Alhaji Umar Ibrahim Sade is the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in Bauchi State. In this interview with MOSES ORJIME, he speaks on the senatorial by-election held in Bauchi South senatorial district and how the stat governor, Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar, has changed the narrative in the state within his first term.
Your party, the APC, won the recent Bauchi South senatorial byeelection. What implications does this have on the strength and general image of the party in the State?
We thank the Almighty Allah who, in his infinite mercy, gave us the victory which has manifested Governor M.A. Abubakar’s overwhelming grip on the politics of Bauchi State. The victory has also shown that the APC is firmly rooted in the hearts of the people of Bauchi State. The election was peaceful, free, fair and credible. The people of Bauchi South senatorial district have spoken loudly which also goes to show that the people are satisfied with the governor’s efforts towards the development of the State. In another breath, it has placed a no-confidence verdict on those working against this administration. It is a major referendum on the APC which also showed a resounding hope in its strength ahead of 2019 elections. The people of Bauchi will vote massively for the APC as it is clear to them that our amiable governor is indeed working very much to better their living conditions in spite of the lean resources. The governor does not need to mount the rostrum to campaign come 2019. His good works have already started to do that effectively. I appeal to the people to continue to support this government.
Governor Abubakar’s administration has just less than eight months to complete its first term in office. How do you respond to claims in some quarters that the government has not justified its election in 2015? Who are the people making these bogus false claims?
Are they blind or are they our political opponents who are just playing the game of political incorrectness? Must we play such awkward politics? Even the blind can see. The Administration of Governor M.A. Abubakar has worked so hard to deliver on target. Many people have seen and commended the visionary, result-driven and indefatigable governor for the silent revolution going on in this State right now. For the avoidance of doubt, the silent revolution is putting Bauchi State on a proper path through the revival and rejuvenation of abandoned critical sectors. Whenever, wherever and however you enter the Bauchi metropolis, you will better appreciate what I am talking about. The instant feeling you get is that you are entering a place that is befitting of a State Capital because of the impressive dualisation of the road network across the city centre which the past administration did nothing about in spite of the resources available unlike now. The revolution is not just taking place in the capital city. If you look round the entire state, you would see a huge construction site cutting across all the three senatorial districts. Is that not a radical touch of a radical leader? Today,
On a broader scale, the organs and machinery of the State are being reviewed from time to time to prevent mismanagement of the resources of the State as well as reposition it effectively to deliver in all facets of lives of the people of the State.
there is a radical transformation of the state because of the radical posture of the man in the driving seat. I am a student of history and political science. Our governor has re-defined the art and science of governance. There is inclusiveness writ large. It has engendered equity, justice, fairness, openness and general progress. I promise you that Bauchi State will not be the same as we approach 2019 with eagerness. Governor M.A. Abubakar has displayed that he has a good vision for Bauchi State particularly in the way he has shown that he is a very prudent manager of resources at a time when many states in the country still owe salaries of their workers for many months. He has continued to maintain industrial peace and harmony by putting smiles on the faces of workers and the common man in the state. This Administration has justified the mandate which the people massively gave it in 2015 by rising to meet their yearnings and aspirations. Don’t forget that his last electioneering campaigns took the governor to several rural areas where he came face-to-face with the problems of majority of our people especially the peasant farmers who requested for motorable roads across the state to enable them transport their farm produce to the markets. Though there were other requests and agitations for socioeconomic amenities such as rural electrification for which Government has earmarked over N350m to provide electricity to many rural areas, the request for roads rehabilitation was top on their shopping list.
