Paul Orude Bauchi
Bauchi government has announced a date for local government elections in keeping with the campaign promise of Governor Bala Mohammed to restore democratically elected councils.
The announcement came even as the government debunked allegations by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara that the governor had reneged on his pledge to conduct local government elections within six months of his inauguration.
A statement by Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Mukhtar Gidado, stated that Governor Mohammed was committed to holding the election in the strong belief that early installation of democratically elected local councils would provide a veritable avenue for leadership recruitment at the local level, and to jumpstart development, based on “the felt need approach, rather than previous approaches that bled the councils financially.”
Part of the statement read: “ Regrettably, despite the governor’s desire, the COVID 19 pandemic scuttled two previous attempts to conduct the elections as the state could not guarantee strict adherence to the protocols in place to prevent spread of the virus.”
The state government also denied that the governor ever promised to conduct elections into the local councils within six months of his election.
“While it is not the intention of the government to contest obvious lies, it must be stated that contrary to Dogara’s claim of the inflation of contracts, the state government is making huge savings by subjecting all its projects to the Basic Engineering Management and Evaluation which is the global standard.
“We also wish to clarify that contrary to insinuations over the management of allocations to the local government, right from the inception, the Bala Mohammed administration, has judiciously adhered to the extant financial rules in the management of allocations to the local governments, based on federal allocation and cash flow”, he said.
He, however, noted that mismanagement of LG allocations has thrown the local government into a N9 billion debt, arising from joint projects without evidence of execution.
“We want to place on record that despite the challenges, the Bala Mohammed administration has recorded some giant strides in its transformation agenda in the local governments,” he said.