Gombe State governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has been elected chairman of Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF),leadership report.
Yahaya who was unanimously elected by 19 governors of the North during the forum’s meeting held yesterday at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja takes over from outgoing Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State with effect from May 29, 2023.
In his acceptance speech, Governor Yahaya promised to justify the confidence reposed in him by his colleagues across party divides.
He emphasised that the good legacies of the forum will be sustained to bequeath not only virile organisation, but a better future for the people of the north at the end of his tenure as chairman of the northern governors’ forum.
Inuwa assured his fellow governors that in line with the objectives of the forum, he will strive to sustain the strides left behind by his predecessors. He said the focus of the forum under his watch on economic development will be the driving force of the forum.
He observed that the region is challenged by insurgency in the North East, ethnic and religious crisis within the North Central as well as farmers/herders’ clashes and the subsequent effect of banditry and cattle rustling among others.
The new NSGF chairman noted that in spite of the social and economic challenges confronting the region, the forum has made tremendous impact and has changed the tide for the betterment of its people.
He remarked that since the focus of the forum is built on addressing such social challenges, the forum, under his leadership, will do everything possible to ensure that they are addressed in the Interest and benefits of the people.
“We will work hard to ensure that we catch up with the rest of the country, possibly with the developed parts of the world so that our people will feel the impact of good governance we all pursue”.
He expressed delight with the commencement of drilling activities in the Lake Chad Basin which has brought to three drilling sites in the North to include Kolmani in Gombe and Bauchi and the one in Nasarawa State. He assured that the Forum will see to the actualization of the exploration of the large oil and gas deposits in the North for the benefit of the people.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya noted that the Northern region of the country is sitting on not only oil and gas deposits. but solid minerals which the Forum has no reason not to exploit and put to use for the benefit of the people.
The Gombe State governor used the occasion to thank the outgoing chairman Lalong for ‘his administrative ingenuity’ despite numerous challenges in his state in particular and the north in general.
He said the NEGF will continue to work with past leadership of forum in order to consolidate on the gains so far recorded and to properly place it on the smooth trajectory of social cohesion, economic emancipation and infrastructural development.
In his parting shot, Lalong said governor Inuwa was elected to chair the NSGF in view of his experience, sterling leadership qualities and commitment to good governance. Lalong urged him to bring to bear his pedigree of excellence in running the affairs of the Northern Governors Forum.
Giving synopsis of his stewardship, the Plateau governor said the past four years have been eventful just as they were challenging in various sectors.
He said the forum had to deal with many issues that affected the northern states individually and the region as a whole.
Lalong stated: “As you are all aware, our region for the most part of the period under review continued to face serious challenges with the incidences of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and other violent crimes that impacted negatively on the lives of the people and the economy of the entire region. However, with our collective and individual efforts coupled with the support of the Federal Government and security agencies, we were able to do our best to contain the situation.
“Without the series of meetings and engagements we held, our people would have been thrown into deeper hunger and despair as the threat by criminals restrained them from engaging in farming which is the main economic activity of the region. Although we have not overcome this challenge completely, we have substantially improved the situation. We hope that the incoming Governors and those continuing their second terms will work together with the Federal Government to ensure the region is secure”.