*operators describe gesture as unprecedented
* rides Keke-NAPEP to venue of event
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has flagged off the distribution of 1,000 tricycles as part of his administration’s sustainable economic plan to empower the teeming unemployed youths in the state.
According to a statement signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs)Government House Gombe, Ismaila Uba Misilli, Governor Inuwa Yahaya described this as historic as it once again demonstrated his government’s commitment to improving living conditions and providing opportunities, especially for the teeming youths.
Governor Inuwa said it was evident that his administration was steadily reducing the state’s dependence on federal allocations through the institutionalization of a framework that guaranteed a geometric surge in internal revenue more than ever before in the 25 years of the existence of the state.
He said as part of his administration’s continued quest to improve the socio-economic life of the ordinary people, it had extended the welfare and economic support programme to an important economic group, the Keke NAPEP riders.
“Like other support and economic empowerment programmes of our administration, this intervention is aimed at promoting the socio-economic advancement and self-reliance of the common man and increasing the availability of easy-to-use means of transportation for our people,” the governor said.
He said 1,000 tricycles were provided for 1,000 individuals through his administration’s Human Capital Development Initiative.
He said this was, among other interventions, in addition to the training of 1,000 youths that had been engaged through the At-Risk Children Programme (ARC-P) and GOSTEC.
“Similarly, you may also recall that we recently engaged more than 3,000 persons across all the 114 wards as development facilitators working for the progress of our communities. Our goal is to support and empower not less than 10,000 youths before the end of this year,” he stated.
He said beneficiaries of the empowerment programme were nominated from the 11 local government areas of the state through their umbrella association, Keke Riders Association of Nigeria (Gombe State Chapter) regardless of their political affiliation, religion or tribe.
“This further affirms our determination to support every citizen of the state without bias. By this discounted revolving rider-owner arrangement, it is envisaged that these beneficiaries will earn a living for themselves and their families through this partnership and subsequently give a window for another batch of beneficiaries to be selected in due course,” he added.
Governor Inuwa urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue a decent livelihood devoid of any wrongdoing, recklessness or violation of the law.
He expressed the hope that the distribution of 1,000 tricycles would ease transportation challenges and help reduce accidents and security threats associated with motorcycles popularly known as “achaba”, especially within the Gombe metropolis.
“You may recall that since assuming office in May 2019, I emphasised the importance of eschewing short-term expediency and gains, and instead committed to implementing long-term solutions to deeply complex developmental problems. I firmly believe that by introducing better ways of doing things in government, we will not only address difficult developmental challenges, but also establish a solid foundation for long lasting prosperity, peace and progress in our dear state,” he said.
According to the Governor, economic development and progress do not just happen without realistic visions, careful choices as well as resolute commitment of leaders and followers to doing the right thing.
“For this reason, our first two years in office was marked primarily by unprecedented efforts to institutionalize accountability in government, minimise wastages of scarce resources and revenue leakages, develop the capabilities of our institutions, pursue bold civil service reforms and provide necessary critical infrastructure that will enable Gombe become an industrial hub in the North East subregion,” he said.
He said his administration had created a conducive environment for private businesses to thrive, noting that this had led to the state’s rating as the number one in the ease of doing business in the country.
The Governor said in order to accelerate the progress in human capital development, his administration established a data base for unemployed graduates that had so far captured over 27,000 applicants.
He said the strategy was designed to link the youths with appropriate jobs for their skills in both private and public sectors.
Governor Yahaya said Gombe State had always been recognised as the most peaceful, secure and socially cohesive state in the country.
He said his administration was working hard to create an environment where all citizens and residents could pursue their livelihoods and realise their God-given potentials without fear of harassment, discrimination or violence.
“We are aware, like any other democratic government, that our administration is being constantly scrutinized by the people – the media, members of opposition and even by ourselves. As we approach another election season, questions are being asked continuously regarding the extent to which we have fulfilled the promises we made to the people.
“What gladdens my heart and of course every well-meaning citizen of the state is the consensus reached by the people, regardless of political affiliation, that we have delivered on the vast majority of the promises we made in 2019 and have done a lot more!! The evidence is clear for anyone to see”, he said.
The governor used the the opportunity to thank the entire people of the state for their individual and collective support, assuring that his administration would continue to work harder in order to provide good governance and bring economic prosperity to the cizenry.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi, had noted that the empowerment programme forms part of Governor Inuwa administration’s sustainable economic agenda for the citizens of the state.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Human Capital Development, Barrister Sani Ahmed Haruna, said the series of empowerment programmes of the present administration were broad-based, multi-disciplinary and just a tip of the iceberg.
The Managing Director of Simba-TVS group of companies, represented by the Head of Business Development, Mr. Mahendra Pratap expressed delight for being part of the success story of the Gombe empowerment scheme, disclosing that his company is poised to take advantage of the enabling business environment, especially the Industrial park to set up an assembling plant in the state.
Chairman, Gombe State’s branch of the Tricycles Riders Association of Nigeria, Mohammed Abdullahi Sarki, said the distribution of 1,000 tricycles marked a turning point in the history of the association.
He expressed gratitude to Governor Yahaya for considering the association in the state government’s sustainable economic plan.
“This is the mother of all empowerment programmes since the state was created some 25 years ago. As a matter of fact, this will go a long way in the annal of the history and we, as an association, shall continue to cherish this gesture for a long time to come,” he stated.
The Governor had earlier arrived the venue riding a tricycle in company of the SSG to the admiration of the crowd.