Does Bindow Spend Personal Resources In Developing Adamawa?
That is the question on the lips of many citizens of Adamawa, and indeed other Nigerians that have visited the backwater state in the last one year. This is a state in the north-eastern hemisphere of Nigeria, whose seven local governments were taken over by Boko Haram. Governor Muhammad Jibrilla Bindow’s town of Mubi was, as of last year, the spiritual headquarters of the insurgents, who even renamed it Madinatul-Islam.
Viewed against the backdrop of the fact that this is also one of the states that has consistently been on the lower rungs of statutory allocation from the Federation Account, a visitor’s typical expectations of Adamawa is that of an abandoned state. The state has one of the highest numbers of civil servants, which translates to over two billion naira monthly wage-bill. But what the state received in allocation last month is a pointer to how bad the financial situation is: a paltry nine hundred million naira, probably the monthly bill of an individual in Nigeria’s hitherto years of the locust.
For a country described by the immediate past British Prime Minister as “fantastically corrupt” Governor Jibrilla Bindow could easily have latched-on to the Boko Haram insurgency and the horrible toll it has taken on the state’s lean resources as an excuse to fold his arms and do nothing. Even rich societies have had their resources being gulped almost in entirety through crisis management, not to talk of a deeply-rooted, sustained insurgency.
But even a first-time visitor to Adamawa, especially Yola, its capital, will be amazed with the unprecedented achievements recorded by the state governor within so brief a period. Clearly, this is a man that is not interested in the sways of power. Bindow is all out to make a positive difference in the lives of his people. His noble policies and infrastructural achievements are clearly tailored at taking Adamawa to the next level.
At a time economic recession is hitting hard on Nigerians, Governor Bindow came up with a policy of moving tens of thousands and with time, millions of his people out of poverty by embarking on massive road construction across the state. So far, over a hundred road projects have either been completed or are at advanced stage of completion in the state. He also handled tricky road projects that have been abandoned by his predecessors for upwards of 40 years.
By heavily impacting on agriculture, opening and interconnecting communities with high quality roads, trade and commerce are picking-up all over the state. A good student of history, Governor Bindow knows that countries that have lifted their people out of poverty have strategic road construction as a key model. With more economic activities in Adamawa, the people are contributing their quota to national economic growth by boosting the Growth Domestic Product (GDP). And with well-designed friendly policies and projects, including the rehabilitation of Yola International Hotel, more and more investors all over Nigeria are picking interest in Adamawa. So also foreign investors. There is no doubt that with more encouragement by the people and other Nigerians of goodwill, Governor Bindow is going to turn Adamawa to an Eldorado in the years to come.
Another of the many things one finds very amazing is the Adamawa Governor’s love for education. All over the world, focus has hardly ever been on educating refugees or in this case, internally-displaced persons (IDPs).The best that has happened is that they are provided with temporary settlement and food.
But to Jibrilla Bindow, no people can truly be independent when they are driven by ignorance. Though education is like a bottom-less pit that can consume whatever quantum of resources poured onto it, the Adamawa Governor has rolled out the drums to ensure the internally-displaced persons in his state receive education. Seeing the real urgency that this entails, he provided container classrooms in many primary schools and recruited 71 IDP teachers and also re-launched the Back to School enrolment programme. 677 IDP students have, to date, been enlisted in federal unity schools, and the noble policy it has ongoing.
Also, by paying lots of attention to Adamawa Broadcasting Corporation, providing it with a 100-kva electricity-generating plant; new studio equipment at base stations and conducting ICT workshops for information officers and empowering them, Governor Bindow has laid bare the need to keep the people informed at all times. If anything, this also shows the governor has absolutely nothing to hide.
The governor did not allow paucity of funds to make him forget or abandon other critical sectors of development, such as healthcare and security. Thus far, Bindow has renovated virtually all the hospitals badly affected or wiped out by insurgency. The man of vision has also rolled out a strategic health plan for the state, covering 2016-2020. Adamawa also recorded what hitherto was thought of as impossible: recording 97 percent coverage in the last national immunisation exercise for measles. All general and cottage hospitals in Adamawa are also set for renovation.
How did the Adamawa governor achieve all these at a time of economic recession when more-buoyant states could not even pay salaries of their workers, and against the backdrop of Adamawa being among the lowest-earning states in the entire Nigerian Federation? The answer sums-up to one word: Accountability. From the word go, the governor decided that nothing could be achieved when corruption is allowed to reign supreme, as it has done for most parts hitherto his coming. Leakages were decidedly blocked, and he also did the most important of all: exhibiting exemplary leadership. He knows that when the head of a fish is rotten, there is hardly a way the body could escape contamination. Those that have become too used to the old, terrible way of doing things are seeing reason to turn a new leaf. In Adamawa, selfless-service to the people is now the new mantra.
So meagre are the resources and widespread his achievements that the people have been wondering whether Governor Bindow has been injecting his own personal money in his transformation of Adamawa State.
Gaya is the vice president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors
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