INAUGURAL ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ALHAJI MUHAMMADU INUWA YAHAYA, ON THE OCCASION OF HIS SWEARING-IN AS GOVERNOR OF GOMBE STATE ON WEDNESDAY, 29TH MAY, 2019
I am immensely grateful to Allah (SWT) for preserving us to witness this day. I stand in humble appreciation to you all having just been sworn in as the Governor of our great state.
The journey from 2015 when we first contested for elections has been both interesting and challenging. We have been confronted with numerous hurdles but we did not despair because of our firm belief in Allah (SWT) as depicted in our campaign slogan “Nasara daga Allah”. We, therefore, wish to express our special thanks to the Almighty Allah for His mercies and blessings by giving us the opportunity to assume the mantle of leadership of our dear state from this moment.
Our unending gratitude goes to the good people of Gombe State who clearly spoke through the ballot and entrusted us with the onerous task of steering the affairs of the State for the next four years. We particularly salute their steadfastness and resolve by waiting for many hours in the hot sun to cast their votes and waited tirelessly to ensure that their votes counted.
I salute the leadership of our great party, APC, at all levels for the total support which led to our success in all the elections.
Let me once again thank the members of our Gubernatorial Campaign Council, the Transition Committee and the Inauguration Committee for the wonderful work they did in their various assignments that have successfully seen us reach today’s milestone.
I am gratified by the united support and resilience of my fellow gubernatorial aspirants and contestants from all political parties after the primary elections and through the general elections. Your solidarity during and after the elections is truly unprecedented. May Allah reward you all.
I strongly appreciate the neutrality shown by most of our revered traditional rulers during the elections as fathers of the land. We are aware, however, that some allowed themselves to be manipulated into being partisan and therefore took sides in the elections. While this has passed, we shall take steps to ensure non-occurrence.
The prayers of our clerics have been answered as God, in His infinite mercy, made it possible for the conduct peaceful, credible, transparent and fair elections in Gombe State.
The advisory roles, moral support and guidance we received from our elders and is highly appreciated.
I must, more importantly, recognise the wholehearted support of our teeming youths who deployed everything lawful at their disposal to ensure our victory. At this juncture, permit me to particularly acknowledge the exceptional courage, commitment and enormous contributions made by our women who defied all odds by coming out en-masse to vote for the APC in spite of intimidation and threats of violence. This will remain indelible in our minds.
I would like to assure everyone that contributed in one way or the other to our success that your efforts would never be in vain as we remain determined to pull our people out of the current state of hopelessness. Let us look beyond the pain and hardship we all endured. Together we shall move our state to the next level.
Gombe State is truly endowed by the Almighty Allah in all spheres of human endeavour. We have enormous human and material resources that could be harnessed for the benefit of our people. Despite these it is sad to note that the majority of our people are living in abject poverty, devoid of the basic necessities of life.
In this era, while other states in the country are taking advantage and exploring possibilities and opportunities, we are still battling with lack of portable drinking water, inadequate medical care, epileptic power supply, dysfunctional educational system and total failure of governance thereby leaving the citizens to fend for themselves.
The report of the Transition Committee presented on 11th May, 2019, has further revealed the unpleasant picture of our state of affairs. The committee enumerated a number of worrying developments such as: huge interest-bearing debts estimated at over 110 billion naira; high drug abuse index ranking the Gombe State among the top three in the country; absence of maternal and child care; unacceptable high rate of out of school children; poor performance in basic education placing Gombe State as the 34th state in school examinations index.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we are not unmindful of our promises to the good people of Gombe State. All of us must realise, however, that our journey forward in the face of these daunting challenges will not be an easy one. But with the help of Almighty Allah we shall overcome.
This administration is determined to confront head-on all the issues bedevilling our state. We shall take advantage of all available opportunities in order to achieve the goals as outlined in our manifesto.
We shall carefully formulate policies and programmes that can easily dovetail into other interventions aimed at creating jobs for our people. Let me use this opportunity to solicit the cooperation and understanding of our people to appreciate that it is no longer going to be business as usual.
