TWENTY new local government chairmen and councillors were on Sunday, sworn in in Bauchi State, following an election adjudged credible, free and fair, held Saturday, in the state.
Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammad had on Sunday, at the swearing-in ceremony charged the newly elected local government chairmen in the 20 local government councils of the state to be close to their people, adding that working closely with people at the grassroots will enable them to justify the confidence reposed in them by the electorate.
“I’m highly delighted to welcome you to this historic event, the swearing-in ceremony of our newly elected local government council chairmen, who along with their deputies were successful in keenly and hotly contested elections.
It is historic because an election of this magnitude was last conducted in the state in about 12 years ago. I’m personally grateful to God for granting our government the political will to conduct the election in fulfilment of our campaign promises. God gave our party, PDP the victory. We will never take it for granted. I expect you to be very vigilant in the area of security and assist in reporting any act that is likely to cause security breach”.
He further said that the tenure of the chairmen will last for the period of two years as their political career is connected to the success or failure they will set to perform and urged them to manage the scare resources by concentrating on projects and programmes that will add value to the lives of rural dwellers and also tasked them to be on the same page with his administration in the ongoing efforts to sanitise the state payroll in order to free resources for the execution of developmental projects.
Governor Bala Mohammed, who swore in the newly appointed Acting Head of Civil Service, Alhaji Aliyu Jibo, charged him to assist the government in repositioning the service for maximum efficiency and productivity.
Chairman, Bauchi State Independent Electoral Commission (BASIEC), Alhaji Dahiru Tata, announced the winners of the election on Sunday in Bauchi, and issued Certificates of Return to the elected chairmen.
“The results are as officially declared by Returning Officers at the various levels as I am only here to issue certificates to the winners,” he said.
In an interview after the announcement, the elected chairman of Bauchi Council, Alhaji Mahmood Baba-Ma’aji , commended the electorate for reposing their confidence in him.
“I feel fulfilled over what has transpired during the polls. We will carry our people along and fight to ensure the development of the local government area. The expectation is very high but we will try as much as possible to meet the demands of our people,” he assured.
The newly elected chairman of Alkaleri Local Government, Yusuf Garba, spoke on behalf of other chairmen for their readiness to deepen democracy in line with the exemplary leadership of the governor.
He expressed gratitude to the entire citizens of the state for giving them the opportunity and pledged to justify the confidence reposed in them.
The election witnessed large turnout of voters who were visibly excited to elect their leaders after 17 years that such election has not taken place across the state..
In an interview during the exercise, the District Head of Guru in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Baba, said that the governor had set an example to others by making sure that the election was conducted successfully in his polling unit within the community and across the state in general, adding that his leadership style is highly commendable since the election has not been held in the state for the past years.
In his word, “it is something to be proud of because it is not easy for a sitting governor to release the autonomy and give it to a local government. It is something that the people of Bauchi State should be proud of as you can see them being happy to exercise their franchise. At the end of the exercise, we are expecting it to be free and fair election and I believe that the outcome of the election will be what people want”.
Alhaji Ibrahim said that the peace committee, the vigilant group, policemen and other security agents were the measures put in place for peaceful election despite the peace conduct in the local government, adding that for such peace and obedience to exist among the indigenes, there must be peaceful election.
While speaking to the journalists, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State said that since he left the state capital with his entourage to exercise his franchise in his polling unit at Gurur, in Alkareli local Government, there is peace in the community instead of violence and advised people to make sure that they cast their vote.
“I’ve promised the people of Bauchi and people of Nigeria that we are going to have the most credible local government elections in the list of Bauchi State history since 2008, and this is what we are doing by the grace of God. It is not because we are better. It is just because we have to go by the rule of the people and fear of account.
I want to say that this is one those things we are doing and we are very happy that at least, we are fulfilling our promises. I cannot say anything about the candidates but you can see how happy people are to be allowed to exercise their universal franchise.”
“People want to exercise their franchise. You can see how people were waving hands when we were coming and I know that certainly, we are still in touch with the people. By the grace of God, we are making sure that we stay in Bauchi. Since I was elected, I make sure that I don’t go to Abuja all the time or travel abroad.
There are times I stay home for four months without leaving my station and that is making me connected with the people continuously in the manner that they will respect me and appreciate my leadership because it will link to all the local government chairmen and councillors. We trust ourselves because leadership is now a trust”, he said.
He also said that the cause of little delay of election materials by the electoral officers was not reported to him which made him to stay back in the state capital to monitor the movement but as a local government election, INEC has tried to conduct a free and fair election including the Bauchi State Independent National Electoral Commission set up by his predecessor, noting that they were dissolved but they allowed them to continue as they are Nigerians and Bauchi State indigenes.
Bala Mohammed stressed that he must make sure that the leadership recruitment in the state is in the bases of fairness and Justice so that everybody will be given the opportunity to exercise his or her aspiration as citizens and off course consider what they are doing and make sure that people are identified on merit and give them opportunity to contribute in the portal for the growth and development of Nigeria.
At Duguri Ward 1, Unit 2 in Alkaleri Local Government Area, the polling unit of the governor which was where our reporter monitored during the exercise, the district head of the community, Alhaji Ibrahim Baba said that like every other election, he would urge indigenes to turn out en masse to vote who they want as their local government chairmen and prayed for peaceful and successful election as it was conducted during the state governorship election.