Nigerians made history in 2015 when they voted out an incumbent government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party that ruled the country for 16 consecutive years at the federal and most of the states. They voted for a new party formed by a coalition of opposition parties called the All Progressives Congress (APC) turning the then ‘biggest party in Africa’ into an opposition party now.
Some chieftains of the then ruling party vowed that they would remain in power for 60 years but the party however suffered serious defeat in the last election where it lost majority of its seats to APC.
It was observed that the PDP despite having the power of incumbency in 2015 got only 12 governors out of the 36 States, 44 senators out of 109 and 125 representatives out of the 360 members of the lower legislative chamber.
The last election results showed that the party lost more seats in the north where APC won almost all elections.
Political analysts in the country assert that the electorate were fed up with the PDP’s 16 years in government ‘without commensurate development’ which was why it lost the election.
While stalwarts of the former ruling party claimed to have done well while in office, the members of the opposition that merged to form the APC capitalized on the problems of corruption, insecurity and inadequate social amenities during the reign of the PDP to woo the citizens to vote for them.
Convinced by the APC’s promises coupled with corruption and security challenges especially Boko Haram insurgency bedeviling the nation, Nigerians voted out President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP governors in many states replacing them with President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and new governors on its platform.
In Bauchi state, Mohammed Abubakar emerged as governor with landslide victory.
It is not news that Abubakar had indicated interest to run for a second term come 2019 as he emerged his party’s flag bearer after beating two contenders including a former minister of police affairs Yakubu Lame and a former commissioner Bala Jibrin during the recent APC primaries.
Although governorship campaigns have not yet officially commenced, M. A Abubakar will have much to say on his achievements as governor of Bauchi state in the last four years.
It would be recalled that, the governor had during the recent public lecture organized by the Alumni Association of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Bauchi to commemorate his third year anniversary in office, noted that that despite paucity of funds, his administration had recorded ‘tremendous’ successes.
Bauchi state electorate can vividly remember that when he took over the mantle of leadership of Bauchi State on 29th May 2015, he inherited an empty treasury and outstanding four months salaries owed to workers by his predecessor and outstanding gratuities worth over N15 billion which he had to settle.
He equally inherited 105, 000 staff with monthly salaries of N5.1 billion even though the State however receives not more than N5 billion monthly as federal grants.
It is pertinent to note here that Kano State with 44 local government areas has 92, 000 workers on its payroll as against Bauchi which has only 20 local governments has 105, 000 staff.
Abubakar had to devise means of generating funds to pay the backlog of the four months salaries left by his predecessor and maintains regular and prompt payments knowing that Bauchi is a Civil servants State.
We give thanks to God that Bauchi unlike many states pay salaries regularly and does not owe any worker his salary. Aside that, the governor embarked on projects such as roads construction across the state.
Within the period under review, he dualized Gidan Mai to Awalah, Awalah to Giwo academy road, wuntin dada to miri roads in order to alleviate accidents and beautify Bauchi City. Other ongoing roads are federal low-cost roads, Azare metropolitan road as well as the 115 kilometers Misau to Udubo roads.
President Muhammadu Buhari had during his recent visit to the state commissioned the Gombe road and state house of assembly road rehabilitated by the governor.
Indeed, the governor should be commended for his prudence and stopping wastages in governance because immediately after assumption of office, he slashed his salary and that of his deputy governor by 50 percents. He deducted that of his aides by 30 percent.
Other achievements recorded by His Excellency include construction of 19 new primary health centres, resuscitating the moribund Bauchi Fertilizer blending plant, procurement of 500 tractors for farmers to boost agriculture in the State.
On the education sector the governor allocates 20 percent of state’s annual budget to the sector now in addition to renovation of classes, establishment of vocational colleges for male orphans in Bauchi, female orphans in Misau where they would be taught skills and trades for self sustenance under the Bauchi State Orphans and Vulnerable Children Agency (BASOVCA) within ‘just’ three years.
These were achieved in three and half years despite paucity of funds.
A lecturer at the Bauchi College of Agriculture Shehu Zailani opined that lack of resources to fund some projects is the governor’s major challenge.
“I personally sent a comprehensive proposal on how to train 1, 000 youth and women on various agricultural fields and I learnt that it was approved by His Excellency but the funds to run the program has not been released till date,” he lamented.
Sunusi writes from Bauchi