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Gombe: On The Cusp Of Economic Transformation

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Gombe state was carved out of Bauchi State and Buba Yero, the first Emir of Gombe, was appointed by Uthman Dan Fodio, under the Express endorsement of Yakubu of Bauchi in 1804. So in all ramifications, Gombe is synonymous with Bauchi state, but today, that is all there is to it, because Gombe state has become the envy of Bauchi state. When you drive into Gombe today, the former argument that Bauchi is better than Gombe cannot hold any substance because the difference is glaring for one to see and touch. Even back in the days when Gombe was under Bauchi state, the people of Gombe were more industrious than Bauchi people. Successive governments in Gombe, saw to the infrastructural development of the state that saw it leap-frog Bauchi in terms of infrastructure. Today Gombe town is a beauty to behold. The only set back to Gombe’s developments was that previous governments had plunged Gombe into a debt burden that it can barely wriggle out of, in terms of the reality of its income to debt ratio. One other drawback was that the previous government concentrated on infrastructural development only, without recourse to the development of its human resources and human capital. The people were quite impoverished by this uneven capitalistic drive.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya has within a short period of time, set to turn around the fortunes of the people of Gombe by embarking on programmes and initiatives that affect lives of the people directly, which will in turn boost the economy. One of the most lingering crises is the inadequacy or lack of portable drinking water. The Governor has released the sum of 110 million naira for the repair of Gombe’s reticulation and water works so that all pipelines and other infrastructure that have broken down are repaired immediately. He has set up a task force team with a limited timeline to see to the completion of the repairs that will include areas like Wuro Juli, Tabra, Nayinawa, Liji down to Government Girls Science Secondary School Doma, as well Federal Low Cost areas.

The ecological problems of Gombe state are not alien as it has for long affected farming and other infrastructural developments. Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has already released the sum of 500 million Naira as counterpart funding to World Bank projects on gully erosion control under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP). This will reduce the state’s vulnerability to soil erosion and climate variability in the medium term and promote long term climate resilience and low carbon development in the state. Some of the areas battling gully erosion that will benefit from the fund include: Gombe state University, Federal College of Education (technical), East of Gombe International Hotel, Behind Gombe state House of Assembly, Wuro Bajoga-Bogo and East of Kumo General Hospital – Jauro Tukur gully systems which were all approved by the World Bank.

Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has recorded 3 very laudable strides in the Education sector, both at the primary and tertiary education levels. First is the 3 billion naira basic education grant from UBEC. This was lying fallow as a result of non-payment of counterpart funding by the previous administration. The governor has succeeded in recovering this fund which will go a long way in the development of educational infrastructure and equipment for basic education in the state. Another is the securement of 6 million dollars basic education grant under the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), which is a World Bank/ Federal Government funded programme. This will mop up the out of school children in the state and put them back into classes. Gombe is among the 17 states with the highest number of out of school children and Inuwa Yahaya is set to change that with this million dollar grant. The third is the securement of over 400 million naira TETFUND special grant for Gombe state College of Education Billiri. This will go to the development of perimeter fencing, hostel facilities, office facilities and other necessary structures for the smooth running of the school. This has come as a result of Gov. Inuwa Yahaya’s engagement of the leadership of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund at Abuja through several visits. Gombe is also benefitting from a 13 million dollars grant from USAID to improve teacher quality. This has also come as a result of his engagements with development partners and donor agencies to strengthen the resource base of the state. There is a 100 million dollar Agric grant in the offing which Yahaya is bringing to Gombe very soon from USAID.

Gov. Yahaya has also purchased over 70,000 bags of fertilizer for early distribution to farmers in the state for the 2019 farming season. The state has already taken delivery of 100 trucks which is over 60,000 bags. Each local government is scheduled to have atleast 10 trucks of the fertilizer.

The previous government had abandoned road projects worth over 54 billion naira. It had paid compensation in some areas and left them for 2 years without the commencement of the projects. Gov. Inuwa Yahaya has re-awarded and flagged off some of the projects, particularly the Mallam-Inna Kurba Titi and Kundulum. It used to be the major road linking to Maiduguri and the residents of the area were complaining of spending 1000 naira to convey their farm produce to Gombe town. With this road, their penance will be a bygone issue. For 16 years they have laboured to get the government to provide a tarred road linking Kurba with Gombe metropolis to no avail. Yahaya is finally doing it now to open the rural areas and link them to Gombe town.

There is an International conference centre as you drive into Gombe town which has consumed the states resources, estimated at over 10 billion naira, some say 20, but this writer has not verified such cost. Bottom line is; Gombe people will hardly utilise this gargantuan project. Now they have a governor that is working hard towards providing funds that will improve education and teacher quality, support farmers, improve water supply and open up rural markets to the urban areas. A RUGA of over 200,000 hectares is being set up for the promotion of cattle rearing and milk production as Gombe is an agrarian society. The government has so far recovered properties and cash running into millions which were embezzled by government officials. Gov. Yahaya is also partnering with DISCOS to improve power supply in the state. This time round, the human capital in Gombe is indeed being overhauled for the better, a great stride, away from the debts of phantom infrastructural developments.

 

– Tahir is Talban Bauchi.

 

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