Monday, September 27, 2021

Jigawa @ 30: Badaru and the way forward

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By Jaafaru M. Kaugama

What started as a herculean task of building a state from grass to grace, from arid plains and hilly countryside to bustling towns, is becoming a reality. Jigawa State is now on the pedestal of growth, courtesy of at least two purposeful administrations of Governors Sule Lamido and Badaru Abubakar.

The creation of Jigawa State on August 27, 1991, and siting the capital at Dutse by President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida had shocked not only the indigenes of the state but the entire nation, and caused great disaffection among its people.

Summing up the achievements of the past leaders, from Col. Olayinka Sule, Ali Sa’ad Birninkudu, Brigadier-General Ibrahim Aliyu, Col. Rasheed Shekoni, Lt. Col. Abubakar Zakari Maimalari to Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, the state got little to beat its chest in terms of development.

Sule Lamido inherited an agrarian state that was economically backward, educationally disadvantaged, and its people sharply divided. In virtually all indices of development, Jigawa State lagged behind.

In his first term in office, Lamido seemed to have prioritized education by constructing over 1,000 fully-furnished classrooms across the state, establishing 21 new junior secondary schools, as well as 216 nomadic schools across the state and establishing a university. Lamido also did a lot in infrastructural development and other areas to put the state on the pedestal of growth.

When Muhammad Badaru Abubakar won election as governor of Jigawa State in 2015, he made a powerful statement that gave hope that the new Sherriff in town will take the state to the promised land and built from where Lamido stopped irrespective of their party affiliations.

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Exactly in April 2015, Badaru said; “The broad based policy thrust of our government will focus on security of lives and property, education and human capital development, water & sanitation and primary healthcare, youth employment, women empowerment, and poverty alleviation through agriculture and agro-allied processing.”

Based on the aforementioned statement, Badaru has proved his mettle as one of the silent achievers, who are more focused on achieving results, than making the headlines on fictitious or ‘eye-service’ projects.

When Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo recently visited Jigawa State to commission some projects on July 1, 2021, the VP was apparently astonished with the numerous projects executed by the governor.

Within just six years, the governor has indeed positively responded to the yearnings and aspirations of the people of Jigawa State to bring development to the nascent state that now stands out among its tricenarian counterparts in the Northern and Southern parts of the country.

A focus on Badaru’s six years in office would give the reader the impression that the governor has done tremendously well in developing Jigawa. From healthcare development, infrastructure, education, agriculture, civil service reform, Governor Badaru has recorded successes, a record that would not easily be broken by his successors.

The first things he did when he assumed office was to boost the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, in a bid to source funds from within, that will enable him augment federal allocations and execute more projects.

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Governor Badaru met the state revenue regime at N2,343,974,525.10 in 2015, but, by 2019, the state’s IGR skyrocketed N8,536,371,114.59.

On Civil Service reform, Governor Badaru removed 4,888 ghost workers on payroll, making the government to be saving N90,194,00 every month.

With the slogan “Farming is a Business”, the governor was able to galvanize the people, particularly the youths, into agriculture hitherto beset with a myriad of challenges – age-old model of subsistence agriculture characterized by small-farm holdings, high-level drudgery, inadequate extension services, ineffective response to periodic pest and disease outbreaks and inadequate access to high quality agricultural inputs.

This created an uncompetitive environment with low productivity, leaving the farmers wallowing in abject penury. This is despite the huge comparative advantage enjoyed by the state, including its 1.8 million hectares of cultivable land with over 0.4 million hectares of this being fertile FADAMA suitable for all-year round cultivation and huge reservoir of water and able-bodied youths.

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Badaru administration’s first point of action was to develop an all-encompassing agricultural policy and master plan that will provide a platform for transforming the agricultural landscape to impact on the local economy through improved productivity and value addition in production and post-harvest processing.

At inception in 2015, Badaru met challenges ranging from infrastructural deficit, low enrolment figures, poor quality teachers, poor learning outcomes, high number of out of school children and paucity of instructional materials compounded by absence of policy support and resources.

Under Badaru’s Education Change Agenda, 6,679 classrooms were constructed and renovated, 5,963 school office furniture provided, 1,992 bunk beds for boarding schools, as well as 185,086 classroom furniture.

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Additionally, the governor had provided 516 Islamiyya schools across the 27 local government areas of the state. This is in addition to provision of 254 staff houses, 6 administrative blocks, 8 JSS hostels and 4,746 toilet cubicles in schools across the state.

As at September 2020, the administration had constructed 1,537 km of roads in the state. The roads comprised both the 716.5km roads inherited from the immediate past administration of  Sule Lamido and the new 820.6km roads awarded by his administration, comprising regional, feeder and township roads across different parts of the state.

The governor inherited 15 regional, 7 rural and 20 township roads with about N88billion outstanding balance for completing the projects. As a businessman with unique bargaining prowess, the governor was able to break down the cost by a whopping N7billion!

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Another critical area that received huge attention by Governor Badaru is youth development. Nobody could deny the fact that youths have become Badaru’s darling in view of his tremendous commitment to them since assuming power in 2015. Statistics have shown that about 152, 593 youths have benefited from thousands of empowerment schemes from 2015-2020 of Badaru’s administration.

It is apparent that the secret to our success so far is quality leadership. The current leadership should do its best to avoid throwing the state into the hands of selfish or incompetent leaders, who will draw us back to the doldrums.

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