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Bauchi Remains The Safest State In Nigeria – Gov. Isa Yuguda

| December 9, 2012 More

The Bauchi State governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, is one governor in Nigeria who has tried his best at delivering his mandate to the people of Bauchi. One of these is his promise to run an all-inclusive government and abolish the dichotomy between indigenes and non-indigenes in the state, thereby providing equal opportunity for all to fend for themselves. In this interview with AMINA ALHASSAN AHMAN, the governor opened up about his effort towards putting Bauchi on the map by changing the face of the state with the provision of numerous facilities and projects that the state has not seen in over 30 years of existence. He also says that in spite of the security challenges in the north, Bauchi remains the safest state.

Bauchi state has witnessed some relative peace from the menace of Sara Suka gangsters who used to terrorise people in the state. How have you been able to curb this problem?
Well, most of them are gainfully employed and they are off the street because of what the government has put in place to cater for their interest. Some of them have been employed to learn skills while others have been recruited into a special security outfit called Spidal Web. Others have been trained as artisans-painters, vulcanisers, carpenters and bricklayers-just to give them a sustained means of livelihood. What my administration is doing is that we give them seed money to start their business after training them. 

Many of these people are being given some other forms of training and equipment to enable them to work and earn a decent living better than being on the streets and causing trouble. In other words, the government was able to take this group of people off the streets through a well-designed programme of empowerment and I believe they are happy with themselves and the government.

Do you really feel that Bauchi needs another airport when one already exists?
This present airport in the state has a runway with only 2.5 km to accommodate narrow bodied aircrafts; it cannot take a wide bodied aircraft. On the eastern flank of the airport there are NEPA pylons and cables, which we tried to remove when I was the Aviation Minister. But we discovered that the cost of doing so would be higher than constructing a new airport. And we opted for a new one. But let me say that the new airport is a Federal Government project.

It was approved for us during Shagari’s time. Its construction suffered a lot of delay until when I came in as a minister that President Obasanjo approved it again for construction. This airport is going to be the fifth international airport in Nigeria.  Our own is going to be registered with International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO.  The Equipment for the airport is already being assembled and we have configured the call signs.  The registration is inside the equipment. By December they will arrive in Bauchi.

On completion, the new airport will service Yankari. Now that its call sign has been registered with ICAO, any person who will be managing Yankari will have to know how to strategise to use the airport effectively because, if there are some tourism agencies that want to bring in tourists to Yankari, they can connect directly with the airport. I am telling you honestly that we are very serious about the new airport that is about to commence operations to boost tourism in the state.

We strongly believe that if we develop our tourism sector effectively, it would bring twice as more money as oil. It has a lot of multiplier effects, one of which is to create jobs and add our own quota to the economy of Nigeria. The airport will generate a lot of foreign exchange for us and Nigeria. It will boost our tourism industry. It is a top foreign earner for us and Nigeria.

Speaking of boosting tourism, what plans do you have to improve the Yankari Games Reserve?
I want to give it out to a private firm to manage since the government cannot do it effectively. We have a lot of untapped potentials in the place that can give us an edge if well managed.

How have you been able to get the doctors to run the newly established health institutions in the state?
I am training doctors while I am also looking out to other states to give us their surplus. I am also training doctors by establishing a Faculty of Medicine at the AbubakarTafawaBalewa University.  For 19 years our students could not get places to study medicine because the institutions gave priority to their catchment areas. When I came in I had a programme of training doctors so as to cope with our own requirements. I have some of them in University of Alexandria in Egypt.

Twenty three of them are female while 15 are male and they should be graduating next year. I will send another set again before the end of my tenure as governor. Upon their return to the state they will help in no small measure to advance the cause of medical care and we will continue to explore ways and means of ensuring that the system does not suffer as a result of inadequate personnel.

What plans do you have to move Bauchi forward?
Well, I am leading the state to posterity, full employment opportunities for the natives and a state that is secured and an environment with people who are highly educated, cosmopolitan and patriotic. I am leading Bauchi to become the leading state in Nigeria with the best human development index and to make it the first state in Nigeria in terms of developing the minds of the people to ensure that no human being suffers any sense of deprivation. That is my vision for the state that I am leading.

What makes you happy when you look at Bauchi state and your leadership so far?
In fact, I feel so contented as a person because my covenant with my creator, the Almighty God, that I will protect lives and property and bring about development in the state during my inauguration as the governor of the state, has been kept given the experience of our neighbouring states. I have every cause to be thankful to my creator for protecting lives and property under my leadership. I have been able to secure this state. 

Yes, it is true that we have had some incidents in the past but I want to be corrected that Bauchi remains the most secure state in Nigeria, the safest state in Nigeria. At least we can say that given what obtains in other places, God has helped us to able to secure the state and our investments over the years and I am very happy with that. The fact that people are able to move about freely as late as 3 am without molestation, even though we share boundaries with others with serious security challenges, is something that makes me happy when I look back.

I have been able to provide the most critical infrastructure for the people of Bauchi State at a time they had almost lost hope. I have brought water to Bauchi Town at a time when water-borne diseases were very rampant. At that time too, most hospitals were without drugs and other essential tools and personnel to render effective medical care to the people. I can say that today Bauchi State hospitals are equipped with the best hospital equipment one can find anywhere in the world.

I am satisfied that God is helping me to fulfil my promises to the people. I swore by the Q’uran that I will protect lives and property and I have done my best in that regard. I also swore to protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by doing right to all manner of people no matter their religion, place of birth or tribe. That also entails that I do not do anything that falls short of the law of Nigeria.

For the civil servants that I have offered permanent employment in Bauchi, why would they say they are not from here? It is not possible because they enjoy the same salary and allowances that we offer all in the service.  I have increased staff salaries and allowances and given the people a sense of hope and pride. When I came into office, a Permanent Secretary, for instance, was earning less than N100,000 per month. Today, they go home with over N450,000 monthly. So, we try as much as possible to ensure that money circulates and has a multiplier effect on the populace.

Category: Bauchi State News

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