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Gov Bala’s Privatization of Bauchi: A Corrupt Cornering of Public Assets 

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By Sa’adu Umar

“Privatisation is the most tangible manifestation of the withering of the state….” Chris Cramer (1999).

Before the furore over the sale of six choices of Bauchi State’s assets by Qaura to his friends at knockdown prices settles he has hurriedly heralded the sale of Yankari Game Reserve.

For context, Yankari is an area equal to the size of Lagos State – less than a third of it. And in terms of value, how can Qaura value it? A million or a billion? Yankari cannot be sold; even for gazillion grams of gold. But then, I will expect Qaura to auction it for a pittance to his family and friends.

After Yankari, Qaura plans to sell some more. Baba Tela, the dumped and disgraced Deputy Governor said: “More industries and entities have been slated for sale and we will continue to do it as long as there are those enterprises”. SSG Kashim concurred thusly: “More would be privatized before the end of the administration” of Qaura next year. Hmm! Owners of Bauchi are talking.

What more assets and companies does Qaura intend to sell? Everything. Qaura will privatize water, education, healthcare, pensions, and if given the chance, the air we breathe! 

Bauchi better beware. Qaura’s already put in place a legal framework for some of this.

And there’s precedence. When Qaura was FCT minister, he sold everything saleable. All the lands from Garki to Karshi, from Kuje to Abaji, and Bwari the land of Gwari were butchered and auctioned. 

But why would Qaura like to butcher Bauchi this much, isn’t that madness? Yes, it’s. And here is the method to Qaura’s madness.

Qaura wants to entrench neo-patrimonialism in Bauchi. Qaura and co are in government to get rich. And boy they are rich! Filthy rich. They see the Bauchi state as a “rent sharing coalition by which elite dole out economic favors to one another and that’s their motivation for being in politics”. Apologies to Fukuyama.

That’s why Qaura gave to himself a 3.5 billion Naira contract using Adda Nigeria Ltd. And it’s the same reason that he sold the Fertilizer company to Shafa at a low price. Examples abound. Indeed, In this government, every sale, contract, favor, work, and everything is for Qaura, his family, and his friends.

However, in their attempts to deceive people into privatization, Qaura and PDP resort to casuistry. 

Before taking these arguments let me speak to the origin of privatization which we all know to be a policy formulation of the USA treasury, IMF, and World Bank – Washington Consensus.

Unless one is stupidly ignorant these institutions don’t exist for the benefit of the poor, blacks, or third world countries. They exist for the privileged white men – the capitalists in Washington, London, and Paris. Privatization won’t help any ordinary man in Bauchi.

Privatization has many critics. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in Economics criticized the theory behind privatization as “weak” and lacking “strong theoretical justification a priori”. Privatization has proven to be terrible worldwide. Especially in Africa, Asia, and even Russia.

Hear how Stiglitz described what privatization did to Russia: “Both GDP and consumption declined. Living standards collapsed, life spans became shorter, and health worsened. Russia achieved a huge increase in inequality at the same time that it managed to shrink the economy by up to a third. Poverty soared to close to 50 percent from 2 percent in 1989”. It’s this Russia Qaura is taking Bauchi to. God forbid.

Now, to the arguments of Qaura and his cheerleaders. Their arguments can be summed up under five headings: efficiency, job creation, economic growth, healthy companies, and whataboutism. These arguments are as strong as a cobweb.

First, that privatization brings efficiency is just not the case. Nellis (1999) states that there are few differences between state-owned and private firms. Privatized companies perform worse than some publicly owned companies. Stiglitz also said that when it comes to efficiency “privatization may not be the most important policy” as “Chinese rapid economic growth has not been driven by privatization”. 

Second, the claim that privatization brings economic growth is specious. Because “a move from state to private ownership alone does not automatically yield economic gains” according to Prof John of Harvard Business School.

Third, Baba Tela said the companies are ailing. Ugly lie. The companies they are selling are healthy. Yankari, Wikki Hotel, and the Fertilizer company aren’t sick. Even if there’s a sick company, it’s Qaura and people in government that infected the company with diseases of corruption and strangulation. Chomsky’s privatization technique, if you will.

Fourth, the NNPC mentioned by Kashim is also false. NNPC Ltd is 100 percent owned by the government. Kyari and others confirm this fact. 

And the NITEL case is a sad story. The PDP government nuked NITEL – a sound, strong and profitable Nigerian enterprise –  and craned MTN, a South African firm formed by the government of South Africa. 9mobile too is owned by the UAE. These two are making profits in trillions for their governments while Nigerians are forced to endure expensive and sometimes poor services. So, what’s here to be proud of as a Nigerian? Traitors.

