Appraising Governor Bala’s 100 days in office

In these days of 100-days appraisals by state chief executives, NAJIB SANI writes that Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed, has also written his name in gold.

Combining ministerial and legislative experience  

On Friday September 6, 2019 Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed, celebrated his first 100 days in office. Recall that he defeated an incumbent governor in the person of Mohammed Abubakar whose party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was the ruling party at both the state and federal level.

It is believed that the historic election of Bala as new governor was largely based on his track records when he represented the state as a senator for Bauchi South and as well as Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister in the past years.

The senior special assistant to the governor on media, Alhaji Muktar Gidado, in a press release issued on the achievements recorded by his principal within the period under review, said the governor had auspicious start. According to him, as soon as he took over the mantle of leadership, he wasted no time but swung into action in order to justifying the confidence reposed in him by the electorate.

The media aide said within the first 100 days, he flagged off roads construction at areas that hitherto lacked access roads while at the same time renovating the dilapidated ones both within the state capital and other senatorial zones.

List of projects within 100 days

The first ones flagged off in the state capital, according to Gidado, were the construction and rehabilitation of four roads worth about N5 billion.

According to report obtained by Blueprint Newspapers, the governor while officially flagging off the projects said the four roads include Ibrahim Bako to Maiduguri road bye-pass, Sabon Kaura to Jos road while those of Muda Lawal market and Yakubun Bauchi Quarters would be rehabilitated.

He noted that the projects were meant to bring succour to the residents and motorists passing through the roads who experienced traffic difficulties.

Governor Bala, who disclosed that the contracts for the four roads were awarded in the sum of about N5 billion, said his administration is embarking on the projects in order to deliver on its campaign promises before the first 100 days in office.

He assured those whose pieces of lands and or buildings would be trespassed as a result of the projects of timely payment of compensation.

Blueprint gathered that Sabon Kaura community has been facing serious transportation challenges especially during rainy seasons because of lack of access road for years despite being a populated area and being in the state capital. But with the commencement of the road project, succour would be brought to them.

The permanent secretary, Bauchi State Ministry of Works and Transport, Engineer Stephen Abubakar, explained that Ibrahim Bako to Maiduguri road bye- pass is 4.4 kilometres. Sabon Kaura to Jos road bye-pass is 6.2 kilometres, Yakubun Bauchi Quarters is 1.8 kilometres, while that of Muda Lawal market is one kilometre.

Abubakar, who applauded the governor for awarding the contract, opined that it would go a long way in enhancing the economy, safety and physical development of the affected communities.

While the managing director of TRIACTA Nigeria Limited, the company handling the projects, Mr Elie A Farhat, pledged to justify the confidence reposed in them by completing the projects within the stipulated period of six months.

The next road project flagged-off by Bala was 58 kilometers road linking Yalwan Duguri, Badaran Dutse, Birim, Bajama, Kumbala, Kundak, Wurno and Burga communities of Tafawa Balewa and Alkaleri local government areas of the state.

Speaking while flagging off the project at Burga town, the governor explained that the contract which was awarded to TRIACTA Nigeria Limited at the cost of N8 billion would be completed within a duration of two years.

He commended members of the affected communities for their patience over the years due to lack of access roads, saying the project was conceptualised without any sentiment. He pledged that the gesture would be extended to all district headquarters in parts of the state.

Bala, who noted that the rural roads are being constructed in order to ameliorate the transportation challenges of the citizens, promised that government would monitor the project to ensure its timely completion.

In his response, chairman caretaker committee of Tafawa Balewa Local Government, Kefas Magaji, expressed appreciation to the governor for the project, opining that the road when completed would boost economic activities of the affected communities pointing out that Burga is a commercial area.

He assured the governor of the safety of the equipment and workers throughout the duration of the project in the area. Apart from these, the governor awarded contracts for the construction of new roads in Katagum and Misau local governments of Bauchi North and Central Senatorial zones. He equally claimed to have disbursed 50 per cent of the funds to the contractors so that works would commence in earnest.

Aside from that, the government has also awarded 16 projects through the Bauchi state office of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for execution as parts of its  development projects in some rural areas of the state.

The 16 projects, according to them include comprehensive renovation of primary schools at Yalwa Practising School in Bauchi local government, Tagwaje Primary School in Darazo local government, Central Primary School Azare in Katagum local government and procurement of classroom furniture for yalwa practicing school Bauchi and Centra primary school Azare all in Katagum local government.

The project also includes construction of primary health centres in Mansur village, Alkaleri local government, Dunkurmi, Misau local government, Yadure, Giade local government and rehabilitation of others in Dambam, Itas Gadau and Jama’are local government areas.

Besides, the scheme would intervene in the rehabilitation of solar powered boreholes in Malar village, Bogoro local government, Sharfuri, Kirfi local government and Mainuri, Zaki local government.

Also assessing the government, the state publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Yayanuwa Zainabari, said so far so good, the governor has started on a sound footing.

“His economic development policy for the state”

A day after he was sworn in,   the governor received a report from the Usman Bugaje committee he had earlier set up to chart a blueprint for   the   economic transformation of the state. Under the new economic blueprint, Governor Bala intends to make Bauchi a model for others to copy especially in the area of rapid development of infrastructure, poverty alleviation among women and youths and increase in revenue generation and agricultural production.”

“Believing that he needs professionals and technocrats as lieutenants to help him deliver, the governor had before the first 100 days appointed local government caretaker chairmen and sent a list of his commissioners to the state assembly for confirmation,” he said.

Opposition party picks hole

While the governor’s media aide and the PDP publicity secretary lauded the governor for his achievements, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) alleged that he did not fulfill the promises he made in the 100 days.

The state public relations officer of the party, Adamu Jalla, in a press release issued to journalists alleged that the governor had during electioneering promised to pay annual leave grants of civil servants, settle all outstanding gratuities of retirees and conduct local governments election in his first 100 days  but said all those were not done.

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