By Sanusi Muhammad
Bauchi state Governor, Sen. Bala Muhammed has hinted at the nature his administration, saying it would be consultative and community based.
He also pledged to engage more women in governance and focus more on the welfare of the people than execution of white elephant projects lacking direct bearing on the lives of the ordinary people.
Sen. Bala dropped the hints in an interactive session with Publisher of Pointblank Investigative Newspaper, Sanusi Muhammad in Bauchi.
Gov. Bala, defeated his top most contender of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Barr. M.A Abubakar, said that rather than foist projects on communities, he prefers to consult with the communities and allow them to come up with what project is best for them.
The governor, who was the most preferred candidate of the electorates at the gubernatorial election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), promised to bring together all the stakeholders in the state who share his vision in his effort to take the state to the highest pedestal of development within his first tenure.
“I’m not the governor of PDP members alone but the governor of the entire people of Bauchi state, “ he said while responding to a question on how he would address the various complaints of the people as well as how to be magnanimous in governance.
On how he plans to rejuvenate the state’s economy, Sen. Bala promised to introduce creative ideas in generating more revenue without necessarily burdening the masses with tax.
He said, for instance, that his administration would bring more people who should pay tax into the tax net and also explore abundant mineral resources and tourism potentials through the possibility of Public Private Partnership (PPP).
He said that while doing that, he would also sustain the infrastructural renewal started by past administrations but abandoned because, according to him, infrastructural decay in the state is massive.
He noted that no meaningful economic development can be achieved without infrastructural renewal.
He said: “We will look more closely into agriculture and its value chain to create jobs and empower the people particularly the peasant farmers domiciled in the hinterland.
“We will also develop our various tourist sites scattered all over the state. We can make a lot of money by developing the tourist sites if carefully managed. We may go into PPP with interested investors in the tourism industry.
“We also have abundant mineral resources beneath the ground yet to be tapped. Those mineral resources shall be converted for their economic values.
We will embrace PPP arrangement where possible to tap all the hidden resources. We will create an industrial park. We are even likely to hold an economic summit in the near future”.
On steady payment of salaries and pensions, Sen. Bala said so far salaries are regularly paid and the first trench of N100million was released for payment of pension and his administration is looking inward to increase internally generated revenue as a back-up to his blue-print.
“We will bring people from other climes for investments that should pay tax into the tax net. That will help us in paying salaries and pensions easily”, he said
On the outcry of concentration of infrastructure in Bauchi south alone, Sen. Bala said it is no true that Bauchi south is favored in the distribution of infrastructure against the other zones even though, it is understandable that the state capital is located within the zone.
He added that his administration would focus more attention on rural and semi-urban development for socio-economic reasons.
“I will pay absolute attention to rural development to additionally stem rural-urban unnecessary migration”, he said
Gov. Bala also promised to empower the masses particularly the downtrodden ones in various ways, saying that any programme that is not aimed at empowering the people would not be embraced by his administration no matter what.
He said: “Our programmes will be tailored towards those that need genuine assistance as well as the masses generally. My administration will be people-focused”.
In his comment on the leadership style of Gov. Bala Muhammed, his deputy, Sen. Baba Tela said: “Our victory is a divine intervention from God, the good people of Bauchi state would have been left to mourn the victory of “the forces of evil”. Our state has narrowly escaped from another tragedy of development which God made miraculously possible for our victory. Without divine intervention when the forces of evil almost fraudulently snatched our victory, the good people of our state would have been in mourning by now”.