Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, lamented that the same challenges that necessitated the formation of the North-East Governors Forum (NEGF) still exist today.
According to him, these challenges include the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency and the ensuing humanitarian crisis and the evolving security threats posed by criminal activities such as banditry and kidnapping.
Others, according to the governor, are climate change disasters, most notably the recent floods and their debilitating effects on our people’s livelihoods and the staggering lack of infrastructure, as well as the dire state of human capital development in the sub-region.
Speaking at the opening of the Forum’s 7th regular meeting held Friday in the banquet hall of the government building in Gombe, the governor added that other contemporary issues of common concern also make the meeting particularly important.
Therefore, Inuwa Yahaya said the meeting came at a time when the sub-region, and indeed the entire country, continues to struggle with multiple challenges that require urgent solutions.
However, he said that “nevertheless, the establishment of the NEGF has been a huge success. For the first time in our history, we have been able to forge a united front for our people, regardless of ethnic, religious or political considerations.”
He added that ‘to borrow from Nigeria’s first national anthem, ‘although tribe and language may differ, we stand in brotherhood.’ Our strength lies in the sheer determination of each of us to set aside fundamental differences to pursue a common vision aimed at improving the lives and well-being of our people.
“Over the past two years, we have developed the understanding, conviction, steadfastness and collaboration needed to address the common challenges that undermine the growth and development of our sub-region.”
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According to him, “we have been able to collectively involve, mobilize and raise awareness of both national and international stakeholders at the highest level.”
He then expressed the collective esteem of the NEGF to President Muhammadu Buhari for his tireless commitment and strong leadership to the security and stability of the Northeast Sub-region and Nigeria in general.
“Our thanks also go to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the North East Development Commission and several local and international development partners for their continued support and partnership,” the governor added.
“You may all remember that the NEGF was established after our first meeting here in Gombe on March 5, 2020. Since then, we have had subsequent meetings in Maiduguri, Yola, Bauchi, Jalingo and Damaturu.
“During each of those meetings, we involved relevant stakeholders and put a lot of energy and resources into brainstorming about common issues facing the sub-region, with a view to finding effective solutions.
“At the end of each meeting, we issued communiqués with actionable items and plans that we follow up through the Director General of the Forum, who heads the NEGF Secretariat, to ensure timely implementation.
“Today’s meeting, the first in the second round of our meetings, is special for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gives us an opportunity to take stock of what we have achieved since we first met here in Gombe, and to reflect on the challenges and obstacles that we have faced since the Forum was founded.” , concludes Inuwa Yahaya.