Gubernatorial Election: Bauchi State Not for Sale – By Sanusi Muhammad

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It’s on May 29, 2023, Bauchi State Governor, Sen. Bala Muhammed, must have exhausted his four-year mandate pursuant to Section (182)(1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and set to transfer the baton of power if he had absented himself from participating in the election for a second term as a right. Many wish it to be a scenario of jubilation of transfer of power from outgoing Governor Bala Muhammed to incoming governor Sen. Bala Abdulkadir Muhammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).


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Arguably, his present half-term score shows a sustained political momentum spiced with unquantifiable delivered service across the state.

In fact, it can be argued that Bauchi state has the most proficient administration from the era of Abubakar Tatari Ali, with Governor Bala who pigheadedly pulled down the monster called godfatherism that resulted in friction between him and his PDP-claimed godfathers branded as political juggernauts that trade on people’s right. It was a tough and rough battle between him and the self-appointed godfathers for the control of Bauchi state government affairs. They claimed to have supported him to victory at the time of need, but what was the quantum of the claimed support? In all honesty, were they a disappointed group in search of base for 2023? Was Bala Muhammed not bold enough to have even agreed to accommodate them in his campaign train to greatness?   

No doubt, by the 1999 Constitution, all candidates for the 2023 gubernatorial election may be prima facie qualified, having attained the mandatory age of 35 years as stipulated. However, looking at the interest of the state, many may not satisfactorily fit the bill. The interest of the state should override personal interests as on display by Governor Bala Muhammed adjudged the messiah of the state.

How to sustain the enviable strides recorded over the few years should be the utmost priority of the people not to allow themselves turned into guinea pigs for political laboratory tests of the greedy and their shylock associates pounding the landscape trading falsehood for acceptance. The state needs a real patriot who believes in service not to be served. Who has listening ears not the issuing order type with military command as if the people are barrack boys on sentry duty. Who respects the people’s wish and not seen and rated in behavior as a zombie.

Of course, the candidates’ should indicate that they have individually recorded significant accomplishments in their respective vacations and must have contributed in one way or the other to the development of the state they jostle to govern as some lack even personal residences anywhere within the state to claim but still believe erroneously to be more indigenous than the indigenes.

Almost every one of them must have led an organization at different times, and exited with honor as a good ambassador of Bauchi state, just as Governor Bala Muhammed exited ministerial position as an accomplished servant that stamped his foot-prints on the sands of time in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The Pearl of Tourism as baptized with its enviable accomplishments brought in by Governor Bala Muhammed has already set a standard that must be sustained. Presently, all the states in the Northeast sub-region are looking up to Bauchi state as the pacesetter on account of the good governance it has brought to bear. In other words, Bauchi state electorates must resist egocentrism and extreme political intrigues in 2023. The people should in unison endorse the candidature of Sen. Bala Muhammed who has a proven managerial capacity and capability combined- and presently managing the capital and human resources credibly with economic growth and contemporary innovations. Nothing beats administrative experience and capacity and courage to lead. Short and long term economic development cannot be attained by embryonic struggles the type on display by the vultures on the other divide.

Looking at the 2023 aspirants, one undeniable fact is that each of them has excelled one way or the other. But unfortunately, some of them are lacking in character, public relations and experience. In fact, only few are philanthropic with the large heart to extend assistance and support to others. Some have supported and still supporting the less privileged in their localities while some are for themselves and family only unlike the style of Bala Muhammed who doles out without a request at the most appropriate time to the needy as a personal bond. The good gestures of Bala Muhammed must be commended and appreciated for emulation irrespective of any motive other than humanitarian.

In private enterprise, some have chains of businesses running to their credit but contributing nothing positively to the development of the state they so love to govern.

There is no doubt to the fact that the Pearl of Tourism is endowed with high class intellectuals, accomplished technocrats, seasoned politicians and Board Room Managers laying waste without extending their positive impacts to the people. Governor Bala Muhammed is left at the scene to bear the brunt while burning the midnight oil to develop the state to standard and for pride of all.

Taking a critical look at the standard of development the state has attained within just two years vis-à-vis economic growth and provision of infrastructure and healthcare delivery under preceding administrations at state and national levels, it follows that through all the contenders scored highly in their respective personal endeavor, many are not sufficiently equipped to step into the big shoes to be left by Bala Muhammed in 2027 to steer the affairs of the state from the point he vacates the scene either constitutionally or through personal desire for bigger assignment at the national or international scene as the case may be.

To call a spade a spade, Bauchi State Government House is a big shoe yearning for a strong leg in terms of managerial skills otherwise it will drop in value, respect and worth. The space cannot be properly occupied with mere private business acumen, philanthropic activities or military activism but proficiency in corporate governance and economic spheres as opined by a public affairs commentator and corporate governance strategist, Air Commodore Ali Muhammed (Rtd).

There’s a great difference between steering a private business after retirement, leading an ill-equipped troop to theatre of war that recorded more casualties than success and governing a complex state like Bauchi. Amongst the 2023 contenders is the sacked Chief of Air staff, Air Marshall Sadeeq Baba Abubakar. The seasoned military officer was mandated to manage human and capital resources of the Nigerian Air force, but at the exit of his tenure, his stewardship was not applauded in all given tasks both locally and within the international community. 

Contributing to the debate, a onetime close associate of the de-robed Chief of Air staff, Group Captain Ahmad Musa (Rtd), who served as Nigeria’s deputy defence attache’ at the Gulf region, described Air Marshall Sadeeq Baba Abubakar as unfit for public trust which should serve as a warning to those hawks hovering around the drowning political novice for 2023 daylight dream of governing Bauchi state. 

How he managed the Nigerian Air force for over five years is a story for another day. Then Bar. Muhammed A. Abubakar, Dr. Musa Babayo, Hon. Farouk Mustapha, Capt. Bala Jibrin, Mahmoud Maijama’a Ajiya, Maitama Tugga, Sen. Halliru Dauda Jika, Nura Manusoro, Sen. Lawal Yahaya Gumau and possibly, Bar. Ibrahim Zailani. These are Trojan horses preparing assiduously for the 2023 gubernatorial race against a lone ranger from the winning stable, PDP.

By his experience and ranking, Governor Bala Muhammed expectedly should be in the frontline for the exalted office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whether by rotational arrangement or competence. In other words, Bala’s 2019 offer to govern his state was cheered as a height of humility and concern to the welfare of the people forced into quandary, abject poverty and a bleak future full of uncertainties accumulated over the years.

A national figure of repute with requisite political clout for national leadership, in 2019 submitted himself to lead his ancestral home state out of underdevelopment characterized by clueless and inept leadership, what an archetype. By his body language, Governor Bala Muhammed’s message to the society is that of ‘charity must begin at home in service’. Thus, 2023 is not the time for ‘it’s our turn: ‘Bauchi South, North or Central’ at the expense of merit. The dangerous temptation Bauchi state must doggedly resist is not to allow the big fish that providentially entered into their net escape carelessly from them until 2027. If allowed to escape, that will be suicidal to the aggressive progress of the state that has since May 29, 2019 commenced with passion.             

 Muhammad is a commentator on national issues

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