2019 Presidential Election: Adamawa Gov Jubrilla Bindow Pledges Support Buhari

Adamawa State Governor, Jubrilla Bindow, has pledged his support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential bid.

Governor Jibrilla, accoridng to a statement by Commissioner for Information Sajoh Ahmed, condemned what he described as a looming blackmail by elements who he said were planning to design a poster pairing Bindow with ‘the presidential candidate of another party’,  a ploy which he said was wicked and baseless.

“Bindow is an APC governor working for APC and has no intention to support or canvass support for any presidential candidate outside APC. He has no support for any candidate other than Buhari,” he asserted,  adding that  anybody who prints any document to portray anything to the contrary should be disregarded.

The commissioner who refrained from specifically mentioning Atiku’s name in his initial address, submitted at the question and answer session of the press conference that Atiku as an Adamawa man winning the presidential ticket of a major opposition party was ‘a factor’ but that Bindow already had the candidate of his party and that Adamawa would always choose reality rather than promises.

He said Buhari had done enough for Adamawa State since he became president to make the people prefer him to any other candidate.

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Bindowo’s Government As Our Mirror, Babayola M. Toungo

“… the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Shakespeare

Another election cycle is upon us and my heart bleeds for my beloved Adamawa State.  My heart bleeds because the politicians, particularly those in opposition to the current governor are fighting amongst themselves instead of forging a unified front against an incumbent who has held captive the people of Adamawa in a python-like grip of bad governance, thuggery, deception and general maladministration.

This time around in my tracking of Adamawa politics I am going to embark on a journey of soul searching, in a peregrination of some sort, a political principles search if you would prefer.  This is because I am a stakeholder in the democratic process that has seen to the emergence of our present crop of political leaders. I am more a stakeholder, than others, that has seen to the emergence of APC political office holders at the States and national level beyond Adamawa State itself.

As such I am pained at what the party has become or what it has been reduced to, as a negation of our aspiration to build a virile and resilient political machinery that will be a complete departure from the practice that other political associations, most especially the PDP has engendered, in its 16 years of its (mis) governance.  At least in my Adamawa State.

I am in pain that in one way or the other I have contributed to the emergence of Governors, Senators, Legislators and President Buhari as politicians of a class that will represent us and most especially bring a special difference from the Northern States because of our antecedents and leadership qualities that are now almost inherent in us – which has been found worthy of emulation by others within the 19 Northern States.

Alas, look at what is happening in Benue, Plateau, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano, Kwara and many other States that the media has decided to keep under silent wraps away from the prying eyes of the electorate. Is Yobe the only State where the political class will choose not to embark on an internecine political wrangling for political office – or specifically the office of the Governor?

It is within this context that we got saddled with a governor who lacks an understanding of governance, democracy and their importance.  This lack of understanding may not be his fault and may not be deliberate but due to many causes, all of which may not be the governor’s doing.

It may be due to intellectual shallowness as many people allege; the apathy of the citizens and to the inherent failure of the opposition to articulate a choate position and their inability to connect with the people and wake them up from their indifference to governance and who governs them.  Most of the electorate in Adamawa have been conditioned to expect nothing from life except what crumbs fall their way during every four-year electoral circle and expect nothing between one election cycle to the other.

Isn’t it time for us to pause and redefine our relationships with those who lead us and even our positions in our society?  Of all the other professions, I believe politics is the most important because politicians decide how you live your life.  It is not important because of the amount of money doled out to voters during election period; nor because of how ethnically based, hate-filled and shallow our politics have been turned to by carpetbaggers.

Politics is important because of the service its practitioners ought to render to their fellow citizens through qualitative, equitable, just, focused and upright leadership.  Qualities that appear to be alien to the current occupants of our government house in Yola.

The government constantly reminds us of the work done on our dilapidated roads.  It is quite laudable.  I doff my hat to them for making the roads within Yola once more motorable – if you choose to forget the exorbitant amounts allegedly spent in rehabilitating them.  But look at these newly minted streets and see the number of school-age children out of school; look at our hospitals (where you find any) and then you may begin to comprehend that you have been sold a dummy.  Look at how far we have been left behind in all human development indices.  Our system seems to have collapse and we may need an energetic, well-read and broad-minded candidate to move us into the 21st century.  The task is enormous but is doable.

