What is the policy thrust of the Bindow Administration?
Bindow has been very prudent in the way and manner he has been managing the resources of the state, this is partly because of his experience in the private sector. He uses his private sector experience in public sector management and that means that with minimal resources if you are a prudent manager, you can achieve result.
We have also been able plug leakages and discipline ourselves to minimize corruption. This government is corruption free. And we are ready to subject ourselves to scrutiny any day. We follow due process in doing all our things. In awarding contracts, we open our boxes openly to the public. If the bill of quantity, we look for the bargain prices for all our projects.
We took a decision not to engage consultants to save cost and we are using our engineers in the ministry of works as consultants. Some of the engineers at the ministry are even better than the consultants and we are getting good results. Not employing consultants saves us about 30% of our project costs, which enables us to embark on more projects.
The consultants you are engaging to supervise your project might not be as competent as the engineers in the ministry so we did away with consultancy which is almost 30% of the total sum of contract.
Another thing is that we closely scrutinise the bills of quantity of the contractor and we only allow a margin of 10% profit.
We tell the contractors no consultancy (our ministry engineers), no excesses in bills of quantity, no kickback to anybody, only 10% margin of profit, you agree and we do business, any other thing we terminate the contract.
That’s how we have been to do all the reconstructions of the roads in the state that has been a success so far. For instance, we are in arbitration court with a construction company right now over the Maraba Pella –Mayo Nguli road project. The contract was awarded for N2billion, then the figure jumped to N4 billion, then skyrocketed to N6 billion and finally N9B. The contractor collected over 60% of the contract sum and abandoned the project. We have gone to arbitration tribunal to force them back to site.
Bindow has been tenacious in project implementation and monitoring, that has been our secret of success. We don’t start a project and abandon it.
We don’t want to start 20 to 30 projects at a time and not be able to complete any. We choose to embark on roads and after roads we are shifting focus to education and health.
How are you addressing welfare of civil servants?
We are up to date in payment of salaries and wages of civil servants in the state. Infact Governor Bindow recently told a colleague of his, that he does not regard prompt payment of salaries to civil servants as an achievement, because he believes that they legitimately earned it.
We cleared all arrears of workers salaries we met on ground and we shall continue to endeavour to pay such on times. We have a good rappour with the labour on this and I think we are on same page with them on the issue of salary.
How did the Governor manage the Paris Club refund to Adamawa state?
In politics, especially the kind of politics we engage in, in Nigeria, where lies are bandied about as truths, allegations and counter allegations, deliberately to score political points, it is expected that there would be such allegations.
In the first instance, there was even controversy at the Federal Ministry of Finance, whether Adamawa was entitled to draw from the fund or not. They had alleged that the Nyako administration had already collected the state’s share.
The Federal Ministry of Finance, the Debt Management Office and the Central Bank of Nigeria, had insisted that Nyako administration had collected the state’s share.
But the Governor insisted that he be given the documents showing the details on the money collected and the account it was paid in to. It was when they could not provide such details that it was resolved that we would be given the Paris club refund but that the state signed an undertaking that if in future, documents are found showing that Adamawa has collected in the past, what ever was given now be deducted.
The Governor, the commissioner of finance and the Attorney-General signed the undertaking. The total money we are expecting to be given to us is N12.6 billion but it is in phases. So far, only N4.8billion has been released to the state.
The money was attached with a condition that every state must utilize 50% of the Paris club refund to clear salary and pension arrears. And the remaining 50% be used for other projects.
We are not owning salary arrears in Adamawa state, so we decided to clear the local government councils backlog of salaries which was accumulated before our tenure. We set up a committee comprising the commissioner of finance, the accountant general, the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), the local government councils, accountant general, the attorney general, the director-epayment, the pensions board of the local government with myself as chairman, to reconcile the modalities for the payments and we have reached advanced stage.
You must realise that the local government councils have over 20,000 staff spread over 21 local government councils. About 2000 of which were not captured in the e-payment exercise. The primary healthcare workers have an arrears of over N1.2 billion and the local education authority staff have arrears of three months. We are likely to commit over N4.7 billion out of the N4.8 billion received to clearing the local government councils’ salary arrears incurred before our tenure, because, Bindow believes Government is a continuity.
So you can see there is very little left to be diverted to any where.
However in politics, we expect such allegations all the time. The Governor remains focused and undaunted.
Considering the quantum of money available to the state and the quantity and quality of work done by the Bindow administration and compare the same indices with the previous administrations, you will be forced to agree that Governor Bindow has performed wonderfully well.
What is the state of infrastructural development?
You know in the past two years, we have been concentrating on the construction of roads accros the state. At the last count, we have done over 226 kilometres of road that have life span of over 30 years and more.
And Governor Bindow in council is going to now concentrate on health and educational institutions. We are now going to embark on massive reconstruction of primary and post primary schools as well as our general hospitals.
We have just gotten some hospital equipment from the UNICEF and other European donor agencies worth over 2million Euros. That would go along way to re-equipping our hospitals.
The Governor has just flagged off the renovation of Numan General hospital, the Villa Nova secondary school, Numan. We have been to Hong to flag off the renovation of primary schools in the state.
We have done roads, now we are doing hospitals and schools, The Governor has been to College of Education, Hong to construct a multipurpose students complex, hostels for students. Bindow is going to construct 1.8 kilometre access road within the state polytechnic in Yola. We will also soon commission some projects at the polytechnic built with counterpart funding from United States (US).