Ret­ro­spect of chal­lenges and hopes in Bauchi

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Balarabe Alka­s­sim, Bauchi

Re­cently, Gover­nor Muham­mad Ab­dul­lahi Abubakar of Bauchi State re­minded the peo­ple about the chal­lenges con­fronting the state and raised their hope of a bet­ter fu­ture.

Sources close to the gover­nor said com­ing at a time of enor­mous chal­lenges, the new ad­min­is­tra­tion de­cided to do things dif­fer­ently, af­ter re­al­is­ing the al­leged dam­age done to the state by the im­me­di­ate past ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The gover­nor had in his 100 days ad­dress re­marked that, "We have taken the time since our in­au­gu­ra­tion as a gov­ern­ment to fully as­sess the sta­tus of our sys­tem af­ter the hor­ren­dous abuse it suf­fered in its struc­ture, staffing, process man­age­ment and most es­pe­cially re­source man­age­ment.

To that ef­fect, the ad­min­is­tra­tion im­me­di­ately sets up a com­mit­tee to as­cer­tain the level of the dam­age and prof­fer so­lu­tion to re­po­si­tion the state.

An as­set re­cov­ery com­mit­tee headed by re­tired air force of­fi­cer, AVM Ga­mawa was also con­sti­tuted to re­cover il­le­gally ac­quired as­sets from the for­mer gover­nor, his as­so­ci­ates and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Pre­lim­i­nary re­ports from the com­mit­tee about the on­go­ing re­cov­ery have shown that it has re­cov­ered over 70 cars and many plots of lands and the process is on­go­ing.

The com­mit­tee had also pur­port­edly re­cov­ered the state owned “Em­braer 145 Air­craft" which was stranded in Morocco for a while as a re­sult of an al­leged fail­ure of the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion to set­tle some money be­ing owed to com­pa­nies that per­formed safety checks on it.

Ac­cord­ing to the gover­nor, "since we took the oath of of­fice, our ad­min­is­tra­tion has not looked back on its prom­ise to re­store the dig­nity of Bauchi State and en­hance the liv­ing con­di­tions of our peo­ple.

"The reigns handed to us by the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion were no doubt re­plete with mas­sive profli­gacy with state re­sources, wan­ton dis­re­gard of laid down ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­cesses, ab­so­lute rot in re­source man­age­ment pro­cesses and crass nepo­tism in un­der­tak­ing gen­eral gov­er­nance du­ties," he said.

How­ever, for­mer Gover­nor Isa Yuguda has also given his own side of the is­sues raised by the in­cum­bent, es­pe­cially in re­spect of the con­tro­ver­sial air­craft.

Daily Trust re­ports that based on the seem­ing suc­cess recorded by the As­sets Re­cov­ery Com­mit­tee, the Bauchi State gov­ern­ment broad­ened the com­mit­tee's terms of ref­er­ence to the State’s Min­istry for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Af­fairs, State Uni­ver­sal Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Board (SUBEB) and the N2.Bil­lion Mi­cro, Small and Medium Scale En­ter­prises loan from the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria.

How­ever, while the gov­ern­ment is tak­ing these mea­sures to re­cover as­sets, some observers, es­pe­cially mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) are al­leg­ing that the move was just a mere witch hunt.

Ac­cord­ing to them, it is only the for­mer gover­nor’s as­so­ci­ates and fam­ily mem­bers tar­geted.

They pointed out that while as­sets like cars and lands re­cov­ered from Yuguda’s wives and other mem­bers of his fam­ily and as­so­ci­ates were highly pub­li­cised in the media to tar­nish his im­age, other peo­ple were ei­ther shielded or their con­fis­cated as­sets kept se­cret by the com­mit­tee, be­cause of their close­ness to the present ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Sim­i­larly, the re­ports of a Tech­ni­cal and Tran­si­tion Com­mit­tee had prompted the set­ting up another com­mit­tee by Gover­nor Abubakar to re­view the state’s an­nual bud­get, which ac­cord­ing to him is meant to re­duce spend­ing and fo­cus on pri­or­ity ar­eas.