This explains why the governor has given huge priority to roads construction, rehabilitation and dualisation across the entire State. Consequently, the government has awarded many rural and urban road contracts to adequately address the infrastructure gap. It is worth nothing that the governor ensures strict adherence to quality and standards as part of the terms and conditions governing the award of the road contracts. This is to enable the roads last for as possible as well as enable the State and its good people have value for massive investments. Some of the projects include hitherto neglected roads in Jama’are Local Government; Jamaare -Hanafari-Itas-Garin Babani in Ganjuwa Local Government; Kamfanin Kutare-Guyaba in Misau-Hardawa-Chinade-Madara-Bulkachuwa-Udubo to Gamawa about 110 kilometres and in Toro Local Government Council: Mararrabar Ganye-Gwalfada-Bakin Kogi. It is gladdening to note that this drive has virtually opened up several hitherto obscure communities to rapid development thereby boosting their socio-economic development. However, this is not the end of the story. Adequate priority has been given to modernizing agriculture and uplifting the standards of education and health care delivery in the State. With the resuscitation of the Bauchi Fertilizer Company, the government has provided farmers within and outside the state with fertilizer and other necessary farming inputs every year. Also, about 500 tractors were procured after the state accessed N5bn loan from the Central Bank out of the N8bn to boost mechanized agriculture in the State.
… (cuts in) At a time when many states of the federation are battling with scarcity of funds, what cost-cutting measures are being introduced to enable the State swim above water?
Honestly, if there is any area in which the governor has displayed uncommon leadership, it is in his strict and prudent management of the resources of Bauchi State. There is a massive blockage of leakages with respect to fiscal discipline in the running of affairs of the government. There is a lid on wasteful spending and possible wastages in the day-to-day affairs of the Administration away from the financial recklessness of the previous administration. Beyond that, the governor has worked round the clock to increase accruable Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) by streamlining the activities of the State’s Board of Internal revenue for improved performance. The epayment of taxes has been introduced as part of the government’s drive for ease of business. The efforts have started to yield great dividend as there is a remarkable improvement in revenue generation of the state. While revenue leakages are being blocked, necessary sanctions are being enforced on possible fiscal infractions. We have also instilled discipline in the civil service. On a broader scale, the organs and machinery of the State are being reviewed from time to time to prevent mismanagement of the resources of the State as well as reposition it effectively to deliver in all facets of lives of the people of the State. It is amazing that the governor has done so much in
just less than eight months to the end of his first term. This is unprecedented. The impact is felt in the several kilometres of road network constructed, dualized and rehabilitated, urban renewal scheme, schools, hospitals, water supply, sanitation, housing, security, youth and women empowerment, agricultural mechanization including procurement of necessary agricultural inputs.
Bauchi State is known to have a long history of literacy, learning and scholarship. In what specific terms has your Administration kept faith with this record?
Yes, we have maintained this longheld tradition as a state policy. We have also achieved a lot in this regard but let me emphasize that in the area of education, the government has always allocated about 25% of its budget apart from its other collaborative programmes with agencies of the Federal Government which are geared towards further putting the sector on a sound footing. As s result of these efforts, many class rooms and laboratory facilities have been constructed in all the 20 Local Government Areas of the State. You may wish to visit Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic and see what the State government is doing. The government gave the institution a major face-lift apart from getting most of their courses duly accredited to start awarding Degrees henceforth. I will also like to request you to visit the FM station of the institution which is the only institution that has campus Radio in the entire northern Nigeria. Itas Gadau University and other tertiary institutions benefitted immensely from the government active efforts at providing modern and state-of-the-art infrastructure modern aimed at turning such tertiary institutions into centers of excellence. Of course, our Secondary Schools are not left out as the Government has spared turning the schools around for maximum academic excellence as has been recorded. Thousands of Bauchi State students today have recorded high grades in their NECO and WAEC examinations while the Government continues to pay their scholarship allowances.
As the official voice of the Bauchi State government, how is your ministry responding to the ongoing digitalization programme of the national electronic media by the Federal Government?
Don’t forget that the tourism portfolio is also under my purview. Last month, the governor bagged an award as the Best Governor in Nigeria in tourism development. We are a tourist destination so the governor has been very active in positioning our tourist potentials on the global map. He has also shown active
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