Customarily, elected officials celebrate their first year in office by showcasing achievements recorded during the period under review.
For the current Bauchi State governor, the situation is more like a water glass that is filled by half. From one perspective you can see the glass half-full, changing your outlook means you can also see it half-empty. This is because the new administration has a bittersweet experiences, some are worthy of celebration while some are stories not to remember.
Borrowing a leaf from Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Dutsen Tanshi, below is my HISABI (judgment) of Kauran Bauchi led administration as it clocks one year in office.
1. Taking Over From the Previous Administration
Upon swearing into office Senator Bala kick started his administration by dissolving all appointments, promotions, confirmations and transfers conducted during the transition period.
He explained that the dissolution involved the State Civil Service and Traditional Institutions, and allocation of land and other government properties to cronies of his predecessor.
He also constituted a high powered committee that is populated with archenemies of the preceding governor to recover all the looted funds and properties as his Government has resolved to reinforce Treasury Single Account to block all leakages in governance.
That committee was not able to recover 10% of what was claimed to have been looted in spite of the amount of money they engulfed as allowances.
After all the blame games, it’s understood that the previous administration had left some important negotiations, agreements and had signed MOUs with some critical stakeholders and private donors, and where possible counter funds were paid.
Another part of the inaugural speech that drew the attention of most people were the promises pronounced by the new governor which include; giving priority to the prompt payment of workers’ entitlements, payment of the outstanding entitlements of retired civil servants.
He also expressed readiness for fishing out ghost workers in civil service, training and retraining of workers as well as unveiling empowerment programs to address the anomalies of unemployment.
He also promised to improve the economy by creating ways of boosting IGR and by collaborating with NNPC in order to enhance the oil exploration at the oil discovery site in Alkaleri.
He also promised to reduce significantly the number of out of school children.
Some of these pledges were stipulated to be fulfilled in the first hundred days.
Unfortunately, up to this moment, only one of these promises is kept i.e, prompt payment of salaries. I will not celebrate N100 million gratuity per month that is not consistently released, because the state needs N20 billion to settle that matter. Leave grants are not paid as promised and no ghost workers were found after series of verification despite the Dogara allegation of 20,000 ghost workers against MA Abubakar.
The verification committee where only able to force about 200 genuine workers off the state’s payroll since October 2019, for no fault of theirs, only for the Sen. Adamu Gumba led Verification Committee to save its face for the failure to uncover the purported ghost workers.
3. Cabinet formation
Senator Bala must be commended for the dexterity he exhibited in forming his cabinet, in less than hundred days in office, he was able to appoints SSG, COS, HOCS, SCOPA, commissioners, caretaker chairmen, S.As as well as some heads of agencies.
Most commendable among all the appointments offered so far are that of Dr. Aliyu Tilde and Dr. Aminu Gamawa who are termed by the general public as capable hands. This aspect would have been hundred percent perfect if not because of the premature resignation that hit the administration, where some key appointees such as finance commissioner, COS, Special adviser on political matter etc. called it quit.
Nepotism is another bitter possession of Kaura led administration, where important appointments are reserved for only friends and family despite the pledge to work with qualified people from all affiliations and backgrounds.
The election in Bauchi House of Assembly (BAHA) will go down in history as one of the worse abuse of democracy to ever happen in Bauchi State, where with the influence of Governor Bala eleven members defeated twenty majority. Kauran Bauchi promised to govern the state based on international best practices. Regardless, he superintended the BAHA atrocity. This is condemnable even though the persecuted legislators succumbed to the governor’s wish and forged reconciliation between the aggrieved factions.
This administration is hatching enemies out of its supporters, the deteriorating relationship with the likes of Abdul Ningi, Yakubu Dogara, Isah Hamma, Malam Idris Dusten Tanshi, etc. is a very bad politics. The abrupt ban of Achaba and Almajiranci at this critical economic situation is another decision that would cost Kaura a large chunk of his supporters.
5. Development Projects
In his attempt to improve the collapsed critical infrastructure, Senator Bala flagged off road construction projects across the states; N3 billion naira Sade to Akuyam road, two roads worth N1 billion naira in Azare, N8 billion Alkaleri to Tafawa road, roads in Bauchi town at the cost of five billion naira. He also commissioned Bauchi metropolis water supply project, announced readiness to renovate 20 LGAs secretariats, awarded the reconstruction of Zaki District Head Palace.
Governor Bala was able to renovate 405 and constructed 270 number of classrooms across the state. Kaura also released N200 million for improving power supply and street lights in the state. This is indeed laudable even though the amount speculated to have spent on these classrooms (N3 billion) is questionable.
