As preparations are reaching advanced stage to mark the first two years in office of Sen. Bala Muhammed as governor of Bauchi State on May 29, 2021 and celebrate success, one remembers the 35th President of the United States of America, late John Fitzgerald Kennedy, whose early days in office were so eventful that history has hoisted him as a rare leader who didn’t need a long stay to prove his mettle in leadership. In only two years, Kennedy revived his country’s low balling economy with legislations and policies that sought to eliminate America’s debilitating racial fault lines and bring succor to the disadvantaged of the society. According to a Wikipedia account, “The economy (under Kennedy) experienced steady growth, low inflation and a drop in unemployment rates. He established the Peace Corps and promised to land an American on the moon which he did.
This is how committed leaders think positively and the government they lead to achieve in half of their tenure what others combined never attained in full term or two. It has been said of Kennedy that by his midterm he had surpassed the records of most of his predecessors. Observers still rank his short lived but eventful administration as one of the best in the United States contemporary history. The charismatic JFK was assassinated in 1963 when he had spent less than three years in the White House.
Critics’ opinion about what we are encouraging in Bauchi State under Sen. Bala Muhammed’s watch also suggests that we are face to face with a fast paced administration which works as if each day would mark its last in office. This has led many to conclude that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration is working with the speed of a hurricane. Nothing stands in the way of the storm. Every hindrance is brought down for its passage. Its royal route repels obstruction, no matter how firmly rooted.
Leaders who want to make a difference don’t wait for the end of their time to present their report card for appraisal by the people. They want to be judged by their everyday activity. It is the impact of the actions of each day that determines the verdict of history. That has been the story of Sen. Bala Muhammed over the past 19months of his residency in Bauchi Government House.
For the common people and civil servants in Bauchi State, what remains indelible in their minds on the Kauran Bauchi model of governance in the last 19months is his renewal of their faith in the civil service. Workers have begun to enjoy job stability traditionally identified with government work. Kaura is not only considering lifting the embargo placed on workers promotion by his predecessor and yearly increment of salaries including payment of leave grant but has ensured prompt payment of monthly salaries and pensions.
The education sector has also felt the impact of the ‘hurricane’ pace of Kaura in the last 19months. The system has been overhauled to make way for the scrapping of certain outdated policies that retarded educational growth and the modernization of teaching methods to rhyme with the digital age and diversity of standards. To be sure, these have yielded top dividends for the good of Bauchi State.
In the health sector, the people have seen Kaura’s Midas touch at work. Several health centres were constructed in almost all the 20 local governments in the state owned hospitals and maternity hubs are in addition being renovated and upgraded while being kitted with modern equipments and stocked with the most essential drugs. The government is equally making efforts to put in place a progressive health insurance package that will be beneficial to both public and private employees. Along with these strides in health, agriculture is undergoing a revitalization that may engage the private sector and financial institutions for the delivery of an agrarian revolution in the state. The idea is to make Bauchi State self sufficient in food production for local and national consumption.
The Sen. Bala administration is carefully studying submitted proposal by commissioned experts for the establishment of Bauchi State Ethanol Bio-Refinery Factory. If government keys into the idea and fully established, the factory will be planting, harvesting and transporting and converting cassava into ethanol for final marketing. The project will create 1000 job opportunities and reduce the rising rate of poverty and unemployment that today poses threat to national security.
As for the menace of flooding that has wrecked havoc on several communities during rainy seasons, the Sen. Bala Muhammed administration has constructed and rehabilitated over 15 roads across the state measuring over 300 kilometers with spacious drainages and is planning to clean all drainages, dredge the waterways, ponds and streams in identified areas known to have experienced the insufferable consequences. The menace of flood and desertification has over the years led to dislocations in the economy and unbearable trauma for the victims. The situation gave sleepless nights to the administration in search of immediate solutions to provide safety nets for lives and property.
In the period under review, the government’s commitment to the welfare of the people was put to test with the onslaught of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. But Sen. Bala’s administration rose to the occasion as it rolled out containment plans that prevented the plague from causing wide spread havoc within the state. The government responded swiftly, by providing and equipping designated isolation centres, distribution of free face masks, sanitizers and essential drugs among other supplies during the lockdown. The people also received packages of assorted palliatives in form of foods, drinks and cash to prove official sympathy in their moment of need.
While it has been an eventual time, the past 19 months have also demonstrated the ability of the Sen. Bala Muhammed’s administration to prove that it is a worthy custodian of the people’s mandate that was freely and willingly given without strings in 2019.
It is testimony of successes so far that indicates the people were not wrong to have elected Sen. Bala Abdulkadir Muhammed to govern them possibly beyond 2023 going by his giant strides that are visible and touchable.
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues.