Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu
By Dahiru Abubakar
Critics of Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi Dtate will not forget the month of January 2021 in a hurry. Ardent and insolvent critics have, in the past months, inundated the cyber space with mostly unfair stories of Atiku Bagudu’s bouts of failures and lack of achievements to show for his years in office.
Two extreme positions have been taken by the critics on one hand and pro-government social media warriors who were at pains trying to showcase many modest achievements in the face of resource constraints and competing areas of need.
The month of January 2021 and the last few days of December 2020 have proved decisive for the government of Kebbi state. That was when the Governor unveiled eye-catching/pro-people achievements which have surprised not just his critics but the entire people of Kebbi state and beyond.
The outlay of achievements, according to many observers, was in line with the electioneering campaign promises of the Governor. He had, while on campaign tours right from his first term in office identified areas that will require his attention if given the mandate to govern the state. Each and every project that was either commissioned or launched in January was in fulfillment of his promises to the people of the state.
Worth mentioning, among the achievements, was the payment of additional N3 billion to retirees in Kebbi state. The governor had met a liability of close to N4.5B which was liquidated. Additional sum was provided which beefed up to over N20 billion for payment of retirement benefits.
Of course, the labor movement had gone on strike action early in the month to press their demands for payment of entitlements in particular. The fact that the Atiku government responded positively even when billions have been paid in the course of time has given the government the credit as a being a truly democratic and a listening government.
Within the same period also, the Kebbi state government had commissioned the Birnin Kebbi Central Market which was gutted by fire some years ago. A total of 1050 stalls and shops were built at the cost of Two Billion Naira. The shops were not only finished at record time but was commissioned with keys handed over to all those who have lost their stalls and shops in the inferno. Many others were given the opportunity to apply for fresh allocation of the remaining shops.
It is instructive to highlight the critical role markets play in the economic prosperity of states like Kebbi. The importance attached to the rebuilding of the market by the Bagudu administration has gone a long way in strengthening the capacity of the state to facilitate prosperity and economic transaction within and outside the country.
In his effort to reduce poverty and uplift the standard of living of the people, the governor spent over N464M to execute projects and launch empowerment programs under the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. The Ministry was involved in the execution of the projects in critical areas in eleven local government areas identified by the state House of Assembly.
The objective was to empower farmers, widows, orphans, youths and other vulnerable citizens. Incentives were provided to a total of 350 women in tomato business. There was also the N2.4 billion released by the governor for constituency projects throughout the state.
Another achievement worth mentioning was the approval for the allocation of 22,000 plots of land across Kebbi state. The program was initiated by the governor to enable first time land owners to build their own houses. This action, which was highly commended by all and sundry, was also aimed at reducing the housing deficit and make housing affordable to the people of the state. The price for each of the plots which were classified into three categories, were made very cheap and affordable so that the affordability will be wide spread to reach all class of people.
Another positive action which ignited a groundswell of commendation was the approval for the payment of over N668M examination fees of Kebbi state students to WAEC, NECO, NABTEB and NBAIS. This intervention has indeed gone a long way to assist parents who have struggled with difficulties associated with burdens on their shoulders.
Governor Atiku Bagudu has also demonstrated a high level of good neighbor-liness and compassion when he assisted traders of the Sokoto Market who were victims of an inferno which consumed goods worth billions of Naira. He donated N30M on behalf of the government and people of Kebbi state.
This was a reciprocal for the same assistance which the Sokoto state Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had extended to Kebbi traders who lost valuables worth billions when the market caught fire years ago.
These achievements within so short a time, in addition to the legion of others over the years, have shown the positive attitude, vision and foresight of the Governor since his assumption of office.