Keynote Address by His Excellency, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, Governor of Gombe State at the Unveiling of the Development Agenda for Gombe State – DEVAGOM (2021-2030) on Tuesday 16th February 2021, at the Banquet Hall, Government House Gombe
1. It is with gratitude to Almighty God that I address you on this historic occasion of the unveiling of the 10-year Development Plan for Gombe State (2021 – 2030). The plan, christened the Development Agenda for Gombe State (DEVAGOM) marks a significant milestone in our quest for the advancement of our dear State. Let me sincerely thank you all for honouring our invitation despite your very tight schedules and the challenges associated with long distance travels in these hard times.
2. DEVAGOM is an attempt to harness our immense potentials by taking advantage of emerging opportunities and tackling our challenges and threats in order to realize our developmental objectives. It is the road map for the transformation of Gombe State that is aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as set by the United Nations.
3. As Benjamin Franklin said: ‘if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’ The wheels of today’s event were set in motion as far back as April 2019 when as Governor-Elect, I commissioned a Needs Assessment team to tour round the nooks and crannies of Gombe State covering over 420 communities across all the 114 wards in order to ascertain the developmental needs and priorities of our people. This was borne out of our commitment to plan and implement people-oriented policies and programs. The assessment was the beginning of a bottom-up stakeholder consultation process from the unit, ward, local government to State level. Thus, giving us the opportunity to define Gombe State’s vision through the eyes of its people. That’s why DEVAGOM is an agenda of the people, by the people and for the people.
4. You will all agree with me that in order to create the better future we desire for our people; we are making relentless efforts to stimulate and sustain economic growth and human development. However, for us to ensure that the choices we make, the steps we take, and the outcomes we envisage are technically desirable and consistent with our goals, it is necessary to have a robust plan for building durable institutions, mobilising resources and capabilities, as well as managing risks and shocks from unforeseen domestic and global events.
5. In line with international best practices, development planning in the 21st century requires collaboration between various stakeholders at subnational, national and international levels. In this regards, DEVAGOM is a product of synergy and collaboration with local and international development partners most of whom are here today to celebrate this historic achievement with us.
6. In order to ensure the success of DEVAGOM, we have put in place the necessary structures and institutional reforms that will drive its effective implementation. Since coming to office about 20 months ago, our administration has focused on improving internal revenue generation, ease of doing business, infrastructural development and civil service reforms amongst other initiatives. These efforts will soon be complemented by a legislative bill to further strengthen DEVAGOMs institutional legitimacy and guarantee its long-term success and sustainability.
7. DEVAGOM projects Gombe to be a terminus that encapsulates “Growth, Development, Peace, and shared Prosperity for All”. Considering our comparative advantage in agriculture, commerce and trade, our tremendous human and natural resources, and our strategic position at the centre of the Northeast sub-region, I have the conviction that our vision is both realistic and achievable.
8. So far, our administration has placed high priority on human capital development as the catalyst of growth with special focus on education, health and youth development. Our agricultural transformation drive is aimed at harnessing our vast irrigation potentials along our major dams; rural infrastructure projects that connect and open up our rural communities; social and environmental policies that create jobs, protect our environment and promote peaceful coexistence amongst our people.
9. To put this into better perspectives, we have mopped up over 300,000 out-of-school children through the World Bank-supported Better Education and Service Delivery for All (BESDA) project. We equally embarked on network 11-100 which aims to provide 100km of roads in each of our 11 LGAs. We also embarked on the revitalization of the health system by providing a functional health centre in each of the 114 wards of the state with the necessary basic equipment and manpower to provide 24-hour service to the people. We also upgraded and equipped the state specialist hospital and established the hospitals management board and the state contributory healthcare scheme to provide universal access to quality healthcare to the people at an affordable cost. We are also building the skills of our idle youth and ramping up support to our farmers. With the ongoing work on Wawa-Zange Grazing Reserve and the planned take-off of Dadin Kowa industrial park, Gombe State is on course to cement its status as the centre of agriculture, commerce and industry in the Northeast sub-region.
10. There’s no doubt that implementing all these will require the mobilization of domestic and external resources and their effective utilization. To accomplish this, we have embedded in the plan policies and strategies to enhance efficiency, build transparency and entrench accountability at all levels of government. It is our vision to guarantee better value for money in order to apply our scare resources so as to foster rapid development of our dear State.
11. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to commend both the Steering and Technical Committees for doing a wonderful job by ensuring a fully participatory and all-inclusive consultative process.
12. Equally, I wish to acknowledge the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs) and the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) for supporting the preparation of this Plan. Let me also appreciate the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Fund for Population Activity (UNFPA) for their participation in the Steering and Technical Committees and other supports in the process of preparing this plan. The Consultants, led by Prof. Emmanuel Onwioduokit that worked tirelessly beyond their call of duties are most sincerely appreciated.
13. At this juncture, I wish to convey my gratitude to all and sundry that responded to our invitation to make input into the preparation of this Plan. Sharing their unique experiences, knowledge and expertise is really worthy of appreciation. You are indeed worthy sons and daughters of Gombe State.
14. Thank you and may Almighty God continue to bless our efforts and resolves, amen.
Long Live Gombe State!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!