My attention was recently drawn to the imagination of a group, suspected to be faceless that operates as Bauchi Discussion Circle. In a published literature that went viral on the social media, the group in clear desperation for recognition had fruitlessly attempted to ridicule reputations of some selected Bauchi State political leaders. I may not fault the group for expressing an opinion, but I challenge them to prove their allegations with convincing facts not rhetoric and wishful thinking or hearsay. I write not to defend any of those accused of corruption, stealing, diversion and looting but to stand in defence of Rt.Hon. Yakubu Dogara although, without his authority and consent and to challenge his traducers for a bout. The Group fired a careless salvo against Hon. Dogara out of crass ignorance and elements of frustration. But for a simple understanding, I boldly write to say a stark reality beyond any doubt is that journalists are writers of history while newspapers are the major source from which future historians draw their materials. Performances of government are judged either positively or negatively by what that government has been able to achieve in adding value to humanity. In his book, Descent from Xanadu, Harold Robins said, “Progress can only be built upon the granite of truth not the timbers of dry rot”.
“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves” said Walter Anderson. William Shakespeare in one of his plays, Julius Caesar said, “The evil that men do lives after them, but the good are often interred with their bones……..”
The above dictum of the celebrated famous writer must have been inspired by his experience of how little the Russians appreciate their leaders, in spite of the beaming milk of human kindness, particularly Julius Caesar who because of his philosophy of what touches him shall be last treated, preferred to always serve the state at the expense of self and paid the ultimate price in the process with his life. As it was with Caesar so had it been with several leaders in history and the trend continues till date. Here I am talking of selfless leaders, kindhearted, large-hearted and highly patriotic individuals who at all times strive to lead their countries or state by playing down on personal interest, while prioritizing public interest.
One clear example of such a leader is the former Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives, Rt.Hon. Yakubu Dogara. However, as if to testify to Mark Anthony’s often quoted statement, most of the virtues that mark out Dogara as a unique leader are his most uncelebrated qualities. When he took over the mantle of leadership as Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives in 2015, he promised “business unusual”, the objective of which was to change the old order of legislation and administration in the 8th House, which had brought nothing over the years than stagnation and arrested development of the country. Change is the only permanent philosophy says a popular maxim. However, the road to change is always rough, strewn with thorns and very unattractive, but beneficial at the end.
Little wonder, the late socialist and educationist, Dr. Tai Solarin reverberated the dictum “May my road be rough” on his last celebrated birth day at Ikenne, Ogun state.
The tendency to bemoan change is human, for we are always pessimistic and cynical about its aftermath. The attitude of people, especially the beneficiaries of the old order to the wind of change that blew across the country of the virtuous is not unexpected as it cannot be divorced from the natural reaction of man to most changes, the world over. The similitude between change process and an uncompleted castle explains why people don’t desire to live in it. Hence experience has shown that those who mouth “change is all we need” are always found objecting it innocently, for it comes in ugly disguise.
But how long are the good people of Nigeria will continue to be arrested by the fear of change? Good governance is only possible when those at the helm of affairs know what to do to promote peace and security, avoid wastage and official stealing and corruption, place the interest of the people above those of individuals and encourage sanity to flourish in the system.
“Public interest is what men would choose if they saw clearly, thought rationally, acted disinterestedly and benevolently”- Walter Lippman, 1955.
Perhaps, this explains why Dogara from 2007 decided to take the bull by the horn in tackling those identified problems of poor infrastructure and modern social amenities like education and health in his area of primary concern, Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi state. Infrastructure and development are like twins. The two are inter-twined and wrapped like whirlwind blowing and leaving sand on the trail. The reason is that infrastructure is a precursor to economic empowerment and other development paradigms in any society, be it developed or developing, progress and good governance are often measured or based on the number and quality of infrastructure in place. It could be road, electricity, water, building infrastructure like schools, health centres or physical plant.
Basic infrastructure, to a large extent, determines the economic power of a country, state and its people. Its absence or near absence, can make or mar the legitimacy of a government in power and those behind the driving seat of government or an elected representative of the people. However, those in position of authority make conscious efforts to put some of the basic infrastructure in place be it at the rural or urban centres; they do so for a number of reasons: to make life comfortable and more meaningful for the people and to create wealth and other spin-offs that can galvanize more economic activities. The third may be to discourage rural – urban migration in search of a better living standard. All these are against the backdrop of the fact that provision of relevant infrastructure has the potentials of opening up new frontiers and ultimately uphold the basic principle of good governance. To some leaders, it is to score political points or wriggle in vainglorious pride.
Whatever reason Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives, an apostle of good governance and a stickler of “do it right” has, he has not hidden his mission which he aptly encapsulates in his Economic Blue-Print and Infrastructural Development Agenda which are enunciated in the constituency. In it, Dogara is making his constituency the leading Nigerian constituency by the time he exits the National Assembly with prosperous, healthy and well educated and economically buoyant constituents, living in harmony with people and nature and pursuing their legitimate interests in freedom moderated by good governance which he helped to install in 2019 out of conviction and patriotism that is now attracting him baseless allegations from riff-raffs and spent horses on an impossible mission of sponsored character assassination.
Pursuant to that vision, adopted multi-prong approaches to bring about infrastructural dividends throughout the length and breadth of his constituency.
It is an undisputable fact that Dogara is changing the face of representation in Bauchi state for good and attracts him allegations from baseless opponents. He has several great things working for him. First, along with his state governor, Sen. Bala Muhammed, they belong to same political party with a robust approach to public administration. And secondly, they came into office prepared with a blue-print, which is a function of their goodwill, experience, exposure, education, orientation, courage, among other personal qualities. Thirdly, they emerged as a governor and as an Honorable Member at a time when all well meaning individuals and stakeholders within and outside Bauchi state were resolute on throwing up decent men for the jobs and same set of people extended them their unflinching support that is well deserved and steadily justified with transparency and the rule of law.
Sen. Bala Muhammed and Yakubu Dogara are not leaving anyone in doubt as to their disposition to leave their state and constituency better places for envy.
For instance, record shows that Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency and the House of Representatives since the coming of the present dispensation in 1999, is yet to witness such developmental strides as in the tenure of Yakubu Dogara as Speaker. He kept to faith and is steadily fulfilling his electoral promises. No doubt, history will be kind to him as a leader who served Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency, Bauchi State, North-East sub-region and Nigeria with passion but despite that, still pounded by political riff-raffs on sponsorship but ignored.
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues
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