Despite the vast potential of our state, Gombe is recklessly managed under Governor Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya. Governor Inuwa has turned Gombe State Government into a platform for his private gain.
The hopes and aspirations of the people of Gombe State have been dashed away. Governor Inuwa’s 27 paragraph empty second-year anniversary speech speaks volume.
1. It is not True that Governor Inuwa INHERITED:
a. N120billion in debt.
b. Dilapidated educational and health infrastructure.
c. Ill-motivate and dysfunctional civil service; and
d. Neglected rural areas & low-income neighbourhood.
N120billion in debt
– Governor Inuwa has failed to give the breakdown of the N120billion debt his government inherited.
The people of Gombe demand that Governor Inuwa should publish the full details and or breakdown of the loans he claimed to have inherited from the previous administration. If he is honest.
– It is on record that the APC Federal Government of Nigeria, in line with its election campaign promises, had approved various financial support to ALL the states of the Federation.
The loans were packaged as budget, education and salary support when it took over Government in 2015.
– To help implement and deliver the promise of the APC Federal Government, Governor Dankwambo received various sums.
– By the time he left office, the outstanding obligations was about N70billion.
This is an APC led Federal Government Loans granted to all state to help implement the Federal Government social investment programs for the records.
– It may interest ALL to know that Governor Dankwambo did not leave a single OUTSTANDING COMMERCIAL BANK LOAN OBLIGATION.
Indeed, ALL commercial bank loans received and utilized by Governor Dankwambo’s Government have been fully repaid before he left office.
On the other hand, Governor Inuwa has, in less than two years of office, requested and received OVER N30BILLION IN COMMERCIAL BANK LOANS, which he FAILED to disclose to the people of Gombe.
Compare the N30billion loan collected in two years with an outstanding N70billion loans granted by the APC led Federal Government for its policies and left behind by Governor Dankwambo.
The good people of Gombe are the best judges as to who has mortgage the state.
2. Dilapidated educational and health infrastructure,
Traversing Gombe State in the last two years and visiting most of the hospitals and schools will tell one the sorry state of education and health facilities in Gombe. Sugar-coating hospitals and schools with needless paints at exorbitant contractual pricing awarded to family and friends is not the best way to address the state’s dilapidated education and health infrastructure.
We note that these education and healthcare infrastructure had deteriorated more under the watch of Governor Inuwa’s administration.
The state has lost over 63 Doctors simultaneously. The Government has embarked upon retrenchment of other essential health workers without any meaningful plan to attend to the overstretched hospitals. The hospitals under the administration of Governor Inuwa are mortuaries.
The handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disastrous protest at the various isolation centres speaks to the ineptitude of Governor Inuwa’s administration.
The private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has sent in donations to the state. These were rebranded and utilized as items procured by Governor Inuwa in the sum of a N750million – A MONUMENTAL FRAUD.
The GOhealth program is another massive fraud as 3.5% has already been deducted at source (payroll), further reducing the wages earned by works. In contrast, no family had been enrolled yet by any health management organization to benefit from the program. The result is that worker’s disposable income has further reduced while they continue to fend for their healthcare.
We call on the state government to publish the total spending on the Health sector by category if it is truly transparent.
Gombe’s education system is in a shamble. The Government has blatantly refused to ensure that the State Nursing and Midwifery school in Dukku, College of Legal Studies in Nafada and the University of Technology in Kumo have successfully taken off. ALL of which are facilities provided by the previous administration of Governor Dankwambo.
Education is the foundation for the development of each society. Unless the state is genuinely committed to and gets this right. We are doomed.
The activities of Gombe SUBEB and the contract scams, including the established and pre-determined kickback of 15% on contract sums, speaks to heaven on how high the Governor Inuwa government stinks and swims in corruption.
Federal Government Universal Basic Education Commission funded the contract awarded by the Gombe SUBEB for furniture supplied and RENOVATIONS and NOT the construction of the classrooms, as claimed by Governor Inuwa.
The contracts were awarded to and executed by the state CHIEF CONTRACTOR and his cronies with kickbacks of 15% paid.
We call on the state government to publish the total spending on the education sector by category, including the state’s actual funds spent if it is transparent.
What has become glaring is that the state does not have a comprehensive strategy to address our education system. The isolated and ad-hoc approach cannot solve the educational challenges of our dear state.
3. Administrative Recklessness and financial mismanagement:
– Since coming to power, the civil service, the backbone of Government under Governor Inuwa, has been disenfranchised. Ministries and departments are led by overseers (virtually cronies).
– Retired Permanent secretaries are yet to be replaced by those who duly deserved to replace them.
– the Government does not follow due process in administering the state.
– The result is a chaotic government that runs at the wimps of one individual who sees everyone else as a thief except himself.
– There is no iota of fiscal responsibility on the part of this Government as it flaunted its procurement act.
– We challenge the Government of Governor Inuwa to:
o Make public the procurement process (from initiating to completion of contracts awards etc.)
o List of ALL the contractors who are awarded contracts by Governor Inuwa.
o The actual breakdown of the contract sums for each contract.
o How the State Civil Service Commission manages civil servant’s careers.
We make bold to say that Governor Inuwa himself is the CHIEF CONTRACTOR OF THE STATE.
The world bank funded fully the gully erosion control project in Gombe. To his credit, Governor Dankwambo initiated and sourced for the World Bank Support. As governance is continuous, the World Bank has disbursed the funds now. We hope that Governor Inuwa will implement the project thoroughly and make public the terms of the contract award.
