Assessing Bala’s one-year stewardship in Bauchi

The present Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in Bauchi state is one year in office. In this report by NAJIB SANI, he takes a cursory look at what good governance is all about in the state.

The electorates in Bauchi state have no doubt written their names in gold as politically-civilised people especially for exhibiting rare courage in choosing their leaders while at the same time voting out incompetent ones in past elections.
It could be recalled that in 2007, the electorates turned their backs against the governorship candidate annointed by the then governor, Ahmed Muazu, and rather elected Isa Yuguda of the opposition party. It was believed that Muazu was among the best performing governors in the state but incurred the anger of the electorates when insisted on imposing his own candidate, Nadada Umar. Therefore, the voters came out massively, casted their votes for Yuguda, waited for the counting as they trooped to INEC secretariat to ensure that their votes were counted.

It is observed that many Nigerians still do not believe that their votes count in view of several cases of election riggings and malpractices being perpetrated by political leaders.

However, the electorates in Bauchi proved their critics wrong again in the last 2019 general election as yet another history was made in the state when they chose the present governor, Senator Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against a sitting governor, Mohammed Abubakar, who was of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that holds power at the federal level. This is despite the power of incumbency. Abubakar was however removed peacefully over his alleged poor performance.

A look at Bala’s one year scorecards
On May 29 2020, Bala spent one year in office. In assessing his scorecard, one may ask if the governor is on the right track to warrant him to scale through and retain his seat in 2023. In affirming this, it is also pertinent to weigh his performance on the scale within the period under review.

The media tour
As parts of activities marking the governor’s first year anniversary, the state commissioner for information, Garba Dahiru, flanked by the senior special assistant on media, Mukhtar Gidado, took journalists representing various local, national and international media houses round the three senatorial zones of the state to inspect the completed and ongoing government projects.
According to him, the tour was meant to allow the newsmen to see things for themselves rather than being told by government officials.

During the inspection tour, Blueprint discovered that the inspected projects included the Gombe Road to Tirwun- Maiduguri Road Bye-Pass, Sabon Kaura to Miri Bye-Pass and the rehabilitation of Muda Lawal Market Road as well as Nitel Quarters Road in the state capital.

Others were Azare Township Road, Akuyam to Sade Access Road and the 58 kilometres Burga to Duguri Roads. This is beside the expansion of Gubi Dam to boost water supply.

According to the information commissioner, Gombe to Tirwun Road Construction reached 60 percent completion, while Sabon Kaura to Miri is 70% completed.

According to the commissioner, “The governor has also flagged off the construction of other roads outside the state capital of almost over 100kms. This include the construction of Hospital Road, Azare Bye-Pass which is 1.3 kilometre while that of Tafawa Balewa Road to Jama’are, Shira Road is 6.5 kilometres which were successfully completed and ready for commissioning any time from now,” he said.

He said 270 new classrooms have been built, 405 renovated in primary and junior secondary schools across the state, there is also the construction of 2,500 affordable houses for the poor which is currently ongoing in the six emirate councils of the state, assuring of better days for the people of the state.

Bala took to the media
Speaking during a media chat last Saturday to mark his one year in office, Governor Bala Mohammed  disclosed that his government’s plan to construct another access road from Unguwar Alkali Aminu to Gwangwangwan down to Kofar Dumi quarters in the Bauchi metropolis.

He said the idea is to facilitate easy transportation of people, goods and services in the state capital in order to reduce traffic congestion and accidents.
According to him, the sum of N208 million has been earmarked for the payment of compensation to those whose houses or plots will be trespassed in the course of the project.

On the economy, the governor said they are planning to privatise the moribund state-owned companies like the Fertiliser Blending Company, Bauchi Meat Factory and others to generate more revenues for the state government.
Aside these moribund companies, Bala stated that Zaranda Hotels and Yankari Games Reserve would also be revamped to boost tourism in the state.
This is just as he added that the government has already appointed an expert as director general for the commercialisation and privatisation of the state owned companies to make them more functional.

APC not impressed
However, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state through the chairman of its media/publicity committee, Sabo Muhammad, described the one-year administration of the PDP-led administration in the state as a waste, insisting that the situation in which the state has found itself is worrisome. 
He alleged that in 2019, the PDP while campaigning claimed to have the magic wand to deliver better services including providing employments to the youths which it failed to do.

Sabo alleged that instead of providing the jobs, the government under the pretext of managing COVID 19 pandemic inflicted hardship on the citizens and crippled businesses through bans on some occupations like Achaba Operation. The government has however insisted that all the programmes it has initiated so far are for the benefits of its citizens as it is mindful of their well-being.

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