By Sulaiman Maijama’a
What aspect of life deserves celebration, and what parameters do people use in deciding whose life is worthy of celebration? Becoming a celebrity? No! Obtaining a university degree? No! Getting married? No! Accumulating wealth? No! To give you a clue, who cares to celebrate a person whose life has no impact on their fellow beings? Only people of thought who see beyond the surface; whose life is inspiring and motivating; whose track record speaks volumes, deserve this celebration!
It is not how much but how good. Not the quantity but the quality. It was, however, narrated in an authentic tradition, our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said that “the best of human beings is the one whose life is elongated and his deeds are good, and the worst, on the other hand, is the one who is privileged to live long, but his works are bad.”
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has had a good fortune to join the cadre of the chosen few, spared to witness sixty-three (63) years of existence on earth and, most importantly, serving humanity throughout the journey. This is, coincidently, coming few days after the Federation of Nigeria celebrated her 61st independence anniversary.
Born on October 5th, 1958 in Duguri to the royal family of the District Head of Duguri in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State, little Bala Mohammed, as it is with tradition in Northern Nigeria, was enrolled in Qur’anic school where he was well trained, given strictly regimented orientation germane to Islam, in order to toughen him up to face the realities of life early. He, after that, had his primary education in Alkaleri from 1965 to 1971 and started his secondary school from 1972 to 1976.
Coming from a Royal Family, Bala Mohammed began to exhibit leadership traits in his teenage age by being so dutiful to his elderly, generous to people, and affectionate to younger ones. His selflessness in serving humanity, devotion to duty and sense of humour made him beloved to his family, friends and all people, thereby making him attractive like a magnet, and his name echoing in their village.
In 1979, Bala Mohammed went to the famous University of Maiduguri and obtained his First Degree, graduating with BA in English in 1982. Upon graduation, in 1983, he worked as a journalist with The Democrat as a reporter and later News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). After that, he rose to the pinnacle of journalism as the editor of The Mirage Newspaper.
Mohammed later quit journalism and joined the civil service as an administrative officer from 1984 to 2000. He bowed out of public service as Director of Administration in the Nigerian Meteorological Agency. He then took a Political Appointment as a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Isa Yuguda from 2000 to 2005. He was also Director of Administration at the Nigerian Railway Corporation from 2005 to 2007.
Bala Mohammed ventured into partisan politics in 2007 when he was elected to the Senate representing Bauchi South Senatorial District under the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). As a lawmaker, he was among the pre-eminently vibrant members who stood firm to ensuring that positive policies and programmes were made in the interest of their constituents.
In 2010, Senator Bala Mohammed put party politics aside for the country’s interest and moved the “Doctrine of Necessity” motion on the floor of the Senate, which gave way for the then Vice-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to emerge as Acting President. Bala then was a senator under a defunct All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP), but he stood for Jonathan, who was in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Consequently, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), despite being a member of the ANPP.
As FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed brought extensive reforms to the FCT. He sanitized the land administration of the FCT and expanded the airport roads of Abuja. He built many roads, including the Kubwa expressway expansion. He also built the rail track from Abuja to Kaduna and Idu rail station from the $500m loan that the Nigerian government secured from China. In addition, he introduced the land swap policy that used the land as a resource to fast track infrastructural development in the FCT.
In 2018 Senator Bala Mohammed emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate for Bauchi State and was elected as the governor in 2019.
Ever since he came on board as the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, the state has been undergoing an extraordinary and unprecedented metamorphosis in infrastructural development, health, education, agriculture, among other sectors.
In the area of infrastructure, Bauchi State has witnessed what could have taken others long to complete within the two years of Bala Mohammed’s led administration. The governor has completed over twenty (20) road projects with an aggregate of 286.7 kilometres long. This excludes the recently awarded massive projects across the state. Today, Bauchi State is a gleaming new city with roads and 12-hour uninterrupted streetlights.
Beyond constructing roads, the governor has procured 251 vehicles and 1000 Keke Napep through Kaura Economic Empowerment Project. This has greatly impacted positively on the transportation industry in the state.
As the saying goes, “health is wealth” Senator Bala has renovated 126 primary health care centres in less than two years, constructed 12 new world-class hospitals and a primary health care centre in Dorawar Dillalai, Bauchi. Additionally, many general hospitals across six local government areas are currently under renovation. The governor also actualized a Molecular Laboratory in the State for testing of COVID-19, Lassa fever, Yellow fever and other hemorrhagic diseases.
In Education, Governor Bala Mohammed, in less than two years, has constructed over 270 new classrooms and renovated over 405 across the state. In addition, these projects were expanded into hard-to-reach areas of the state to ensure that quality education isn’t the prerogative of only urban dwellers.
On the other hand, in July 2020, under the leadership of Governor Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State became the first and only state in the North-Eastern region of Nigeria to domesticate the VAPP Act since it was enacted. The VAPP Act is the single law that transcends the criminal and penal code in guaranteeing justice and protecting the rights and properties of victims of sexual and gender-based violence across the country.
Please show me your Governor; here is mine! Dear my Governor, do not relent, do not give up and do not listen to predators and political gladiators who do not mean well for our state, whose aim is to distract you from taking the state forward. The sky is not your limit; even the orbit is limitless.
Fatan alkhairi, Allah Ya qara tsawon kwana da rayuwa mai albarka, ameen.