One of the darkest side of our present democratic experiment is the wrong perception many hold that being in government is an opportunity for profiteering as against public service delivery. While most of these allegations have been directed at elected and appointed office holders; the flip side however, that is usually downplayed, is the penchant of a few citizens who stalk office holders for unmerited favors.
They are usually party affiliates, family members and friends who see the emergence of someone directly or indirectly associated/related to them, as a long awaited opportunity to take their chunk of the national cake, even at the detriment of the growth and development of the larger society. My attention however in this write-up is focused on political party associates who go all out to blackmail incumbent office holders because they refuse to favor them with contracts or other privileges. So also, those who might have lost in an internal party contest, and make it a mission to distract the winner in office as against displaying good sportsmanship.
A case in view is the desperate and evil ploy by a few retrogressive politicians – who more often than not cannot see beyond their insatiable greed and the inordinate ambition of their godfathers – to discredit our amiable and progressive Lere local government Chairman, Honorable Abubakar Buba.
As the erudite journalist, CP Clerk once posited, “opinion is free, but facts are sacred”. Without concrete facts but base on concocted fabrications, these groups have launched a malicious campaign against the Honorable Chairman.
On the 11th of March 2019, an unknown and greed motivated desperados under a pseudo name, Concerned People’s Congress of Lere, forwarded concocted lies, with the aim of blackmail, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the Honorable Abubakar Buba. The petition was signed by one Abubakar Hassan, a known political jobber who has a prominent track record of blackmailing politicians for money both within and outside the local government. Subsequently, they recently released a press statement to give their ill-conceived allegations publicity to assassinate the character of the Chairman.
Out of pure mischief, this group made up of enemies of progress, alleged without verifiable evidence that the Chairman is using two companies ‘Structed Investment Ltd and Imam Electrical and General Contractors Ltd’, which he has interests in and had been awarding contracts to himself against the Procurement law.
Unfortunately for this professional gang of blackmailers, the Chairman neither owns nor has interests in any of the mentioned companies. Again, with evidence ready to be tendered, Lere local government council is one among the very few that has institutionalized the adherence to the public procurement law in awarding contracts. The Chairman, due to his understanding of probity as a former astute banker, is a known regular visitor at the Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority (KADPPA).
Out of a deliberate attempt to paint the Chairman as corrupt, they claimed that he recently bought a personal house worth 30 million naira. Again, out of desperation they did not do their due diligence before rushing to make this spurious allegations. Honorable Abubakar Buba, has been a prudent banker for many years and had gotten the house and renovated it over a period before even becoming the Chairman of Lere local government, and for far less than the amount they are alleging.
Again, without evidence they queried that the official residence of the Chairman was renovated at 29 million naira as against 7 million naira used in 2007. Either out of ignorance or pure mischief or both, they did not factor in the difference in the value of the naira then and now, and also that of inflation in the cost of materials, almost 13 years after. Neither did they check the quality of work this time around, after all, the Chairman does not own the property and will leave it behind after his tenure.
What this professional political merchants are unaware of is that auditors were sent from the State to do checks and scrutinize the financial books of the Local government council and they gave a clean bill of health. Even more, they commended the Chairman for his high performance in executing capital projects considering the reality of scarce resources.
It is obvious to see that this petitioners are too desperate to bring down a rising and shining star, especially as a result of the attention he is getting in different quarters, due largely to his far-reaching governance reforms. Also, they are having sleepless nights because our visionary leadership, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai has been recognizing his performance.
Just in case they don’t know, in line with the vision and mentorship of the governor, he was the first local government Chairman in Kaduna state to adopt the principles of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and is also passionately supporting the institutionalization of the Local Government Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (LFTAS) program in Lere local government.
This is not also to forget that he has so far strengthened citizen’s participation through setting up a Technical Working Group (TWG) made up of equal number of government and Citizens, not to forget the appointment of a citizen’s desk officer. As a result, he has even challenged the civil society in the local government to come up with an independent budget tracking template to provide feedback to the council on projects execution.
Furthermore, while his peers are still struggling to find their footing, in just 11 months he has executed 101 capital projects worth 500million naira in all the 11 wards of the Local Government area. Some of them include: 11 solar-powered motorised borehole, 38 hand pumps, a 14 kilometer feeder road, box and ring culverts and drainage.
Also, in the educational sector, he has been able to renovate and equip 38 primary schools, procure and distribute exercise and textbooks on mathematics, English language and general science to primary school pupils. The health sector is not also left behind, as he has procured and distributed beds, mattresses and medicines to our primary healthcare centres to improve service delivery.
As many are aware, the Chairman held two pre-approval budget town-hall meetings in 2018; so also, in view of his total commitment to transparency, accountability and citizen’s engagement, he has directed that the first and second quarter performance review town-hall meeting should be organized to provide details of the 2019 budget performance and get feedback from the good people of Lere local government area.
With this and much more of which space and time will not allow me list out, many patriotic indigenes of Lere local government have passed a vote of confidence as a result of the outstanding and evidence based performance of our incumbent Chairman.
We will not allow political opportunist and a set of disgruntled vocal minority to throw a cog in the wheel of our progress towards the growth and development of Lere local government. However, we are confident that the Chairman has all the evidence to clear his name and protect his hard earned and unblemished reputation.
While at first I thought it unnecessary to respond to the antics of these enemies of progress, as the Chairman is taking legal steps to address it; it has become important as someone who is a firsthand eye-witness to happenings in the local government to clear the air for the sake of history and the larger citizenry in and outside the area.
My prayers is that may Allah open the eyes of this political opportunist to understand that governance as Championed by Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai is no longer a free for all party, but that of putting people first, and that is what we are abiding by in Lere local government council.
Shuaibu A Garu sent in this piece from Kaduna
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