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BAUCHI: Appraising Governor Abubakar’s First 100 Days In Office, By Musa Azare

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BAUCHI: Appraising Governor Abubakar’s First 100 Days In Office, By Musa Azare

NEWISSUES, Abuja

am writing this appraisal at the risk of incurring the wrath of
political hirelings, griots and attack dogs that are warming up,
waiting for public commentators to feast on. These favour seeking
charlatans have apparently forget the political norm of appraising
governments after their first one hundred days in office in order to
determine the level of preparedness of leaders to brace up for the
challenges of governance that may have been bequeathed to them by
their predecessors.

The first one hundred days are very significant because it is a period
in a lifetime of a government during which its popularity, power and
influence are at their peak. As such, it is the best period used even
by governments themselves, to measure successes and accomplishments
and chart a clearer path for the effective delivery of their mandates.
The administration of Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar cannot be
an exception to this norm.

Since May 29th, 2015 after its inauguration, the administration of
Governor Abubakar has being enmeshed in series of scandalous
misadventures, the result of which is a dwindling popularity across
the length and breadth of the state. Some of the yet to be resolved
scandals of the administration within the period under review are
enumerated below;

The N565 Million Question:

Immediately after its inauguration on April 22nd, 2015 by the then
Governor-elect Mohammed Abubakar, the Bauchi State Transition
Committee was reported by online news medium 247ureports.com, to have
allegedly sought and collected a whooping N565 Million from the
outgoing administration of Malam Isa Yuguda for the purpose of
executing its work. The medium further alleged that the lump sum was
collected by the Committee’s Secretary Aliyu U. Tilde and transferred
it to the account of the then Governor-elect.

However, this allegation was debunked by the Bauchi APC in a statement
issued on May 12th, 2015 by the party’s State Publicity Secretary
Auwal Jallah. The statement as reported by a section of the press
reads in part; ‘‘……to put the record straight as it is in the
tradition, every transition committee receives little token from the
outgoing administration, and that was the only money received……and it
didn’t reach even one tenth of the amount quoted.’’

As people in the state became curious about the story, the Secretary
of the Committee, who was alleged to have been handed down the money,
was compelled to issue another statement on May 13th, 2015 via his
Facebook page in which he stated thus; ‘‘My name is referred to in the
article as having collected over N500 Million and transferred it to
the account of the Governor-elect.’’ Tilde added that, ‘‘Both
assertions, I assure the public, are false.’’ However, he too admitted
that indeed a certain amount of money was collected by him but fails
to mention the exact amount. Hear him, ‘‘The amount we collected has
remained in my custody as the Secretary of the Committee…’’ And then,
he assured further that, ‘‘I will account for it fully at the end of
our assignment.’’ As far as I know, Tilde is yet to give account of a
single Kobo he collected from the outgoing administration of Isa
Yuguda in the name of his Committee’s work.
This matter is still lingering in discussion circles, social forums
and local radio talk shows in the state.

The Contradictions On The Inherited Debt Profile Of Bauchi State:

Shortly after he took over the mantle of leadership, the governor of
Bauchi state, Mohammed Abubakar said that his administration
‘‘inherited external and internal debts totalling over N125 Billion
from the outgoing administration of Malam Isa Yuguda in the state’’,
as reported by Vanguard newspaper of June 3rd, 2015.

However, on June 9th, 2015, Daily Trust newspaper reported that the
former governor, Isa Yuguda has debunked Governor Abubakar’s claim,
saying that the debt profile he handed to the new governor was not up
to N80 Billion and that the figure included the loan he himself
inherited from the administration of Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu. Yuguda, went
further and gave a comprehensive breakdown of the debt profile he left
in the state.
On June 21st, 2015, Thisday newspaper reported that the Transition
Committee set up by Governor Abubakar himself has said that the actual
debt it discovered in the course of its work was actually N96.9
Billion, contrary to the governor’s claim of N125 Billion and that of
Yuguda’s N80 Billion. The people of Bauchi state were perplexed by
these contradicting statements! Who should we believe in?