We, the electorates shouldn’t allow ourselves to be treated like hired lackeys of the politicians and must therefore be assertive in making sure the right people are voted into office.

To those of us able to read this piece either in a newspaper, on your laptops, notebooks or smartphones, let’s be the guardians of our state and this may perhaps be among the many functions God entrusted us with as citizens of Adamawa State.  We have achieved much just by being citizens of this perennially potentially great state and we have erred often.  But we should be willing, with all humility to make amends and make Adamawa great.

 

This is my way of apologizing to the people of Adamawa State.

 

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2019: Why Governor Bindow Must Go, By Dr. Ibrahim Hamman

Just yesterday, I read a treatise by one Dr Gambo Alkali with the caption “Why President Buhari should be neutral in Adamawa Guber-Race”. In both content and context, I found the article lacking in depth and substance, with serious pitfalls and widening gaps in logic and fundamentals.

It is for this glaring flaw arising from inadequacies of political knowledge, has become expedient to critically examine the issues raised, not necessarily to join issues, if any, but to correct the erroneous impressions and obvious misrepresentation of facts that were the lot of that compromised article.

Comments like this coming from a man of “letters” with a prefix of (Dr.) to his name is to me a product of intellectual laziness that if allowed to flow, may likely cross the rubicon of decency in a normal democratic setting. There is no clear demonstration of vision and mission as that piece could only find space in a college magazine, hence the need to correct the narrative and its likely collateral damage that may influence some less endowed collective psyches.

In the said article, Alkali went on a voyage of infamy by staging a one man protest as to why President Muhammadu Buhari should pose for photograph with his brother-in-law Dr Mahmoud and one of the leading contenders to the office of Governor of Adamawa in 2019.

He said “In the picture, President Buhari was in a ceremonious mood with his brother-in-law and Adamawa Guber-aspirant, Mahmoud Halilu (Modi) after the later picked his expression of interest and nomination forms to contest for the Adamawa Governorship in 2019”.

Assuming, without conceding to the fact that the President posed for a photograph and in ceremonious mood with his brother-in-law, has there been any law in the Nigerian Constitution that prevents the President from taking photographs with family members and other ordinary Nigerians?

How does a harmless picture translate to endorsement or votes at the primaries when Governor Bindo has succeeded in handpicking delegates and pocketing same under the proposed indirect primaries?

For the purpose of records, it will be interesting to note that President Buhari is a natural leader, a mentor, a grassroots mobilizer, a bridge builder and a compassionate democrat whose love for humanity found its deepest and most profound expression in his commitment to social justice, transparency and optimum accountability in the process of good governance. The President does not compromise standards and may not likely be in sync with people with low level political culture, shallow intellectual capital and less credibility to govern a state as endowed as Adamawa.

With all the above attributes of a highly respected statesman in Sub-Saharan Africa, do we expect the President to pose for a photograph with Atiku’s in-law who purchased a PDP form to contest for the seat of Governor of Adamawa State?

Dr. Mahmoud Halilu (Modi) is not only an in-law to the PMB but is a son to the President. Since childhood up to the present, Dr. Halilu popularly referred as “Modi Buhari” has steadily and of course progressively learnt the ropes of politics, patience, good conduct, clinical human relations, loyalty, steadfastness and incorruptibility in public conduct.

Imbibing the virtues of Mr. President, Dr. Halilu grew up with the culture of fairness and high respect for the elderly. As a man of high intellect, the Guber-aspirant is distinct and respected for his unbendable principles, moral rectitude, psychological stability and above all transparency and credibility in the process of good governance.

In his article, Dr. Alkali, has failed to tell the people of Adamawa that Governor Bindo has woefully failed the state in the last three years of his administration. Here was a Governor that came with promising potentials to develop the state but due to short term vision and long term intellectual inadequacies the man bestrode the state like a colossus with deceptive impunity and utter pretenses. With a nauseating appellation of “Digital” another name for crude lies and stone-age deceit, why should a state, abundantly blessed by enviable flora and fauna with limitless potentials in human capital be governed by an intellectual “Lilliputian”?

