Bauchi: Democracy beyond lip-service

One of the problems starring our democracy in the face today is the fact that many political officeholders are not adequately prepared for leadership positions. Politicians in this category lack the prerequisite for the challenges of the offices they sought.

Ambition for its own sake undermines democracy. Why should a citizen seek public office without adequate preparation, or the idea of what to do if given the mandate? This phenomenon usually leads to unintended side effects, producing many rulers instead of leaders, who have no idea of what to do with power.

Taking this into consideration, a youth group, Concerned Zungur Galambi Mri Youth, has passed a vote of confidence on Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi state, pledging to make sure he is returned to Government House in the forthcoming general election by massively supporting his re-election in imminent general elections.

The leader of the group, Usman Yelwa, made this known in a press release made available to newsmen recently.

Yelwa said the decision was arrived at, after consultation with all members of the group who unanimously agreed that the All Progressives Congress-led administration of Governor Abubakar be returned to office in 2019.

“We wish to tender our unalloyed support to Governor Mohammed Abubakar for his purposeful leadership. Our governor is not just a refined politician, he is also a leader filled with wisdom, a sense of justice and an undying love for his people.

“He has impeccable credentials which he has deployed effectively since assumption of office. At this moment, his purposeful leadership and loyalty to the electorate as well as his resolve to lift the state from backwardness are the reasons we prefer him to others,” Yelwa stated.

Yelwa further stated that in the history of the state, Abubakar is the first governor to show keen interest to fight corruption and mismanagement of funds of the state.

“We are therefore calling on well-meaning citizens of the state to support the governor to block leakages and thereby continue to provide the needed infrastructure to uplift the living standard of our people.

“We support this move by the governor and we call on members of the party to let bygone be bygone and work for the interest of the party to ensure that Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar is re-elected.”

This group, like all other progressive groups, has spoken the minds of the electorate in Bauchi state, thus victory, God willing, is certain for the people’s governor.

One area Abubakar stands out is the issue of civil servants’ salary. Any governor that cannot pay salaries and focuses his mind mainly on handouts from the federal government has no reason seeking the people’s mandate in the first place. A leader that lacks vision and resourcefulness should not be allowed to seek public office. Many of our governors have become a burden on their people. However, the Bauchi narrative is remarkably different.

Governor Abubakar is one of the few governors who deserve their mandates. In fact, other northern governors should emulate him. Since he was elected into office three years and seven months ago, he has demonstrated in words and action that he deserves the mandate and trust of Bauchi people.

He has ensured and maintained the regular payment of salaries of teachers and other civil servants at a time it became a trend for other governors to reduce the minimum wage or not paying salaries altogether. Despite the fact that some of these defaulting states receive higher subventions from the federal government than Bauchi state, they are still giving excuses for not meeting their workers’ welfare.

Why are we burdened with governors that have betrayed the trust of their people? Is there any magic that makes Abubakar different from other governors? These questions are necessary in order to identify the connection between performance and competence of officeholders.

Governor Abubakar is not a magician, and has never pretended to be one. The only thing that distinguishes him from other elected leaders is the fact that he is adequately prepared for public office. Without adequate preparation, an elected politician cannot perform beyond the level of his competence.

Governor Abubakar’s impressive performance has demonstrated that without competence and vision, an elected leader cannot discharge his mandate satisfactorily. The fact that he has sustained prompt and regular payment of salaries is a proof of his creativity and state prudence. He is a prudent and shrewd leader who uses limited resources to achieve results. Unlike other politicians, Abubakar is not one given to excuses in state duties.  

Another interesting aspect of Abubakar’s political principle is that he doesn’t abandon relevant projects initiated by his predecessor. Since he came into office three years and 7 months ago, he has given priority to completing all important projects that are relevant to the welfare of the people and initiating new ones to justify the love of his people.

Identification of basic priorities is another area Abubakar stands out among state governors. He doesn’t waste resources on grandiose projects that have no direct benefits to the ordinary people of Bauchi state. One of the problems of state governors is the fact that they tend to give priority to white elephant projects at the expense of the basic needs of their people. As a result, they saddle their successors with heavy debt burdens.

But  Abubkar’s worst enemy cannot deny the fact that he has made prudence his watchword in governance. He has demonstrated that public office is not for those on the job training, and development is not about the size of resources, but about the qualities of leaders that we elect.

Governor Abubakar’s commitment to uniting the people of Bauchi state for common progress, regardless of political leanings, ethnic and religious backgrounds, is a testament to his statesmanship.  Therefore, the choice Bauchi made in 2015 has paid off, and will pay more in 2019.

Audi, a good governance advocate, writes from Bauchi

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