As at this time, nobody can tell how much the state actually owes
creditors and the matter is yet to be resolved.

The Denial Of The FG’s Financial Bailout To States:

In July, 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari approved a comprehensive
relief package to states that could not pay workers’ salaries in order
to help them assuage the plight of thousands of their workers. The
president magnanimously directed that funds be urgently made available
for that purpose. Bauchi state was listed alongside 26 others states
as those that could not meet up the obligation of paying their
workers’ salaries.
Similarly, the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Zamfara state
governor, Alhaji Abdul Aziz Yari confirmed the presidential palliative
in a report in The Sun newspaper of July 30th, 2015.

But in a cheeky display of effrontery on the president, Governor
Abubakar dismissed the entire financial bailout, describing it as a
‘‘mirage’’, in a report in Daily Trust newspaper of August 25th, 2015.
The newspaper quoted the governor thus; ‘‘Bailout has turned out to be
a mirage.’’

The Persistent Wailing Of Governor Abubakar Over The Misdeeds Of His Predecessor
First, in his inaugural address on May 29th, 2015, Governor Abubakar
made a loud cry that he ‘‘inherited a completely empty treasury.’’
Second, the governor constantly told the people of the state at the
early days of his administration that he did not received a dime
whether as federal allocation or through any other means. Third, the
governor frequently accuses his predecessor of several acts of
impropriety, apparently shifting blame for his actions or inactions.
Fourth, Governor Abubakar’s Transition Committee accused former
governor Yuguda of ‘‘stealing’’ colossal sums of N114 Billion and N104
Billion, local government funds and security vote monies respectively.
Fifth, in his latest wail, the governor in an interview he granted
Daily Trust newspaper on August 26th, 2015 said that, ‘‘Bauchi got N1
Trillion under Yuguda but nothing to show.’’

One may think that, given his very strong allegations against his
predecessor, Governor Abubakar should have since set up a judicial
commission of inquiry to investigate the past administration of Isa
Yuguda. But gosh! There is yet to be any attempt to probe the
financial misdemeanours and reckless theft of public funds alleged to
have been committed under Yuguda, thereby lending credence to the
popular accusation that he and Yuguda are indeed one and the same.

The Purported N4 Billion Loan Obtained Without State Executive Council
Authorization And State House Of Assembly Approval:

On August 28th, 2015, an online news medium 247universalreporters.com
published a story that a group, National Congress of Democrats had
petitioned the Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly requesting
information about a purported loan of N4 Billion that was unlawfully
taken from United Bank for Africa, UBA Plc on June 11th, 2015 prior to
the inauguration of the state house of assembly and the state
executive council which is yet to be formed. The group, according to
the online news medium has also questioned the benefits of the
governor’s recent trip to Czech Republic which gulped millions of tax
payers’ money. The government is yet to provide any clarification on
this matter.

Failure Of The Governor To Appoint A Credible Director OF Press/Media Aide:

As he clocks hundred days in office, he is yet to appoint a
spokesperson who will manage the image making job of his
administration, the fallout of which are series of image making
crisis. Ordinarily, this ought to be the first appointment the
governor should do but as at present day, there is no such in place.

Conclusion:

The foregoing, among many others too numerous to mention due to space
constraints, were sadly the stories of the first hundred days of
Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar as the new number one citizen in
Bauchi state. While other states have already hit the ground running,
ours is a sad story of sheer lack of readiness, political will and
competence, clear blueprint for governance, which resulted in the
administration’s woeful underperformance and rendered it focus-less
throughout its first hundred days.

However, I must confess that all hopes should not be lost. As the
governor celebrate his first hundred days in office, I want to use
this medium to wish him God’s guidance and protection, wisdom, courage
and the ability to deliver good governance to the people of Bauchi
state, as he sails the ship state affairs.

Musa Azare, wrote from Kafin Kuka, Azare, Bauchi state.

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