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Monday, June 17, 2024

Working With Badaru: My Memoir

As Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State hands over administration of the State to the incoming Government, His Director of Press Affairs and Public Relations, Habibu Nuhu Kila, wrote in this farewell.

By Habibu Nuhu Kila

From 1977 to date, it has been a long journey of 46years – it was the beginning of my association with His Excellency Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State.

Muhammadu Badaru was one year ahead of me at Rumfa College Kano. Since then we have been closely related.  In the school he was humble and never participated in the act known as “seniority discipline”, at Rumfa College, Kano, where Seniors organized mid- night discipline known as ‘CONGO’.

Up to this moment I don’t know where the name “CONGO” came from. I hate to remember how we were subjected to harsh inhuman treatment.  I never saw Badaru among our Seniors who perpetrated such act. That earned him the respect of the junior students.

Since then, the tie of that respect remain unchanged.

I derived so much experience that cannot be quantified from him during the regime of Governor Saminu Turaki, when he, Badaru was the Chairman Chamber of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture, while I was the Director of Press Affairs and Public Relations to the Governor.

We closely worked together and I was privileged to travel with him. I can attest to how his zeal and commitment to contribute to the development of Jigawa state was.

When Badaru appointed me as His Special Adviser, Media and Public Relations, I was at the peak of my carrier in Broadcast Journalism at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, where I pioneered as Head of the New Media Department, Kaduna National Station and also the vice President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors in charge of 19 Northern States and Abuja.

Before then, I had worked with 5 out of 8 Jigawa State Military Administrators or elected Governors at different times either as Assistant Press Secretary, Press Secretary and Director Press Affairs and Public Relations.

The position of a Spokesman in any organisation, public or private, for an individual or multinational, is a moral one. If you do not believe in your principal totally, wholeheartedly, unequivocally, do not take the job.

A spokesperson must be passionate and convincing. Self-convinced! No self-doubts. No scepticism. Criticism? Do not take an appointment as a Spokesperson if your heart’s not in it. It is not a calling for the fainthearted.

When you choose to serve as a Government’s Spokesman, you should position yourself as a salesman – the front office manager. The culinary equivalent would be the first person who tastes the food and confirms to customers that the menu is good for them.

This I learnt from my friend and a colleague Dr Sule Yau Sule.

From the time I knew Governor Badaru I personally believed and trusted him. I took the offer for the sixth time.

I went to him with 10 lists of questions on what are his expectations from me. In his brief, he had answered 8 and one of the fundamentals that guided me in the discharge of my responsibilities.

He said ‘Don’t exaggerate” a correlation of the first law of Journalism which says ‘ Tell the truth’.  He also made me to understand that, I should know why he doesn’t want to publicize most of his achievements.

Badaru viewed such publicities as unnecessary expenditure which could be used in some areas of development. He gave an example of an hour television live broadcast which may cost the state Government millions of Naira.  He rather choose to use the money where a lot of people could feel the impact.

That’s made my work easier. I was so comfortable that my boss’s inspirational and motivational words of advice will push me to do my best for the rest of my life. I thank him for such an amazing disposition.

It may not be easy to explain the genesis of the name  “Baba Mai Calculator“ attributed to Governor Badaru. It is known to some who know him at close range.

Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar has achieved for himself a resounding and highly respectable personal credits and qualities, whom his service to humanity in public and private life endeared him.

Badaru has been an international businessman long before he joined politics. In fact, his business acumen and successes were the propelling factors that friends relatives and associates saw in him that made them encourage him to go into partisan politics.

Their thinking was that he could bring into governance of Jigawa State the same careful and meticulous financial discipline that he used to build and sustain his business empire.

So far, the Governor has not disappointed those who vouched for him into politics since he became Governor. Jigawa State has moved from a pauperized state to one with abundant resourses for developmental projects.

The goal is to educate people to produce better believers, law abiding and responsible citizens with high morals and characters living peacefully in the society as community members having strong faith, performing good deeds, and have a sense of accountability to Almighty God.

The journey began on the 29th, May 2015. Of course, it has not been that easy, for it was like attempting the impossibility with nothing. But through God’s guidance, Governor Badaru’s calculator lights through the dark tunnel and gave hope to the people of Jigawa state.

The financial liabilities and contractual commitments on ongoing and new capital projects at that time was more than the annual budget of the state which was about N110 billion.

The inherited liquidity was only N16 million in the state treasury.

To make things worse, the monthly federal allocation dropped from an average of about N5 billion to N3 billion.

But Governor Badaru did not panic. In his effort to effectively face the challenges despite the economic situation at that time, he adopted several measures in order to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the Electorates whose hope was to have the dividends of democracy at their doorsteps.

In this regard, the tenets of good governance, particularly accountability and transparency, were adopted with the aim of having the principles of prudence and value for money, as well as binding ethic under his watch.

That was the point at which the calculator came into reckoning. Money no longer came out of the state coffer without due scrutiny. The businessman in the Governor was unleashed on those who thought state money could be recklessly wasted.

The high cost of administrative governance was addressed, running costs of ministries and departments was reviewed and reduced in addition to the review and verification of all inherited contractual liabilities and commitments.

The Governor was able to save as much as N8.28 billion through discount and other cost saving measures which made it possible to complete all inherited projects and new ones. According to him, it will be a waste of resources to abandoned projects that gulped huge amount of tax payers money.

Timely completion of the annual financial statements by the state ministry of finance made a significant progress in the implementation of the fiscal sustainability plan which is precondition for accessing Federal Government’s Budget Support Facility.

Civil servants active and retired are receiving their salaries and pension as and when due a situation which attracts almost twenty states to visit Jigawa and learn how to implement the most successful system of the administration of pension and gratuity.

In jigawa State under Governor Badaru administration initiated One Village One Project is a product of an all inclusive governance. This earn the state Administration as the most transparent and accountable Government throughout the federation.

Jigawa state is the first and best in road network as over one thousand six hundred kilometers of roads were constructed thus, making the state to access everywhere in terms of road network.

One health care facility in every political ward throughout the state that provides affordable and accessible health care in the state is one of the initiatives of Governor Badaru.

Jigawa state is first and best in the provision of water supply throughout the country under Governor Badaru.  Every sector is being given considerable attention in Jigawa State. The government is so much concerned about Value for money in all its Programmes and projects.

Comrade Badaru of Jigawa State is the most friendly labour Governor in Nigeria. An award was bestowed on him by the National Association of Local Government Employees NULGE.

The benefits of Good  Governance, has continued to earned Governor Badaru a self-disciplined citizenry,  whose good governance help to strengthen democracy promote economic prosperity and social cohesion, reduce poverty, the sustainable use of natural resources and deepen confidence in Government and public administration.

Before appointing me as his Spokesperson, the memorable moment I can’t forget about him forever, was when he came to my house to rejoice with us on the return of my daughter  from Saudi Arabia who had a challenge in our life time, despite what he offered for her to gain freedom.

I most sincerely appreciate and happy to  associate with this gentleman. It is really hard to say goodbye to someone who became a part of your everyday life.

Farewells are sad and giving farewell to one of my favorite mentors is more depressing. It has been an amazing journey working with Governor Badaru.

I hope his future will be as joyful as his personality.

I would like to express my gratitude to him for being such a role model and an inspiration. Thanks for teaching me so much.

I can only pray to you Allah’s continued guidance and blessings. Farewell sir!


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