"A de­lib­er­ate ef­fort in this re­gard is the set­ting-up of the Bud­get Re­view Com­mit­tee which was man­dated to draw up ar­eas of fo­cus in line with pri­or­i­ti­za­tion for pro­vi­sion of fund­ing, and has since sub­mit­ted its re­port to Gov­ern­ment.”

He said the com­pre­hen­sive doc­u­ment sub­mit­ted by the com­mit­tee helped the strate­gic fo­cus of the Bauchi State gov­ern­ment to strive to­wards the at­tain­ment of an ed­u­ca­tion­ally en­hanced, eco­nom­i­cally ad­vanced and con­struc­tively vig­i­lant pop­u­la­tion.

"These have helped us out­line pri­or­ity pro­grams in line with our cam­paign prom­ises, enu­mer­at­ing im­pact­ful pro­grams that will por­tray our pre­pared­ness to leave Bauchi State far bet­ter than it was be­queathed to us," he said.

Works and re­forms in the out­lined pri­or­ity ar­eas ac­cord­ing to the gover­nor will be vig­or­ously pur­sued by the gov­ern­ment.

He said the civil ser­vice re­forms em­barked by the gov­ern­ment have in the first 100 days of the ad­min­is­tra­tion earned for it­self a toga of a labour friendly ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The gover­nor said that his ad­min­is­tra­tion has al­lowed the civil ser­vice the free­dom to op­er­ate ac­cord­ing to the civil ser­vice struc­ture.

"It will be re­called that, im­me­di­ately af­ter we as­sumed of­fice, we were able to re­solve nu­mer­ous in­dus­trial dis­putes and strikes in­clud­ing those by the NLC, Staff and stu­dents of the Abubakar Tatari Ali Poly­tech­nic, and the Staff of

that

are

be­ing the Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture."

He added that another dis­pute be­tween Res­i­dent Doc­tors, and man­age­ment of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Univer­sity Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal, was equally set­tled.

He added that the gov­ern­ment has also paid a larger chunk of staff salary ar­rears as a mark of its com­mit­ment to the wel­fare of its work­ers.

He said as part of mea­sures to re-struc­ture the civil ser­vice, the gov­ern­ment has con­ducted an in­terim ver­i­fi­ca­tion ex­er­cise for civil ser­vants on the State and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ments pay­rolls.

"We are now at the point of car­ry­ing out a bio­met­ric ex­er­cise as a way of fur­ther iden­ti­fy­ing ghost work­ers and other ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties," he said.

Gover­nor Abubakar has also promised to em­bark on de­vel­op­ment and re­fur­bish­ing of in­fra­struc­ture to achieve de­vel­op­men­tal goals and strengthen agri­cul­ture, tourism and solid min­er­als sec­tors to raise In­ter­nally Gen­er­ated Rev­enue (IGR).

He said the state gov­ern­ment has also signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU) on wildlife con­ser­va­tion in or­der to boost the tourism po­ten­tials of the state through proper util­i­sa­tion of the Yankari Game Re­serve.

Ab­dul­lahi Bala, a res­i­dent of Bauchi ob­served that like his pre­de­ces­sor, the gover­nor has ear­marked won­der­ful pro­grammes but ex­pressed fears on the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­e­cut­ing them.

“Our ma­jor con­cern is that the gover­nor has pen­chant for la­men­ta­tions about the past, in­stead of just draw­ing a line and plan­ning ahead.

“I wish to sug­gest that since he has got­ten the man­date of the peo­ple, he should stop the blame game and em­bark on projects that would have pos­i­tive im­pact on the lives of the peo­ple,” he said.

Lil­ian James, a school teacher, said un­less the gover­nor re­duces his con­stant trav­el­ing, Bauchi will not see any dif­fer­ence from what ob­tained in the past.

“The gover­nor is al­ways out of town and I won­der if he will achieve any­thing tan­gi­ble by proxy. We had the same prob­lem with Yuguda who wasted more than half of his ten­ure in Abuja and abroad. We have this one will make a dif­fer­ence,” she said.

Gover­nor Muham­mad Ab­dul­lahi Abubakar

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