It wasn’t through rocket science, or miracle or magic that Sen. Bala Muhammed emerged victorious at the April 2019 keenly contested gubernatorial election. He took an Oath to serve without fear or favor. He took the reins of office under difficult conditions backed by a politicized and least productive civil service. The institutionalized corrupt practices of the past had grounded the state to almost a halt. The journey to good governance started on a weak and sedimentary foundation. He was not deterred with the inherited mess spiced with insincerity of purpose. Governor Bala started piloting state affairs with courage to fulfill his mandate without looking back. But unknowingly to him, his pragmatic actions to transforming the state and changing the narrative, is offensive to the interest of few political jobbers the feed on the political turf. Their interest is inimical to development but lies, with the lust to remote-control the government for their selfish advantage. To Governor Bala, such an interest is at variance with his oath of office. Then his detractors resorted to blame game and a clownish ganging-up to frustrate his efforts through diversion to trivial and mundane issues. It is an understatement to say the actions of those clowns is battering democracy and good governance. It was surprising for the governor to have inherited a pervasive and alarming rate of unemployment, corruption, infrastructural decay, insecurity, political intolerance, moral decadence and other societal vices that ate deeply into the system. Though, he is battling to tackle the problems, it requires commitment and contribution from patriots. However, misplaced priority and irrational criticisms that form the opposition are major issues of concern. It will be difficult for any government to progress if opposition adopts unpatriotic and inconsiderate tendencies as is the case in Bauchi state, but the governor is not deterred. Instead, he focuses on actualizing his mandate that knows no bound. Name it, first class roads, state-of-the-art health facilities, improved agriculture, qualitative education, economic empowerment and security to lives and property.
It may not be politically unwise to join issues with every wishy-washy allegation emanating from cyber bullies, E-rats and running dogs of the derelict opposition and critics, because such a response tends to dignify pedestrian and beer parlor gossips with a veneer of respectability. However, when wind bags rant and rave in a manner to muddle issues, amongst stakeholders in the Greater Bauchi State Project, it is very necessary to steer back the discourse to an even keel.
We must ensure that rabble rousers are not allowed a breathing space to overheat the polity by injecting and correcting, bogus peddlers of inveterate falsehood who unleash barrage of lies, distortions and misinformation. All those pedestrian allegations huffing and puffing on the Bala model of governance only exist in the imagination of those professional jobless fault finders. If they had possessed the capacity for critical thinking, may be it would have dawned on them, that the Bala model of governance is anchored on transparency and probity.
In one fell swoop, Governor Bala embarked on a massive, erection, formatting and construction activities spread across the state. Time and space constraints will not permit a full discourse because Balanomics is not all about roads alone. It must be reiterated that Balanomics encapsulates the developmental paradigm of converting the comparative advantages to competitive advantages which ensures that the economy of Bauchi State rests on strong pillars of trade, commerce, agriculture, mining, tourism, small and medium scale enterprises.
In civilize democracies the common priority of opposition is replacement of non-performance, but in Bauchi state its’ to achieve diabolical aim.
Though, nothing is wrong in opposing any government if the priority is reasonable, objective and patriotically pursued; but it becomes undesirable if dubious, criminal, unreasonable, wicked and unpatriotic in pursuits. In other climes, those in opposition put the interest of the state foremost in their criticisms for correction but in the case of Bauchi state, it is personal interest against the people’s interests. A gang-up was to assiduously work to ridicule the government in power. The offence of the State Governor is his rejection of selfish requests and vowed to protect public treasury from the itchy-fingered. In return, spurious allegations are flying against his person and administration. What Sen. Bala expects is responsible criticisms as a guide against derailment from good governance not selfish requests and unnecessary demands to institutionalize corrupt practices against his oath of office.
Opposition is beclouded by selfish interest and refuses to study the policies and programs of the government to devise ways of improvement and present same as additional manifesto to swerve the electorates’ votes in favor of the ruling party in future elections.
Although, in the Nigerian context, external opposition is always an avenue to pull down those in power, in Bauchi state the bulk of opposition mostly comes from within the ruling party itself. Some members of the ruling party are unnecessarily bitter for battling the odds to address the mess of the past. Their interest lies more with corruption than service as some of them connived with opposition to have defrauded the state several millions through non-execution of contracts and the ghost-worker flourishing evil.
Some politicians of Bauchi state extraction are known as notorious in the pursuance of their selfish interests against that of the state not minding the negative effects of such actions on the majority. Every step and policy of government is condemned or painted worthless and appalling by those charlatans. The trend is synonymous with our democracy and has persisted since Sen. Bala Muhammed took the oath of office. One important aspect of the struggle for good governance is the effort put-in by patriots before the democracy was restored that cannot be quantified. With the Fourth Republic, one expects the people to have learnt lessons to handle governance maturely by curtailing, if not eradicating the trend of unnecessary opposition, but, reverse is the case as the situation gets worse by the day and the system suffers unnecessarily.
The issue of opposition’s misplaced priority is not an ideology of a particular group, party, ethnic group or religion; most politicians are guilty of this anti-democratic activity. In as much as this piece recognizes that in politics, there are no permanent friends or foes but, permanent interest, some politicians of Bauchi extraction have misconstrued this principle to mean personal and selfish ambitions/interests. As a result, the permanent interest of opposition is always to pull down the government ignoring the consequences of the damage or pains it may inflict on the state. Those in government are right to see opposition as enemies as mutual suspicion pervades the polity.
Those blindfolded by parochial sentiments and greed should retread to the path of honor. Expectedly, it is the people bearing the brunt endlessly and instead of them to join the governor to fight bequeathed problems, they chose trading blames for selfish interest.
Bauchi State government has gone to equity with clean hands and criticisms and pieces of advices from responsible opponents are most welcome for consideration.
What is then the takeaway from all the efforts put? The upshot is that stakeholders should look at the bigger picture of the development hub, intervention projects and programmes of Balanomics which include but not limited to the splendid human development outreaches. As we speak, several blue-chip investors have responded positively to the Bala revolution in Bauchi. And the people are still counting. From all indications, Bauchi State under the watch of an awesome, visionary, eclectic Sen. Bala Muhammed, is heading to better days as a veritable investment destination, whose potentials have been integrated into the national matrix and value chain of production, goods, services, trade and commerce.
As a consummate and thorough bred statesman, the governor, has extended an olive branch, to and welcome the opposition, including faultfinders, moaners and grumblers for an inclusive and anti-exclusionary ideal government that will move Bauchi State forward. Bala Muhammed said: “everyone is welcome, nothing is unimportant, and no one is insubstantial. The pivotal role of the opposition, pressure and interest groups is a magna carta enshrined in all constitutional democracies”.
2023 is the election year in most states in Nigeria. There is an ongoing clarion call on Governor Bala Muhammed to move forward to the presidential race based on his performance rating as a core Federal Civil Servant, Senator of the Federal Republic and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He performed creditably and left his foot-prints on the sands of time. But where the problem lies is, who takes over from him in Bauchi state on PDP platform? Should PDP allow opposition APC a field day without their strongest pillar around? APC has good contenders that include; former governor M.A Abubakar, Dr. Musa Babayo, Capt. Bala Jibrin, Farouk Mustapha and Mahmoud Maijama’a Ajiya for 2023. But to say it as it is, Governor Bala Muhammed remains the best of the best for the good of Bauchi state any day, anytime and anywhere. That does not stop rabble rousers and their clowns in the APC from warming the polity with bogus claims, mischief and blackmail before their final disgraceful exit in 2023. I come in peace!
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues