In commemorating his 100 days in office, Gombe State governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, had an interactive session with newsmen where he speaks on many issues. JAIYEOLA ANDREWS of LEADERSHIP presents the excerpts
You took off on May 29 , could you tell us how far you have gone in addressing some of the challenges you met on ground?
W\e took over on May 29, and in our three months, we have been able to understand where we picked the government from. Luckily for me, you are here and you are here when we took over, even during the struggle, during the campaign and during the transition process. It has not been easy because we didn’t have a seamless transfer of power from the last administration.
To that extent, the committee we set up to handle the transition process, despite the fact that they are all the people of Gombe State and mostly the people that know one another even those in the last administration, we were not able to get seamless handing over because we did not get the cooperation of the last government, the transitionary process which was a month plus was not somehow smooth.
It was only when we came in that we decided to revisit the handing over notes, and made sure we are taking over .We are going to do justice to all documents.
We have set up another committee to go through all the documents that were submitted and come up with a final report of the transition committee which took about a month so after that one, we also set up another committee to go through the report so that we can tackle the problems we have noticed in some areas.
I believe we have started to see the results of the reports we received from most of the commitees.Some are yet to submit the report but I believe in what we are doing, especially the focus we have on human capital development.
We have restored the normal supply of water into Gombe. I can say at least we are pumping minimum of 40 million litres per day into Gombe. When we came in, there is no fertiliser not even one bag in the stores, but within a month, we were able to deliver fertilisers to all the wards in Gombe State and on top of that, we were able to identify and tackle issues that are related to basic education by reaching out to UBEC, TETFund, all bilateral agencies that are assisting states and other organisations.
We have also gone to USAID, the Presidency, NNPC,and virtually everywhere. So with that, we were able to establish our route and going forward in due course, we shall establish a full cabinet that will start to implement all those observations we were able to find out.
While preparing to pilot the affairs of Gombe State, you must have a blueprint. Are you considering altering it ?
Yes I do have a blueprint and that is clearly spelt out in the manifesto we campaigned with and got the support of the people. But there is no document on earth that is so fixed, even the constitution still go through amendments and amendments over time.
We have so see how we align with the reality on ground . I cannot say we are not working with lueprint, at least we are aligning with the reality on ground and I believe we are doing the correct thing.
We know that the education policy of the federal government especially the Best Delivery Services for All (BESTA) is mostly to be implemented by the states. In Gombe State, can you tell us how this policy would be implemented looking at the fact that we have IDPs, other citizens in the state and the religious aspect of it such that the people of Gombe State would ask a lot of questions as to who will benefit from this policy?
I don’t think there is any discriminating arrangement in trying to establish who will benefit from BESDA. But it is very unfortunate that Gombe is among those states that have been noticed to have quite a substantial number of out-of-school children.
Among the out-of-school children,we don’t know whether they are muslims or christians, we don’t know whether they are from Gombe, but it is noticed that we have close to 700,000 out-of-school children. Considering our population, that is quite a big number and no society progresses without addressing the rudiments of education because education is what changes the society or the person.
Gombe is specifically located in the midst of the north-east and because of the scourge of insurgency which resulted from the operations of Boko Haram, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa are the frontline states, there is a lot of movement of people who came to settle with us here to add to the number of displaced persons and the number of out-of-school children.
In Gombe State that is what we have. As you go down south, there are more schools and educated people, but if you go farther north you notice that there are lot of people who does not have opportunity to get western education.
I am a moslem, I was brought up here. I went to school even at the age of six, so that was fifty something years back. Nothing stops people from getting education.
The almajiris are more in the far north. BESDA came specifically to address that issue and BESDA is being funded by the federal government with a loan from the World Bank which will be repaid ultimately in some years to come. 40, 50 per cent per cent, I don’t know the arrangement but it is federal government’s decision to take children out-of-school back to school and they are granted to states free of charge.
Automatically we keyed in, we came, we launched BESDA before many states I think about 10 days ago. I hope in a short while, Gombe will be able to beat its chest.
There is the accusation that your administration is politicising the issue of marshalls that were employed by the previous administration, we want you to clarify the air on that?
Let me start by attending to this question on the marshalls. I said during the campaign that our children who are being engaged in order to provide services either as traffic marshalls in the town, that we will turn it into an agency or organisation, a breeding ground where we can train our youths in order that they can get engaged in para military organisations.
So because of the fault of the previous administration, there is no provision to maintain them that is one, two, there is no plan per se that I earlier said that they can be turned to corps marshalls. There is the need to review the situation, the payroll in particular and I need to make some due diligence for the marshalls and others.
Going by what happened and their antecedents and the pedigrees of most of the marshalls, they were not formalised properly, so our intention is to properly constitute the corps. Maybe when we finally constitute our cabinet ,we are going to have a ministry that will take charge of internal security and physical orientation and that will be enough guide, a framework that will regulate and control not only the marshalls but any other security agency or organisation.
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