The scramble for the various elective positions in virtually every corner of Nigeria is heating up with all kinds of characters throwing their hats into races that frankly they know nothing about. For the people of Bauchi, what should have been the biggest battle front is the gubernatorial battle, especially if the 2015 electoral scuffle into that office is to be remembered. However, the stellar performances of the incumbent governor Muhammed Abdullahi Abubakar may make light of that battle front because the people of Bauchi understand the need to appreciate the efforts of leaders who did not only deliver on their promises despite paucity of funds, but can be relied upon to continue engendering the kind of change that they have been yearning for since time immemorial.
A recent journey to Bauchi for those who were last there in the pre-Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar days will definitely open their minds to a new kind of illumination so that if they are not blind, they will surely see what selfless and patriotic leadership brings to a people. Everywhere you turn in Bauchi and its environs, you are surely to be accosted by a thriving government project at various levels of completion and this is fast becoming the new norm in the Bauchi metropolis and the surrounding areas.
It will be very difficult to capture the genuine efforts of Governor Muhammad at repositioning Bauchi State in this brief epistle and I will not even attempt to do so. Nevertheless, I reckon it will be very important to remind the people of the pitiful state of affairs in Bauchi state before the incumbent governor took over the reins of power.
It won’t come as news to the people of Bauchi that Governor Muhammad inherited a near comatose government with all critical infrastructure unattended to, a near empty treasury and a choking debt up to the tone of 100 billion Naira. But because he was aware of the rot and in fact, that was what motivated him to run, the incumbent didn’t lament his situation and instead, set straight to work, seeking solutions to funding as well as development issues.
Today, from healthcare development where an incision of over 600 million Naira as counterpart fund into the SDG has resulted in the construction and equipping of 19 primary healthcare centres across the state complete with VIP toilets and staff quarters, the drilling of 33 solar powered boreholes, construction of 57 handpump boreholes, procurement and supply of ambulances to enhance emergency response; and, the release of funds for the 2015 YESSO programme and youth empowerment.
Another sector is agriculture where the 2015 farming season officially launched in Misau was swiftly supported with the disbursement of over 10 thousand metric tons of fertilizer to farmers at a highly subsidized rate and a tractor hiring service to reduce the cost of manual labour and encourage expansion. All this has been sustained through the lifetime of this administration.
Perhaps the one move that positions the current administration in Bauchi as people-centred is the viable partnership entered into with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to ensure food security in a Nigeria grappling with acute shortages. FG’s Anchor Borrowers initiative is alive in Bauchi and farmers have since started accessing funds for farm financing. Not yet satisfied with the gains so far, the governor has reached out to investors from around the globe and the interest they showed in investing is beginning to take root in Bauchi State.
Water supply to homes around Bauchi has increased tremendously too according to residents.
This may not be unconnected with the massive funds that the government of Muhammed Abdullahi is investing in the sector to procure more water equipment to check waste; and, ensuring stable power supply to the water works through alternative power sources that are very expensive to maintain. The efforts of the government have not escaped notice as the World Bank has stepped in to consolidate the gains with a massive USD 65 million in a counterpart funding agreement that the state has also withheld with humongous funds.
The education sector has also witnessed a near total overhaul since the government of Muhammed Abdullahi was sworn in. The current administration knew that human capital development is key to all of its efforts so, it set out from the onset to bring the kind of education that will prepare and equip students with the skills to live and work in the 21st century. This was reflected in the 20% of the 2016 budget allocated to the education sector (the highest by any administration). The administration has followed through with action and, public schools in the state are now wearing a new look and the challenges of inadequate manpower, instructional resources and ICT facilities are all being corrected in a pilot programme that will be expanded all over the state.
Also, the state-owned tertiary institutions like CLIS Misau have been given a new lease of life with infrastructural face-lifts, capacity assessments to ensure they are still relevant and can handle affiliations with reputable institutions of learning like the Bayero University, Kano to enable them award degrees etc.
Indeed, the government of HE Muhammad Abdullahi has stayed the course and is digging in to ensure that the gains are sustained, and nothing short of a second term for this silent achiever will justify his steadfastness to duty since assuming office.
Thankfully, the people of Bauchi State are known to be politically enlightened to differentiate between those that are for them and those clearly against them. This is why all well-meaning sons and daughters of Bauchi State will do well to stand by the governor and ensure he recontest come 2019.
– Mustapha wrote in from Bauchi State.