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By Sulaiman Maijama’a

One fateful night in 2018, we travelled to Bauchi from Kano in a commercial car. We arrived at the metropolis around 10pm. Guess what. Like a remote village, the town was dark with poor road network and potholed road system, provoking all the people in our car (most of whom were none indegenes of Bauchi) to burst into making ridicule of the state. Being an indegene, it was, to me, paining but truth be told, if justice were to prevail, one could not point and accusing finger to them, because what was obvious then was not commensurate with what is called a state capital.

With the coming of Senator Bala Mohammed in 2019 as the executive governor of Bauchi state, the state was liberated from the shackles of inept ruling. The lofty dream and hope of the kind of leadership people deserve was revived.  Three years down the line, governor Bala Mohammed has broken the mould of political leadership in terms of socio-economic, infrastructural and political development of the state. Anyone from anywhere who was last in Bauchi state three years ago and he now returns may not navigate his way, because the amazing metamorphosis the state is undergoing, is beyond recognition.

It could be remembered that Bala Muhammad was sworn in as the democratically elected executive governor of Bauchi state on 29 May, 2019, under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Despite the challenges posed by the previous administration, the beginning of his tenure was perfect and quite auspicious. When he took over the mantle of leadership of the state, the governor without squandering of time, swung into action with a view to justifying the confidence reposed in him by the electorate.

ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Since his first 100 days in office, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed proved to be a game changer and a beacon of hope when he flagged off road construction of about 90 kilometers spread across the state, worth about N5 billion. Today, if one is to aggregate the number of infrastructural projects so far executed in the state and divide them by the number of days within three years (1095 day), they will discover that, there is no single day that passed on without a project since Bala Mohammed assumed responsibility as the executive governor of Bauchi state.

Before Bala Mohammed (Ƙauran Bauchi) came on board, to drive from Sabon Kaura to Miri was a nightmare as there was no one inch of tarred road; the yearnings of the residents of the area to have the road, had always proved abortive, so much so that, they attempted raising funds to construct the road themselves. Today, there is a gleaming road, named after President Goodluck Jonathan, constructed by the governor since within his first 100 days in office. This has eased the transportation burden hitherto experienced by the surrounding communities.

Similarly, the abandoned CBN roundabout to railway roundabout road project, which crippled business activities to the extent that all filing stations on the road were shut down, was completed within the shortest possible time. This is a project that took the previous administration four years without anything to write home about.

Also among the projects awarded within his first 100 days, were 58-kilometer road linking Yalwan Duguri, Badaran Dutse, Birim, Bajama, Kumbala, Kundak, Wurno and Burga communities of Tafawa Balewa and Alkaleri local governments; Sade to Akuyam in Misau local government as well as GRA Azare to old Kano road in Katagum local government area of the state. Moreso, Raji quarters to NITEL road, Gombe to Maiduri bye-pass were all completed. These among other earlier projects were seen as glad tidings to the dividends of Democracy the governor had resolved to bring and had indicated how perfect and auspicious the start of his administration was.

Who would have ever assumed that, there would be a time when people’s houses would be cleared and a road be constructed from MudaLawal Market to Bakin Kura to Malam Goje? From MudaLawal Market to Malam Goje was a long process journey; one would have to follow Bakin Kura street down to Tashan Babiye before he gets there, or alternatively take Kofar Ran route to Ajiya Adamu road, down to Malam Goje. But today, it is a straight forward journey, which takes a few minutes.  Beyond easing transportation, these roads mean a lot to the economic development of the people of the area.

Yet another breakthrough the Former FCT Minister has made, is the construction of 3 kilometer Gwam-gwam-gwam to Bakaro to Kafar Dumi road, 1.7 Kilometer Tambari Housing Estate to Sabon Kaura road, 370 Meter roads network at the newly constructed Hajj Camp.

Being a highly experienced technocrat who has traversed the different political evolutions, in his inaugural speech on 29 May, 2019, the Former FCT Minister boldly expressed his resolve to bury religious and regional as well as political party distinctuon and work objectively as a unifier with the interest of Nigeria first. . This is not unconnected with why his projects are objectively awarded in both the state capital and other senatorial zones.

