BY SUZAN EDEH
What Governor Isa Yuguda would do with the fresh mandate he recently received to govern Bauchi State is a recurring question on the lips of some watchers of Bauchi politics.
From his first term, the governor has a number of campaign promises he could not fulfil due to some unexplained factors beyond his control. Now he has another opportunity to prove to the people of the state that he is more than able to fulfill his promises, in terms of delivering dividends of democracy. And more so given the tortuous road he traversed to victory at the polls.
The Governor won his re-election the hard way. Despite having the power of incumbency at his disposal, Yuguda contended with a lot of challenges.
Apart from the fact that he betrayed the trust of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) that gave him the mandate to become governor of the state in 2007 by defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he also faced a horde of political rivals in the PDP. With some factions created within the ruling party, especially from the national headquarters and from within the state, it took determination, hard work, perseverance and doggedness to scale the electoral hurdles.
Worst still, the post-presidential election violence that occurred in some northern parts of the country including Bauchi discouraged a lot of voters from voting in the gubernatorial elections. As if this was not enough, governorship polls were cancelled in Misau and Ningi local government areas of the state amid election irregularities.
Having emerged from the crucible as it were and with only four years to go, Yuguda must get it right this time around, in terms of keeping to his campaign promises and making sure that the people of the state reap dividends of democracy.
During the swearing-in ceremony at the IBB square, Yuguda, who was sworn-in by the Chief Judge of Bauchi State, Justice Ibrahim Muhammadu Zango, vowed that he was going to ensure that security of lives and property would be guaranteed. Reason: “ When a leader refuses to protect lives and property of his citizens, that leader has failed woefully in his duty as a leader and he will be held accountable by God, when he dies.”
Given the recurring mayhem in northern parts of the country, the governor cannot afford to take this campaign promise lightly. He has started working on this by equipping the Police, military and State Security Service (SSS) operatives in the state with security facilities to enhance their productivity in combating crime.
Following the post-election violence that led to the death of innocent citizens of the state and 10 corps members, the governor disclosed that the “security agencies have arrested over 600 perpetrators of this dastardly acts including the suspected killers of the corps members and other citizens of the state.”
Also, Yuguda has tackled the frequent Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro crisis in the state. He has appointed a high powered committee to review previous reports on the Tafawa Balewa/Bogoro crisis such as Justice Babalakin, Justice Bala Umar and Justice Ibrahim Zango’s
Another issue that Yuguda has to contend with is completion of all on-going projects beginning of new ones. The projects, according to Yuguda, include, Ningi-Bura Road, Alkaleri-Futuk Road, Rishi-Rahama- Tama Road, Gamawa – Alagarno Road and Soro-Miya Road.
Yuguda also promised to pursue the establishment of a thermal Independent Power Project (IPP) in the state, pointing out that the project had reached an appreciable level.
The governor has also said he would construct the Kafin Zaki Dam within the next four years because according to him “the issue of poverty alleviation will be squarely addressed in the state if this project becomes a reality. ”
One important factor that will help Yuguda to realise his objectives is getting good hands as commissioners, aides and advisers, which some observers, believe he would do.
Recently, the governor sacked all political appointees because of what he said was his determination to “inject new blood into my cabinet, people, who are ready to work with me in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people. I am not ready to put up with people who are lazy, betrayers and people who embezzle state government funds,” he said. Now he is getting set for a new cabinet that will help him move the state forward.
Aside tested men and women he is expected to bring on aborad, Yuguda would also rely on the support of his wives, especially, Hajiya Hauwa Abiodun Yuguda.
The First Lady, through her pet project, Challenge Your Disability Initiative (CYDI) has been transforming the lives of those who are physically challenged. Disabled persons from within and outside the state have benefitted immensely from the initiative.