By Bilyamin Abdulmumin
As the final days of Senator Atiku Bagudu’s second and last tenure draw near, it is an opportune time to reflect on the impact he has had during his time in office. A famous Hausa saying, “ba rabo da gwani ba cika gurbinshi,” loosely translated as “it’s not departing with the hero but filling in his gap,” encapsulates the sentiments surrounding his departure. To truly understand the reasons why Senator Bagudu will be missed, let us delve into the milestones he has achieved.
One of the least popular aspects of governance is the accumulation of loans, which often elicit apprehension and concern among the masses. However, in the case of Kebbi State, Senator Bagudu will be remembered for leaving a lasting legacy of healthy state coffers, free from burdensome loans. Unlike some states which have struggled under the weight of mounting debts, Kebbi State has been fortunate to experience prudent financial management. The next administration’s decision to deviate from this path and accumulate loans may lead to the public’s nostalgia for Senator Bagudu’s tenure.
While the condition of the civil service in Kebbi State may not be perfect, there is one area where it stands out: the prompt payment of salaries. Unlike some states in the country where civil servants often endure months of unpaid wages, Kebbi State has managed to keep its commitment to timely salary disbursement. Unfortunately, if the incoming government fails to prioritize this aspect of governance, civil servants—who rely on their salaries for sustenance—will undoubtedly miss Senator Bagudu’s tenure.
Education has been a focal point for the incoming administration under Dr. Nasir Idris as a former leader of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), high expectations are placed upon him to bring about positive change in the sector. However, in the event that unforeseen circumstances hinder the realization of these expectations, student leaders will undoubtedly make their voices heard. Their demands for government support in fulfilling obligations such as payment for WAEC exams, sponsorship of professional courses abroad, and the prompt payment of school fees for local students will serve as a constant reminder of Senator Bagudu’s absence.
Senator Bagudu’s vision for industrialization has been a driving force in Kebbi State. This has led to the establishment of rice processing plants and the cultivation of agricultural products such as cassava, tomatoes and wheats. Should the next government fail to sustain or further develop these initiatives, including investments from prominent figures like Dangote in sugar and rice production, as well as bioethanol plants, individuals with a vested interest in industrialization will yearn for Senator Bagudu’s industrious leadership.
Birnin Kebbi, the state capital, has enjoyed a consistent power supply, transforming it into a thriving hub for small and medium-sized businesses. This reliable power supply was made possible by government subsidies. However, as Senator Bagudu’s tenure comes to a close, the focus shifts to the transition of power, leading to a decline in the availability of these subsidies. Consequently, power supply has dwindled, leaving the people of Birnin Kebbi disheartened and nostalgic for the days when they enjoyed up to 22 hours of uninterrupted electricity. Failure on the part of the next administration to prioritize addressing this issue will leave the people yearning for the good old days under Senator Bagudu’s governance.
It is a common phenomenon for the masses not to appreciate a leader’s accomplishments while they are in power. During their tenure, the focus tends to be on the problems that remain unresolved, consciously or subconsciously overlooking the achievements. However, once a leader steps down from power, a shift in perspective occurs. Suddenly, the positive aspects of their administration come to the forefront of public memory, overshadowing the previous grievances. This pattern has been observed throughout history, where leaders who were once criticized and held accountable are later romanticized and remembered fondly.
An example of this phenomenon can be seen in the case of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. During his time in office, many people had grievances and disagreements with his policies and actions. However, when President Umaru Musa Yar’adua succeeded him, there was a wave of nostalgia for Obasanjo’s leadership. People began to appreciate some of the accomplishments and progress made during his tenure, often forgetting the challenges they had previously emphasized.
Similarly, after Yar’adua’s unfortunate passing and the subsequent ascension of President Goodluck Jonathan, criticisms and frustrations arose towards the new administration. People clamored for the return of the perceived stability and achievements of the previous presidency. This cycle continued when Jonathan handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari, with many longing for the perceived “messianic” qualities of the preceding administration.
In the case of Senator Atiku Bagudu, as his tenure concludes, the same pattern may emerge. The people of Kebbi State, who might have voiced their concerns and criticisms during his time in office, might soon find themselves longing for the stability, financial prudence, prompt salary payments, and emphasis on industrialization that characterized his governance. The achievements of his administration, such as the establishment of rice processing plants and agricultural advancements, will be sorely missed if not continued or built upon by the incoming government.
As the pages turn to a new chapter in Kebbi State’s history, it remains to be seen how Senator Bagudu’s contributions will be valued and honored in the years to come.