The Oasis Reporters
January 18, 2020
Barely a month or two after being sworn in, Gombe State governor, Inuwa Yahaya did something unprecedented by stopping the salaries of the staff of tertiary institutions, viz, Gombe State Polytechnic, Bajoga ; Gombe State University of Science and Technology, Kumo; College of Health Technology, Kaltungo; College of Education, Billiri and College of Legal and Islamic Studies, Nafada.
The Governor had set up a committee to review and advise him on the institutions of higher learning. The Committee carried out its assignment, and submitted its report. Speculations became rife that the governor probably did not expect the outcome. For inexplicable reasons, the salaries of staff were stopped and no information was forthcoming from the state governor, whose ascension to the office was championed by these same workers as part of the general populace that decided to vote against the People’s Democratic Party, PDP under the government of Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.
It will be recalled that former governor Ibrahim Dankwambo and his government gave a good account of themselves in office, through their performance which was generally termed superlative, according to Gombe state watchers.
All attempts made to get information about the salaries issue were unsuccessful, and for five months, these civil servants lived without salaries, with the generality of citizens making calls upon the Governor to pay the Salaries, with such calls being rebuffed.
The economy of the largely agrarian state in Nigeria’s north east suffered immeasurably, because the civil service is the highest employer of labor in the absence of industries.
Gombe State is very much unlike Kano, as well as many southern states in Nigeria, where there are industries that employ workers.
Besides, the State civil servants do not seem to have the resilience of civil servants in states like Edo or Delta for instance whose workers suffered a worse fate under the then President Shehu Shagari administration and into the then military regimes of Generals Buhari and Babangida. Many teachers then developed other income streams by engaging in petty trading etc, while some remained dependent on diaspora remittances from their relatives working abroad, workers like doctors, engineers, teachers, etc who themselves became economic migrants abroad due to the then prevailing economic crunch that prompted the then Major General Buhari’s government to release the famous television jingle titled, ‘Andrew, Don’t Check Out : Let’s stay here and build together’.
Staff of the said higher Institutions and their families see the situation as unusual. Consequently, they suffered immeasurably to the extent that they could not afford to feed their families, settle their children’s school fees nor pay their rents. Some marriages went through tortuous times due to the hardship experienced.
” Life has been terrible in Gombe since Inuwa Yahaya came to power”, a caller told our correspondent on the line from Gombe, saying that “more than 5,000 youth that were serving as Marshals in Gombe State have been disengaged”, equally alleging that “an unbearable condition among the people of the State has been created”.
Asked if the government had made any progress at all, our correspondent was informed that the touted achievements of the government are “nothing but World Bank Sponsored projects. There has been nothing to show as the governor’s own achievements”.
Meanwhile, as we were about to go to Press, reports reached us that the Governor has now settled the Salaries of the staff of the Institutions of higher learning, settling only the salaries of Staff, with no overhead or running costs to the Schools.
Some staff spoken too, believe that the governor needs to apologize to the staff of the Institutions who passed through so much trauma with their families, which many of them may not readily recover from.