Available records show that the current administration in Bauchi state has stepped up a standard on roads construction as against previous administrations as NAJIB SANI reports.
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state is being described as ‘ Mr Roads Governor’ by citizens of the state. This is because his administration has invested billions of naira on several roads projects in almost every nook and cranny of the state.It is observed that most of the projects completed and new ones flagged off in the state within his two years in office are roads. People wonder why the governor is so passionate about roads more than other sectors as the highest percentage of the state budgets is expended on roads constructions. So far, the administration has awarded a total of 29 road contracts. On different occasions, Gov Bala lamented the poor infrastructures in the state especially roads. He claimed that the neighbouring Gombe state created in 1996 is now better than Bauchi which became a state since 1976 in terms of infrastructures.He attributed the problem to the failure of successive governments and vowed to embark on infrastructural projects to resuscitate the state. He is the 16th governor of the state since crearion. It is on record that many Bauchi citizens appreciate the road projects; however, members of the opposition are of the views that his concentration on roads alone would stagnate other sectors of the economy; therefore, lambast him for inadequate disbursement of funds to settle gratuities of retirees as he pledged during campaign.
Bala justifies project
However, the governor boasts that aside roads, his administration has renovated many schools across the state and built new blocks of classrooms.Blueprint investigation shows that roads contracts awarded by the governor in the first one year in office included the Gombe Road to Tirwun- Maiduguri Road Bye-Pass, Sabon Kaura to Miri Bye-Pass and the rehabilitation of Muda Lawal Market Road as well as Nitel Quarters Road in the state capital. All the aforementioned are now completed and await official commissioning even though motorists have since been playing them. Others are Azare Township Road in Katagum local government which is the second major town, Akuyam to Sade Access Road and the 58 kilometres Burga to Duguri Roads that are still ongoing.He said the idea is to facilitate easy transportation of people, goods and services in the state capital in order to reduce traffic congestion and accidents as well as make Bauchi like the other developed cities in the nation.
Another supplementary budget for roads
Towards the end of the year 2020, Bala seemed not satisfied with the number of contracts he awarded on roads construction as he surprisingly sent a supplementary budget to the state House of Assembly worth N44 billion to enable him award more road projects. In it, he flagged off the dualisation of four road projects at the cost of N13 billion within the state capital.These include airport road from Durum village to the state capital, Awalah round-about to Bauchi State University in Yuli village, Adamu Jumba road and Sam Njoma road in GRA.
Ruling party extols Bala
The national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Prince Uche Secondus and Sokoto state governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal flagged off the projects on behalf of the state government.In his speech, the PDP national chairman Prince Secondus lauded the governor for the projects bragging that transformation is taking place in all PDP- controlled states.He alleged that Nigerians are currently in distress under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government urging the compatriots to support PDP in the next election. Governor Tambuwal hailed the synergy between the PDP government in Bauchi state and the APC controlled state assembly opining that their co-operation was the reason the state is developing. Also former Senate president
In December 2020, former Senate president, David Mark, flagged off the construction of three rural roads in Warji local government area which is 13.5 kilometres long linking the area to Gwaram village and another from Bogoro local government headquarters to Lusa and 11 kilometres from Boi to Lusa villages in the Bogoro local government of the state initiated by Governor Bala.According to Mark, roads are pivotal to development, saying that acessibility is key to effective governance. “I commend Governor Bala Mohammed for initiating these roads projects. It would help rural dwellers get social amenities and enjoy the dividends of democracy like all other citizens,” he said.The three roads would cost the state government a total sum of N7.3 billion. Inside the state capital, a new road from Unguwar Alkali Aminu to Gwangwangwan and Kofar Dumi quarters is currently under construction. Others are from Muda Lawal market to Bakin kura quarters and From Malam Goje to Bakin kura, respectively. Explaining why he awards contracts on roads, the governor said that roads are a measure of the development of any area, stressing that without good access roads, a state cannot be regarded as developed.The state commissioner for works and transport, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, disclosed that so far the present administration in the state has completed 10 roads across the state while 19 others are at various stages of completion.
Monitoring agency established
Perhaps, to prevent reckless drivers from ‘abusing’ the newly constructed roads, the state government recently established the Bauchi State Road Transport Agency (BAROTA) and charged it to enforce traffic rules.A fearless retired Air Force officer, Air Commodore Tijjani Gamawa, was appointed to head the new agency.However, Blueprint noted that despite the roads constructed so far in the state by Governor Bala’s administration, places like Wunti Market and Bauchi Central Market face serious traffic congestions due to lack of befitting parking spaces for buyers to keep their vehicles while at the markets.Other places that require government’s attention are the round-abouts in the state capital which are dilapidated, nasty and dirty as a result of lack of renovation and modernisation.Blueprint also reports that all the round-about remain archaic since the military eras just as some people now converted them into public toilets where they urinate and defecate openly particularly in the night.