We begin this letter with these two quotes that centers on the effect of corruption on good governance; According to Pratibha Patil, “Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective.”
While in Ramez Naam summation he said; “We’ve seen over time that countries that have the best economic growth are those that have good governance, and good governance comes from freedom of communication. It comes from ending corruption. It comes from a populace that can go online and say, ‘This politician is corrupt, this administrator, or this public official is corrupt.”
We feel pained that seven months after Governor Abubakar took oath of office, where he promised the people of the State that it is not going to be business as usual, we can confidently say that it has become more than business as usual, his government has been characterised by impunity, corruption, ineptitude, etc.
As concerned Bauchi State citizens, we feel we cannot continue to look while things are going out of shape, there is no other state that we have or we can call our own other than Bauchi State.
Having seen that the Bauchi State House of Assembly which are suppose to be an organ that have the power to checkmate the excesses of the State Government under the leadership of Governor Abubakar Mohammed have suddenly gone cold as they have turned their back over the brazen corruption and lack of good governance going on in the state.
In the view of this, we have decided to write this Open Letter to our State lawmakers so as to ask them why have they kept mute as well bring to their notice the many sins of the current Governor assuming the lawmakers claim ignorance of these things we are going to enumerate here one by one.
- Four Billion Naira United Bank for Africa (UBA) Loan Appraisal;
We are aware that the Governor took a N4 Billion loan offered by UBA, it is indeed a notorious fact that the sum of N4 billion was granted to the Bauchi State Government at her instance for purpose of addressing urgent financial obligation confronting the State.
The grant of the said loan was alleged to have enjoyed the approval of both the Executive council of the State and members of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, even when it is an incontestable fact that the State Executive Council of Bauchi State has not been constituted till date.
Thereby we are asking the State Lawmakers to as matter of urgency investigate the following issues;
- a. In respect to the issue above we request for the following under listed pieces of information; information relating to the comprehensive list of those urgent financial obligations addressed with the N4 billion loan in Bauchi; also information relating to the various area in Bauchi where those financial obligations arose, and how they were addressed.
- b. Moreover, we need information relating to evidence of approval of obtaining the loan by the Bauchi State Government by the Executive Council of the State and the State House of Assembly.
- 2. Governor Mohammed Abubakar’s Official Trip to the Czech Republic;
It is an established fact that His Excellency, Governor of Bauchi State, in the person of Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar travelled to Czech Republic for what was termed an “official engagement” and sequel to this His Excellency’s travel to the Czech Republic.
Surprisingly, Abubakar Sadiq the son of the Governor was among the persons that travelled to Czech, according to the memo for the approval of the funds for the trip showed that Abubakar Sadiq collected estacode and travelling allowances.
But it is a known fact that Abubakar Sadiq is not an official of the government or the State; we hereby request the House of Assembly to summon the Governor for an explanation on why his son will collect estacode as well as travelling allowance when he is not an official of the Government.
- The N8.6 Billion Naira Bailout Fund;
It would be recalled that on the Dailytrust of August 25th Governor Abukakar was quoted to have told the newspaper that the Federal Government’s bailout to States is a mirage. The Governor speaking during his visit to Daily Trust Headquarters in Abuja said; “Bailout has turned out to be a mirage, actually. I am not criticizing the federal government, they meant well, they had a good intention to do a bail out, but they realized that they too needed a bail out. They just don’t have the money to do a bailout.
“So, after all the talks, all the grammar and everything, I was a member of the committee of four that discussed with the governor of the Central Bank after the last but one FEC meeting in respect of this bail out. All the promises did not materialise, at the end of it all, we were asked to nominate banks. And when we nominated the banks, we thought money was going to be paid into the accounts in the banks but at the end of the day, letters were written by the Central Bank to the banks to avail us with soft loans as a bail out.”
However, after all the talks against the Federal Government, Governor Abubakar is among the governors that has collected the bailout fund. States such as Adamawa, Kaduna, etc who also has collected their bailout like Bauchi has given out details of how their bailout fund will be used.
Unfortunately, for our own dear state Bauchi, the governor has refused to give us the breakdown of what the bailout fund he collected will be used on, we have not forgotten so soon, when the Governor stated that his government will be a government of transparency and openness, we indeed ask if this is the transparency and openness he promised the people of Bauchi State.
We are aware that the gratuities of the Bauchi State retirees have not been paid up till now, even after collecting the bailout fund.
