Agenda For A Returning Pilgrim

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Mukhtar Muhammad Mk

Welcome back “Ya Alhajj”. I heartily welcome you back from the holy land. I hope you had a very rewarding pilgrimage. I also hope that the period of recess has afforded you opportunities to reflect on the enormous task before you as the Chief Executive of Bauchi State.

I congratulate you and the entire Muslim brothers and sisters especially Bauchians who returns from Saudi Arabia after participating in this year’s Hajj. As you conclude the rites of the Hajj and returned home, let us all join you in offering special prayers for greater security, peace, unity and progress in our dear country as well as for the peaceful and complete recovery of our economy.

Your Excellency,  as a faithful Muslim, you have devoted nearly all the month of Zulhijja to worshipping Allah, with piety, perseverance and kindness at the holy sites beside avoiding other sinful acts. It is only logical to sustain this even after the sacred months and ensure that we do not go back to our ugly past and other acts which we  abandoned during the period.

I will also use this avenue to enjoin you to adopt new agenda for making Bauchi greater again,  because our old way would not lead to the accomplishment of the vision of our founding fathers; we must therefore get together immediately and let the world know that Bauchi state is ready to take its rightful place in the comity of states.

Now that you are back, Your Excellency, let me hand over my own note of all the agendas that needs your urgent response lest some escape your memory due to your crowd schedules.

Your excellency, all these agendas are important because there are many people around who are saying and doing things that create personal and political difficulties for you, in pursuit of their own interests and ambitions. The most worrisome ones are not even Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara or Senator Ali Wakili’s incendiary comments, since Bauchians generally know where to place those two, but the comments being issued by the common citizens of Bauchi state. Most of the comments are about leave grant, gratuities, 2019 and many others. Their statements deserved special concern. It is in this misty atmosphere that you must navigate a way for yourself and Bauchi because there are many things that deserve urgent intervention and cannot wait. Seven of them are:

  1. Formation of New Cabinet: Barely eight weeks since Governor MA Abubakar dissolved his cabinet. Since then, the citizens of Bauchi state have been waiting for the new cabinet. The long wait for Governor Abubakar’s commissioners’ list must come to an end. Bauchians, who had been waiting with bated breath since the dissolution of the last cabinet on July 20, would be set free from the grip of suspense generated by the “delay.” The waiting game is nearing a climax. Hajj is now over and Bauchians cannot wait any further to know who and who would eventually make the list.

Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar seems to perfectly understand that when taking risks, such as the appointment of the members of his cabinet, he would have to live with the consequences throughout the tenure of his administration. This is true evidence in the dissolved cabinet. Although certain mistakes may be corrected, the veteran lawyer understands that every step leaves a footprint.

  1. Completion of the Ongoing Road Projects: It could be recalled that in September 2016, the Barrister MA Abubakar led state executive council approved the award of contracts for the construction, rehabilitation and dualisation of 175.312 kilometer road projects across the state. It must be difficult to complete the projects within the stipulated time due to the economic uncertainties bedeviling the state in particular and Nigeria in general. The quality and acceleration of the work in some sites symbolized the governor’s commitment in taking Bauchi to the Promised Land. However, there is need for government to put extra effort to complete the projects and avoid awarding more road contracts until the former are completed.
  2. Local Governments’ Poll: For democratic values to be nurtured, flourished and consolidated in Nigeria, attention should be paid to the election conducted at the grassroots levels. It’s nearly a decade since local governments election was conducted in Bauchi state. Local governments as a third level of government are closest to the people. If federalism from the perception of mutual agreement by levels of government to share power of the state in formal constitutional or legalistic arrangements, then governments would have understood why they need to make the local governments run properly. Without respect for the powers of the local governments, the separateness, and independence that their operations entail, democracy will not make much progress.

Your Excellency, I am not unaware of the daunting economic challenges that sometimes make it difficult to settle local government workers’ salaries in Bauchi, but I appeal to you to give this issue a second and curious look.

  1. Another important agenda is the appointment of substantive vice chancellor and management committee for Bauchi state university. The university has been under the interim management committee headed by Dr. Musa Mu’azu Badara since February, when the tenure of the immediate past VC and management committee expired.
  2. Internal Party Crises: In the last two years, there had been palpable misunderstanding among the elected officers on the platform of the ruling APC, which has continued to place Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar-led government against the APC members in the National Assembly. It’s indeed regrettable that highly placed members of the APC are at one another’s jugular over what the party ordinarily should have addressed internally rather than bringing themselves to the public court.

Your Excellency, as the number one citizen of the state, the responsibility of settling these animosities lies on your shoulder. As a learned, you have to apply your wisdom, maturity and experience to call all the parties to order. The crooks who are not meaning well for the party should then find their bus stop. Failure to settle these grudges is giving the opposition an impression that APC might not go into the next general poll as a united family.

Unconfirmed reports stated that there will be the birth of a new mega party in Bauchi before 2019 elections which I suspects may arise through coalition of forces from the ruling party and other opposition whose bid is to ascend elective pinnacle by hook or crook. How the new party is now going fare in the polity would be decided by events.

  1. Zirami Gate: Another agenda that need Governor’s intervention is the purported zirami saga being aired by the international radio station “Voice of America”. According to the episodes of a program ” Ciki da Gaskiya” broadcasted, the fracas is between a shari’a court judge Sani Musa and the people of Zirami, a village in Giade local government through their counsellor Barrister Mamman Lawan Yusufari.

Barr. Yusufari alleged that the aforementioned shari’a court judge handles legal issues selfishly; a situation obliged the villagers to hire a lawyer and write a petition against the judge. Yusufari added that they wrote petition against the judge since June 2016 but nothing done yet. Upon return, Governor Abubakar should as a matter of urgency intervene and whoever found guilty should face the wrath of law.

  1. 2019: Even the politically naïve can tell that the tempo of political discourse is gradually scaling up with gripping tension and the reason is not far-fetched. The current dispensation has begun to wind down, with less than two years to the next election. This testifies the fact that the 2019 elections will be more competitive that it’s erstwhile.

It’s unarguable that the pre-2015 era was a dark period in the history of our dear state. But thankfully, the two years of APC’s administration led to the transition from despondency to hope.

Your Excellency, you must therefore return with greater vigor and higher commitment to serve Bauchi and serve the cause of democracy to ensure that we do not go back to our ugly past even after 2019. This can be achieved by empowering the ruling party and its members, as well as going into the election one and united.

Mukhtar Muhammad Mk, writes from Bauchi.

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