By Muhammad Dan Maryamu
When Malam Isa Yuguda, the immediate past governor of Bauchi state was putting in his best to improve our living condition, we erroneously rated his administration clueless and directionless until he exited we had course to regret.
It was few months after the exit of Yuguda, we started to realize the danger ahead when the Grand master of retrogression and deceit took over. A governor who pilots the affairs of government with deceit and falsehood and goes to bed satisfied. A governor that believes he has the monopoly of knowledge with just a common Masters Degree. A leader, that hardly differentiates between poor and good service delivery. A governor, that takes pride in aimless globetrotting at public expense.
Any keen follower of happenings in Bauchi State in the last three years would be asking by now: ‘what exactly is wrong in the state?’ talking of the appalling scandals, the plundered finances, the total lack of direction in governance, the raw greed on display, the unprecedented corruption, the worsening poverty and unemployment levels, the widespread public despair and loss of confidence in the governor and the government, and the downright cluelessness and incompetence on display with pride of arrogance and pomposity.
Worse, this brand of incompetence is almost beyond redemption, as it is bred by a gross deficiency in public relation and human feeling. For three years and counting, our destiny has been held hostage by a government that is led with incompetence surrounded by smarter educated, half-educated and stark illiterate politicians and hawks that are taking advantage to skew government policy and public fund to their greedy advantage.
Some say the present state leadership has only come to power to boost personal whims and of course to restore the paltry amount probably lost during the campaign although, most of it was ‘donated’ by outside financiers including Atiku Abubakar (PDP Presidential flag bearer).
Now the seat of power has provided the governor with ample access to state resources to travel around the world and see those places he had lost hope of visiting ever in his over 60 years of existence. If the assumption is true, the self-actualization mission is already taking a heavy toll on the welfare, wellbeing and security of at least 4.8million Bauchi state residents. It is now public knowledge that at present, Bauchi state is governed by a committee of three governors: an insatiable ‘business’ front, a notoriously certified corrupt politician, and an absentee executive governor that is everything except being in-charge constitutionally. Nothing under the sun can change this status quo for now except a change in leadership; and Allah bears witness that no good news can come out of Bauchi state as long as this committee remains in power.
What Bauchi state has experienced in the last three years is an ungodly effort by a government to fill so many greedy pockets with public funds. Now in just three years, the greedy pockets cannot give an account of a larger part of the over N350billion including other funds receipted not made public. Never before has a set of hungry and kwashiorkor infested politicians been unleashed on Bauchi state than in this clime. Now the state’s treasury is free for all, but for a price under the acting Accountant-General who has a good record of sharp corrupt practices.
At present, none of the state’s, over 20 general Hospitals can afford a common syringe or an ordinary pain killer like Paracetamol, or run the generator for two hours, or purchase insecticide treated nets for patients, or boast of pipe borne water. For instance, the most important General Hospital in the state, Bauchi Specialist Hospital provided by Yuguda, has been neglected without portable water, steady electricity supply etc. Now patients are forced to purchase water from water vendors that wheel it around the hospital premises particularly in the mornings and evenings. Every resident of Bauchi state dreads, having to take a relative or loved-one to the mosquito-infested General Hospitals that have not been fumigated since the inception of the M.A Abubakar administration.
Every patient or caregiver that spends two or more days in any of the General Hospitals is sure of a malaria infection afterwards. Doing justice to this piece is taking a silent visit to any of the General hospitals especially at nights where during the hot season patients and their relations are compelled by the lack of electricity to wheel their beds outside the wards to pass a night as ready-made dinner for waiting mosquitoes. This may be beyond the control of the State’s Hospitals Management Board but for the Governor who would rather allocate hundreds of millions for the renovation of his already renovated official residence, VIP 8, Ramat House, residences of his ADC, Chief Detail and CSO than give a damn about the ordinary resident of Bauchi state who may be dying for lack of basic amenities.
Even worse are the Primary Health Centres in remote areas far from public view where the health department receives less than N100,000.00 to maintain all the PHCs in the 20 local governments monthly. Despite the billions allotted in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets, neither the rehabilitation of the General Hospitals nor Gubi water supply scheme was done. In fact, even the renovation of the few township roads that were ongoing in the state have been halted till further notice for reasons best known to the administration.