For a matter of transparency as the governor promised, we are using this open letter to request that the State Lawmakers ask the governor to Give a vivid detail and account of how the bailout fund was expended.
- Secret Accounts Hidden By Civil Servants;
At the same visit to Daily Trust Headquarters in Abuja Governor Abubakar in an interview said; “When I came in…they (civil servants) came to me and said ‘sir, we have hidden some accounts from the last government because we saw them going crazy spending everything.”
Rather than the Governor telling us how much is in the secret accounts, he kept it to himself, as it is now nobody knows what is in the secret accounts as claim by him; we don’t know that what has happened to the money. Where is the transparency, openness he promised us, the State Assembly members should ask him to explain how much is the said accounts and what has happened to the money.
- Depletion of The Local Government Joint Account;
Since taking over office as the Governor of Bauchi State, Governor Mohammed Abubakar has collected Revenue Allocation to all the 20 Local Government Councils in Bauchi State by Federation Account Allocation Committee for the period of seven months he has been in office.
However, aside the payment of local government workers, there has not been anything done at the various local government areas in the State, the question that begs for answer is this, what has he done with all the allocation that he collected for the 20 local government areas in the State.
From the period of May to this day, it is on note that the allocation to all the Local Government Areas in the state which the government has collected is N17, 570,203,162.42.
Meanwhile, we are aware he requested for an approval from the House of Assembly for a loan of N1 billion for renovation of primary schools in the state, a request which the House turned down.
Questions before the House are these, he has only paid salaries of Local Government Workers, what has he done with all the funds accrued to the Local Government Areas, even when there had not been any infrastructural projects undertaken in the Local Government Areas.
- Approval of Five Million Naira Imprest for the Wife of the Governor through the Ministry of Women Affairs;
In a memo forwarded to the Governor for approval, the wife of the governor had a N5 million approved for her through the Ministry of Women Affairs.
Though from the memo, it was observed that the Governor finally approved N3 million monthly as imprest for his wife.
From June till date when the wife of the Governor, must have collected N21 million as Imprest, this N21 million would have gone a long way to settle the backlog of arrears of payment for retirees whose gratuities are yet to be paid.
However, there is nowhere in the constitution that stipulates that the wife of the Governor is entitled to an imprest, since she is not an employee of government neither is she an elected officer.
In fact we are all aware that the there is no office of the Firstlady even at the Presidency as President Muhammadu Buhari never approved such, however, an APC Governor who should be following the footsteps of the President, since the Government of the day is APC Government didn’t do so.
Secondly, why should Ministry of women Affairs approve a three million naira imprest for her when she is not an official of the Ministry.
- Award of N6 Billion Naira Road Contracts without State Executive Council In Place;
Just recently, Governor Mohammed approved two road contracts at the cost of N2 billion and N4 Billion respectively. The N2 billion road is from CBN Roundabout to Railway Roundabout, which is about 4km, the road is an existing road, meanwhile N2 billion has been mapped out for its rehabilitation, is he telling us that per each one kilometre, the State Government will pay the sum of N500 million?
Also, for the N4 billion road for rehabilitation, which is from Haradawa to Bulkachuwa is 20 km which is also an existing road, is the government also telling us that they will pay the sum of N200 million per a kilometre of road?
As it is the Governor is not suppose to award contracts that its cost are more than N50 million without the State Executive Council in Place.
However, with the approval of these two roads contract the Governor has breached that constitutional provisions, as there was no Executive Council Approval, no tender issued, no advertisement. Is this not an offence that the House of Assembly needs to question him about?
In the last line, it is a known fact that a petition was sent to the State House of Assembly over the 4billion naira loan the Governor accessed from UBA without approval as required by law.
We are aware that some members of the House of Assembly are in possession of said petition which the Speaker of the House refused to look into even after the letter was submitted to him.
The House of Assembly should know, that when President Muhammadu Buhari sought for loan for Lagos State and Edo State, he wrote to the National Assembly requesting their approval.
Also in Delta, Rivers, when the governors of these states, needed a loan they wrote to their respective State House of Assemblies seeking approval for this loan.
Why will the case of Bauchi be different, are the Bauchi State House of Assembly Members no more doing checkmating of excesses of the Governor?
It is on note, that all these issues listed here are impeachable offences, and that is why we are bringing to the notice of the House of Assembly if they claim they are not aware, that they need to begin to take action as well carry out proper investigation.
This should serve also as a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC.
Abubakar Dogon Yaro Bibi Yakubu Alhaji Jibrin
President General Secretary