PAUL OMOKUVIE, BAUCHI
Newly sworn-in governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammad, has described the health sector he inherited from the immediate past Governor Mohammed Abubakar as “painfully scandalous,” disclosing that the state needs 7,000 doctors to turn things around.
Mohammed, who also disclosed that he inherited a debt of N136 billion, made the disclosure shortly after he and his deputy, Senator Baba Tela, were sworn-in by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Rabi Umar, at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium.
He said he was taking over a government that was bedevilled by insufficient cash flow, a huge loan portfolio, huge outstanding liabilities, dearth of critical infrastructure, collapsed and non-functional educational and health facilities, high unemployment rate and drug addiction and young gangsterism.
Speaking shortly after taking the oath of office, the new governor disclosed that the health and educational sector of the state had collapsed with non- functional facilities and assured that his message to the people of the state was that ‘hope has come, and we are here to make a difference.”
Mohammed said: “The situation of health is painfully scandalous and calls for a state of emergency. As is axiomatic, facts do not lie. The World Health Organisation (WHO) doctor to patient ratio is 1:600. Thus, with a population estimated at about seven million persons, Bauchi will require 7,000 doctors. Sadly, however, there are only 44 doctors in the state (one doctor to 150,000 patients). This is a stout mockery of the WHO ratio and leaves you with the painful feeling that the people have been left behind in the global effort to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).”
In order to revamp the health sector, Mohammed assured that his administration would provide financial protection as envisaged in the UHC programme of WHO.
“We would ensure that families and households are not left out.”
Governor Mohammed also lamented the situation in the educational sector of the state, which he recalled “was reputed as the bastions of all categories of educated manpower in Nigeria,” he said.
He added: “Unfortunately, that reputation has been blown away and Bauchi State has become a byword for educational backwardness, a shadow of its former self. The greatest evidence of this decline is the report by the UNESCO that, there are 1.3 million out-of-school children in the State, the highest in the country.”
The new governor said that his administration was coming to confront the army of unemployed and underemployed people, particularly youth and women.
He promised to assemble a team of technocrats, administrators, university don, political leaders across party lines and labour leaders to draw up agenda that will jump start the economy, transformation objective of the administration.
The Bauchi State governor who arrived the venue of the swearing-in ceremony amidst a thunderous reception from a mammoth crowd, reeled out a seven-point agenda namely improvement in governance, agricultural transformation, promotion of agro-allied industries revenue boost, revival of education, improving healthcare delivery and rural transformation.
The swearing-in in ceremony was witnessed by an unprecedented crowd as the 16,000 capacity stadium was full to capacity and was attended by various dignitaries including former governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwanso, who sent a representative, former FCT minister Abba Gana and his business associates among others.