THEIR joy knew no bounds. In fact, their excitement and joy are explicable. Their case was like a thirsty sojourner travelling in the desert for days with no water to drink but suddenly came across a big ocean of water to drink to satisfaction! Sure, the joy of such traveller will definitely be limitless.
That was exactly what happened to the people of the different communities on the Alkaleri-Futuk road when the governor of Gombe State and the acting governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Hassan Ibrahim Dankwambo and Alhaji Garba Umar respectively joined their brother governor, Mallam (Dr) Isa Yuguda, of Bauchi State in Futuk to inaugurate the long-jinxed 83-kilometre Alkaleri-Futuk road for the use of the people.
Futuk is strategically located as it links Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states, apart from being a melting pot for the citizens of the three states. Also, it is the district headquarters of Pali district of Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State. It is an agrarian community with the people mostly engaging in farming activities. But in spite of these, the major headache of the people was lack of any motorable road in the area since the colonial era. In fact, successive
administrations since the creation of Bauchi State, both military and civilian, made failed attempts to construct a road to the town to no avail until April, 2008 when the Isa Yuguda administration dared to tread where others feared by awarding a contract of N2,997,395,560.80 to a Chinese company, Sino Rich Fields, to construct the road.
Despite the fact that the road took five years to complete, the inauguration ceremony to the people was indeed worth it, considering the long wait to have a road in their community! So, they rolled out the drums to welcome visitors who came to witness the historic event, including the deputy governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Sagir Aminu Saleh, Speakers of the three states Houses of Assembly, some members of the National Assembly from the states, the Emir of Ningi, Alhaji Yunusa Dan Yaya, commissioners, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains, among many others.
Residents of the area trooped out in their numbers to the extent that it took the convoy of Governor Yuguda some time before getting to the venue of the inauguration. In fact, the people went to receive the governor some metres away from the venue amidst singing, drumming and dancing. It was indeed a happy day for them.
Speaking during the inauguration proper, Bauchi State Commissioner for Works, Pharmacist Bukata Bukar Bayero, declared that the event was long awaited, adding that apart from the fact that the road was historic; its inauguration was equally historic as it drew two states governors and an acting governor. He said that the Alkaleri-Futuk road was one of the legacy projects of the Yuguda administration in the state, assuring that the administration would complete all ongoing projects in the state.
According to the commissioner, to show its commitment to the construction of the road, the state government made a down payment of 60 per cent of the contract sum, amounting to N1.7 billion, to the contractor, adding that paucity of funds delayed its completion. He, however, expressed happiness that at last, the road, which seemed jinxed, was finally completed and being inaugurated; noting that it was a demonstration of the Yuguda administration’s avowed commitment to bring dividends of democracy to the people of Bauchi State.
In his speech, an elated Governor Yuguda expressed gratitude to Allah for making it possible for him, not only to construct the road, but also to witness its inauguration, declaring that, “This road that we all gather here today to commission has history. This road links all of us with our brothers in this area.” The governor informed that previous administrations in the state had attempted to construct the road but all failed.
He stated that when construction work eventually started on the road, there were challenges contended with but in spite of these, he was determined to complete the road, despite the fact that the revenue coming to the coffers of the state government was coming in droplet. His determination, he said was as a result of the promise he made to the people of the area during his electioneering that if voted to power, he would construct the road, declaring, “we promised the people and we have to fulfil our promise.” Yuguda added that he was determined to break the jinx associated with the road.
While enumerating the importance of the road project to the socio-economic development of not only the area but also the state as a whole, the governor stated that the area was noted for the agricultural activities going on there, adding that apart from this, the road was of economic importance to Bauchi State and its neighbouring states.
He assured that the state government would not abandon the community, considering its economic potential, saying that his administration was determined to provide other infrastructure and social amenities in the area. “Our determination as a government is to salvage the area from lack of infrastructure and social amenities in the community,” the governor stated, adding that plans were on to provide the people of Futuk with potable water, which he said would be provided as soon as funds were available for the government to embark on it.
He further assured the people of the three states that in view of competing demands by them and the attendant paucity of funds accruable to the states, he and his counterparts from Taraba and Gombe states would utilise every kobo that comes into the coffers of the respective state governments for the benefit of their people.
In his speech on the historic occasion, Governor Dankwambo commended Yuguda for taking the bold step to tread where other governors in the state feared, adding that the Alkaleri-Futuk road was significant in many ways and called on the Federal Government to take over the road as a Federal Government road and upgrade it to asphalt road.
The Gombe governor declared that his call became imperative considering the fact that the road provided access to Kashere in Gombe State, where the Federal University, Kashere, was located and other parts of Gombe and Taraba States. He said that the Federal Government should not only take over the road but also refund all the expenses incurred by the Bauchi State government on it.
According to Dankwambo, what the Yuguda administration did by constructing the road was more than breaking the jinx, submitting that with the completion of the road, the administration had further opened up the remotest part of the state, saying that, “with this road, people can now commute within Bauchi State without first going through Gombe.”
While calling on the people of Bauchi State to support Yuguda’s administration in the state in its quest to transform the state, Dankwambo, however, called on the people of the three neighbouring states to remain united, pleading that they should not allow politicians to divide them, emphatically submitting that, “we are all one.”
Some residents of the area at the gathering told the Nigerian Tribune that the reason for their joy was quite obvious as they had faced decades of abandonment by successive administrations in the state, frustrations and hardship. “Before the construction of this road we suffered a lot. We used to go to the markets on foot and there are rivers we have to cross to transverse this area. But with the construction of this road by Yuguda, all our sufferings have come to a happy end for us,” declared Mallam Salisu Shehu Abubakar, who came all the way from Pali, a community on the road to witness the jinx-breaking inauguration of the road.
For Mallam Abdullahi Yauzah, the construction of the road was a prayer answered. According to him, since independence, people of the communities on the road had been longing and praying that government come to their aid and construct a befitting road for them.
“It was as if government had forgotten us that we existed in this area. We were fervently praying for road as successive governments in the state kept promising to construct a road here. But we thank Allah that He has finally answered our prayers, using Mallam Isa Yuguda to give us a road in our area,” Yauzah, who claimed to be between 62 and 65 year-old told the Nigerian Tribune.
Category: Bauchi State News