As a Governor that relishes the presence of court jesters, coupon clippers and nay-sayers around him, who says that Adamawa should not have a viable and vibrant alternative that could change the narrative? With little or no solid personal achievements beyond the legacies of business acumen and interpersonal relations of his forebears, Governor Bindo has performed abysmally low and the state is slowly but gradually drifting to the bottomless pit of infamy. If I were to assess the Governor’s performance profile in the last three years, I think he does not have the gusto, acceptable moral template and the competent administrative acumen to successfully govern a very organized Local Government Council.

With the level of governance deteriorating from the sublime to the ridiculous due mainly to the preponderance of mediocrity and iniquity, Adamawa is seriously suffering from high unemployment rate, acute administrative neglect, crumbling social infrastructure, collapse of the education sector, social deprivation, endemic social malaise, abject poverty, filth and squalor. This typifies the frivolous, insensitive and inept leadership of a government on auto-pilot.

In this era where brilliance is uppermost in dazzling mediocrity, where scholarship obliterates darkness and public good takes over public relations, the coming into the race of Dr Modi to govern Adamawa under All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019 should be seen as a welcome development by all men and women of good conscience.

There is no sentiment in politics and the desperate effort made by Dr. Alkali to weep up sentiments by bringing in the President and his wife into the arena must be condemned by Democrats of Conscience.

Dr. Halilu (Modi), with two Master Degrees in International Affairs and Diplomacy as well as in Business Administration from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria is coming into the race with credible potentials and rich Resume.

With over 20 years post graduate experience in public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy, Dr Modi in  2007 ventured into the murky waters of the Nigerian politics where he contested the general elections for House of Representatives to represent Yola North, Yola South and Girei Federal Constituencies.

In his letter to the state chairman of the APC in Adamawa, on his expression of interest to join the 2019 Guber-race, Dr. Modi comes in with well-conceived concepts, vibrant ideas and promising potentials to reposition the state to meet the challenges of the new democratic order.

He state that “Adamawa state has been confronted with many challenges which could ordinarily be turned to opportunities for the general well-being of our people and my decision to contest for the office of Governor is borne out of patriotic and nationalistic desire to positively respond to our generational challenges”.

Dr. Halilu stated that he has made far reaching deliberations and wide consultations with critical stakeholders of the party in the state and has reached a conclusion based on the yearnings and aspirations of the people to offer himself to contest for the office of Governor in 2019.

Dr. Modi has a larger vision in the governance of Adamawa as he plans to provide modern social infrastructure, enhance human capital development, and improve the welfare and wellbeing of the civil servants through prompt payment of salaries and entitlements. Pension will be a matter of right, not privileges.

He said he will take appropriate action to provide functional education, modern healthcare delivery and sufficiency in food production. That, his idea of governance is not only to limit his scope of providing substandard roads that were allegedly doled out in outrageous sums and repainting of few schools but total overhaul of the system to provide the much sought after dividends of democracy and total eradication of poverty.

He promises to operate, if voted into office an open door policy and an administrative template that would operate on the fear of God, where honest, transparent and selfless approach to governance will be its focal point. He will tame insecurity, turn round the state’s economy for good governance and fiscal prudence and fight high profile corruption and monumental looting of the public till.

 

-Dr. Hamman is an Abuja based Journalist.

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Bindow’s New Approach To Raising Internally Generated Revenue, By Babayola Toungo

The relative role of state governments in public service delivery has emerged as one of the most important topics of open and vigorous debate in the democratic environment of Nigeria. There have been increasing calls for improvement of fiscal policy in the States and fiscal relations between the Federal, States and Local Government Councils to be reassessed in the light of a widespread belief that although the states and LGAs are assigned primary responsibility for the delivery of basic public services, they are not equipped with adequate revenue resources to fulfill their expenditure obligations. In some instances and in recent times the debate has been on the economic viability of some states and how the states are not financially sustainable without a robust and sustainable internal revenue generation effort.

However, there is palpable lack of discussion around whether the current practice of assuming expenditure responsibility and undertaking its implementation is such that a mere shift in resource allocation will achieve the desired objective of delivering better services to the majority of Nigerians. A real issue at stake, which has not received much attention to date, is how effectively do the different tiers of government use their existing resources to perform their functions.

