The true measure of a good leader is not what is written by paid praise singers on the pages of newspapers, but the practical achievements on ground, concrete capital, material and educational projects that the people can see, feel and identify with. Of course, only leaders of grit, courage, resolution and iron-willed principle and integrity can take on the arduous task of nation building, development, peace and stability without expecting anything in return. Whatever they do is for the good of God and country. Nonetheless, even in this era that leadership is fast becoming an all comers’ affair, a few leaders can conveniently stand out and be counted. I reckon that if one is searching for such a dedicated, principled and resilient leadership desideratum, there’s no need to look beyond Bauchi State as presently, the Pearl of Tourism state is going through a social, political, economic and infrastructural transformation that has elicited the excitement and attention of publicists, pundits, commentators and analysts both within and outside the nation’s shores to even media redoubts like Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC, NEWS and the like.
Indeed, much of the attention and acclamation that Bauchi state is receiving right now can be posited to the leadership style and personality orientation of the governor, Barrister Muhammed Abdullahi Abubakar, who has so far established a reputation for honesty, humility, principle, benevolence and dedicated commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of all Bauchians, regardless of creed, colour, section or linguistic affiliation. One of the most abiding qualities that can be attributed to the governor is his transparent humility and self-effacement in the conduct of official or private business and activities. Indeed, Barrister Abubakar is the very epitome of modesty and self-restraint, a quality worthy of emulation by all right-thinking leaders across the broad spectrum of the Nigerian political firmament, immaterial of political or ethnic persuasion.
For instance, on assuming office, the governor embarked on an assessment tour of educational establishments with a view to designing a programme of impact. Within three months of this tour, the schools in Bauchi started feeling the cool breeze of transformation and, a visit to the public schools in Bauchi will no doubt leave visitors awestruck. This endeavour is in consonance with the governor’s undaunting belief that education is the elixir that will shape the present and indeed the future.
While other leaders (or rulers) believe in pomp, pageantry and the accoutrements of power and prestige, Governor Abubakar is cut from a very different cloth preferring to shun those worldly vanities while attaching himself firmly to the views and opinions of the disadvantaged and the distressed of society. Those familiar with Bauchi state before the coming of Barrister Abubakar will remember the bad roads that dot every nook and cranny of the state posing dangerously as death traps. Since assuming office, every month seems to deliver a fresh stretch of road within the state capital and even other areas of the state. In the last count, over 2000 kilometres of urban and rural roads have been constructed or rehabilitated by the Bauchi man of action.
Of course, no right-thinking leader will overlook the health sector and Governor Abubakar most definitely does not feel like it. This is perhaps why his favourite pass time include planned and impromptu visits to the sick and physically infirm in hospitals and health centres across the state including the motherless babies’ homes, the expectant and nursing mothers at maternity centres and hospitals, and areas affected by ecological and natural disasters in order to provide moral and material succour to the affected victims.. This visit also affords him the opportunity to do first-hand assessments of the facilities delivering services. No doubt then, that the able governor has committed lots of funds in partnership with international organisations to deliver affordable and sometimes free healthcare to the people of Bauchi state.
Another defining trait of Gov. Abubakar is his unassailable courage and integrity which he has brought to bear in his governance as the legal luminary has made it clear to all and sundry that he is not prepared to be a lackey or puppet of any cabal, whether in or outside Bauchi state. Many will agree that this is a necessary ingredient, especially in the Nigeria of today where paucity of funds is glaring and poverty excruciating.
Having laid down this earth-shaking testament, it is not surprising that the amiable governor has fallen out of favour with perceived Bauchi power brokers who have long held the state, government and citizens to ransom for decades leading to massive underdevelopment and underutilization of the vast resources, both human and material, that the state is endowed. So far, the determination of Governor Abubakar to do right by his people has spurred him into delivering a positive difference in all critical sectors of the state’s economy like road infrastructure, healthcare, education, power, water, agriculture, manpower development and women and youth empowerment. Indeed, a fast-moving Governor Abubakar has kickstarted numerous infrastructural and developmental projects in the state that an acclaimed foreign Journalist likened Bauchi to one vast construction site with cranes, earthmovers, caterpillars, graders, etc. crisscrossing the entire state.
An added feather to the much-festooned cap of the Bauchi legend is Barrister Abubakar’s resuscitation of the once moribund Bauchi State Fertilizer Company (BSFC) to the extent that it is presently supplying thousands of tons of fertilizer at subsidized rate to farmers in Bauchi, Gombe and other states.
Ibrahim writes from Bauchi