“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.“ –Aristotle, Greek Philosopher
The utility of the above summation by the great Aristotle emphasizes the need for political leaders to, above all, recognize the prime essence of performance and excellence for posterity while in public office rather than being consumed by the flame and obsession of politics. This is indeed the disposition of Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya ( Dan Majen Gombe)
It is a well known fact that every where in the world, awards are given to individuals who have distinguished themselves either as leaders or professionals in their chosen fields of endeavours. These recognitions or awards as the case may be, are usually conferred on personalities not just for the fun of it but as a means of encouraging them in what can best be described as „To whom much is given much is expected“.
Since coming into office more than two and half years ago, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has received so many awards, accolades and recognitions from different reputable national and International bodies, including some famous national dailies such as Business Day, Blueprint and Daily Independent newspapers among others. The list of these awards is endless.
However, two of the most recent awards bestowed on Governor Inuwa Yahaya readily come to mind. These awards are the ones by Leadership newspaper which recognised the Gombe State Governor as the 2021 Leadership Governor of the Year and Vanguard newspaper which declared Inuwa Yahaya as its 2021 Personality of the Year under governors category. Both high profile recognitions came almost in quick succession in brazen admittance of Governor Inuwa‘s giant strides in the social, economic and infrastructural development of the State.
So what are these clinical deliverables that the two National Dailies saw in Governor Inuwa Yahaya to warrant the honours. For Leadership newspaper, the award was premised on the Governor‘s leadership acumen which has always been tailored towards repositioning Gombe State on the path of sustainable economic growth, rebuilding the state’s decrepit infrastructure, constructing roads with spread across the state, providing job opportunities for youths and women as well as empowering the people of the State with his agricultural transformation agenda. Leadership newspaper recalled that on assuming office on May 29, 2019, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya (Dan Majen Gombe) was not new to the challenges facing the now 25-year-old state, having meritoriously served as the state’s commissioner for finance and economic development. He left no one in doubt that he already had his job well cut out for him: to propel Gombe State towards the path of rapid development.
The accountant and pragmatic leader was burning in an unquenchable desire to deliver on his campaign promises. The National tabloid remarked that true to the people’s hopes, the governor has not disappointed them. Governor Yahaya, according to the national daily, has brought his vision, passion, humanity, pedigree, and above all, his dexterity and Midas touch to bear on governance in the state’s socio-economic landscape.
Across the 11 local government areas of the state, there is a congruence of opinion that Governor Inuwa is indeed the right man for the job. He has so far met the expectations of the people through his visionary leadership. Within two and half years of his being in office, even his staunch critics would not hesitate to disavow their rather ill-informed criticisms of the Gombe State government on his watch.
The cumulative effect of Governor Yahaya’s prudence, leadership character and credibility is the coming of various development partners to the state, and the results are so far remarkable. Gombe is now the best state in the ease of doing business in Nigeria and has been adjudged the safest and most peaceful state in the North-East geopolitical zone of the country.
As for Vanguard newspaper, the tabloid recalled that after about 25 years of existence, Gombe State, the Jewel in the Savannah, is now clearly set on the path of a new dawn under a transformational leadership of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya. The current administration which ushered in the new era is barely two and half years old when the impact of transformational leadership began to gain traction while Vanguard Newspapers findings show strong foundation for a sustained growth across the socio-economic landscape of the state in the medium to long term.
Vanguard maintained that most governance analysts have often excused many governments’ failures on the premise of the impact of COVID-19 on the national and sub- national economies, but Gombe seems to have created a different narrative; that challenges berth creativity and ultimately superlative performance. According to Vanguard Newspaper, Governor of the Year awards go to few selected state governors that managed to distinguish themselves in the circumstances of the operating environment.
For Gombe the environmental circumstances were even more daunting, judging from the obviously difficult financial and socio-political liabilities inherited by the Inuwa Yahaya administration. Vanguard Newspaper findings show that upon assumption of office, the administration was confronted with a treasury in distress, burdened with about N124 billion in Loans/Bonds, Pension/Gratuity arrears and contractors‘ liabilities.
The fiscal stress could be gleaned from the recurrent obligations amounting cumulatively to about N900.4million monthly to service the liabilities. But the administration has gone ahead to demonstrate determination to achieve positive results. It is the usual practice for new administrations in Nigeria’s governance space to abandon uncompleted projects inherited from previous administration, especially if the new administration is not an extension of the previous. But Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya chose the road less travelled. Determined to salvage and possibly turn-around the tax payers’ money into viable assets, the administration embarked on completing those projects.
– Misilli is Director-General, Press Affairs, Government House, Gombe