BY SUZAN EDEH
SIX years down the line and 24 months to go, Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda is faced with the challenge of leaving a lasting legacy in the state. He is bent on realizing this quest via completion of all his projects before the expiration of his tenure in 2015.
When he began his second term in May 2011, Governor Yuguda told Bauchi citizenry that he would focus attention on completing all on-going projects, saying that only new projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the people would be executed.
Most of the projects during his first tenure were not executed because contractors abandoned them. Thus, the governor’s posture on returning for second term was not surprising.
“This time it will not be business as usual because I want to correct all the mistakes I made during my first tenure in office. My administration will place high premium on the execution of projects that have impact on security of lives and property, while a lot of investment opportunities would be explored to create jobs for the teeming youths in the state,” he said.
Indeed, the governor appears to be matching his words with action. So far, he has executed many laudable projects that cut across health, education, youth and women empowerment, transportation, water supply, agriculture and security.
Among his laudable projects in the state is the long-awaited Bauchi State International Airport. Known as the Pearl of Tourism, Bauchi State since its creation 1976 until now was the only state without an airport among its contemporaries across the country.
The project was conceived in the 70’s when the Murtala/Obasanjo military administration attempted to build the airport in honour of the first and only Prime Minister of the country, the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, but the plan did not materialize.
Another attempt by the Shehu Shagari’s administration in the 1980’s also failed. Yuguda, as Aviation minister during the civilian administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, made efforts to construct the airport but could not despite being a kitchen cabinet member.
However, the airport dream was realized when the Isa Yuguda-led administration on October 25, 2011 signed a N7.9 billion contract with Triacta Nigeria Limited for the construction of an Ultra-modern International Airport to be completed within 18 months.
Currently, the project which is witnessing finishing touches preparatory to its commissioning. Work has been completed in areas such as the car park, terminal building for local and international passengers, Fire Brigade Unit, control tower, tarmac and 3.5 kilometre runway. The Airport has the capacity to accommodate 5-7 Aircrafts at the same time.
For some time, the people of the state have been yearning for a state university, which previous administrations could not provide. The need has been met by Yuguda and today Bauchi owns a state university located at Gauda in Itas –Gauda. Academic activities have taken-off at the university.
In health, the Yuguda Administration is constructing a two billion Naira New Specialist Hospital to replace the old one that was given to the newly established Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital and the project is almost completed contrary to the jeers of critics. When the state government declared that it would convert the old Bauchi Specialist Hospital to a teaching hospital, opposition parties in the state faulted the move, saying that it was one of his empty promises.
Apart from the specialist hospital, the government has also completed the N375.6 million Bogoro and Bayara New General Hospital; renovated and equipped Shira Hospital while Kafin Madaki, Misau and Zaki new General Hospital will soon be commissioned.
The Governor has also approved the upgrading of the school of Nursing and Midwifery and that of Ningi Health Technology to the status of colleges. In addition, the state government has established a new VVF centre at the Ningi General Hospital to treat patients suffering from Virgina Vesico Fistula. In the past, victims of VVF often traveled far distances like Jos in Plateau state to seek for such services.