Re: Corruption fighting back in Bauchi

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Hon Isah Abuh Yousouf

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have join issues with Tahir Ibrahim Tahir, the SSA Scheduling to Bauchi governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, or even dignify him with a response, if not for the disdainful misrepresentations and half-truths he tossed to the unsuspecting public in the above caption article published by Daily Trust of January 20, 2016, all in a bid to launder and redeem the badly battered image of his boss. Tahir has simply crossed the limits of sincerity which should be the hallmark of an administration that is claiming sainthood!

In the very first paragraph of his egocentric article, the SSA Scheduling made a bold statement to the effect that Governor Mohammed Abubakar is the first Governor of Bauchi state that was not “thrust into the seat of leadership by any particular godfather but by divine architecture”. This is simply not true! If at all anyone could be called the first, Isa Yuguda should be. In 2007, after he was frustrated by Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu led PDP in Bauchi, Yuguda decamped to the then opposition ANPP and without any “godfather” but also by “divine architecture”, he won the election with a landslide. The SSA continued that, “Because GMA was the underdog in the political machinations of Bauchi, political wizards and lords of Bauchi have had all hands in deck on a mission to rubbish his administration, belittle him in the eyes of plenty and whittle down all his achievements…..” Well, as a matter of fact, there is hardly any meaningful achievement recorded by the governor, to be” whittled down”. A government that has been characterized by series of scandalous misadventures since it’s inception – from awarding contracts without following due process, excessive foreign travels that are not yielding any result, you name it! This is hardly a government that can be said to have made any significant achievements!

It is common knowledge that the administration of Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar started on the wrong footing, betraying the initial hope and confidence the people of Bauchi state had in him. This resulted in widespread disenchantment, lack of mutual trust between the administration and the public, which altogether severed the initial harmonious government-people relationship, as early as in his first one hundred days.

In his fairytale, Tahir praised what he calls the governor’s “hard stance on the previous administration’s anomalies through the Wing Commander Tijjani Gamawa led government property recovery committee…”

May be Tahir is not aware that on 10th December, 2015, a Federal High Court sitting in Bauchi had in a suit instituted by officials of the  administration of former Governor Isa Yuguda, (Mahmud Maijama’a & 33 Others v. Bauchi State Governor & 5 Others), declared the Tijjani Gamawa committee illegal and unconstitutional and, even awarded N10 Million each to 3 plaintiffs for trespassing into their homes and forcefully confiscated their properties without due process of law. The court as well, ordered that all properties “recovered” by the committee be returned to their rightful owners. The Tijjani Gamawa committee’s work underscores Governor Abubakar’s disdain for rule of law and due process despite being a lawyer whose call to the Bar is well over three decades ago. Why then is the SSA Scheduling chasing a wild goose in his attempt to score cheap political point for his boss?

Majority of the people in the state today, are asking for a full investigation into the 8 years tenure of former governor Yuguda through the establishment of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, given the gravity of the allegations made by governor Abubakar himself in the Daily Trust of August 26th, 2015 where he said that, “Bauchi got N1 Trillion under Yuguda but nothing to show.”

In the same vein, Tahir should advise his boss to channel his administration’s energy towards recovering the colossal sums of N114 Billion and N104 Billion, local government funds and security vote monies respectively, “stolen” under Yuguda’s watch as alleged by his own transition committee in its report, instead of beating his chest over the recovery of a paltry N1 Billion which the court had already declared unconstitutional!

On the issue of salary backlog, Tahir claimed that his boss, “…..settle(s) 3 months unpaid salaries within 4 months of his administration (a total of 7 months paid) which was a debt left behind by the former PDP government.” Nothing could be further from the truth!

We are all aware that at the advent of this dispensation, almost all the 36 states of the federation couldn’t pay workers’ salaries. The FG had to provide bailout funds for them to be able to pay salaries. Although Governor Abubakar initially dismissed FG’s rescue effort, calling it a “mirage”, Bauchi state collected a total of N8.6 Billion as her own share of the bailout funds.

If truth must be told, the only salary arrears owed workers by Bauchi State Government at that time 50 percent of April, 2015 salary, which was about N1.2 Billion, leaving a balance of about N7.4 Billion that is still unaccounted for, by the administration of Governor Mohammed Abubakar. It must be emphasized here that not a single Kobo was paid as salary by the governor as Tahir wants us to believe.

On the so called praise the governor received from “…..development partners namely USAID, WHO, UNICEF, CBN, World Bank etc as the best development partner in the country this year….”, I don’t know what the SSA Scheduling meant by “this year.” Because, we are not even up to 30 days into “this year”, or is he referring to last year 2015? Be that as it may, what are the yardsticks used by these so called development partners to arrive at their conclusion? Or better still, why would they give a one year appraisal to a 7 months old government? Or are they lied against? These questions beg for honest answers!

Tahir celebrated a purported cut down of “Government House expenditure from a whooping N500 Million… eventually N80 Million…..” This assertion is contrary to the leaked government memos published by the Daily Trust of December 21, 2015, in an advertorial sponsored by an anti corruption group, Bauchi Coalition Against Financial Crime and Injustice, in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

In the first memo released by the group, the authenticity of which the government is yet to debunk, but instead ordered the arrest and incarceration of the group’s secretary Malam Yakubu Jibrin, have shown that N50 Million (being 50 percent) was requested to be approved by the governor for the “operations” of government house, which follows that the total amount was N100 Million. In second memo, N80 Million was requested for approval, for the same purpose, the month of August, 2015. If one connects the dots, one can find out that what Tahir wrote was completely a misrepresented of actual facts!

On the construction township roads embarked upon by the governor, what baffles and stunned the people of Bauchi state is how a 4.5km road would cost N2.3 Billion, (approximately N517 Million per kilometer)? This is the cost of the 4.5km CBN roundabout-Federal Lows cost-Railway roundabout road as announced by the governor himself during the flagging off ceremony of the work in Bauchi. This amount is grossly Inflated by any standard – local or international.

In conclusion, I will like to state that corruption, in the real sense of the word, is not fighting anybody in Bauchi. Given the arrest and continued incarceration of anti corruption crusader Yakubu Jibrin, one may not be wrong to say that corruption is actually having a field day in Bauchi! No doubt President Muhammadu Buhari’s much applauded anti corruption fight has hit the rock in Bauchi. The romance between Bauchi government and corruption is epic! The administration of Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar should stare itself in the mirror and ask; why it’s popularity is continuously fading away, that it is now popularly called a “one term” administration in the state.

Yousouf, was House of Representatives aspirant and APC stalwart in Bauchi State

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