By Patience Ogbodo
Since he assumed office as governor, his state has regularly engaged national attention. From mindless activities of religious fundamentalists to his celebrated marraige to one of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s daughters, to his grand defection to the ruling People’s Democratic Party and the recent impeachment of his deputy, Bauchi and indeed Governor Isa Yuguda have always been in the news . In this interview he spoke on those he described as religious militants and Niger Delta militants whom he referred to as ungodly people. Excerpts:
When you came into office you promised that every part of Bauchi will have potable drinking water, we saw the effort in some parts but as of now the outskirt of Bauchi particularly Jos Road are yet to benefit from this, why?
When we came into government, we had about 1.5 m gallons pumped into Bauchi and nobody made noise at that time. I donâ€™t know whether you were sleeping then. You know that we inherited completely collapsed Gubi dam, with only one generating set that is about 17 years old, and the transformer was not functioning. Now we have two brand new 1500kv generating sets there. We have refurbished one of the two generating sets we met there and we have the brand new transformer fixed.
Since the installation we have been pumping 10 million gallons, but of this barely 4 million were reaching the town. You would recalled at that time there was a little outbreak of water borne diseases and this was as a result of the bust pipes that were rusty and dirty because they were not in use. Then we went round, we started by inspecting pipeline by pipeline and sealed almost all these leakages and this has greatly reduced the number of infections recorded in the hospitals.
We also rehabilitated the abandoned Gubi treatment plant and brought in new equipment. In a day now we are pumping about 13 million including boreholes. It get to as much as 15 million but as I said the water demand in Bauchi town and its environment which was estimated in 1992 to be only 10m gallons is today in excess of 50m gallons. So we have been doing our best, within the resource constraint that we have.
There was intention from federal government to invest in the Bauchi water supply but probably because of scarce resources they have not be able to carry out anything in the state so far and we hope if the resources of the federal government improve they will look at Bauchi because the state is currently one of the places they have not intervened in water supply and rehabilitation. I just want you to be aware that we have improved water supply in Bello Kari estate ,awarded contracts on bore holes in Wunti dada and Miri village to complement what is going on in Gubi Dam.
Recently during the sectarian crisis that erupted in Bauchi, you described the Boko Haram disturbances as a national problem. You were proven right as other places were affected. Since you identified the enormity of the crisis have you thought of forming a synergy among other northern governors to curb this menace?
It is not a North – Eastern issue alone, the militancy issue is a national matter, like we have always said, these people are evil people, lunatics, and that is why I always emphasised that whenever we have any crisis in town it should not be mixed with religion.
We have no religious crisis, I alerted all the governors especially those in the South- East when I was planning my action because it has to be a discreet action. If we had allowed them to succeed, you and I will not be sitting down here today given the level of weapons and the preparedness of these people. From all indications they have capacity to capture the entire town.
Like I predicted the first place they will start shooting are the churches and the Christians. These people are neither Muslims nor Christians and it goes both ways. You find those who use the Bible to do such things and those who use Qaran to do the same thing. By the time we demolished their camps not a single piece of Quran was found there, so that is why I said we have evil human beings in our midst.
If you go to the Niger Delta the militants are not people of God. The agitation of the people of South- South was hijacked by this ungodly people, they saw it as an opportunity to make money. The leader of the Boko Haram, Yusuf Muhammed in Maiduguri was about 39 years old. He was riding jeeps and was been treated as if he were a king. I want to tell you that it is not a North -Eastern problem but a national problem.
Your administration set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the management of funds during former governor Adamu Muazuâ€™s administration. We were made to understand that they have concluded the public sitting, and it is about submitting a report but people are saying that due to your defection to PDP you may let sleeping dog lie?
You know I pray to God that if this seat I am sitting here which I campaigned for will make me to go to hell, may Allah make it impossible for me to come and sit. I have made that oath. If I found anybody wanted, guilty or messing up with public funds, may be you donâ€™t know much about Isa Yuguda , I will do the right thing because I donâ€™t want to go to hell.
I will make sure that I take the right decision, no matter who is involved. Even if he is my son, I will make sure that he is prosecuted. I believed you were around when I swore in elected officials. I told them their official responsibility and that any any person who violates the law of civil servants is on is own. I will investigate it, when the report is submitted. I will appoint very responsible, transparent retired civil servants to go through the report and draw the white paper and whoever we find guilty will be dealt with according to the laws of the land.
I still want to talk about the issue of militants, whether Boko Haram or militants in the Niger Delta; some scholars said we have this problem of youths restiveness because our leaders over the years have not done their work. Also the Sultan of Sokoto once said that nothing is working in Nigeria because people are hungry. What is your take on this?
Well, I donâ€™t know the level of leaders the Sultan is talking about. When we talk about leadership, we must also talk about followership. Iâ€™ve just spoken about people who pick up the Quran and the Bible and interpret it upside down.
There are Imams who preach to people to do the right thing, we have the same thing going for pastors , while some will preach different thing and run down the system instead of speaking about what the Bible says. Your profession is not isolated. Some of you will pick up a pen and run down the government of Nigeria, run down the president. This is what is happening in every sector.
Recently we saw health workers in Bauchi State going on strike whereas the health sector in the state is the highest paid in Nigeria because no other state has implemented HATTIS today. I am not saying this to please anybody. There are no hospitals in Nigeria today like those in Bauchi because of the way we equipped them but yet these workers went on strike.
You won’t believe that human beings can act like that. Some of them went to the extent of removing oxygen out of a patientâ€™s mouth, he died; women who were about to give birth died including the children. They removed drips from patients. It is not only the leadership. You may wonder what prompted the Boko Haram to do what they did. If God have not made us to apprehend them, what happened in Maiduguri would have befallen Bauchi.
I am telling you, if you have seen the weapons and see how they were prepared, they would have eliminated half of Bauchi population but God gave us the wisdom to pre-empt them. I commended the security agents for thei
r commitment, they sacrificed their lives for others to live.
Yes there is poverty in the land, but how do we get society rich when we are always shedding blood, diverting money in the treasury that is meant to create jobs and wealth into our private pockets, so poverty must be there.