This cycle of godlessness is replicated in all other sectors of the state and its economy, like the education sector where billions have so far been released for the so-called renovation of schools, particularly schools that are within the view of passersby. But in actual fact, most of the schools are merely re-roofed and repainted, and after the rainy season, the paint is washed away and, with it, the colossus amount ‘spent’ on the painting. Elsewhere in the so-called renovated schools, most of the chairs, desks, doors and windows have broken down within one year. The poor quality of work is a sad narrative that permeates all sectors in Bauchi state since May 29, 2015; like the roads sector, with the embarrassing example of the mere renovation of a 4-kilometre Bauchi CBN roundabout – Railway roundabout at over N2.6billion allegedly jerked to over N4billion but still abandoned. The Awalah roundabout – Miri village renovation with some peculiar sections of the road completed but far below standard. It was the same road the President was deceived to commission during his official visit. The road has deep pot-holes that get wider daily. A worst case scenario is the uncompleted rehabilitation of the Misau – Hardawa road where the already applied tar was washed away in less than six months. Out of sympathy and concern to road users, communities along the uncompleted Awalah – Miri village have resorted to sand-filling the pot-holes which is as durable as renovations.
The M.A Abubakar administration in the state rode to power on the promise of positive change in governing style; but to the electorate’s shock, the only visible hallmark of change in Bauchi state from 2015- date are the exotic mansions and ostentatious living styles of party and state government officials with funds suspiciously looted and or stolen, possession of choice property and land in Abuja, Bauchi, Kano etc. A notorious policy that facilitated this is the illegal allocation of lands and government property in the state to family, sycophants, friends and cronies of the government whose main assignment is to twist glaring facts of cluelessness to fiction on the social media platform.
The crop of greedy politicians at every echelon of the administration are defined by their gluttonous impulse for primitive accumulation such that most high ranking political appointees in the government if properly tried can be imprisoned for theft, criminal conspiracy and breach of public trust especially as it relates to the Federal Government Schools Feeding system. What is happening to the aid donated by good Samaritans to victims of the windstorm that ravaged several homes in Bauchi, Azare etc? No news. The most dangerous implication of this variety of bad governance is that money meant to improve public welfare is never accounted for, except in the opulent and indulgent lifestyle of public officials at the expense of public welfare and security.
On the other side of the divide are hundreds of thousands of political thugs, hooligans and other restless youths, whose number is increasing daily, from recruitment by aides of the governor and as a result of the non-payment of Senior School Certificate Examination fees to students who cannot afford to pay and the non-payment of scholarship allowances since 2015 to students in tertiary institutions. Such policies have ultimately bred a mass of angry and unemployed youths who have lost hope in education and found meaning in political thuggery, hooliganism, armed robbery, banditry and other crimes. Youths and their parents have completely lost confidence in the government even politicians have become wary of campaigning in certain areas for fear of organized attacks by the aggrieved.
The M.A Abubakar administration found itself in power in 2015 by no credibility of it, but by the whirl wind of President Buhari, Yakubu Dogara, Ibrahim Lame, Garba Gadi, Capt. Bala Jibrin, Ibrahim Zailani, Muhammed A. Muhammed, Sanin Malam, Maitama Tugga, Bappa Aliyu Misau etc by virtue of their good names and the goodwill they enjoy from the mass of the people.
President Buhari had personally appealed to the people of Bauchi state to support the current leadership of the state in 2015 and it is normal to give an asylum seeker a chance, especially someone that promised accountability, good governance and positive change. But when the President’s trust and our mandate are betrayed so recklessly, and an allocation of over N350billion cannot be justified with even completed projects worth N2billion in over three years, and the treasury being gang-raped while the taxpayers are deprived of even basic social services, then President Buhari and the APC should dissociate themselves from this ignoble journey and help the over 4.8million people to clean the mess by reclaiming the state from this committee of three governors that have placed the state on the path of ruin. If M.A Abubakar is declared the gubernatorial flag bearer of APC in 2019, that shall be good news to opposition as the people would have no option than to shift post to where the problems of the state can best be attended and solved.
Dan Maryamu sent this piece from Bauchi