By Samuel Yelwa
IN a bid to assess and evaluate the performances of the elected-cum- appointed political office holders by the electorate, much emphasis is usually put on their midterm scorecards perceived as paramount because any elected or appointed official who has not achieved anything at that level, might probably end up achieving nothing.
At the peak the 2015 general elections, many of those who emerged winners had during their campaigns pledged to do something different in terms of good and all-inclusive governance. It was an election which reflected the true yearnings and aspirations of the voters as the various results were actual decisions of the electorate. Therefore, it was seen as a covenant of sort between the elected and the electorate which could either be renewed or cancelled in the next elections. But one’s position in the radar of performance could only be the determining factor of his political future.
The Bauchi State governor, Muhammed Abdullahi Abubakar, has been in the forefront of those who believe they can do everything possible to fulfill their campaign promises in spite of the paucity of funds. Within two years of his coming, he has transformed virtually all the sectors of the economy: roads and infrastructure, education, health, women and youths empowerment, etc.
On assumption of office, the governor inherited a government many felt had its future mortgaged with huge domestic and foreign debts coupled with poor or non-revenue generation structure. Most of the schools, hospitals and other government structures in the state were in shambles, begging for an immediate rescue. The governor also discovered that he had to contend with paucity of funds as state resources worth billions of naira had allegedly been misappropriated and misused by cronies of previous governments.
But not deterred by this sorry state of affairs, Gov. Abubakar had within two years of his stewardship formulated ways and strategies geared towards economic revival which has blessedly yielded positive results that gave the hitherto despondent people of the state a sense of well-being and belief of viable future.
One of the major planks of the Abubakar’s policy desiderata and a proof of his administration’s reform agenda is in the crucial area of road construction and infrastructural development as the availability of a modern road network and accessibility of towns and villages is a sine qua non for rapid and sustainable economic development. On this score as in other critical sectors of the State’s economy, the Makama Babba has delivered where previous administrations had failed woefully in that regard.
For instance, the construction of township roads assumed a frenetic pace and altogether over hundreds of kilometres have been awarded for construction, with over 70% completed while others are nearing completion stage and major bridges were also built where necessary. Some of the roads projects embarked upon by the administration are: construction and rehabilitation of Misau-Bulkachuwa-Udubo road; complete rehabilitation, extension and dualization of Murtala Muhammed Way-Federal Low-cost-Railway; design and construction of link road at Fadaman Mada; dualisation of Miri-Zaranda-Gidan Mai-Awalah roundabout; dualisation of Awalah-Giwo Academy; repair and resurfacing of Awalah-Central Market; repair and resurfacing of Kofar Gombe- House of Assembly; construction of Tafawa Balewa Housing Estate roads; construction of Ibrahim Bako Housing Estate roads; construction of entrance and other link roads at Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, ATAP; rehabilitation of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University’s Permanent Site link road; construction of eight intra-city roads in Misau; dualisation of Jama’are road and the rehabilitation of Sule Katagum road in Azare as well as rehabilitation of Udubo-Gamawa federal road.
Other roads construction projects are: Itas-Atafowa-Magarya, Hanafari-Jurara-Garin Babani-Sabon Kafi-Dogon Jeji and Darazo-Gabchiyari, Maraban-Ganye-Jajuwal-Gwalfada-Dokayel-Bakin Kogi.
These road projects and indeed the infrastructural revolution have raised the socio-economic profile of the state to an all-time high, leading to an influx of investors, tourists, visitors and sundry entrepreneurs to the state, all keen to partake, invest and be co-opted into the state’s progressive transformation.
The belief now is that it is just a matter of time before Bauchi becomes the economic and developmental hub of the sub-Saharan region.