Full interview with Bauchi state Governor, Abubakar at the weekend in Abuja.
Why are at APC national secretariat today?
Routine consultation, this is the national Headquarters of my party. I am a very strong party adherent, I believe that I should respect the platform that has brought me into prominence and that platform is the APC. I come here regularly for routine consultation with the top echelon of the party.
Before the election, you were here and told us many things you were going to do if you emerged as Bauchi state governor. Thank God you are in power now. So, nine month gone, how far?
Well, I will say so far so good I believe everybody is aware of the state of the economy of Nigeria, with the dwindling price of oil in the international market this one permeate all over the society, the federal government and all the state governments with the possible exception of a few state governments may be like Lagos who generates quite a sizeable proportional of Internally Generated Revenue , but the situation we found when we took over was a very sorry situation. For example, my state civil servants were owe their four months salary and my state is essentially a civil servant state, everybody depend on the civil servant. So the very first action we took was to pay one month salary to assuage the situation, because when we came in is like a keg of gunpowder, you know, ready to explode at the slightest opportunity, but we are able to do that and henceforth then the federal government of Nigeria intervene via the bailout and when we got the bailout, Bauchi state for one, pay the entire salary backlog, to the extend that today except for the delay in the payment of January salary in respect of teachers of local government for reasons I gave you and then the delay in the payment of February salary of the entire workforce of the state, because of an exercise I have embarked upon to determine the credibility of the payroll of the state, I am not owing anybody any salary.
We heard that the exercise you embarked upon was able to expose some thousands of ghost workers existing in the payroll of the state before you came in?
The entire payroll made of the state and the local government, slightly above 19 thousand have been discovered. And the exercise is ongoing, because what the Accountant-General was reporting was the result of the physical verification. I added another aspect to the verification, the BVN, the use of the BVN. I gave an order that, starting from February, no person who is either an employee of the local government or the state in Bauchi would be paid cash, everybody would be paid through the bank and that person must supply us his or her BVN number. And I have done that and its yielding fruits and people are not even aware that I have not stop at that, right now as I am talking to you the further verification of the BVN supplied because you know Nigerians are very smart, when we said BVN somebody sat down and calculate and said BVN is an eleven digit code so let me go and concort my own BVN and send it to Bauchi state government, he thought he has scaled through, but what I have done with the entire BVN that have been supplied is to give it to a bank and the bank is using the CBN platform to crosscheck on these BVNs. So I am expecting additional revelation to come.
The fight against corruption of APC government which is expected to be replicated in the state. How much of this fight is Bauchi state is engage in and what is delaying you in probing the last administration?
Well actually, we are probing the last administration and a lot of revelations has so far been made, but what I want you to understand is that we are not an investigative outfit, we have not been elected to investigate. Right now, I have a high power committee that is investigating all contract from 2007 to 2015. Alright, this is after I have set up a public property recovery committee under a retired Air Commodore of the Air-Force that have succeeded in recovering a lot of properties that were carted away earlier on. So we are investigating, but our attitude towards investigation is that any revelation we discovered, we will now bring it under the investigative authority, that is the EFCC for them to carry on and do a through investigation and then proceed against this culprits in a view to retrieving the ill-gotten wealth. So this is what we are doing in Bauchi state.
It has also been reported that your convoy was attack on your way from Gombe. You media team has issue a statement, but one would like to hear from you, what actually happened?
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Don’t jump the gun, you will hear from us. One, anything you read about Bauchi state in 247ureports Universal or something, don’t believe it. They started by saying I gave my son a N950million contract, everybody know in Bauchi state that that contract does not exist. They now said I am going to appoint my wife as the commissioner of finance, I am going to appoint my sister as the head of SUBEB, I have appointed all these and that thing has not come to past. They said I am making plans to move to the PDP, infact people should wait and see my commissioners, my commissioners are going to come mainly from the PDP of the last regime. I have appointed my commissioners, so there are some people who have not accepted the will of God, people who contested election with me who are sponsoring this kind of publication. I am a muslim, I am fasting, Walahi Talahi! Nobody pelted me with anything on my way back from Gombe, its a blantant lie written by 247 unfortunately, the way things are in this country I cannot go after 247 because they are faceless, they are faceless, if I could you would have heard us in court by now with them, but because they are a faceless body there is nothing I can do.
Those found guilty in this your current investigation for perpetrating fraudulent act, what is going to be their fate in Bauchi state?
I assured you that every culprit that is found to have a hand in the sponsorship of ghost workers in the payroll of Bauchi state would face the wrath of the law, this one is a promise.
You were at the villa recently, where you talked about refund concerning the work the state have done, one would like to know what was the respond of the President to that refund you went for.
Well an Airport has been built by Bauchi state government. The last government that build the airport through their ways and means were able to obtain all the necessary approvals of the federal government for refund of the money expended, all I did was to write a reminder to Mr. President to see if he can be able to revalidate the approval of the former president and calls for the refund to be given to Bauchi state.
It appears that close to ten months after your party, APC ascended the throne a lot of people are becoming impatient, because if you sample the opinion, the party has been disappointing them in term of performance. What would be your advise to Nigerians who expect so much and gotten so little?
Well, let me say that it is unfair for the APC government to be judged. People have forgotten that the party that held sway before, held sway for sixteen years if there was any rot it took sixteen years to built. Therefore, people should not expect magic from APC, we are committed. You can see from the time we have taken over power even oil, which price has been dwindling you can see from the effort of Mr. President oil has started to pick up. So people should not be impatient. People should give us at least sixteen years and see if we cannot be able to turn around all the rot that the PDP has done, but not to judge us in 9 or 8 months it is not fair, so I am assuring Nigerians that we are on course and the APC government at the centre we are on course in all the APC governments in the states we will deliver Insha Allah!
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