“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do. You build one by doing what is right at the right time.” Senator Bala Mohammed (KauranBauchi) wrote on his Facebook wall as far back as September 22, 2011. If this comment were to have been written at this moment, any right thinking pundit would put it down to activism in the run up to the 2015 elections.
However, Senator Bala Mohammed, incumbent Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), made this assertion over a couple of years ago at a time when there was no ongoing contest, so it must have been a heartfelt expression. For the kind of man he is, the FCT Minister has transformed this expression into realities through his track record in running the affairs of the nation’s capital.
Even before he became the FCT Minister, as the Senator for Bauchi Central, he was instrumental to holding Nigeria away from the brink of constitutional disaster when he came up with the concept of Doctrine of Necessity during the political impasse that arose from the ill health of late President Umaru Yar’Adua. In the contemporary Nigeria, it takes a true nationalist to think of such solution to a problem that was threatening to tear the country apart, more so when the visible beneficiary is a man of different ethno-geographical extraction and adherent of a different faith. The minister has gone further since then to prove that he is not given to parochial sentiments as he treats people on the basis that they are Nigerians.
Since becoming the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed has built his reputation by doing what is right at the right time and the transformation in the Federal Capital Territory is a testimony to this. Similar to when he proposed the doctrine of necessity, he has demonstrated his boundless capacity to think out of the box as evident in the revolutionary approaches he adopts to dealing with problems that would otherwise stump other people. At the core of such visionary thinking is his often repeated conviction that development can be accelerated when the space is opened up to the participation of the private sector. This concept has proven to be great for employment creation while at the same time meeting critical needs.
The land swap programme ranks high among such initiatives to surface under the watch of the present FCT Minister. Granted that opponents and critics of this laudable programme may have a long shopping list to justify its demise, this does not however take away from the fine point that it is a programme that is able to simultaneously address the housing deficit in the FCT, create employment, grow the economy and provided needed revenue to the government. This is just one of instances in which the Senator’s cosmopolitan thinking threw up workable solution to a nagging problem. There are several other instances that will take up significant space to analyze so the example given suffices.
Beyond physical and infrastructural development, he has proven to be adept in carrying the people along. Policies and projects often have town hall meetings built around them. This is the essence of democracy, people participation in the decision making process.
The moral of the situation is that Senator Bala Mohammed has to walk the talk. He must have at some point nursed the ambition of deploying his wealth of experience for the benefit of his home Bauchi state and the election of 2015 is a good time to go for it. If he can do this much in the FCT while answerable to the president he certainly would be able to do better as a state governor who answers to the people.
Sadly, there are talks of one Senatorial District having been the governorship of Bauchi state for a consecutive 16 years but his are whispers and mumblings that shouldn’t be allowed to become audible comments in the present day world of limitless human achievements. The people of Bauchi state must diligently weigh their options: they can play ethno-geographic politics and end up with the less than desirable or they can opt for a visionary leader who has shown the power of possibility.
On his own part, Senator Bala Mohammed must again invoke the Doctrine of Necessity. This time however, the doctrine he is invoking would be to come to the aid of Bauchi state, which needs the magic he has deftly performed for the FCT in terms of developmental strides. Even more than the FCT, Bauchi state needs visionary thinking to modernize its major towns and cities; the state needs a network of light rail similar to the one the Minister has passionately championed for the nation’s capital; it is waiting with open arms to boost private sector participation in its quest for economic growth and projects in the area could do with his demonstrated capabilities as a relentless fund raiser.
Urging on Bala Mohammed to aim for the saddle of Bauchi state should not be contemplated from the narrow prism of state politics. If he is allowed to repeat the feat he is performing at in the FCT at state level, the entire country stands to gain since a prosperous Bauchi state would become the new magnet that would attract all those seeking greener pastures. This would take the pressure off cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. The resulting employments that could be created would keep youths busy and away from crimes thereby significantly addressing the problem of security.
Should Senator Bala Mohammed decide to run, he should get all the support he deserves and his aspiration should not only be treated as a Bauchi project but should be adopted by all and sundry as Nigerian project since he has proven that he can do the right thing at the right time and has thereby built a reputation that proves that he can build a model state with the scarce resources in the state.
Category: Bauchi State News