By Sanusi Muhammad
There is a wide misconception or an overt misinterpretation of the American concept of 100 days in office of elected leaders by majority of Nigerians that the governor of Bauchi state, Sen. Bala Muhammed has been able to demystify once and for all.
In the past, as is still the convention in many states of Nigeria, political office holders begin to choreograph symbolic tangibles dedicated to celebrating their 100 days in Office. Simply put, the day is seen as a landmark which should be celebrated with pomp and pageantry; to serve as a showcase of what were achieved in the first 100 days.
In Bauchi state, however, Sen. Bala Muhammed thought differently. Nothing stops him from emblematically giving some public buildings and infrastructure momentary facelift, wrap them in red ribbons and colorful balloons and then with a flashy scissors “commission” them in commemorating his 100 Days in Office.
But then, the determined strategic thinking, planning and efficiency in service delivery anchored on transparency brought to the fore by the governor from his sojourn as a public sector operator, wouldn’t allow him to regard his first 100 Days in Office as a celebration of achievements. 100 days of ground work for good governance in Bauchi State 100 days of ground work for good governance in Bauchi State
Not to be mistaken, Sen. Bala recognizes the already rooted cultural of 100 Days in Office, but not as a celebration.
He believes that the period does not afford any administration the opportunity to flaunt its score card. Rather, it is a period of assessment of the acceptability of the leadership projections and an opportunity of intense engagement of the people.
If the period of electioneering campaign was an avenue to present ideas and concepts to the people, Sen. Bala believes that his first 100 Days in Office should be a period of testing those ideas and putting his plans on the table for the buy-in of the good people of Bauchi state.
His 100 Days in Office has been a period of putting in place the foundation of his uninterrupted vision for the state in the next four years.
Since May 29, when he was sworn-in as the executive governor of Bauchi state, it is this mindset of a strategic approach to governance that formed the basis of every decision he made. And those familiar with the public sector, from where Sen. Bala brought lavishly rich experience of planned efficiency into political leadership, understand that groundwork, although a milestone in its own right, does not tell the entire story.
To Sen. Bala, 100 Days in Office is an evaluation of the grand plan; it is the people for whom it is meant to celebrate it as a form of acceptance of his leadership style.
So what has the governor been up to in the past 100 days? For starters, no plan succeeds regardless of how noble if its target beneficiaries don’t accept it. In view of this, Governor Bala Muhammed started embarking on an expansive roads construction project within the three senatorial zones of the state for equity and fairness and for the avoidance of providing the undesirable to any community.
In his few travels across the state for official engagement, he provided immediate succor to many communities in need of emergency interventions. While trying to download his well articulated ideas and obtain the people’s inputs, he found himself offering immediate solutions to perennial problems. As mentioned earlier, this is why the business of “celebrating” 100 Days in Office is the prerogative of the governed who already feel served within 100 days.
The last 100 days were also for strategic interactive sessions with stakeholders in the seven critical areas of Sen. Bala’s governance, i.e. security, healthcare, rural development, agriculture, human capital, and workers welfare, infrastructure and industrialization.
Whether it is a meeting with security agents, farmers, civil servants, journalists, artisans, union leaders, local or foreign development partners, business leaders or stakeholders, the mission of Governor Bala is unequivocally and constantly affirmed that his ultimate goal is the accelerated growth and aggressive development of Bauchi state without compromise.
At a crucial meeting with the state’s Head of the Civil Service and permanent secretaries, Gov. Bala shared his vision to reposition the Service as an efficient, service delivery organ of government and repeated same vision at a Media chat held to commemorate his 100 Days in Office penultimate Saturday.
At his visits to some health facilities in few local government areas, he was clear about the fact that the facilities at the health centres were in deplorable state that needed immediate reconditioning and replacements. The sum of N227million was released to improve facilities at the various health centres across the state to include renovation, purchase of ambulances and repair works of X-ray machines at Bauchi Specialist Hospital, Dass, Ningi, Alkaleri, Dambam, Gamawa and Azare General Hospitals while the sum of N200million was paid as counter-part contribution to the Fund of Primary Healthcare Immunization in addition to the payment of N100million for Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.
In addition, the sum of N673million was disbursed to selected Primary Healthcare facilities that are participants in the NSHIP partnership programme and the 20 local government councils in the state were directed to contribute 1 percent of their Internally Generated Revenue to the Bauchi State Healthcare Trust Fund.
The Governor has promised a turnaround in the health and education sectors as the sum of N10.8billion was injected into the state as Education Intervention from Tetfund and UBEC.
As for security, at one of the closed door meetings with heads of security and intelligence community operating in the state, the governor promised a review of the security strategy as a new measure to tackle general insecurity throughout the state.
Governor Bala said: “It is a determination of our unreserved commitment towards ensuring that the people have a good life and pursue their legitimate business in a secured environment”.
Corporate governance anchored on transparency and probity has been central to how Governor Bala Muhammed is piloting the affairs of Bauchi state. He has opened up the political space for inclusiveness as promised during electioneering. He has been most concerned about competence as a criterion for appointing people than other considerations. Party affiliation, ethnic correctness and other sunedry parameters are secondary to the governor and this much is in the full glare of all