Many state and federal interventions were given in the past and a majority of the managers and beneficiaries were reported to have diverted the funds or inputs made available to them to unproductive use. The resultant effect is failure of such programmes to make any meaningful impact on the lives of the citizenry. I would, therefore, call on all of us to take up the challenge with dedication and honesty whenever these programmes are launched.
Gombe State is well known for its commercial activities. Nevertheless, over the last eight years, business activities have witnessed a downturn primarily due to the nonchalant attitude of the government. For example, benefits derivable from the local production of commodities and the value chain addition associated with this have not been encouraged despite enormous potentials. This trend must be reversed. We, therefore, call on our vibrant business men and women to take advantage of our resolve to stimulate production.
We shall also seize this opportunity to assure all investors within and outside the State of our readiness to provide an enabling environment that would make investment in Gombe State very attractive and profitable. We shall pursue meaningful and mutually beneficial public-private partnerships with the private sector in order to achieve our aims and objectives.
We are aware of the multiplicity of issues militating against the optimum performance of our civil servants. The civil service is veritable machinery for the implementation of government policies, projects and programmes. Quite a number of issues have been highlighted in the report submitted by the Transition Committee. We shall make concerted efforts to remedy the situation in order to derive the maximum benefits from a performing and functional civil service. To this end, workers’ welfare, promotion and provision of conducive working environment would all be addressed accordingly. However, civil servants must reciprocate this gesture by being dedicated, patriotic, selfless, prudent, honest and professional in their respective assignments. This is because they are the engine room that drives government policies, programmes and projects.
We shall overhaul the education sector to meet up the desired standard. Adequate attentionshall be given to provision of infrastructure, teaching materials and qualified teaching staff in our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The recent deliberate proliferation of tertiary institutions in the state requires a critical assessment of their viability and their sustainability vis-à-vis the huge debt over-hung worth N110 billion.
Therefore, we shall constitute a high-powered committee to critically review the level of establishment of the institutions with the intent of assessing their potentials and relevance to our state’s educational development.
Our administration will frontally tackle the perennial shortage of water supply in Gombe metropolis and other parts of the State. We would work hard to increase the capacity of the Dadin-kowa water supply scheme and enhance supply to other local government arears across the state. We shall exploit full potentials of the Balanga Dam as regard to water supply, power generation and irrigation activities.
In the meantime, the State Water Corporation is hereby directed to ensure that water is pumped and supplied to Gombe metropolis and all connected surrounding communities on a daily basis. The Ministries for Rural Development and Water Resources are to commence immediate the repairs of all broken down boreholes and hand pumps in all rural areas of the state.
Our healthcare delivery system is in a pitiable condition. We would, therefore, commence building of additional healthcare institutions, provision of medical facilities, equipment, training and retraining of healthcare personnel for better service delivery.
While provision of electricity is not an exclusive responsibility of the state government, we have noticed a steady drop in electricity supply to the state. We intend to immediately engage the Jos Electricity Distribution Company vigorously for the improvement of electricity supply all over the state.
In the meantime, we hereby implore the Company to see to the improvement of power supply as a gesture of extending the hands of friendship to us.
As the mainstay of our economy that engages over 75 per cent of our population, we would accord priority to agricultural development in efforts to diversify the economy and ensure food security. Consequent upon this, we shall ensure a timely and adequate supply of farming inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, etc. as well as provide agricultural credit facilities to our farmers.
From available information, the immediate past administration has deliberately refused to procure fertiliser and other necessary farm inputs for distribution to our farmers. I, therefore, direct the Ministry of Agriculture to work out modalities to promptly address the issue to avoid a looming but avoidable catastrophe. I urge all of us to embrace agriculture, the surest way to employment and poverty reduction in our society.
Our administration is passionate about the youth and we are determined to address all issues affecting them. The recent upsurge in unemployment, drug abuse and other delinquencies have thrown up a greater challenge to the state and its people. The administration shall deliberately address the root causes of these challenges.
No doubt, women constitute the majority of our population and they form the solid block of our electoral victory. Therefore, we shall initiate policies and programmes that would improve their skills and enhance their economic capacity.
Government would review the security architecture in the state and support our security agencies to effectively deal with security threats and ensure that law and order prevail which would guarantee the security of life and property of our citizens. I, therefore, call on the good people of Gombe State to support our security agencies in carrying out their statutory responsibilities.
