From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Chief Protocol Officer to Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Suleyman Ahmed Malami, in an interview with reporters in Kano, offered reasons behind the decision to ease out the former Secretary to the State Government.
Nigerians have been rating the performance of governors in the present dispensation. May we have your take on your governor?
For anybody in Bauchi State, Governor M.A. Abubakar has performed well in the last two years. In my opinion, and I believe the opinion of most of the people and residents of Bauchi State, the governor’s mid- term scorecard is impressive. He has exceeded the achievements of previous administrations in the state within the same period. These achievements are many of course. They include the construction or innovation of hundreds of kilometers of urban and rural road networks, building and equipping of health centers across the state, improvement of water supply, and rehabilitation of educational infrastructures as well improvement of facilities in many sectors of the state, such as agriculture, rural electrification, youth development, security and above all, payment of salaries and workers benefits.
It is a surprise he did all these as you have listed despite his reputation as someone who too often travels out of the state. How come?
First, let me state that this allegation against the governor is totally unfounded and untrue or incorrect. It is borne out of ignorance or a clear misunderstanding by his critics of the enormous scope of the responsibilities of the governor. It is not one task that is to be executed only be staying at home. As a chief executive of a state, the governor’s mandate includes the mobilisation of resources and development/ investment opportunities from outside, to the state. Thus, some of these trips outside the country are in line with this assignment. These trips are not for leisure, but for the purpose of promoting the economic, industrial and social development of the state. And the trips, except the critics chose to be blind, are yielding the desired results. So far, the governor has succeeded in attracting a number of reputable foreign investors into major heights of the economy of the state, such as tourism, agriculture and industrialisation, among others.
Not long ago, your governor dissolved the State Executive Council. What do you think was responsible for the dissolution of the council?
I think that the dissolution of the Executive Council was a product of his resolve to inject fresh ideas and new thinking into the administration of the state. I think it was done to achieve a better service delivery to the people of Bauchi State. There is really nothing new or extra-ordinary in a governor reshuffling his cabinet or asking anybody to go or to come and join the administration and help him achieve success in the implementation of policies and programs of his administration.
Is it the same spirit that informed the discharge of the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and the appointment of his replacement?
I guess it is. Nothing more! You see, joggling of these officers was done in good faith. It was an extension of the cabinet reshuffle. You may wish to know that in a presidential system of government, the chief executive has the right to hire and fire public officers so there is nothing sacrosanct about retaining an existing officer or appointing a new one. In any case, the new SSG, Alhaji Muhammadu Nadada is an accomplished technocrat who could add value to the administration. He had served in this position in the past. He was a one-time SSG and the engine room of the defunct Adamu Mu’azu led PDP administration in the state, which everyone agrees was outstanding among the ranks of previous administrations in the state. Though the new SSG was formerly a member of the PDP, he has since decamped to the APC. My opinion is that he will assist greatly in moving the administration and Bauchi State forward
Every day, 2019 is driving closer. Politicians are getting set for the battle once again. Would you make a guess at the direction of things to come in Bauchi State?
Governor Abubakar has done well so far and I believe that the people of Bauchi State would be willing to reward him with a second chance for him to continue with his progressive policies and programmes. The silent majority of the people of Bauchi State wants him and is prepared to vote for him in 2019. Mind you, in 2015, no one, least all the governor himself, knew he will fly the APC flag and ultimately get elected as the state chief executive. His election was the will of Allah and insha Allah, he will be re-elected for a second term. Already, we have inaugurated the Bauchi 2019 Project. It was the brainchild of state indigenes interested in the re-election of Governor M.A Abubakar in 2019. It was not the creation of the governor but that of interest groups in and outside Bauchi State. And I can assure you that they are working very hard to bring him back.