By Ismaila Uba Misilli
In the realm of politics, some leaders shine with exceptional brilliance, and Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State undoubtedly ranks among these distinguished figures.
His recent trip to the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City on the entourage of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu carries profound implications for the socio-economic future of Gombe State and the Northern region at large.
The inclusion of Governor Inuwa Yahaya in President Tinubu’s travel delegation, among the 36 State Governors, stands as a proof of his eminence and leadership qualities, as well as the confidence reposed in him by the commander-in- chief not only as northern governors’ forum chairman, but as an outstanding leader.
The significance and impact of this journey cannot be overstated as it aligns with the Greater Gombe Agenda, a vision championed by Governor Inuwa at all times.
The UNGA serves as a platform for comprehensive development, and Governor Inuwa Yahaya took full advantage of the global gathering and advanced the interests of Gombe State and Northern Nigeria effectively.
On the sidelines of the General Assembly, Governor Inuwa Yahaya engaged in fruitful discussions with key UN agencies and partners, with a particular focus on the pressing issue of out-of-school children in his State and Northern Nigeria. This critical issue has been a central concern for him, given the challenges posed by poverty, insecurity, and cultural beliefs.
His commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal Four (SDG4) through inclusive and equitable quality education also came to the fore. He particularly sought the support of UNICEF and other international partners to address the pressing challenge of out-of-school children.
Speaking to newsmen in New York, Governor Inuwa Yahaya outlined various strategies employed by his administration, to address the menace of out-of-school children, including the establishment of community-based schools, school construction and renovation, distribution of learning materials, and sensitization campaigns for parents. However, he noted that while the strategies have yielded some positive results, more needs to be done, which is why he has sought for support in that direction.
“I have been able to meet with UNICEF, UNFPA, and other agencies of the United Nations to make sure that we get the support required so that we can uplift the lives and livelihoods of our people, especially in the Northern region where there are a lot of challenges with regards to insecurity and poverty. So, we are strengthening collaboration to address challenges in our state, region, and country,” the Governor said.
The UNGA trip also enabled Governor Inuwa Yahaya opportunity to solidify Gombe’s stance on vital development issues and strengthen relationships.
During his visit to the Nigeria Consul General in New York, Ambassador Lot Peter Egopija, Governor Inuwa highlighted the immense potential of Gombe State and its readiness to tap into global opportunities.
The Governor informed Ambassador Egopija of Gombe State’s agricultural richness and the availability of two major dams in the state which are essential for irrigation and hydropower generation. These valuable resources, he noted, could catalyze agricultural growth and energy sustainability.
He also intimated the Consul General about the sprawling 1000-hectare Muhammdu Buhari Industrial Park, which holds the potential to be a game-changer in Gombe State’s industrial landscape.
He said the Industrial Park will be powered by clean and renewable energy sources such as hydro and solar power, with a promise of uninterrupted 24-hour electricity supply to factories within the park.
The Governor also mentioned the successful maiden Gombe investment summit held in 2022 which secured commitments from investors amounting to over 50 billion Naira across various sectors, including Agriculture, Services, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Cement manufacturing.
He expressed his eagerness to build on this success, and solicited the support and participation of the Nigerian Mission in US in the upcoming Gombe investment summit scheduled for November this year.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya’s commitment to addressing climate change and ecological equilibrium is also evident. Recent incidents of floods and infrastructure damage in the State have underscored the need for ecological solutions. The UNGA provided the Governor an opportunity to engage with experts and organizations focused on these challenges.
Also, the Governor secured commitments from the United Nations for support and collaboration in various critical sectors, including health, education, and more to foster socio-economic development.
The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, during a meeting with the Governor on the sidelines of the General Assembly, assured him that the UN would stand shoulder to shoulder with him and his administration throughout his stewardship to deliver meaningful development to Gombe State.
The DSG assured Governor Inuwa of her willingness to engage with international development partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Susan Buffet Foundation, and the African Peace Corp to garner support for Gombe State in the realm of healthcare and human resource development.
She also offered to facilitate UN’s technical support to bolster the Secretariat of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, a crucial platform for regional development, as soon as a formal request is made.
She commended the giant strides and progress achieved under the leadership of Governor Inuwa Yahaya in Gombe State, noting that the Governor has set a precedent in subnational governance.
Hajiya Amina Mohammed offered words of encouragement to Governor Inuwa Yahaya, lauding the discernible improvements in the quality of life of the people of Gombe State.
In his remarks, Governor Inuwa Yahaya commended the Hajiya Amina Mohammed for her remarkable contributions to the UN’s global mission, describing her as a worthy daughter of Gombe and proud global ambassador of the state and Nigeria.
During the meeting, he presented an overview of the multifaceted development initiatives that his administration is currently implementing, with a particular focus on healthcare and education.
The Governor appealed for support in leveraging Hajiya Amina’s international networks to enhance Gombe state’s healthcare system, particularly at the primary and secondary levels. This includes attracting skilled manpower to fortify the operations of the three General hospitals that have either been constructed or rehabilitated across the three senatorial zones of Gombe State.
In his capacity as the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Governor Inuwa Yahaya also sought the UN’s assistance in strengthening the Forum’s Secretariat through the provision of technical experts. These experts would work in tandem with the Forum to drive its overarching development objectives.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya’s active engagement at the UNGA epitomizes his statesmanship and commitment to representing the interests of Gombe State, Northern region and Nigeria as a whole. His mission to secure investment opportunities, address critical issues like out-of-school children, healthcare delivery, and promote ecological sustainability is a demonstration of his leadership’s vision and forthrightness.
As the Governor returns home with the promise of partnerships, investments, and support, Gombe State and Northern Nigeria stand to benefit from his successful sojourn on the global stage. His feat at the 78th UNGA reaffirm that, indeed, he is a diamond shining in the rhinestone of Nigerian politics and governance.
Misilli is the DG ( Press Affairs)
Government House Gombe