Bauchi: Hurdles Before Abubakar | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bauchi: Hurdles Before Abubakar

Posted: Jun 9, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Patience Ogbodo-Iwuagwu  –   Bauchi


Friday, May 29, 2015, marked another mile stone in the history of Bauchi State following the swearing in of Barrister Mohammed Abubkar as the 5th Governor of the state. Governor Abubakar of All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated Hon. Auwal Jatau of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last April elections.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, was full to its capacity as Governor Mohammed Abubakar and his Deputy Engineer Nuhu Gidado took the oath of office which was administered by the state Acting Chief Judge, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar.

In his inaugural speech, Mohammed Abubakar disclosed that his administration met an empty treasury from the Peoples Democratic Party administration of Isa Yuguda.

He appealed to traditional, religious, and community leaders in the state to educate the people on the economic condition of Bauchi State, adding, “people will have to give us time to correct all wrongs perpetrated by the PDP administration. The people have to understand and be patient with us because it’s not going to be an easy task. I want to assure the people of Bauchi State that we are equal to the task of bringing out the state out of the woods.

The Governor in his maiden broadcast revealed that his administration inherited a debt of over N125b, lamenting “the situation we found ourselves is disturbing.”

He said: “From interim reports and findings, the legacies that have been bequeathed to us as a new government are those that require us to inject huge efforts with regards to restoration of the governance system. The previous government literally lived at the expense of Bauchi State’s populace for the last 8 years and has today accrued liabilities for which they will be remembered. The debt profile include domestic and foreign loans, contractual liabilities, gratuity areas for both state and local governments as well as salary arrears.”

He lamented that his administration is in serious problem as they are faced with how to source money to procure fertilizers for farmers, pay outstanding of over N572m Government subsidy in accommodation of pilgrims for this year’s Hajj operations.

He added: “We are in quagmire as it requires a whooping sum of N5.2b to upset the salaries of civil servants for the month of April and May among others. This administration is inheriting a social sector that has been in utter neglect in the last eight years but I assure that thus administration would everything possible to reverse the situation.

“On the other hand and from records available so far, a total of about N864b excluding ecological fund has accrued to Bauchi state in the last 8 years. Yet rather than discussing consolidation upon gains, a new leadership in Bauchi state sourcing means to commence the initial stages of basic development in the huge of indebtedness, poor human capital and deteriorating environmental conditions.

“Presently, the treasury of Bauchi state has next to nothing of accessible funds. This is quite disturbing. It is disturbing because as an administration, we will be faced with the needs of the people.”

Despite the huge debt, Governr Abubakar promised to focus on delivering visible value in the social sector, constituting programs for human capital development, improvement of social living conditions, optimizing utility and infrastructure services, general security, health and educational sectors.

“By way of immediate action, we have mapped out areas of direction under our Quick Win Programmes; it is our ardent desire to focus on tackling the menace of youth restiveness, the poor, and disturbing environmental Sanitaion, corrupt practices, dysfunctional civil services in the state,” he said.

The Governor disclosed that his administration will set up Youths Development Centres in each of the Senatorial zones that will be manned by skill trainee as well as ensure an end to indolence and ghost personnel syndrome in the civil service.

His words: “We intend to commence work from this day to maximize the value that can be drawn from decaying systems while we strive to introduce interim measures to improve same. We will focus on delivering visible value in the social sector, constituting programs for human capital development, improvement of social living conditions, optimizing utility and infrastructure services, enhancing social and general security and delivering improved coverage and quality in the health and educational sectors.”

Abubakar said his administration would focus on ways and means to jump start the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive, noting that “our administration is committed to enhancing sound and financial Management, revenue generation, and fiscal responsibility practices.”

On corrupt practices, Abubakar vowed not to leave any stone unturned to ensure that public funds and property frittered away will  be recovered and returned back to the coffers of the state government.

He announced the frozen of all governments accounts in every bank saying “all pending financial transactions and instruments are hereby suspended. However, MDA’s that are charged with essential services may and can formally apply for from my office.”

Continuing, he stated: “As a mark of leadership by example I hereby offer to reduce the salary to be earned by the Deputy Governor and myself by 50 percent. This is our promise to the people of Bauchi State and this is the bond for which we shall be held to account.”

A section of people in the state believe that Governor Abubakar has a big task ahead of him following the rot in the last administration of PDP. According to them, most governors at the assumption of office would make thousands of promises like Isa Yuguda did in 2007 but unfortunately left the state in a mess at the end of 8 years.

They expressed worry over the inability of the new administration of governor Abubakar to appoint any aides, including SSG and Chief of Staff after one week of assumption of office, attributing it to leadership crisis in APC over appointment.

Only time will tell if Governor Abubakaar will be able to restore the lost glory of Bauchi State and revived the pride of the people.