*urges National Assembly to make NEDC permanent agency
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has said that his administration will continue to work in partnership with the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) for human capital development, especially in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
This was expressed in a statement signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs) Government House, Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli.
The Governor stated this while speaking at the formal graduation ceremony and issuance of starter packs to 200 pioneer beneficiaries of the ICT training in the State and the distribution of learning materials and covid-19 preventive items to public and private schools, security agencies as well as Agricultural inputs to farmers in Gombe State. Governor Inuwa Yahaya commended the NEDC for its efforts in building the capacity of the youths who form the bulk of the citizens of the State, describing the gesture as a demonstration of the commission’s readiness to address the teething problems confronting the North-East sub-region. “We are all aware that the world has transformed into a global village courtesy of ICT and as a result nothing more than technology can drive processes in order to change for the better”. He noted that the 21 century is one that is driven by technology, saying Gombe is sparing no effort towards keying into the digital era which prompted his administration to establish the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation which is working to take the State into the development world. He commended the Ministry for its efforts so far in digitizing the process of governance in the State, expressing the hope that when the Gombe State Information Technology Development Agency comes on stream, the people of the state will come to appreciate the policy direction of his administration the more. “Gombe State has a huge population of about 3.5 million people, close to 2/3 of them-65 to 70 percent are youths and majority of them unemployed, so the window that is created will enable them to key in and move forward and we shall be there to widen it so that everyone will be carried along so that at the end of the day the society and the economy will improve and our people in general will be better off “. He said the North East Development Commission as an interventionist agency is doing well in the State whereas the Commission has intervened in several ways, ranging from the establishment of farm, skills acquisition and ICT training resource centres. The Governor told the gathering that inspite of the strides of the Commission, his administration will not shy away from pointing out the needful to the agency, because the Government is much closer to the people and therefore knows their needs and challenges better. He noted that since the NEDC is time bound, all efforts have to be made to ensure that interventions are properly channelled for the advancement of the people of the State and the sub-region as a whole. He urged the National Assembly to consider making the North East Development Commission a permanent Government Agency, describing the NEDC as a child of necessity which the people of the State and by extension the North East sub-region will love to see it transcends from being a time bound body to a permanent one. He disclosed that about 50 thousand people who fled insurgency in neighbouring states within the North East have been assimilated in Gombe State, which is currently putting a strain on the State’s resources of education, health and socal welfare among others. The Governor congratulated the graduands for successfully completing the training, saying with the current trend in science, technology and innovation, there is wide window for them to participate and exhibit the knowledge learnt so that the rest of the youths who are yet to get the opportunity can participate in order to move the State forward. “We shall continue to give that encouragement, support and the required resources because while in the office we discussed extensively with the distinguished Senator and the MD on the need for States to collaborate, on our part, if it means contributing, Gombe is ready to contribute whatever amount necessary in order to join hands and move forward”. Governor Inuwa Yahaya urged the commission to ensure the speedy take-off of the Education Endowment Fund which is designed to assist the less previledged within the region to have access to education. To this end, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya said since the headquarters of the Fund will be domiciled in the State, his administration has provided an office accommodation to house its personnel. He said his government has equally allocated a plot of land for the North East Development Commission to build its zonal headquarters in the State. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the North- East Development Commission, Mohammed Goni Alkali said in line with the national agenda for Information and Communication Technology Development in Nigeria geared towards fast tracking and resuscitating the economy, the NEDC keyed in through the improvement of access to ICT in the North East sub-region. He congratulated the graduands for successfully completing their training in phone repairs and graphic designs, saying starter packs have been provided to each of the graduating students and the sum of twenty thousand Naira as a kick-off grant. In addition, the NEDC has provided 1500 bags of improved rice seed, 4500 bags of fertiliser and cartons of agrochemicals for farmers, exercise books and branded face masks for public and private schools among others. The Chairman Senate committee on special duties, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf enjoined the beneficiaries not to dispose off the materials given to them but to utilize them as stepping stone to greatness. Earlier in his address of welcome, the Secretary to the Gombe State Government, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi, said the North East Development Commission is gradually closing the social and economic challenges’ gaps of the region devastated by insurgency. In her vote of thanks, the Commissioner of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. A’ishatu Umar Maigari thanked Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya for resuscitating the ICT sector through friendly policies and programmes. The Governor later led other dignitaries to commission an ICT resource centre equipped by the NEDC which is located at the Education Resource Centre, Gombe.