A Thousand Miles Start with a Step: The Bala Muhammed Example Mukhtar Gidado

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The difference between the developed climes and developing ones like Nigeria is leadership and vision. When there is purposeful leadership, development will not be far from such a society. The Bala Muhammed administration in Bauchi State, obviously realised this, and that perhaps, explains the various steps he has been taking since he emerged governor of the state.

Power is critical in the vision for development.

Bauchi, like other states, is not immune to the epileptic nature of the independent power providers. Bala understands that once power is sorted, virtually every other thing is sorted. It is the foundation for development. It is in recognition of this that he led a tripartite arrangement with the Jigawa State Government and the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. Under the Memorandum of Understanding, Bauchi State Government’s part shall be among others: to satisfy all Right of Way acquisition requirements, payment of compensation for land in respect of the Transmission Line between Azare to Misau as well as to Dutse and Ningi and acquisition/provision of land and title documents to TCN.

In the agreement, a mutually beneficial one that involves design, development, commissioning and testing of 132KV DC transmission line from Azare to Misau, as well as the expansion of Azare sub -station from 132 kva to 300 KVA. The agreement will also include the turn-in and turn-out from Gwaram in Jigawa State to Ningi in Bauchi State and sub- stations at Birnin Kudu, Misau, Gwaram and Ningi (transmission project) and thereafter transfer ownership to TCN.

Provision of portable, adequate and affordable water supply to the citizens is another major policy trust of the Bala Mohammed administration. It is against this background that the governor visited the Minister of Water Resources, Suleman Adamu.

The Governor who unveiled the state’s plan to construct small Earth Dams in each of the three Senatorial Districts of the State also solicited support of the minister in the rehabilitation and expansion of Gubi Dam, the expansion of Waya Dam and their possible take-over by the Bauchi State Government. This is with a view to alleviating the problem of water supply that bedeviled many of the communities in the state. According to him, the existing water facilities have been overstretched with attendant shortages and scarcity due to migration as a result of the insurgency in the North East. The Minister pledged his ministry’s support to the state in all areas of need based on the available resources.

Bauchi is endowed with a lot of mineral resources, which unfortunately, are either untapped or done indiscriminately and unguided. One of the ways of generating funds for development, apart from the usual federal allocation, Bala explained, would be to ensure that the state’s mineral resources are properly harnessed. It can only be done with the support of the federal government. So, it was no surprise that it was a topic of discussion when he visited the Minister of Mines and Steel, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite and his junior minister, Mr.

uchechukwu Sampson, He appealed for their corporation and support. He said the synergy between the two entities would ultimately bring about employment, development and reduction of crime.
The ministers, obviously happy with the visit, promised to support the state in her endeavour to see that the people are not only lifted out of poverty, but to also bring development to the state.

In continuation of his investment/development drive, Bala met and interacted with United Kingdom investors. They indicated interest and willingness to renew an earlier agreement signed with the previous administration to provide solar-powered source of energy to Ganjuwa Local Government.

At the end of the discussion, the following terms of agreement were reached: The MOU be reviewed to meet with the challenging demands of the people; The Bauchi State Government is to provide the needed land requirements for the project; The investors should market the energy to the consumers and the State Government to get an appreciable percentage of the total collection; The investors to pay compensation while the Bauchi State Government is to provide the needed supervisory role.

In all aspects of the discussion, the Bauchi State Government has shown greater commitment and willingness to partner with the investors for a mutually beneficial term, whereby critical sectors of the economy like schools, hospitals, markets and water facilities will be provided with solar energy as part of the investors’ corporate social responsibility.

Similarly, Governor Bala promised to support the I.N International organisation that co-funded the Misau Computer and Skill Acquisition Center. The centre is completed and ready for use. Bala pledged to provide computers and other needed equipment to achieve the purpose of its establishment.

––Mukhtar Gidado is Senior Special Assistant to the Governor Bala Muhammed on Media.