Elections: The choice before Bauchi People, by Turaki Hassan 

Turaki Hassan
Turaki Hassan

The main reason for the existence of government in any society and at any level is for good governance, security and welfare of the people. This is summed up in just two words and one phrase: Social Order.

Coming home, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in section 14 states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. This means that everything Governments and their agents do or should do is to advance that cause; nothing more, nothing less.

However, in Nigeria, bad leadership has been identified as the bane of our development. This is not to generalise, however.

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Given the nature and structure of power that is shared vertically and horizontally in Nigeria in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, no doubt, states and their governors are vested with enormous powers and resources, which if judiciously utilized, can change the fortune of their people.

Regrettably, the third tier of government, the local government, has been emasculated and annexed as part of the state with their monthly revenue allocation being cornered by the states.

It is, thus, expected that with such huge resources at their disposals, state governments should be able to bring unprecedented development to their people.

Unfortunately, with the exception of a few whose performance have been exceptional, majority of the states have not been able to live up to expectations of their people.

This, therefore, results in increased demands for dividends of democracy from legislators who are primarily elected to make laws and not to execute projects like the executive.

Today, in many rural communities across the country, legislators’ Constituency projects such as motorized boreholes, blocks of class rooms, primary health care centers, etc, are the only visible presence of government.

Sadly, Bauchi falls into this awful category of what can be termed as failed states.

A recent report by the United Nation’s Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF, indicates that more than 13 million children are out of school in Nigeria majority of whom are in the North East and North West. Of this number, more than 1.3 million are in Bauchi state which happens to be the highest.

In 2018, Nigeria set a world record by becoming the poverty capital of the world with about 100 million people living in abject poverty and penury. Again, a report by the World Bank concluded that  poverty is a northern phenomenon.

Even in the north, the north east is arguably the poverty capital of Nigeria and Bauchi state is said to be the poorest of the poor.

A five year research into the economy of the state revealed that the total value of the goods in the entire markets in Bauchi state is around N6 billion which is not up to 1/5 of the capital of an average  rice merchant in Lagos.

Similarly, another research revealed that the money in savings accounts of the people of the entire six states of the north east namely Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe is just about 50 percent of the total deposits in bank accounts of people of Bayelsa state which is the smallest state in Nigeria.

Thus, in Bauchi state the situation was further worsened by the fact that efforts by well-meaning leaders, including federal lawmakers, to attract projects and programmes to the state have either been frustrated or stopped by the Bauchi State government in the last four years.

It is public knowledge that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara, along with his colleagues in the National Assembly, have been having a  running battle with the Bauchi State government over projects they attracted or facilitated to their constituencies and the state at large.

One wonders how a true, sincere and patriotic leader, or a governor that loves and cares for his citizens will block such laudable projects and programmes from being implemented in his state for the benefit of the very people he claims to lead.

Unfortunately, what is played in Bauchi is dirty and retrogressive politics. People can disagree politically but when it comes to issues of progress and development which will benefit the masses, why should anyone in their right senses oppose that?

This has been the new order in Bauchi State where Governor Mohammed Abduallahi Abubakar has consistently blocked the execution of projects and programmes attracted or facilitated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or his colleagues in the National Assembly.

For instance, the Speaker procured three ambulances for the three general hospitals in Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa based on requests from the people as the hospitals have been without any ambulance but the state government stopped the chief medical directors from taking delivery. The communities had to collect and manage it.

Similarly, he facilitated construction of market in Dass local government area but the state government chased away the contractors and stopped the work. Hon Dogara had to purchase a piece of land where he built the market.

In the same vein, the Speaker’s wife, Gimbiya Dogara, through her NGO, Sun of Hope Foundation, procured Hepatitis B vaccines to vaccinate all secondary school students in the three local governments areas in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health following a report which indicated that there is a high prevalence of the viral infection among teenagers in the area. Unfortunately, the state government sent a team led by the commissioner of health that impounded the vaccines.

Again, the Speaker facilitated provisions of chairs, tables, desks, exercise books, 16,000 text books in various subjects for distribution to primary and secondary schools in his constituency but the state government wrote a circular stopping headmasters and principals from receiving or taking deliveries of the items in their schools.

This angered parents in some of the communities who, under the Parents Teachers Association, collected the items and distributed to schools while others that couldn’t garner the courage to do so lost out.

As I write this, there are 10,000 more text books yet to be collected by these communities.

Another pathetic case is that of Dass Central mosque renovation which was also facilitated by the Speaker on request from the community. However, no sooner than when work started, the Bauchi State governor sent security agents to not only stop it but they also chased away the contractors on the silly excuse that he will get it done. Weeks and months have passed without fulfilling his promise. The rains came and people couldn’t pray inside the mosque. Sadly, some paid minions of the state government went to town to allege that Hon Dogara, being a Christian, intentionally got the roof of the mosque removed and abandoned the work so that Muslims won’t pray there again.

Afterwards, Hon Dogara got some elders in Dass to set up an appeal fund for the renovation of the mosque and using that window, he donated the money that was used to do the work without the knowledge of the state governor who failed to deliver on his promises.

Similarly, Governor Abubakar stopped the reconstruction of Bununu Central Mosque embarked upon by Hon Dogara and even threatened to depose their monarch if he allowed the work continue. On hearing that, the neighboring Bar community approached the Speaker and requested that their mosque should be renovated and today it has been completed while that of Bununu is still in a very sorry state.

At a point, the Hon Dogara had to officially write and seek intervention of His Royal Highness Sultan Muhammad Saad Abubakar III when the governor stopped renovation of mosques in the constituency and even led to the suspension of the district head of Dull who insisted that the mosque in his domain should renovated see: https://www.legit.ng/1106647-dogara-writes-sultan-gov-abubakar-stops-renovating-mosques-bauchi.html

Only recently, Hon Dogara facilitated the award of contract for the construction of Bagel/Zungur Dam in Dass Local Government area which was abandoned since the second republic. The dam would provide water to most of Bauchi South and neighbouring communities in Plateau State.

Additionally, power turbines would also be installed to generate electricity that would power Southern Bauchi and parts of Plateau State. The Bureau for Public Procurement had already issued a certificate of no objection but regrettably, the Bauchi State Governor approached the Federal government and requested that the project should not be awarded because Hon Dogara would get the credit for facilitating it.

Back in 2016, Hon Dogara got a team of medical personnel under the auspices of ‘Doctors on the Move Africa’ to offer free medical services, including surgeries to his constituents and they needed to use the general hospitals in the local government areas as venue but the state government wrote a circular to all chief medical directors warning them from granting access to the team. Thus, they had to move to the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital in Bauchi which became the venue for the exercise th attracted over 50,000 patients from Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, and Plateau States and has been done four times so far.

Indeed, time and space would not permit me to mention or list out all the examples of how Bauchi State government under Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar deliberately blocked and frustrated execution of laudable and people oriented projects and programmes facilitated by the Speaker and some of his colleagues in the National Assembly.

But, the day of reckoning is here and the choice is now left for the ever- progressive people of Bauchi state.  They have the power in their vote to chart a new future for themselves and their children.

Mr Hassan is the Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.