4. What gains are recorded by Governor Inuwa on IGR.
The Gombe Revenue Optimization Company Ltd initiated by Governor Dankwambo administration. A good initiative to manage our state Inland Revenue Service. However, Governor Inuwa is attempting to use the structure to raise additional borrowing rather than use it for what it was initially meant for. Optimizing our IGR.
Recently, the Government awarded contracts for installing each pole of solar streetlight for N1.5million per pole against the going rate of N220thousand.
Some commentators tried to defend the Government by stating that the contracts were awarded inclusive of taxes. We note that these are beer parlour comments. Undoubtedly, however, such commentaries expose and establishes the source of the increase recorded in IGR collections. Put – the 25% and 62% increase in IGR recorded in years 2019 and 2020, respectively, reflects the over-invoicing and over-bloated contracts awarded.
– You do the math. Taxes charged on a realistic contract of N220,000 against those charged on an over-bloated figure of N1.5m per Pole of Solar streetlight tells you your source of increase in IGR. And by the way, this is what goes on in all the procurement conducted by the Government.
– No significant increase in Pay as You Earn (PAYE) taxes collected from workers because Governor Inuwa has reneged his promise to implement the N30,000 minimum wage. Worst still, the Government embarked on massive retrenchment of workers.
– Without any meaningful value (infrastructure, water, light, education and healthcare) to the populace, people are harassed and overburdened with taxes.
We challenge the Governor Mohammed Inuwa to publish the breakdown of its IGR by source (sectorial publication does not tell you the exact figure).
5. Network 11-100 initiative was one of the early programs announced by the governor. Although the entire state still needs Road infrastructure, we have not seen any meaningful effort by Governor Inuwa’s administration.
It is common knowledge that Governor Dankwambo paid for the roads under construction. The claim by this Government is another monumental fraud in the form of variation of contract sums and inflation.
At the inception of his administration, Governor Inuwa surreptitiously varied Alhaji Yahaya Umaru construction company’s contract and an additional N1billion or more paid to them for jobs already executed.
Less we forget, Governor Inuwa is credited with stating that “any government that focuses on awarding road contracts is a government of Armed Robbers.”
Not minding this, if Governor Inuwa is genuinely transparent, we asked the Government to publish the following:
a. location and list of the Road contracts awarded.
b. list of the contractors
c. The amount at which Government grants the construction of each 1 km of road.
We do not wish to speak about the state of the water supply in Gombe. All of us in the state can make our value judgment. We can only say that the current state is a betrayal of our collective hope, aspiration, commitment, and integrity as a people. It is an affront to our collective psychic and disregard to the promise of our state’s founding fathers. It is a betrayal of the “Gombe State Movement” to ensure that every family has access to potable drinking water.
– Drilling Boreholes cannot solve our water problems. They are glorified wells and are just another avenue of siphoning money through bogus contracts.
One of the most unfortunate and missed opportunity is how neglected our agricultural sector is.
Agriculture is at the centre of the APC led Federal Government’s policy for self-sufficiency in food production. The Federal Government also hope to achieve the subsequent diversification of the economy by developing the agricultural sector as a source of revenue. Governor Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya Government has refused to take advantage of and key into the various initiatives of the Federal Government.
The mainstay of Gombe people is Agriculture. Indeed, we can grow our economy and ensure the development of our state if and only if we can focus on this.
Gombe farmers produce not only food Crops but other cash crops such as cotton. Unfortunately, such farmers are the worst hit in terms of lack of support.
The cotton producers are left to transport their cotton to ginneries in Funtua and other far locations. The only two ginneries that are functional belongs to CHIEF BUSINESSMAN OF THE STATE. These ginneries became operational by the WAY after becoming Governor, and No one dares go near them.
– The state has the potential to generate 500MW of power from the proposed Wajari Coal Power Plant. And now, Gas has been discovered. This will help in powering agro-allied industries that can be established to follow the Agricultural value chain.
What is missing is Purposeful and selfless leadership.
The state development plan is narrow. Developing a strategy around only the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations is not sustainable.
– The widespread recognition of the actual and potentially adverse effect of environmental degradation on socioeconomic development led to the introduction of sustainable development as an alternative international development model.
– The goals ignore underlying inequalities in the international system: Our current world order favours a rich minority.
– The goals are top-down and bureaucratic, ignoring local context: One size does not fit all in achieving sustainable development.
– The SDGs are wishes, not goals: We cannot build our economy on mere wishes.
We need to industrialize our state, develop our agriculture, build infrastructure, and provide free education and healthcare.
The administration of Governor Inuwa Yahaya has so far received over N90billion in Federal allocation. Excluding its own IGR, Federal government ecological and educational counterpart funding, Federal government, and Development partners (such as the world bank) support.
Unfortunately, Gombe State remains the fourth poorest in the Federation regarding GDP and per capita income.
Getting Gombe State out of the quagmire of poverty and drudgery is simple. It needs visionary, selfless, and purposeful leadership. As stated by the late Sardauna of Sokoto, we need a leader who has the qualities of “… hard work, credible integrity, selflessness, accessibility & fear of God….”
The mid-term report presented by Governor Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya is all you need to know that a dangerous and desperate Governor is leading Gombe state. We cannot afford another two years of his government.
Governor Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya is an unimaginable tragedy in our state.
Unfortunately, our democracy does not allow us to decide the fate of our leaders after two years or anytime during the life of their 4years fixed term in office.
However, although painfully so, we must wait for and take the opportunity of 2023.
Let us remember, Governor Mohammed Inuwa has indicated that he will resort to intimidation and harassment of the opposition. We will NOT be deterred and will remain focus on the goal.
We are resolute in our commitment to ensure that good governance is enshrined in our state.
Usman Garbati Writes from Gombe