By Lukman Yusuf
Apart from electing a leader who has what it takes to make governance deliver real meaningful development to his or her people, it is equally a good asset that the electorates ensure their preferred candidate has the right levels of dignity, integrity and sense of shame that can make him insist on what is right and acceptable. POWER in Democracy is domiciled in the people.
Every decision of a democratically elected government is made to reflect the needs of the people This is why elected and/or appointed officials must take decisions that reflect the will and interests of the people. Safe to say, the people call the shots while the leader only serves as the peoples’ servant. When the electorates become enlightened enough to know the powers that they possess, and, are able to place legitimate demands on their leaders, there is virtually nothing that is able to undermine their progress and overall development.
In advanced democracies, policy thrust, policy implementation and project execution are done at the behest of the people with some level of probity and accountability. Political office holders are very much aware of the dangers associated with using their powers in a way that does not reflect the peoples’ interests. Politicians and indeed their appointees know that unless they deliver on their campaign promises and except they leave the people happier than they met them, they stand the risks of being relieved of their duties at the polls.
Sadly, in our country, the relationship between the electorates and the elected representatives is dangerously skewered in favor of the later. Since our return to civil rule in 1999, successive administrations haven’t done much to show that they possess the competence and ‘sense of shame’ that their duties require.
The peoples’ real needs have been largely disregarded. In fact, one commentator says that “politicians have been consistent in raping the nation and its masses of its shared patrimony”
For some time now, our society has been grappling with a hope that is being dashed by its unscrupulous political class. The impunity and flagrant disregard for the people and their needs is a visible and nagging indictment on the folks at the corridors of power. Sadly, their grip on power were unshakeable because the deeply flawed electoral process helped to keep them in power despite their non-performance and under-performing. But thanks to a 2015 general election that ushered in a positive disruption of the status quo. The revolution which came through the ballot brought back immense change and sanity to our body politic. Power is now domiciled in its original quarters, the people.
The understanding of leadership has now dawned a lot more clearly on the people and their able to place legitimate demands on their states and local authorities. As such, unless and until the local authorities exhaust all avenues available to them to solving certain problems, the ploy of deflecting blames on Abuja has become unfashionable. And our social entrepreneurs deserve much praise here. Their unceasing advocacies have done much to successfully enlighten the populace on what their responsibilities and that of the leaders are. While this development is a thorough embarrassment to some states executive and their cronies, there is Bagudu in Kebbi who savors the new order which on one hand is due to his deep understanding of what leadership entails, and his immense love and respect for his Kebbi people.
Before the emergence of Governor Bagudu, leadership in Kebbi was anything but desirable. The citizens were not at the centre of states decision and policy thrust. Apparently, the leadership was not bothered by the hiatus. The concepts of social contract, socioeconomic justice was either not understood by the administration or simply ignored.
There was absolutely no sufficient equity to justify its much-treasured name “land of Equity”. In truth, the Kebbi citizen is hardworking and resilient, he is committed to his trade but the misfortune of bad leadership has made his efforts of no effect. There appeared to be a conspiracy of bad leadership against the fortune of the land of equity. Until the emergence of the Sen. Bagudu, despite the industriousness of the people, past chief executives of Kebbi evidently failed to add the needed touch to their industry. However, the story has changed to one of hope birthed by the attention given not only to the survival of the people, but their upward and speedy move on the socioeconomic ladder by His excellency, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu. The ingenuity of Gov. Bagudu in leadership has evidently improved the socioeconomic indices of Kebbi. Things are now conspicuously different today. Kebbi is being rapidly transformed from dereliction to reclamation and fulfilment.
One of the major needs of every society is education. It is in fact a very major need in the class of security, food and health. It is an indisputable aphorism that no society can grow beyond the capacity of its education. The strength of this invaluable condiment of growth rests on the vision of those who hold the reins of power. Governor Bagudu who understand certainly has a vision that is clear and far-reaching. With a view to repositioning this sector, he took a state-wide tour of Kebbi’s educational facilities upon assumption of office. He was shocked at the level of decay in the primary and secondary schools. They were in such a terrible shape that our young scholars were subjected to very disorienting learning facilities and outdated instructional materials. In some schools visited, pupils literally sat on the floor to receive lessons. Bagudu was literally heartbroken.