Within three years, out of patriotism for progress, Ƙauran Bauchi completed 6.5 Kilometer Tafawa Balewa, Shira, Jama’are road; 11.6 Kilometer Boi-Tapshin road; 11.2 Kilometer Bogoro-Lusar-Malar road; 2.65 Bununu township roads; 2.5 Kilometer Sade township road; 25.5 Kilometer Udubo-Gamawa road and Warji-Gwaram road.

Other road projects include the 3 Kilometer Disina road and Disina township road; Azare township road; the 5 Kilometer Alkaleri-Gwaram-Gokaru road and Burga-Duguri road. These are not all!  There are recently awarded ones, currently under construction and some of which have reached an appreciable stage. 

It is now on record that Bauchi is the state with the biggest permanent hajj camp in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, equipped with befitting facilities. The N725 Million project is part of the desire of Governor Bala Mohammed’s administration to improve the quality of life of the people of the state as both Muslim and Christian faithful will use the camp, given the fact that they have different timings for the transportation of their pilgrims. The camp is 100 per cent completed and started operations.

ON EDUCATION

As the saying goes “no society can develop beyond its level of education.” In order to resuscitate the lost glory of education in Bauchi, immediately he came in, Governor Bala through Commissioner of Education, Dr. Aliyu Tilde introduced digital attendance whereby fingerprint devices replaced attendance registry booklets. This was meant to easily track workers’ attendance and to discourage absenteeism among primary and secondary school teachers as well as weed out ghost workers.This development followed a discovery where about 53.5% of workers were found to exhibit truancy which had cost the education sector greatly.

Governor Bala also earlier in his first year, flagged off the disbursement of five Hundred Thousand Naira to each of the 1,320 schools in five Local Government Areas of the state, who are the beneficiaries of the Schools Improvement Project grants, a World Bank project. He also provided 6.7 hectares of land for the construction of Northeast UBEC Model School in Bauchi so as to fast track the execution of the project. And with the commitment of the governor towards overcoming the challenges facing the sector, Bauchi State Government secured the award of three million US Dollars for the implementation of Better Education Service Delivery for All, a federal government project

In order to provide condusive environment for teaching and learning, Senator Bala hit the ground running by embarking upon renovation of Primary, Junior and Senior Secondary Schools that were in dilapidated condition. Some of the renovated Schools within Bauchi metropolis include Baba Sidi Primary School, Dutsen Tanshi Primary School, GDSS Zannuwa, Dawaki Primary School, GDSS Kofar Wambai, Government Comprehensive Day Secondary School, GJSS Model Fadamar Mada among others across the State.

In Dass Local Government, Kagadama (A); Bagel Primary School; Baden (B) Primary School; Bagel (B), Galadima; Darussalam (B) and Kagadama (B) Primary School are among the schools renovated. Additionally, to ensure that women are not educationally lagged behind, women education centers in Kirfi, Katagum, Jama’are, Ningi, Dass and Misau local government areas, were renovated.

Similarly, renovation and construction of blocks of classrooms has taken place in various Primary Schools in Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro, Darazo, Gamawa, Tatagum, Ganjuwa, Misau, Dambam, Alkaleri, Toro, Kirfi, Warji, Shira, Zaki, Giade, Ningi and other local government areas across the state.

In the same vein, the governor has recently, through Bauchi State Scholarship Board, disbursed scholarship to indegene students of Bauchi state studying in tertiary institutions across the country. These are all a testimony to the passion and dedication of the Governor to education.

ON HEALTH

“Health is first and health is wealth.” When Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed assumed responsibility as the executive governor of Bauchi state, he immediately sought a stronger and sustained collaboration with the World Health Organization and over 20 other International Development Partners and Donor Agencies working in the state. This collaboration had yielded a positive result, which included the actualization of a robust infrastructure for polio eradication and immunization, fight against Tuberculosis, Leprosy project and other diseases. 

Moreover, Senator Bala has renovated and completed the State’s College of Nursing and Midwifery. The College was built to stand the test of time, equipped with sophisticated facilities and provided with necessary infrastructure for the smooth operations.

Similarly, the present administration under the able leadership of Senator Bala Mohammed has renovated 126 primary health care centers in bauchi, constructed 12 new world class hospitals and a primary health care center in Dorawar Dillalai, Bauchi. Additionally, a number of general hospitals across 6 local government areas are currently under renovation.

On the issue of perpetual power supply in Hospitals in Bauchi state which was bedevilling the smooth conduct of medical affairs, the Governor has changed the narrative by ensuring 24hr uninterrupted power supply in all Public Hospitals across the state with a view to enhancing effective health care delivery.

