By Charly Agwam, Bauchi
Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed has named a new 6.25km road constructed during his administration after former President Dr Goodluck Jonathan for his contribution in bringing him to the limelight.
The new road which is now to be known as Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Drive was formerly SabonKaura-Jos road bypass, a road which, according to inhabitants of the area, was Impassable for over 50 years.
Before the commissioning exercise by former President Jonathan, the governor said during a courtesy visit to the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu on Tuesday, that he came to the limelight after Jonathan made him minister of Federal Capital Territory, even without knowing him.
Hailing Jonathan as the face of democracy in Africa, the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory during the Goodluck Jonathan administration further said he is proud that the former President is his father.
“Today, history is made as revealed by the Master of Ceremony and (I want to say that) today I am the happiest person standing here. Your Highness, somebody who was instrumental to my coming to the limelight in Nigeria is sitting down with you. He came all the way from Yenegoa in Bayelsa. Somebody that I never had anything in common with other than the streak of nationalism and Nigerians.
“He made me the minister of FCT without knowing me or belonging to the same party. He really impacted so much in me and other youths in Nigeria by giving me that responsibility. He gave me the burden to carry his name on my head like a toga and that made it a must to perform anywhere I went. He didn’t give me that position by my own doing or because anybody was seeking it on my behalf.
“He has shone us what democracy means. When we lost, he became my father and my inspiration. And the way and manner he left government, he has created a good impression globally in terms of democracy. He made me proud that I have a father and a mentor who is the face of democracy in Africa. And today, he has come to our House; this House that we all respect in Bauchi and the whole country” the elated governor said.
On his part, the former President lauded the effort of the governor for building the State’s infrastructure in spite of the economic downturn in the country.
Jonathan said: Today is a happy day for me because since I left office, this is the first time I am coming to Bauchi. I thank the people of Bauchi for supporting my good son and let me say that you’ve done very well in supporting him. It would have been difficult for him to win the election without your support.
“Yes, as he said, I didn’t know him when I made him the minister of FCT. In Nigeria, we have this tradition where some people feel that there are some ministries that are big and that you have to know somebody before you can get there, but that was not my own way of doing things. Bala Mohammed is a good younger brother and he is a good son. Even when he was a minister, he worked with the commitment that was why I gave him the free hand to run the ministry.
“When I looked through the list of projects the governor has done, I was marvelled. These days that the economic environment is unfriendly, it is not easy for a governor to raise money to do such infrastructural projects. We thank the governor and his team who are working day and night to keep the State flying.”
Welcoming his guest, the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Adamu thanked the former President for making Bala Mohammed one of his longest-serving ministers while also applauding him for his love for Bauchi State and respect for the traditional institution.