29 May 2018

Nigeria: How Debts, Uncompleted Projects Nearly Drove Me Out of Office - Governor

The Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru, on Monday recalled that when he was inaugurated in 2015, he received a voluminous document detailing huge debts and uncompleted capital projects worth N31.3 billion in the state.

"The first day I went through the handover note submitted to me by the then PDP administration, I felt like running away because of the gravity of problems contained in the document," he said.

Mr. Badaru stated this in an interview with journalists at the government house, Dutse, marking the activities of his third year in office. He outlined his achievements as well as the challenges he encountered since he came on board.

"Since 2015, we have spent N51billion on road projects comprising N31.3 billion on inherited projects and N19.3 billion on new project as well as N841 million in road rehabilitation," he said.

Mr. Badaru said the efficient way he employed in managing public treasury has earned him so many foes even within his party (APC). He said this has not deterred him from delivering his campaign promises.

"With the little resources available, I have been able to complete 90 per cent of the inherited capital projects and commenced new ones," he said.

He said the austerity measure his administration embarked upon was to prevent the state from backlog of salaries and pensions, adding that, the approach has successfully negotiated a discount of over N11 billion on inherited projects. He said he ploughed the savings into new projects.

"Prior to my swearing in, the opposition PDP dug a hole for the incoming administration to fall. They left only N16 million in the treasury thinking that we can't even pay salary. However, with prudence and God willing, Jigawa is among the states paying workers salary unfailingly on 25 of every months and now paying leave grant.

Mr. Badaru went further to rank himself high in agriculture where he said his efforts have resulted in the commencement of large investment in sugar, rice, livestock and poultry whose combined turnover will be in excess of N250 billion with at least 30,000 direct and indirect Jobs.

On healthcare, he said Jigawa is 31 primary healthcare centres away from achieving a one healthcare facility per ward target of the federal government. He also said he has increased to 500 per cent, budget intervention for pregnant women and children below five years.

On education, he said his administration started by unlocking federal counterpart funding for basic education. It followed up with a N9.8 billion capital spending to construct and upgrade 4,520 classrooms, 411 toilet cubicles, 6 administrative blocks and 97,659 set of pupils furniture, 3,416 sets of teachers furniture, 188 staff houses, 4 hostel blocks and 79 hand pumps.

On water supply, he said an addition of 9.2 million litres daily to the township water supply through a series of intervention, has been achieved.

Despite Mr Badaru's claim, however, PREMIUM TIMES findings show that a large part of Jigawa including the state capital, Dutse, has no potable water.

Also, as part of the activities marking his third year in office, the governor launched the construction of an 18-room corps members' lodge to be constructed in the 27 local councils across the state. The building, if completed, will accommodate almost 4,000 corps members, he said.

During the briefing, the governor dogged questions regarding his re-election. Even though the APC caucus in the state has endorsed him for second term, he is yet to declare his intention on contesting again.

If he declares to run again, he is expected to face stiff opposition from within his party. The recently conducted congress has torn the party apart and left its members more divided.

Also, an APC senator in Jigawa has vowed to ensure Mr Badaru is not re-elected.

"I want to 'unseat' him because he has not been performing. From the looks of things, he is a ruler, governor, dictator as well as contractor. There is no way we can allow such a new process of stealing to continue," Ubale Shitu (APC, Jigawa North-east) said.

The opposition PDP in the state, led by ex-governor Sule Lamido, is also expected to give the eventual APC candidate a tough challenge.

Mr Badaru, however, said he is not disturbed but rather encouraged by the commendations he has received from residents.

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