In fact, it may be argued that in the context of the Nigerian economy, states and LGAs receive substantial amount of resources, with their total revenues amounting on average to over 5 percent of GDP between 1990 and 1999, and over 10 percent of GDP after the oil price increase in 1999.  Specifically, state administrations such as that led by Bindowo in Adamawa State have been the recipient of Federal Government fiscal transfers not only from the Federation Account but also from the Paris Debt Exit Funds. This has placed the Adamawa State administration in a position to make a most viable economic account of its performance in office since 2015. However, this question of accountability of the administration need not detain us.

It is in the area of development in Adamawa State and of the potential for developing non-oil local tax bases that the recent actions of the Bindowo administration appear to be displaying incompetency or a clear lack of consistent and coherent grasp of the instrument of tax policy framework – but then the administration is making a glaring display that it has not formulated a tax policy in the first place.

In Adamawa State as elsewhere in Nigeria there have been calls for developing other, more geographically dispersed natural resources, as a local revenue base. However, in an environment where the current sources are already generating government revenue in the tune of 50 percent of the country’s GDP, and conditions of actual service delivery remain poor, it is unclear whether the marginal benefit of an additional naira of public resources would justify the marginal cost of revenue creation. It may be argued, that the immediate challenge is not one of additional revenue mobilization but rather of undertaking public expenditures more effectively, under the current resource constraints.

Furthermore, since Adamawa State as other State administrations have jurisdiction over taxes like the personal income tax and property taxes, increasing economic growth may itself translate into a stronger local tax base. This therefore required the Bindowo administration to formulate a clearly enunciated tax policy framework for improving the tax base. Accompanying this is also the reforms for improving the tax collection efficiency, capacity and capability of the tax administration in Adamawa State.

It is in this context that some of us observers of the financial /economic terrain of Adamawa State were at a loss as to what to make of the recent criminal case instituted by the government against Professor Kyari, Vice Chancellor of the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola and the University’s Director of the Centre for Distance Learning, who was also a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Professor Abdullahi L. Tukur.

What is the criminal arraignment all about? To improve revenue base? To enhance the tax collection efficiency? Or to ensure that the persons arraigned before the court are up to date in the payment of taxes due and payable by them or that they are prosecuted for default on tax payment? Yet it is on record that these two individuals have been meticulous in the payment of their personal taxes on a monthly basis as in the period of the last 20 years there was never a reported action on the part of the Board of Internal Revenue of Adamawa State to ask that these individuals pay their pay as you earn – these two individuals have their tax clearance certificate to bolster their position.

But our inquiries reliably divulged that Professor Kyari and Professor Tukur are not arraigned before the Court for a crime of default of payment of their taxes. Purportedly they are arraigned before the Court because, allegedly, they are to be held responsible for the non-payment/non-remittance of N460.0 million in pay as you earn of employees of the Modibbo Adamawa University of Technology, Yola. That, allegedly the University refused to remit to the state government Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions from the salaries of the University staff accrued for the period 2008, 2009 and 2010. At that time Professor Kyari was not the Vice Chancellor of the University. Also Professor Tukur was not the Secretary to Adamawa State Government, when the then administration of Adamawa State for policy considerations best known to that administration waived the remittance of the PAYE.  Both the Professors got their appointments at the University in 2014.

It has been reported that the management of MAUTECH had in 2014 made a presentation to the acting governor of Adamawa State, for a waiver of the remittance of the PAYE on the consideration that deductions of PAYE was not made from staff salaries at the time.  The then administration of Adamawa State accepted the position of management of the University and waived the remittance of PAYE on account of non-deduction.

The Bindowo administration exhibited its incompetency and lack of understanding of tax collection processes and proceeded to challenge the waiver in court, which they won at the court of first instance.  The waiver was declared null and void.  MAUTECH appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal but also opened a line of negotiation with the state administration with a view to settling the matter out of court.  Without going into the merits of the appeal – it is doubtful if the administration of Bindowo would have been able to implement that decision any way. From which salary would it demand that the reinstated PAYE in the sum of N460.0 be collected to satisfy the judgment?

