted as the number one state in terms of ease of doing of business in Nigeria— ahead of states like Kaduna, Lagos, Kano, Rivers etc. For any state to develop, it must attract investments. This is where Governor El-Rufai stands out amongst his colleagues.
For the first time in the state’s history given its meagre IGR potential, Gombe recorded a huge rise in IGR under the leadership of Governor Inuwa Yahaya. In 2021, for example, Gombe generated a staggering N10 billion which is a huge increase compared to past figures. The above figure is an increase from that of 2020 where they generated N8 billion. It is equally worth mentioning that Gombe is one of the states that keyed into the federal government’s TSA policy in 2020 through an executive order by the Governor in order to block leakages and ensure accountability and transparency in financial dealings.
In retrospective, having said all these, at this juncture, let us now come back to Bello Tinka’s statement. If former Governor Dankwambo, the PDP leader of Gombe State, had informed them that the next governor would struggle to pay salaries and pilot the affairs of the state, why then are they ranting knowing full well Governor Inuwa Yahaya has already exceeded their expectations by clearing their mess? When the opposition keeps pushing that they want to come back to power in Gombe, what do they intend to achieve exactly? Is it that they want to come back and continue from where they stopped or they want to scuttle the development currently being experienced? If Inuwa Yahaya is running things smoothly even though they hitherto believed things would be difficult, is there any need for change if they altruistically have Gombe in mind? These are questions that need answers.
It can be recalled that Governor Inuwa came at a time Nigeria was on the threshold of another recession. Few months after taking over, the global pandemic hit the entire world where things got stagnated for a year. However, this didn’t deter him from his dreams of changing Gombe in order to make it great. It takes a very committed, visionary and exemplary leadership to have weathered the storm Inuwa Yahaya met in Gombe State.
As far as Gombe is concerned, there is no vacancy in the Jewel in the Savannah. We want the Governor to come back in order to consolidate what he started. We want him to come back and complete the plethora of network 11-100 road projects that seek to construct 100km of roads in every local government of Gombe. We want him to come back and complete the Muhammadu Buhari industrial park that will serve as the fulcrum of Gombe State’s industries drive. The gigantic project, if completed, will serve as a home to many industries, factories, as well as create jobs thereby adding to the development of not only Gombe but Nigeria as a whole.
For Gombe State, Inuwa Yahaya has exceeded expectations. Even the opposition, deep down them, know that the governor has performed and is still performing. They’re just playing games in the name of opposition politics which is what politics is all about anyway.
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