The bitter part of this infrastructural overhaul is lack of continuity and marginalization. Allocating N13 billion road projects for Bauchi south, N3 billion for Bauchi central and only N1 billion roads for Bauchi North is unbelievably disgusting.
Also, halting the projects started by the previous administration is not helping matters, because continuity is sine qou non.
Governor Bala promised to improve Bauchi State education by providing necessary infrastructural facilities, employing more teachers, training and retraining staff, and partnership with Federal Government, and NGOs in reducing the alarming rate of out-of-school children.
On this part, Kaura must be commended for building and renovating hundreds of classrooms as well as giving Dr. Tilde a free hand to transform Bauchi state education sector.
As much as I wanted to score Kaura 10/10 in this regard, the termination of 1000 scholarship students of Malikiyya College and the decision not to pay for SS 3 students’ WAEC fees are holding me back.
The said Bauchi state declaration of state of emergency on education is seemingly limited to building and renovating classrooms, careless of teachers’ welfare among other things.
Governor Bala is said to have declared the State of Emergency in the Health Sector, but there is no evidence for that anywhere in the state. The only notable move was the collaboration with SDGs in distribution of the donated six ambulances to General Hospital Darazo, Garin Na Allah PHC, Gobiya PHC, Udubo Maternity, and Mashema PHC. These were procured by Gov. MA Abubakar towards the end of his tenure.
Corona virus further exposes Kaura’s underperformance in Bauchi state health sector. From the inception of this administration to date there is nearly no any significant change in our general hospitals, which is appalling.
Kauran Bauchi has launched a Youth Empowerment Program that will engage 20,000 youths across all the Local Governments of the state as part of his administration effort to end sycophancy and thuggery in the state.
However, the empowerment program is yet to take off. He also approved the Establishment of Petroleum studies and Skills Acquisition institute at his hometown, Alkaleri.
Bala also has joined other States of the Federation in keying into Ruga Settlement Initiative to help boost agriculture. This is laudable but not enough, Kaura should try and make Bauchi an investment friendly state and then woo domestic and foreign investors to come and tap our potentialities.
Effort should also be made to revive state owned moribund enterprises in order to boost our IGR. The Adda Gate that involved the purchase of N3.6 billion worth of official cars which featured Governor Bala and his allies is a very big blow to Bauchi state’s crawling economy. The money should have been invested in health, education and agriculture. The upsurge of the state payroll from N5.2 billion to about N7 billion and lack of transparency in budget process are also hurting our economy.
Nothing worthwhile! The recruitment of 2000 women for teaching jobs announced by this administration is still hanging in the balance, nobody knows what stalls the process. Shall we blame COVID-19 as MA Abubakar blamed economic recession?
With this armchair analysis, we are safe to assume that the current administration is doing well in some areas and clearly lacking in many other areas. I, therefore, enjoin the good people of Bauchi State to support and celebrate this government’s achievements and frown upon its wrong decisions and criticize constructively where applicable and necessary.
Adamu Bello Mäi-Bödi,
writes from Gidado Bombiyo Residence,
PRP Board of Trustees Expresses Confidence In Falalu Bello-Led Exco
The Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has passed a vote of confidence on the party’s National Executives led by Alhaji Falalu Bello, OFR.
The members of the board made this known in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
The communiqué, which had the signatures of former Minister of Commerce, Engr. Mustapha Bello, Dr. Segun Falope, Engr. Chris Onyeodizuchu, Alhaji Aji Mala, among others, revealed that the meeting was specifically summoned to consider urgent current developments within the party.
Part of the communiqué further reads: “After exhaustive, frank and fruitful deliberations on all the issues tabled before the meeting, the members of the BOT have resolved as follows:
“To express and convey the PRP BOT’s absolute confidence in, and satisfaction with, the leadership of the Party’s National Executive Committee [NEC] under the Chairmanship of Alh. Falalu Bello and with its strenuous and focused efforts at repositioning the PRP for greater relevance and impact in the Nigerian political space.
“To unreservedly endorse the Programmes of Action approved and rolled out by both the National Executive Committee [NEC] and National Working Committee [NWC] of the PRP covering the period August 2020 August 2021 which will culminate with the holding of the Party’s National Convention.
“To condemn in clear and unmistaken terms attempts by a few misguided and errant elements within the Party to create dissent, misunderstandings and factions within the PRP, noting in particular that this is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Party’s extant constitutional provisions and Code of Conduct for members which explicitly frown at all anti-Party activities and conduct likely to embarrass the Party or bring the Party into hatred, contempt, ridicule or disrepute.”
