The Association of local Governments in Nigeria (ALGON) during its annual investiture and award night, honored 4 state Governors including Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar.
The Governor was awarded the best Governor in infrastructure provision and was also singled out for mention for his role in saving some Local Government Councils from insolvency in 2015/2016 when revenue allocations were at their lowest.
The ALGON in a citation said before the Federal Government “salary bailout” became a popular catch phrase in the states, Governor Badaru was quietly augmenting the allocations of almost 70% of his 27 local government councils so that they could settle recurrent liabilities till the financial situation improved and this according to ALGON went on from November 2015 to March 2016, which helped thousands of local government employees to continue getting their pay checks on schedule without realizing that a rescue operation was in place at the state level.
ALGON further stated that just like at the center, Governor Badaru took the politically unpopular decision to complete all the ongoing infrastructure projects he inherited from the previous administration after verifying them for value for money and economic impact despite the fact that the ensuing audit came up with a figure of N91.6 Billion on ongoing projects mainly roads hurriedly awarded between January and May 2015, and N13.6 Billion as unpaid vouchers and that over N11 Billion discounts were negotiated with the contractors with N8.2 Billion savings realized on road contracts alone, and contractors were given a commitment for instant payment on verified valuation certificates which prompted them to resume work.
According to ALGON findings, as at May 2018, 716.5kms of those inherited projects were completed with Governor Badaru keeping to his word and paying over N31 Billion as and when due adding that if the 396.8 Km of new roads awarded and delivered between 2015 and 2017, and the 149.32 awarded in 2018 were added up, a total of 71 roads covering 1,262.67 km have been delivered to the people of Jigawa State in a 3 years period despite being characterized by revenue shortfalls averaging 50%.
On portable water supply, the Association observed that, in 3 years total N11,808;934,568.68 was expended with donor agencies like UNICEF contributing N2.5 Billion resulting in the rehabilitation of 4,571 existing hand pumps at the rural level with 2,237 newly constructed, and rehabilitation of 240 motorized water stations in the larger towns and 507 newly converted or constructed solar powered schemes.
ALGON also acknowledged that the state Government has a target of converting all motorized schemes to solar Powered within the next 2 years to eliminate maintenance costs associated with diesel power.
On Infrastructure provision in the Education sector it noted that the N9.76 Billion or 22% of budget was spent to construct or completely renovate 4,520 classrooms, 188 staff houses, 411 toilets, 4 JSS mega hostels, 6 admin blocks and delivery of 97,659 pieces of school furniture, 3,416 pieces of teacher furniture and 79 hand pumps in the basic education sector across the state in addition to the establishment of 44 day secondary to address boarding congestion and 20,046 pieces of furniture supplied.
On Primary healthcare it appreciated that the State Government has committed to providing at least one functional healthcare facility in all its 287 wards by renovating existing facilities and building new ones to fill the gaps and that so far 27 facilities were constructed with midwife quarters up to 2017 leaving only 30 facilities which have been included in the 2018 budget year to meet up the target.
ALGON also stated that Two 300 bed specialist hospitals were under construction in Hadejia and Kazaure while the Birnin Kudu facility inherited at about 40% level will be delivered before December in addition to fact that several PHCs have been upgraded to General Hospital Status with 3 new General hospitals contracted out this year.
In his speech, the ALGON National Chairman Hon Gambo Tanko Kagara said what was particularly endearing to their selection committee was the fact that while Billions were going into capital expenditure in Jigawa, it remained one of the very few states where all State and local Government salaries including optional allowances, and all pension and gratuity liabilities were paid as and when due from the administrations inception to date, even though the state politely declined the salary bailout package offered by the Federal Government.
He said all the projects were verified by an ALGON assessment committee and called on the Governor to remain steadfast in his commitment to quality service delivery and unprecedented transparency and insistence on value for money at all times.
The Governor was represented at the occasion by his Deputy Barrister Ibrahim Hassan who was flanked by other political office holders.