Fifth, Kashim hypocritically and cynically suggests that privatization creates employment. Evil lie. Studies by scholars like Stiglitz and Loveman have confirmed that privatization leads to job losses and unemployment. 

Before PDP sold NEPA, the ministry of power had 50,000 workers but now only 700 are left. (Fashola)

Again, the sorry Steyr story in Bauchi belied all Qaura’s arguments. The same arguments the PDP advanced than when they butchered Steyr. Now the rotten fruits of that terrible sale are unmistakable. From a company that was doing very well, where 2,000 workers were assembling 5,000 tractors, 4,000 trucks, and buses annually, Steyr has since become dead incapable of assembling one single hoe to weed the weeds covering the company’s compound!

Sickeningly, It’s this same sorry Steyr story Qaura is revisiting, telling us to believe and accept it again. Annoyingly claiming it’s in our interest to do so. We will not accept it. We don’t have an interest in Qaura’s selfish, devilish, criminal, anti-democratic privatization. 

Because, the results of it will only be a concentration of “political power and economic wealth” into the hands of Qaura and the elites while it will be tears, unemployment, job losses, misery, poverty, inequality, asset-stripping, and death for people of Bauchi.

That is why the APC and good people of Bauchi are urging Qaura to pause and reverse course. We have suffered enough under Qaura and the PDP’s poor policies, corrupt practices, bad governance, and insults. 

Yes, Kashim can contemptuously tell the people of Bauchi to go to hell for demanding the preservation and protection of our collective assets from being seized by butchers and vultures. But the good people of Bauchi will not go to hell – we will go to heaven. The people that will go to Hell are the liars, the corrupt, those who seized public property unjustly, defrauders, traitors, hypocrites, promise-breakers, and criminals, says the Qur’an.

Lastly, for the resilient people of Bauchi, I say this: don’t despair. There’s good news. Help from Air Marshal Sadique is coming. 

This October Sadique will unveil a progressive plan to reverse the privatization, provide employment, reduce the cost of living, alleviate poverty, pay pension and gratuity, fight crime, stop government stealing, and put more money into education to return our children to boarding schools and put out of school kids back in classes, invest in human infrastructure and put Bauchi back on the right track.

Sa’ad is a lawyer, Deputy Chairman, APC Publicity Committee Bauchi, and former Director-General, BASEPA.

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Politics

Party Dispute: APC North West Zone To Resolve Internal Issues

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By Abdullahi Alhassan, Kaduna

Following suspension of Party members and counter Suspension of Party members from party excos from national level down to ward level in the zone .

APC North West Stakeholders have held a meeting 19th May 2024 at the Murtala Square, under the chairmanship of the Coordinating Governor of the North West Zone, Senator Uba Sani.

In a Communique read by Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna state,the Communique read in part.

“The meeting took a critical look at the state of the party in the North – West, activated its internal dispute resolution mechanism to resolve pending issues, and charted the pathway to a more formidable zonal structure that will ensure victory for our dear party in future elections.

“The Meeting commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for his steadfast commitment to the fulfilment of his campaign promises to the Nigerian people. The meeting noted the decisive steps so far taken by the President in tackling Nigeria’s multitude of security and developmental challenges, and the far-reaching reforms he has initiated to reflate the economy and combat soaring inflation.

“The meeting observed that Mr. President’s Development Agenda has positively impacted the North West Zone, especially in the areas of Human Capital Development, Agriculture, Education, Poverty Alleviation, and Infrastructural Development.

“The meeting equally commended the various security agencies working tirelessly to maintain and enhance security in the zone.

“The meeting further stated that in view of the enormity of the developmental challenges facing the North West, stakeholders from the zone will continue to seek the gracious support, assistance and intervention of Mr. President.

The communique furher read “In view of Mr. President’s undiluted support and assistance to the North West, stakeholders called for continued support for President Tinubu’s administration as he strives to steady the ship of the Nigerian State. The challenges are enormous, but Mr. President is tackling them with courage and uncommon commitment.

“The meeting commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Honorable. Tajudeen Abbas, Deputy Senate President, Senator Jibrin Barau, and Senators and Members of the House of Representatives for crafting and vigorously pursuing the passage of the North West Development Commission Bill. The meeting urged members of the National Assembly to give the bills expeditious consideration in the interest of national cohesion and even development.