If Kebbi state now boasts of a welcoming ultramodern infrastructure in its schools across its lengths and breadths, it is because Gov. Bagudu wasted no time in issuing a contract for the renovation and repositioning of all the secondary schools in Kebbi state upon his return from the field. While his love for and devotion to his people moved him to seek a position of leadership and service, his sense of shame and propriety is helping him to stay true to his campaign promises. The people of Kebbi must be commended for looking intently on these qualities. The evidence of quality service in the education sector of Kebbi state stares eve the pessimists in the face as schools now have state-of-the-art infrastructures within its classrooms and laboratories and beautiful looks. Bagudu revolutionary repositioning of the education sector is even and state-wide. His golden touch is on the heritage schools which have been installed with latest facilities like projectors and computers.
Students in tertiary institutions also have smiles on their faces too as the governor recently approved a huge amount to be used in offsetting the registration fees of Kebbians studying in the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto.
The Bagudu administration is delivering on its campaign promises. The dawn of a new Kebbi is here and its citizens had never had it so promising- at least not in the recent past. At the start of this administration in 2015, the naysayers felt Bagudu’s energy and body language would wane and things would return to the distressing status quo. The man Bagudu has hwwever remained steadfast in his commitment to his people.
As in the flood victims, the Internally Displaced Persons IDPs enjoys immense support from the administration of Gov. Bagudu. Motorised boreholes and other social and infrastructural amenities are being put together to ease the rigor of camp. Dr. Bagudu ensures that the displaced persons live in a more bearable environments. There is a robust understanding between donor agencies and the state government. Support and relief materials from aid agencies are richly supported.
Unlike many other typical Nigerian politicians, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu wasted no time lamenting the paucity of funds – in any case, like elsewhere in the country, lack of funds posed a major impediment -, the depth of love and his positive outlook to life propelled him to roll out his his now popular ‘Agricultural Empowerment’ policy. This was an ambitious venture. Today, there is the testimony of great things happening in the sector. There is now a long list of millionaire rice farmers across Kebbi. This is a major boost on the the state’s par capita and an encouragement on the state’s IGR potentials.
Promises are being kept. His promise to create incentives for young Kebbians in Agriculture, processing, mining, exportable skills is materializing with a swiftness that is incredible. Today, the Kebbi youth is once again proud of her state. Financial institutions are now rolling falling over heels; they are now very willing to be partners in the process. The Bank of Industry, Central Bank and Lagos state government are visibly on ground to help in harnessing the human and natural resource potential of the Kebbi. With Lake Rice becoming a point of reference within and outside the country, Gov. Bagudu’s score sheet is simply rich.
Evidently, Gov. Bagudu is a man of deep empathy. He promptly provided relief materials to flood victims. His promptness is an undying assurance of love in the arena of power.
His Excellency made sure that flood victims got back to their feet.
Talking about infrastructures, road construction is unarguably another major win for the Kebbi people. Commuters now travel on endless stretch of good roads. 80 kilometers of road have been constructed in Kebbi state within these last two years. These are not just roads; they are road nicely made with culverts and uncompromising drainage systems. For the avoidance of doubt, commuters plying Koko-Mahuta-Dabai road, the Kao’je-Illo road, Shema-Bakoshi Road, the Kwanar Dabai- Zuru, Maga-Ribah road and the 56.8 kilometer Ribah-Bena road projects and many more will very easily give a kudos to the administration of Gov. Bagudu.
Today, Kebbi state has witnessed immense growth across its sectors of the state’s economy. It must be pointed out that credit is due to the citizens of Kebbi for electing a governor who understand what leadership entails. And just in case Mr Bagudu deserves any credit, it must be a pat on the back for being a good servant. This in my opinion qualifies him for a second term if the aphorism ”rewards for hard work is more works” is true.
Yusuf writes from Birnin Kebbi.