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Kaura’s Bittersweet One Year In Office By Adamu Mai-Bodi

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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.

2. Promises

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.

4. Politics

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.

6. Education

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.

7. Health

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.

8. Economy
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.

9. Employment

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,
K/kaji Azare.

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Opinion

DOGARA TO APC: A Homecoming From The Other Home By Adamu Bello

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To Dogara and his likes, every political party is a home. PDP and APC are like maternal and paternal grandfather’s Household. To them, like in a perfectly competitive market, there are no barriers for entry or exit.

Rt. Honorable Yakubu Dogara was a PDP stalwart who later crossed over to APC during the merger formation, where he contested and won the 2015 election.

After a serious tug-of-war between the executive and legislative arms of government, while he was the Speaker of the House of Reps coupled with the series of disagreement with the then Bauchi State governor, Dogara dumped APC for the opposition PDP, where he also contested and won the 2019 election.

Not far in the journey, the romance between Dogara and PDP hit the rocks again, owing to the purported disharmony with Kauran Bauchi and 2023 political calculations. Speculations thicken that the ruling APC tempted him with the Vice Presidential slot in the forthcoming election, hence the reason for his defection.

Whatever may be his reason, cross carpeting is not atipycal in Nigerian politics. Professor Jonah Onuoha, aptly described Nigerian politicians as a crop of people, who have no sense of shame and are only out to seek personal gains above serving the people. Our politicians are synonymous to scavengers.

In a country where defection is a norm, Nigerians were not perplexed by Dogara’s decision to stage a homecoming from his other home. Even more so, Nigerians are expecting other self centered politicians to follow suit, because it happens more than one can shake a stick at.

Before 2019 elections for instance, no fewer than 14 senators, 37 members, triplet of Sokoto, Benue and Kwara state governors alongside many APC heavyweights like Atiku, kwankwaso, Saraki, and Dogara himself defected to PDP in pursuit of their selfish interests. Neither for patriotism nor for the compatriots. Masses are always secondary in their equations.

Whether or not Dogara accomplish his mission in this precedented homecoming, Nigerian democracy is further relegated to the ridicule. The practice of free entry and exit into our political parties like a market square not only embarresses Nigeria’s democracy in the international community but also casts a huge shadow of doubt over the country’s future.

I wish Honourable Dogara returned home for good.

Adamu Bello Mai-bödi
Writes from Gidado Bombiyo residence
K/kaji Azare

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Opinion

Social Media: It Has Now Become Attention Media By Yusuf Abba-Kyari

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Social media has now become almost the direct opposite of what it used to be. We used to login to a social network to interact, share ideas and find lost acquaintances on social media (remember Yahoo messenger chat rooms?) with people from other parts of the world.

Lately it has become more of attention seeking media. We travel to a nice place, post on social media. Attend an online training, post it on social media. Graduate from school, post it. Any minor detail, post it. It has also turned into an advertisement tool for products and services and big companies are making a fortune on us.

As human beings, we like to show others the little accomplishments we’ve had at any moment just to draw attention to ourselves and the funniest thing (to me) is, we’re hardly who we say we are on social media. While I am in no position to tell people what to post or not to, we should do it (in my opinion) for the right reasons.

According to some psychologist, the more hours we put on social media, the higher our anxieties and insecurities become. So we become lonely and depressed by the day. This is due to the amount of people’s lives we feed ourselves everyday.

My advice; check your phone’s usage of social media apps. If you are active for more than two to three hours a day combined, then you are using too much.

Try to reduce your screen time. It’s good for your eyes, it relaxes your brain, it frees your soul and you will become more focused on the most important things in your life.

If it helps promote you or your business, then convert your account to a business account. That way you don’t have to be checking up on others (unless if they are your competition). You can also work for someone as their social media managers. That way your skills set is put to good use.

Currently, I’m only active on LinkedIn and I connect with my loved ones on WhatsApp. I don’t have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any other social media account. My screen time is now less than two hours a day and it keeps reducing. On LinkedIn, thanks to A.I. it filters out the posts from my connections that actually post educative or relevant information that relates to my interests.