With the coming of the Covid-19 pandemic, considering the difficulties being experienced by health officials in tackling the virus, where sample had to be taken to Abuja and later to Plateau for testing, Governor Bala Mohammed struggled all he could in collaboration with the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to actualize a Molecular Laboratory in the State for testing of COVID-19, Lassa fever, Yellow fever and other hemorrhagic diseases. This development, henceforth, brought to an end the daunting tasks and the challenges of taking Covid-19 samples to Abuja and Jos.

ON AGRICULTURE

In his determined strides to boost agriculture in bauchi and actualise food security in the state, Governor Bala launched an agricultural policy document covering key sub-sectors of agriculture such as irrigation development, quality supply, crop pest and disease control, commodity livestock and fisheries development among others. To complement this, the governor is committing a huge sum of money to the procurement of farming needs including pesticides and enhanced seedlings which will yield more produce to the farmers.

On annual basis, the governor procures over 18,000 metric tonnes of assorted fertilizer for farming season and he has always directed the state fertiliser blending company to sell the commodity at a subsidised price and directly to the farmers to save them from the trouble of shylock marketers. This unprecedented development attracted the attention of Farmers in Bauchi state to express explicitly their support to the newly introduced revolving scheme of distribution of fertilizer during the farming season.

ON ECONOMY

The former FCT Minister in his impeccable efforts to revitalise the economy of his State, created an enabling environment for private sector organizations to take advantage that exists on the global market for both unprocessed and semi-processed agricultural products abound in the State. And many people across the country and beyond have shown commitment and willingness, in view of the efforts of the Governor’s readiness to provide them with all necessary assistance to make them more resilient to boost the economy of the state to eventually become competitive globally.

Additionally, Senator Bala, through Kaura Economic Empowerment Project (KEEP), procured hundreds of transportation vehicles and thousands of Keke Napep. This has greatly impacted positively on the economy and transportation industry in the state. Through KEEP, empowerment packages amounting to hundreds of millions of naira are distributed to business owners and many small-scale businesses have grown and blossomed.

ON HOUSING SCHEME

In order to address the terrible condition of civil servants and low-income earners, Governor Bala immediately he came on board, inaugurated the construction of 2500 housing units across the 6 emirate councils of the state, among which included the construction of 30 units of 2-bedroom Bungalow, 20 units of 3-bedroom at Azare; construction of 600 units of 2-bedroom Bungalow and 400 units of 3-bedroom at Dungal, Bauchi.

Others are 120 units of 2-bedroom and 80 units of 3-bedroom Bungalow in Misau; construction of 21 units of 2-bedroom Bungalow and 14 units of 3-bedroom in Dass. Ningi and Jama’are were also not left out; in Ningi, the governor constructed 120 units of 2-bedroom and 80 units of 3-bedroom, while Jama’are secured 40 units of 2-bedroom and 28 units of 3-bedroom.

ON WATER PROJECT

As the saying goes “water is life”, the Bauchi Government, under Bala Mohammed, in collaboration with the World Bank, executed a N20 billion water projects to boost water supply in Bauchi metroplis. Part of the projects was the distribution of a 150-kilometre pipeline within the Bauchi metropolitan, the laying of 1,000-millimetre diameter transmission mains from Gubi dam to Warinje reservoir and construction of seven million-litre reservoir at Buzaye Hill.

The project is completed 100 per cent and and was recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Managing Director of the State Water Corporation, Aminu Aliyu Gital put the number of beneficiaries at 707,000. This project meets the domestic, industrial, commercial and institutional requirements.

ON ELECTRICITY

The track record of Bala Mohammed receives nothing less than appreciation and approbation. The dream of people of Takanda village, Toro local government area; Sade in Darazo and Nasaru, Ningi local local government, of having power supply in their villages has come to reality with the coming the workaholic governor Bala.

Moreso, there was extension of electricity supply to Inkil, Mara Huta, Sabon Layi and Baraya Quarters in Bauchi as well as Maje Community in Ningi and Magama Gumau in Toro local government area. This has transformed living standard of the people of those areas from grass to grace.

Indeed, journey so far so good. Senator Bala Mohammed has justified the confidence reposed in him, met the huge expectations of Bauchi people. No regret.

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