All permutations and traditionally ossified political beliefs forecast that the establishment would win the Bauchi guber elections, this being consolidated by the tectonic effect of the Buhari touch, especially in Bauchi for over 17 years.
Against all odds, and against all political book makers’ predictions, Bala Mohammed won the elections, and made history as the first candidate, since the fourth Republic, to break the eight-year tenure contraption for a serving governor, whether or not, that governor performs and presents the populace with the required democratic deliverables.
When Gov. Bala Mohammed sought to make his first few appointments, most importantly, that of the secretary to the state government, it was all hullabaloo in Bauchi’s political space. Party stalwarts and other campaign followers engaged in a squabble to fill this very significant and sensitive post, which would define the tone, direction and substance of the new administration. It was a battle between politics and technocracy, between settling political allies and choosing Bauchi first. Prominent sons of Misau and Ningi were on the fore-cards and it was just a matter of time for one of them. Gov. Mohammed watched keenly, waiting for the right time and space to pounce.
Alh. Mohammed Sabiu Baba was announced as the new SSG, without any pre-empting and all political interests were dismayed as to this appointment without anyone having any inkling of what was to become. Even Baba himself was taken unawares as Gov. Mohammed had kept it closely to his chest. Baba comes with outstanding laurels and will definitely bring focus and stability to a new government, thirsting to accomplish a whole lot in such little time – to prove to ‘Bauchians’ that they weren’t wrong. Baba holds a first degree as well as a masters in accounting. He worked as a chartered accountant at Aminu Ibrahim & Co., and subsequently at Africa Petroleum, one of the big players in the downstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry. He moved over to the telecommunications industry, in the nation’s government owned dominant player – NITEL. While at NITEL, he was territorial accountant, deputy general manager treasury, general manager investment and treasury, and general manager finance, before retiring. He became a consultant and oversaw the licensing of Premium Pensions Ltd. as a pension funds administrator by the National Pension Commission. He was to become the pioneer chairman of Premium Pensions before retiring in 2011. He also supervised the construction of Amssco Platinum City at Galadimawa in Abuja, under the FCT mass housing programme.
Having served in the public sector, he is not new to bureaucracy in Nigeria, and how best to navigate its drag and bottlenecks. His score card in the private sector will be equipping him, as the government turns its attention to breathing life to many moribund factories in Bauchi such as the meat factory and Steyr – the tractor and other machineries production plant. The furniture factory too needs attention in terms of recapitalisation, and the three plants mentioned can provide employment sooner than anticipated.
The Dr. Bugaje led committee report had hammered on agriculture as the most veritable tool available for cultivation, which would yield the desired results in the growth of revenue generation. One would readily believe that Baba will provide the adequate and much needed supervision in the implementation of the recommendations of the committee.
One other important sector that has suffered much balkanisation and pilfering is the traditional institution. Districts and district heads have been created, abolished, re-created, and at times suspended indiscriminately. Much of the time, persons with interests who happened to be close to the government or part of the government of the day, have succeeded in persuading government; take decisions that are apparently not in the interest of our traditions and people. For example, the Madaki of Bauchi is traditionally the head of Kafin Madaki, but is now not in control of that territory. I as a traditional title holder, would be happy to see Baba, a technocrat, provide Gov. Mohammed with a non partisan solution that has embroiled our districts and the indiscriminate appointments that has destabilished our traditional institution.
Bauchi is the most complex society to govern – politically, traditionally, and economically. Graciously enough, Gov. Mohammed has equipped himself with a head of administration that can harness a lot of human and economic capital, which Bauchi urgently needs. Mohammed has taken the first shot right, including the settlement of the May and April salaries. He has defined that his government is ready to work and has ready personnel like Baba in his arsenal to take the right decisions and provide innovation and experience. As Gov. Mohammed reloads to launch his next move, Bauchi is foremost on our minds and we pray that he maintains the course and succeeds, for indeed the success is for us all to reap from.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.