According to a survey by “We Are Social”, 63% of the global population are not active on social media. There are prominent people who do not use it. This does not affect their lives in any way and they are arguably happier than most of us. Most of the celebrities, public figures do not directly handle their accounts. They hire social media handlers. So if you can afford to, hire a social media handler.

A wise man was asked; “Why are social media platforms free?” He answered; “If you are not paying for a product, then be rest assured that you are the product.”

By Yusuf Abba-Kyari

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Opinion

The Cobra-Effect of Achaba Ban In Bauchi State By Adamu Bello

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The Cobra Effect is a term in Economics. It refers to a situation when an attempted solution to a problem makes the problem worse.

The decision to ban Achaba by Bauchi state government in an attempt to improve the security of lives and properties was well-intentioned. As Governor Bala fears, the proliferation of Yan-Achaba who are banned from other states into Bauchi State is a very big threat to our security, hence, the need for governments’ decisive action. No sane government will allow an open security threat to emanate and escalate without taking necessary measures. However, certain unintended consequences that may lead to making the problem worst must be considered before rushing into action to avoid falling into the ditch of Cobra-Effect.

The term Cobra-Effect was coined based on an incident in old colonial India. By some reasons, there were too many venomous cobra snakes in Delhi. People were dying due to snake-bites and it became scary for almost everyone to step out of their houses. The government of the day had to get into action to stop this menace and it offered a silver coin for every dead cobra. The results were great, a large number of snakes were killed for the reward.

Eventually, however, it led to some serious unwanted consequences. After a short-term decrease in cobra population, it started going up again. This was because few people began to breed cobras for the income. When the news reached the government, the reward program was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the now-worthless snakes free. As a result, the cobra population further increased. The solution for the problem made the situation even worse.

This is exactly what would happen to Bauchi State if the government sticks to its decision on Achaba ban. The Achaba will eventually disappear, but the security situation would be worse in the near future, because most of the Yan-Achaba are youths with no other means to make ends meet than Achaba. They have no certificates for white-collar-job, no capital for investment and no skill for craftsmanship. Taking Achaba away from them makes them completely hopeless and idle. What do they say about idle mine? Many of them will see no option than to join criminal rackets such as stealing, burglary, banditry, kidnapping, fraud, terrorism, kidnapping, and thuggery, etc.

Many businesses such as vulcanizers, mechanics, engine oil vendors, motorcycle and spare-parts suppliers tend to suffer huge loss. When Yan-Achaba lose their jobs, the already skyrocketed unemployment in the state would increase geometrically. The ugly labor market would get fatter and uglier, and the dependency ratio on the inconsistent salary would also multiply, hence, shooting the state’s poverty rate up. This depicts the potential insecurity the state is heading into.

There are also serious unwanted consequences of Achaba ban to the governor politically. The ban is tantamount to hatching thousands of enemies amongst citizens comprising Yan-Achaba and their sympathizers. Especially with the way police officers are maltreating and extorting Yan-achaba financially under his watch. It is a sophisticated political weapon for the oppositions to use against the governor and his political party. Pundits in the state view the decision as an anti-masses and widely unpopular policy. Many are saying government should not block peoples’ source of income without providing alternative.

Talking about alternative, Bauchi state governor promised to provide 500 Keke Napep (tricycles) for Yan-Achaba as substitute to their motorcycles, meanwhile only three-fifty keke Napep are provided, whereas there are more than five thousand Yan-Achaba in the state. This shows that Bauchi state has no resources or the governor has no political-will to provide substitute for even the registered Yan-Achaba talk less of those without register.

I recommend the reversal of this unpopular decision of total ban on Achaba across Bauchi state, because the Cobra-Effect would be devastating. His Excellency should put emphasis on compulsory registration and consistent tax payment by Yan-Achaba. This would secure the state from unwanted proliferation and would create additional income for the state and at the same time keep thousands of youths occupied.

The ban should be successive, starting from the state capital with the provision of enough substitute tricycles at an affordable soft loan. After successful abolishing of the practice in the capital, the ban could then be extended to the remaining parts of the state using similar substitution procedures to avoid unwanted consequences.

This may save Bauchi state from the mysterious Cobra-Effect of Achaba ban.

By Adamu Bello Mai-bödi
Wrote from Gidado Bombiyo residence
K/kaji Azare.

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