“The meeting wishes to commend Mr. President for his commitment towards the speedy completion of key projects in the North West Zone, including the Abuja – Kaduna – Kano Highway, the Sokoto – Badagry Road Project, the Sokoto – Zamfara – Katsina – Kaduna Road Project, the Kano – Katsina Dual Carriageway, the Ajaokuta – Kaduna – Kano Gas Pipeline, the Lagos – Kaduna – Kano – Katsina – Maradi Rail Project. These projects have the potentials of boosting economic activities, mitigating poverty, enhancing security, and helping in the forging of understanding and friendship among the citizens of Nigeria.

“The meeting while acknowledging the efforts of the political leaders from the zone in promoting development in the region hereby calls on them to put more efforts to further enhance the political fortunes of the zone in order to maintain the political dominance of the zone in Nigeria’s political landscape.

“The meeting commended the National Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for their sustained commitment to the ideals of democracy, with particular recognition to members representing the zone in the party’s national leadership.

“The meeting equally recognized the efforts of the Ministers, Special Advisers and Presidential Aides from the zone in supporting Mr. President to deliver on the Renewed Hope Agenda.

“The meeting further commends the commitment of APC faithfuls and the resilience of the populace in the zone and urges them to continue to support the government at all levels.

“The meeting commended the Coordinating Governor of the North West, Senator Uba Sani for hosting the Inaugural Stakeholders Meeting and demonstrating commitment to the unity and progress of the APC in the North West Zone.

“The meeting also commended Governors Dikko Radda (Katsina State), Umar Namadi (Jigawa State), Nasiru Idris (Kebbi State), and Ahmad Aliyu (Sokoto State) for their credible leadership in their respective states.

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Politics

YLN, LEAP Train Bauchi Student Leaders On Democratic Leadership, Gender Inclusion, Others

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Over 60 student leaders from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Bauchi State University Gadau, and The Federal Polytechnic Bauchi have gathered in Bauchi for a 2-day Amplify Leadership Workshop from May 7 – 8, 2024, organized by Young Leaders Network and supported by LEAP Africa and Nigeria Youth Futures Fund.

Held at the American Spaces Bauchi, the workshop brings together a diverse group of student leaders who will engage in interactive sessions, group discussions, and hands-on activities designed to harness their potential and expertise.

The programme’s overarching goal is to bolster political engagement in Northeast Nigeria through a meticulously crafted program that fosters a formidable team of leaders dedicated to advancing and enriching the leadership acumen of student union leaders.

In his welcome remarks, the Programmes Manager Governance of Young Leaders Network, Moses Danjuma Kusko urged the participants to seize the golden opportunity to equip themselves with leadership skills that will enable them to make a positive impact in their communities and the country at large. Kusko, highlighted objectives of the programme to include empowering students’ Union leaders with democratic leadership skills, promote gender inclusion and equality within students’ unionism, strengthen political activism and engagement among youth and enhance democratic values and principles in student communities.

The workshop promises to be a life-changing experience for the participants, providing them with the tools, knowledge, and network to become effective leaders and change-makers in their respective institutions and beyond.

Through this initiative, Young Leaders Network demonstrates its commitment to empowering young leaders, while LEAP Africa and Nigeria Youth Futures Fund provide vital support to amplify the impact of the program and promote sustainable development in Northeast Nigeria.

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Hon. Gidado Of ADC, Laud Gov Kefas Over Payments Of Gratuity, Revival Of Festival 

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By Sarah Manya

Hon. Abdulrazaq Gidado (JAWAR), the candidate for the last Jalingo, Yerro, and Zing Federal Constituency by-election under the African Democratic Congress (ADC) platform in Taraba State, has commended Governor Agbu Kefas for reviving the Nwonyo International Fishing Festival in the State. 

In a press statement released on Saturday via his Media Adviser, Sulaiman Sani, Gidado praised the governor’s commitment to promoting cultural heritage and improving the internally generated revenue of the state, exemplified by his recent inspection of the ongoing projects at the festival site.

Gidado also expressed appreciation for the recent approval of N1bn for the payment of gratuity to retired civil servants in the state, as well as a monthly allocation of N200m for its sustainability. 

He lauded Governor Kefas for ending the era of gratuity being owed in the state and pledged to continue ensuring good governance thrives by constructively criticizing where necessary.

Additionally, Hon. Abdulrazaq Gidado thanked Governor Agbu Kefas for the appointment of board chairmen and Special advisers in the state.

Lastly, he congratulated all appointees and wished them success in assisting the governor in achieving his Moving Forward Agenda.

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