FGN vs Children of the common man, not ASUU By Usman Suleiman Sarki
It has been almost 8 months that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is on strike due to the failure of the Federal Government to fulfil the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreements which are necessary for the sustenance of university system and its affordability to children of the common man and up till this time, government have not shown any commitment to end the ongoing strike by university lecturers.
The question is what is the position of government on the future of Nigerian university students? What kind of future is the government planning for the upcoming generation? A lot of people including the students are bitterly criticizing ASUU for the unending strike without making an objective investigation of the reasons behind the strike so as to balance their thoughts and make appropriate judgement over the issue. It is well known that strike is the only language that Nigerian Government understand but many people will not understand either because of the little knowledge on why university lecturers are on strike or because of their personal or political reasons. It is good to remember that no reasonable government want its workers to go on strike because it weakens the legitimacy of the government and tarnish its image in the eyes of responsible people in and outside the country. However, the side of the ineffectiveness of the strike as lamented by some people lies in the students and the general public because they do not support ASUU like the way they support the compromised NLC. Many people are thinking that ASUU always go on strike for the selfish interest of its members forgetting the fact that ASUU is not demanding for anything outside its legitimate rights and that of the students because one of the cardinal issue surrounding ASUU’s problem with the FGN is Revitalization of the universities without which the universities can no longer be sustained but unfortunately both the students and the general public blindly ignore that.
I am afraid of what will happen when ASUU change its current stand and decide to fight for its own entitlement and do away with Revitalization and university autonomy. It will get to a stage where students will be made to pay tuition fee and that will stop the children of the common man from studying in the university and this is the wish of many among those in power because they want their children who study abroad to succeed them and continue to exploit the masses.
On this note, I urge the Nigerian University students and the general public to recast their thoughts and take appropriate stand on the issue. I pray that the stakeholders involved in handling this issue will take the necessary measures in resolving this lingering issue in the best interest of the Staff and Students of Nigerian Universities in particular and the educational system in general.
Usman Suleiman Sarki,
Department of Sociology, Federal University Dutse.
Independence: After the celebration, some sober reflections by Aliyu Nuhu
Independence is good when the people are not emasculated by poverty, inequality, insecurity, broken infrastructures and despair.
I know this post will not go down well with some people, but the truth is the British left too early for us to learn anything that would prepare us for the life ahead.
I look at countries that stayed long under colonial rules like India, South Africa, Hong Kong, Macau, Namibia, etc and wonder how they are doing so well.
I thought that we would probably be doing better if the British had remained as our leaders to this day.
I know for a fact that colonialism does not operate under insecurity. The British ran their colonies with law and order par excellence. Today, Nigeria is anything but secured. It is suicidal to travel in the day along Kaduna-Abuja or Birnin Gwari road. Most people in Zamfara and Katsina have become refugees due to activities of bandits. People pass through Jos at personal risk. In Kaduna, kidnappers pick their victims on the streets.
I know colonialism did not allow corruption to fester. For every project budgeted, there must be something to show for the money. In our today Nigeria, most projects that started in 1983 are still going on with money stolen year in and year out. Over 2 trillion dollars had been stolen by our leaders. No colonial master was ever accused of stealing billions of pounds.
Colonialism did not operate with poor infrastructure. It is the pillar that was used by colonial masters to move cash crops from cities to coast for export to the home country. We had few roads that time, but reasonably good. Look at the infrastructures colonialism left behind in Hong Kong and South Africa and you will understand what I mean.
Colonialism might not have favoured education but l look at our leaders of the past that were products of colonial education and wonder what system of education we are operating today with our leaders struggling to read prepared speeches. No Nigerian leader today has the diction of Tafawa Balewa or Nnamdi Azikiwe.
I also know colonialism does not encourage waste, vanity and profligacy. The colonial masters moved in convoy of three vehicles and dressed mostly in simple suits and military fatigue. They did not buy planes and helicopters to intimidate us. Today our leaders dress like emperors. A governor’s convoy will shame that of the Queen. The tragedy is we don’t even build (manufacture) cars, not even tire!
I can go on and mention more examples.
The bitter truth is if the British had remained with us we would have been better than our present economic and social situation.They would have trained our leaders to become better managers of resources.
Nigeria had no oil when the colonial masters built all our seaports and vast network of rail lines and roads that we find impossible to maintain not to talk of building new ones.
By Aliyu Nuhu