LEON USIGBE reports on the efforts of the Bauchi State governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, to raise the quality of life of the people thorough the provision of basic infrastructure across all sectors of the state.
THE Governor Isa Yuguda administration in Bauchi State is in the home stretch. Very little wonder that he is pressed to do something that will be an enduring legacy in the estimation of the people. In a substantial way, he is leaving his dreams, making an impression in all sectors of the state’s life. Not that it has discouraged his critics who, in spite of visible achievements, continue to rate him far below his predecessor in office.
They say that he is leaving on the glory of the past administration that initiated the various projects which have become a reality in the state today but ignore the obvious fact that governance is a continuum.
Not many administrations complete the projects they begin especially where they are gigantic ones but it takes more than a passing commitment for succeeding governments to continue with such projects and actually take them to conclusion. There are many projects in Bauchi inherited by Yuguda which have now been fully implemented for the good of the people.
More importantly, Yuguda is actualizing his dreams for Bauchi State, a dream of pushing Bauchi towards an elite state in the country and providing a better life and equal opportunities for all its people irrespective of their social background. In the same measure, he wants visitors within and outside the country to find it convenient to stay in Bauchi and also make some money for the state. That has been the motivating factor in his aggressive redevelopment of the Yankari Games Reserve, which even though is a gold mine, has hardly been exploited not just for the good of the state but for tourists alike.
Osaro Onaiwu, who is the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) led by Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, recently organised an independent media relations and awareness tour of projects executed or being executed by the administration in the state and Nigerian Tribune was there for the on-the-spot assessment. Among the places visited was the Games Reserve which, from all indication has been remodeled into a games reserves that can compete favourablly with those in East and Southern Africa. These ones are obviously better marketed and earn the host countries huge foreign exchanges.
Yet, only a few years ago, there was no motor able access road into the vast Yankari reserve. That has changed now with the reconstruction of all its access roads and all its internal road network, making a tour around the forest a real pleasure. All other infrastructure in it have been refitted to make visitors truly savour their stay in the animal kingdom. But before that, the government has to create the awareness of the existence of a holiday resort of such standard otherwise, it will remain a white elephant project.
The government appears to be thinking in this direction and it is a serious statement of intent to see that it is building an international airport as part of an integrated tourism infrastructure to make Bauchi State a choice tourist destination in Africa. The phase 1 of the airport which started two years ago, is being built at the cost of N13.02 billion and as at today, it has achieved over 90 per cent completion. The new airport has a two-kilometre access road tolled only after the village along its stretch in order to avoid burdening villagers who use the road everyday. In tandem with modern airport requirement, both the local and international wings are co-located in the same building but with similar independent infrastructure.
With a 3.5 kilometre runway which has a width of 60 metres, the Terminal building building is designed to process 2,000 passengers daily. The apron can accommodate three A380 aircrafts at the same time and take many more aircrafts of smaller sizes. The car park has the capacity to take 2,500 cars. While contract for the provision of a dedicated public power supply line is being processed, the airport is already equipped with three generators with a total capacity of 1.3mw and a 40,000 liters capacity diesel reservoir. According to Ali Jibrin, the Special Adviser on Project Monitoring and Evaluation to the state governor, the airport has already been certified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and will be ready for commissioning by March. This is good news for thousands of pilgrims who will soon be airlifted from there to the Holy Land.
The government has found an ingenious way to engage teeming unemployed youth through the Bauchi State Furniture Company. It acquired the outfit from its former private owner and reconfigured it to meet its objective of serving as a skill acquisition centre as well as a viable enterprise for government. With a workforce of 215, the company produces good quality furniture for office, schools, hospitals, households and supply the products to places far away from the state. It now has a turnover of N300million annually.
The health sector gets generous attention from the administration with the flagship project arguably being the ongoing Bauchi Specialist Hospital which is now 70 percent complete. Initially, it had been projected to cost N2.5billion but is being reviewed because of relocation from the original site. The contract for the 402-bed hospital was awarded in 2012. Similar ongoing projects are spread across the three senatorial zones of the state.
Government officials say that it became necessary to build the Bauchi Specialist Hospital to replace the one taken over by the Federal Government which it has turned it in to a Teaching Hospital. Even though the federal government took it over in 2008, it is yet to reimburse the Bauchi State government up till now. In spite of that, the government spends substantial amount of money to subsidize treatment for the people in the hospital particularly on dialysis at the renal centre which costs only N5,000. Apart from other health sector projects across the state, the government has completely remodeled the Infectious Diseases Hospital and General Hospitals in Bayara. The General Hospital was commissioned in 2012.
The administration has similarly remodeled over 50 secondary schools and built 30 new Tsangayya Quranic schools in different parts of the state.
Adult and Non-Formal Education is occupying a pride of place with the remodeling of Adult and Non-Formal Education Institute, Kangere. It now has 800 students and 45 teachers and it is billed to start admitting students for National Certificate of Education (NCE) soon. Quite impressive is the Sa’adu Zungur Model School comprising primary and secondary sections. Its information Communication Technology (ICT) centre is exquisite especially for a school of that level. Primary pupils are exposed to ICT at very tender ages and apart from the students, teachers also build their ICT capacity utilizing the infrastructure.
The state Commissioner of Education, Aliyu Aminu Ali, , said similar ICT centres had been approved for 102 secondary schools in the state for students and capacity building for teachers. The idea is of for eligible students in the schools to write their JAMB examination directly from their computers in the schools and obtain their results instantly. The Model schools are equipped with clinics for free treatment of students and staff with drugs provided by the state government. Admissions into the schools is transparent through advertisement and payment of N500 application fee in the banks. Government insists that every prospective applicant including the children of the poorest passes through the banks because it wants to encourage the use of banks even among the poor.
The administration is insistent that it is touching the lives of everybody in the state with the provision of much needed infrastructure to raise the quality of life. Even as he marches towards the end of his tenure, the governor is confident that he has done his utmost to elevate the transformation process of Bauchi State and will now hope that when he leaves, posterity will judge him kindly.
Category: Bauchi State News