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Gaidam out to improve on the lives of Yobe citizens –Commissioner

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On November 2011, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state disbursed a total sum of N1.6 billion for the execution of various developmental projects across the 17 local government areas of the state. By the end of February, barely four months after the disbursement, a project monitoring committee set up by the governor to ensure the execution of the projects, headed by Mohammed Lamin, Commissioner for Energy and Transport has completed inspection tour of projects sites in the local governments. In this Interview with Peoples Daily’s Godswill Uche, Lamin spoke on what they saw among other issues. Excerpts:

It has been 4 months since Governor Gaidam disbursed sums of money to the chairmen of local governments for the execution of some developmental projects. As chairman of the project monitoring committee set up to ensure that these projects are executed what are your observations?

Yes, our job is to make sure that these projects which were originally planned by the local governments themselves were actually executed at the various places indicated for them. We have gone round, we have seen and I can assure you that the local governments have kept to their original plans. They have constructed several health dispensaries and clinics and we appreciated the quality of works done, and those we are not satisfied with, we told them openly about our misgivings. We then showed them how they should go about executing the mandate and they have followed our guide lines We are glad to inform that many of these projects have been completed and being put to use by the people.

Looking at the time frame these numerous projects were initiated and some already completed, what is the prospect for government in the state delivering on dividends of democracy to the people by the present administration?

Honestly, if these programmes are sustained for the remaining tenure of Gaidam’s administration in Yobe, which is about three years from now, I can confidently tell you that there will not be a village in any of the local governments without a project executed to the delight and benefit of the people in that community. This is because the projects are spread across the entire state and by the end of Gaidam’s present tenure in office, there will be no village or settlement that have a population of 100 people without a health clinic, dispensary, school and portable water which remains major demands and concern by the people.

Maintenance culture has remained a big challenge in not only Yobe state but the entire country. What are your recommendations to the local government chairmen on how best to safeguard and maintain these facilities?

There are two aspects of this. Firstly, we go out to tell the people in the localities where these projects are located that the projects remains their properties and that they should not allow anybody to tamper or damage them because if this happens, they will be the ones to suffer from the loss. They listen to us and accept our recommendations to the extent that some of them are already contributing money to guard against vandalisation or destruction of these facilities by individuals or group of people. On the part of the local governments, we have been telling them that with time, there will be wears and tears of these facilities and that they should be ready to take care of these facilities by way of repairs in cases of breakdowns or damages in future and they have agreed. We have equally assured them that the state government will assist them to maintain these facilities so that the people they are meant to benefit would reap the benefits at the end of the day. So I believe that as time goes on, we may not find ourselves committing our funds into new projects of this same nature. We will be concerned only with the maintenance of the existing ones.

Now the communities in the local governments will soon have schools, clinics and dispensaries. It is one thing to construct and provide facilities and another thing to make them functional for the full benefit of the people. What is your advice to the governments concerned?

We have been telling the local governments that all these facilities should be furnished and put to use and to be frank with you, during the course of our inspection tour of the local government areas, we have seen drugs purchased and being distributed to the various dispensaries and health clinics across the local governments and we praised and urged them to continue with what they were doing. They will be rendering these services to the people and we on our part will continue to maintain the purchase and distribution of drugs in line with Governor Gaidam’s directive that women, especially pregnant ones and children below the age of five are given these drugs free of charge, and I am happy to tell you that the local government chairmen are obeying this directive.

It is on record that in order to continue with the policy of free medical services to pregnant women and children below the age of five, the state government made a standing payment of N20 million monthly and in this regard a total sum of about N480 million have so far been expended since the inception of the free drugs programme. When it comes to road construction, government has within just about nine months of assumption of office, awarded contract for the construction of roads amounting to N19.7 billion. In education, government has paid the sum of N700 million as school fees for students of Yobe State origin in the Turkish International Colleges located in Kano, Abuja, Mamudo in Yobe state and the Universities in which Yobe students are studying in Turkey.

It is also on record that from the inception of this administration to date, about 5,000 unemployed youths have been trained at the General Sani Abacha Institute of Youth Development Centre, Kano on various productive skills and trades such as Computer studies, fashion design and tailoring, furniture making among others.

What does this interest and concern for the provision of infrastructure and social amenities across the state tell about the personality of Governor Gaidam?

They are proofs that he is a kind-hearted individual who puts the betterment of the lives of his people first. Someone who is very eager to improve on the lives of the citizens by way of providing health care facilities, education to their children, constructing roads to make lives easier for the people especially in the rural areas, empowering the youths in the state to make them gainfully employed or fully self reliant in whatever they do. Indeed, he has tried and continues to do his best to assist the people of Yobe state.

All his actions and utterances are all geared towards giving a better life to the average citizen of Yobe state

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