Then out from the left field, the state slammed a criminal charge against Professor Tukur before a Magistrate Court.  On second thoughts, in trying to be clever by half and making it not look as if they are persecuting Professor Tukur, they amended their charge to include the Vice Chancellor.  The apparent display of lack of good intention is glaring, in bringing a criminal charge while the management of the University has an appeal on the same PAYE.  What point is the government trying to make? To arm-twist the Vice Chancellor and Professor Tukur to abandon the appeal?

The glaring ignorance of tax matters makes this action of the Adamawa State administration laughable and painful. The administration could not take a cue from the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) of the Federal Government, where the Federal Government issued an Executive Order aimed at broadening the Federal Government’s tax base and thereby offered incentive to tax evaders. It did not embark on “strong arm tactics” of criminal prosecution of chief executive officers of institutions of learning and such like.

The Executive Order provided a nine-month period, for all categories of taxpayers who are in default of their tax liabilities to declare their assets and incomes from sources within and outside Nigeria relating to the preceding six (6) years of assessment. Upon compliance the Scheme provided the following benefits for taxpayers:

Immunity from prosecution for tax offences;

Immunity from tax audit;

Waiver of interest;

Waiver of penalties; and

Option of spreading payment of outstanding liabilities over a maximum period of three years as may be agreed with the relevant tax authority.

Which of these approaches or steps did the Bindowo administration offer the citizens of Adamawa State? Including Professor Kyari and Professor Tukur before it resorted to the strong-arm tactics and intimidation of public officers discharging their statutory duties and responsibilities with criminal charges for non-remittance of PAYE that the previous administration of the State has waived?  What is very clear however is that Bindowo’s administration has embarked on wasteful expenditure actions and inefficient tax collection processes that are not in any way likely to raise the competencies and efficiency of tax collection in Adamawa State.

Kyari and Tukur have been pioneer staff of the University and each of the duo have spent over three decades moulding our youth and in the process earning positive names and reputations for themselves.  Each is a class act in his public comportment and actions.  Each served the public in different capacities and each had opportunity to leave the confines of the thankless penury of academia to greener pastures to earn a few millions but chose to remain and nurture the young.  In the process, they acquired class; they became known for their sterling quintessential qualities.  Tukur had served the state as Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board for four years and Secretary to the Government twice.  He acquitted himself very well on all occasions and all counts.

Now you have itinerant politicians who want to take away from the squeaky-clean reputation and upstanding character they have built over a lifetime.  Anyway, psychologists said you always try to take away what you don’t have from those who have.  When you lack class, you strive to destroy those who have.  Same goes for integrity, honesty and character.

While there may be other ulterior motives that are providing the incentive for the criminal arraignment, the actions of the Bindowo administration are not responsive to the political economy dynamics that shape state fiscal performance and accountability. The complex and still evolving revenue administration practices on this particular instance of PAYE remittance from the University is characterized by incentives and interests that can hinder coordinated and cooperative action between the management of the University, its staff and the Board of Internal Revenue of the state. Understanding the factors that drive the behavior of key actors at the state is critical for designing a policy framework or reform of the tax collection processes and mechanisms that can provide the right incentives and enabling environment for implementing technical reforms in the areas of fiscal management and accountability.

Sad to say the criminal action against Professors Kyari and Tukur are not placing the internal revenue efforts of the Bindowo administration on a sustainable path of success – alas a sad outcome for the citizens of Adamawa State.  This may be my last word on the administration of Bindowo.

 

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Bomb Blast Hits Mubi Town In Adamawa

A fresh blast, on Tuesday morning, exploded at the Shiwa mosque in the Yelwa area of Mubi, in Adamawa State.

While details of casualty is yet to be ascertained, witnesses described the blast as huge as they scamper for safety.

In a swift reaction to the blast, Governor Jibrilla Bindow, in a statement signed by his special assistant on press and media affairs, Martins Dickson, condemned the unfortunate incident,and  described the incident as “an act of wickedness perpetrated by criminals who are bent on destroying the hard earned peace in Mubi and other parts of the state.”

“We will continue to ensure that our people are protected and given a sense of security which is the most important responsibility of any government.

“We have also engaged all security agencies to ensure that this type of wicked act does not repeat itself in any part of the state.”

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