Segun Awofadeji engages the Bauchi State Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Sade on the activities of his principal, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, particularly his efforts to take the state to greater heights
Your party, the APC won the Bauchi South Senatorial by-election, is it a pointer of things to come in the 2019 general elections?
We thank the Almighty Allah for the victory. The Bauchi South senatorial by-election showed Governor Abubakar’s overwhelming grip on Bauchi Politics. He was vindicated that the people of Bauchi are for the APC. The people of Bauchi South senatorial district in particular have spoken their mind, and it clearly showed that our people are satisfied with the efforts of Governor Abubakar towards the development of the state, and he has repelled all the negative commentary against his administration. The election served as a litmus test for the APC and it gave us hope for the 2019 elections, which by the grace of Allah, Bauchi people will vote for APC. I believe our governor will not fail the people of the state that gave him their votes in order to better their living condition. Our people understood the zeal and vision of our amiable governor to take development to all nooks and crannies of the state despite its lean resources.
The opposition insists that the election was marred by irregularities?
All these allegations are ranting of losers. Do you think that if the electoral body had declared any of the complainants as winner of this election under any circumstance, they will reject the results? They lost, so they are trying to hang on to something in order to show their supporters that they are still relevant. The election was conducted peacefully without any rancor. Their agents signed all the election results, you journalists were at the headquarters of INEC when the returning officer invited all the representatives of the political parties to sign the final result submitted. If they had any genuine complaints, there is a tribunal and other avenues to seek redress.
Some people have accused the administration of not doing enough in the provision of infrastructure, what is your reaction to this?
Who are these people? Are they people of Bauchi State or our political opponents? Even the blind and hypocrites know that there is a silent revolution that is putting Bauchi State on a proper path through rejuvenation of abandoned sectors. Whenever you enter Bauchi, you will know that you are entering an upgraded state capital because of the dualisation of road networks across the city. Before this administration, we don’t have such roads in the state. During his electioneering campaign, the governor went to rural areas. Majority of our people are peasant farmers, and they are looking for good roads to enable them transport their farm produce to markets and the agitation of our people and their quest for development prompted the governor to prioritise construction of roads to open up these communities and also boost their socio-economic development.
The government also paid attention to agriculture, education, health care and addressing the problems of youths restiveness inherited from the previous administration. A lot has been done to boost the economy of the state by resuscitating the Bauchi Fertilizer Plant, Bauchi Furniture Company and Yankari Games Reserve. This government has other good things going for it like prudent management of resources, blocking leakages in governance and above all jerking up the state’s IGR. There has been a remarkable improvement in revenue generation. We are committed to reposition the state in all aspects. That’s the focus of the administration.
Has government achieved anything in the areas you have listed?
Government has achieved a lot. Government always set aside 25 per cent of its budget to education, and it collaborates with federal government agencies in education and constructed many class rooms in all the 20 local government areas of the state, school lab projects. You may wish to visit Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic and see what government is doing. We gave it a facelift, most of their courses have been accredited. You may wish to see the FM station of the institution, it is the only institution that has campus radio in the entire northern Nigeria. Bauchi State University, Gadau and other tertiary institutions benefitted from the government’s effort to provide modern infrastructure in the schools. This effort is extended to secondary Schools, as well. Many students from Bauchi State pass their NECO and WAEC exams because we provided the right learning environment and paid their exam fees.
In the area of agriculture, you may wish to ask farmers, they will tell you that they get fertiliser and all other farming inputs every year. Our fertilizer company is working now. We even sell the commodities to neighboring states. In the area of road construction, the administration has achieved a lot despite all the challenges involved in doing a quality job. Go round Bauchi metropolis even a blind person knows that something called quality road construction is ongoing everywhere. We are building roads that will last for over 50 years. Government recently procured 500 tractors. We have access to N5 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria out of the N8 billion to boost mechanised agriculture in the state. Government procured and distributed fertilizers to farmers annually. We are also procured 60 buses to boost commercial activities of Yankari Express mass transit. In the area of rural electrification, government has ear marked over N350 million to provide electricity to many rural communities in the state. In the area of revenue generation, we have introduced e-payment of taxes. We have done more in the area of poverty alleviation and self-reliance programme. We have Instilled discipline in the civil service, in the provision of road networks government awarded many historic neglected roads like in Jamaare local government; Jamaare -hanafari-itas-garin babani, in Ganjuwa local government; Kamfanin Kutare-Guyaba in Misau-Hardawa-Chinade-Madara-Bulkachuwa-Udubo-to Gamawa about 110 kilometres so also in Toro local government; Mararrabar Ganye-Gwalfada-Bakin Kogi.
Your area of Jurisdiction is information and tourism, what are your plans for the state owned electronics media?
Under my ministry, the governor has bagged an award as the best Governor in Nigeria in tourism development and the state government is fully committed to digitalise our media out fits, I can recall that because of the interest of our governor, he visited the headquarters of Star times, assessed what they do, after he was satisfied, he arranged with them to come and modernise the Bauchi State Television so that it will become like CNN. N2billion was earmarked for the project. They will be in the state any time soon. They will be here to start the digitalisation of BATV. We are also working round the clock to reposition the Bauchi Radio Corporation (BRC). By the grace of God, it will be like BBC. We have plans to train and retrain our staff in the media. We are ready to provide them with all they require to make their work easier.
Are you confident that you will win the APC will return to government house in 2019?
Have you seen any candidate in Bauchi better than Mohammed Abubakar? Bauchi is for Abubakar even though the governor is not talking about 2019, all you have been seeing are agitations of his diehard supporters and well-wishers. The Governor is committed to fulfill his electioneering campaign. He is working hard to provide water, health care, education, agriculture, rural electrification and good road networks. He wants to make sure that every citizen of Bauchi enjoys the dividend of democracy.