Our traditional institutions and leaders are highly revered. Besides being custodians of our rich cultural heritage, traditional rulers play a vital role in the socio-economic development of the state. We shall work closely with them to promote peace and development in the state. Government would improve their welfare and statuses to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the overall development of their domains.
My fellow citizens, we are all aware of the dwindling revenue accruable to the state. I am sure you are also aware of the poor internal revenue generation coupled with bad financial management by the previous administration led to the huge debt profile. As a responsible government, we are committed to settling all legally verifiable commitments.
We must, however, enjoin ourselves to employ all costs saving measures in addition to improving the level of internal revenue generation. I will, therefore, urge all of us to be ready to make sacrifices in the days ahead.
I urge all our people to embrace the spirit of self-help, hard work, patriotism and honesty. All communities must henceforth endeavour to treat government projects and properties located in their area as their own.
Evidently, our people have learnt their lessons over the past eight years. This has been demonstrated in the way and manner they craved for change and also worked tirelessly to actualise that. We cannot, therefore, afford to go back to those dark days. It is for these reasons that I call on all our citizens to join hands with us to enable our administration actualise its programmes tailored towards making their lives more meaningful.
I would particularly like to call on our teeming youths to give us their maximum cooperation and support. You are the leaders of tomorrow. You are to prepare yourselves for that tomorrow. Nobody can do it for you. But be rest assured that we shall give you all the necessary encouragement and support in order to assist you achieve your dreams.
My dear people of Gombe State, our administration believes in cordial working relationship between the three arms and the three tiers of government. I wish to use this opportunity to assure the soon-to-be-inaugurated honourable members of the Gombe State House of Assembly of our administration’s commitment and support to the legislature. I call on the honourable members to cooperate with us in our quest to develop the State.
Our administration would support the judiciary to ensure timely dispensation of justice. Those days are gone when judicial officers carry out their duties under harsh and unbearable working conditions. We will provide conducive working environment for judicial officers and staff to carry out their duties effectively.
As part of the resolve to re-engineer the local governments for purposeful service delivery, we shall take appropriate steps to ensure that local government elections are conducted to usher in elected chairmen and councillors at the earliest appropriate time in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the meantime, in order to avoid any vacuum, secretaries of local government councils are hereby directed to take charge of the affairs of their respective local governments. We will ensure that only responsible, credible and committed men and women are appointed or elected to take charge of local government affairs. This will bring sanity in local government administration and speedy development to the rural areas.
We shall operate an open-door policy and run an all-inclusive government that would engage all parties with genuine intention to contribute to the development of the State. The geographical spread of the support and votes we have garnered is a testimony that this administration was brought by all, and for all.
We would extend our hands of friendship to all irrespective of party affiliations, so as to forge a collective and cohesive society for the benefit of the entire State. We shall pursue inclusive and transparent policies that would guaranty equal opportunities for all. We shall tolerate all shades of opinions and welcome constructive criticism from all corners.
Let me assure our people that we are aware of the last-minute massive employment into the state and local government services. We are equally aware of the reckless award of contracts embarked upon recently. We have also been alerted of the massive illegal disposals of government properties. We know of the irresponsible carving out, allocations and sale of plots of land to cronies. We know of all the atrocities being committed. Be rest assured that we shall take steps to address all illegalities. Perpetrators and illegal beneficiaries will be held to account.
In the meantime: all appointments, contracts and allocations made or entered into by the state government and local government councils from the 10th day of March, 2019 to today are hereby suspended.
On a final note, let me sound my utmost displeasure with the attitude of the immediate past administration for failing and refusing to give our teams the desired cooperation during the transition process leading to the event of today.
The arrogant behaviour was unbecoming for an administration that was supposed to serve the people. Our Transition Committee sought for interaction with government officials. It was refused. They sought for relevant documents. They were denied. The Committee had to rely on other sources of information for its report. Upon receipt of hand-over notes from the out-gone administration, we shall dig to find out the accuracy of their contents.
Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, l shall not conclude this address without registering our profound appreciation and thanks to our friends and well-wishers from all over the country that have found time to come and share with us this joyous occasion. Once again, I thank you all for your presence and attention.
May Allah continue to bless us all.