It is unfortunate that
the Muhammadu Buhari
administration came into office at
a time of economic stress, arising
from the drastic fall in the prices
of oil. This has resulted in the
states asking for bailout funds
and I really feel for Governor
Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state,
who assumed office with the best
of intentions and with the best of
credentials and vision to take the
state out of underdevelopment
and infrastructural decay. But like
every other state battling cash
squeeze and high debt profile, the
challenges facing our state have
posed very serious incapacitation
in terms of capacity to timely
deliver on campaign promises.
I do not know how it works with
the Bagudu administration, but
I should think the government is
not allowing communication gap
to exist between it and the people.
In fact, the state and federal
governments must develop an
effective mechanism to reach out
to the people with the facts of the
unfortunate economic problems
facing the country.
I hope the states are reaching out
to their people through rigorous
and aggressive sensitisation and
enlightenment campaign on the
implications and consequences
of the situation the country finds
itself in today. I know as a fact
that in Kebbi the government is
working to take the citizens into
confidence through the usual
traditional enlightenment policy
on the predicaments and the
need to be patient and patriotic
in order to bridge a yawning gap
of misunderstanding that has
been allowed to fester. With the
right information dissemination
system, the people will be able to
appreciate these handicaps.
I am an optimist and I believe
that the state government is
struggling to settle down to the
business of governance in spite of
the challenges, to improve the lot
of our people. I have always called
for patience, given the problems
Kebbi inherited. Our Governor
met a debt profile of more than
N80billion and a high wage bill
at a time of economic downturn
brought about by the falling oil
Kebbi is one of the most
underdeveloped states in the
country and with the lack of the
necessary infrastructure to drive
the state out of its malaise, no
government that has come at this
time and is faced with an empty
treasury and a huge debt profile
can just begin to dish out goodies
or begin to embark on multibillion
naira projects because the money
is not just there.
That is why the state government
needed to carefully take stock, look
at the books, weigh its options and
do the necessary analysis based
on available resources. All these
require meticulous scrutiny on the
part of government and patience,
support and prayers on the side of
the people. I can understand the
impatience of the people because
their hopes have been raised,
but we must be realistic. The
Dakingari era would have been a
time for Kebbi to be transformed
because of the available resources
at government’s disposal at that
time, but we missed that one. Now
is a different era with its attendant
multi faceted problems.
Kebbi has one of Nigeria’s
most arable FADAMA belts
and on coming to power, the
state government moved fast to
bring in high level stakeholders,
including the federal government,
the Central Bank, the private
investors and our farmers into
an entrepreneurial partnership to
produce high quality rice with the
aim of reducing and eliminating
the huge rice importation that has
been eating into our reserves and
weakening our local currency.
Already, about N4 billion has
been set aside to mobilize rice
farmers and I can tell you that
Kebbi is on the verge of moving
to the FADAMA fields to help the
country achieve self sufficiency.
The state government can play an
important role in sourcing for soft
loans, providing the guarantees,
making the environment amenable
to investors, protecting all interests
and ensuring security.
In Kebbi, all these have been
provided and it is our hope that
our people will reciprocate the
gesture by playing their part well.
Of course, there are grounds for
people to be worried over issues
of development that are either
slow in coming or are inadequate.
A lot of people may have issues
with the style of the Governor and
very justifiably so, but the man is
less than one year in office and for
us to fairly assess him, we need
to be patient for at least one full
year and be hopeful that he will
buckle up and deliver. If after our
patience Atiku Bagudu still proves
that he is the wrong man for the
job, we can then begin the process
of doing something about it in
Yakubu Ahmed Maibindiga, a
public affairs analyst, is a partner
at Tripple Cee Media Limited, a
consultancy firm.

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