By Lawal Mu’azu Bauchi
The collapsed Bauchi-Ningi bridged connecting many states in the North East has been a nightmare of some sort—leaving three-person death, commuters stranded and forcing passengers and motorists to divert to longer routes, as far as going to Giade or Azare to connect to the ancient city of Kano—the commercial nerve of the north.
Economically, it was costly for many states, Bauchi being the gateway to the northeast remains the most affected. For many traders in Bauchi and other states of the northeast, Kano is a major commercial hub, providing wholesale goods and services worth billions of naira every day. It’s the life wire of the north—in terms of trades.
For traders traversing Bauchi-Ningi-Kano road, any disconnect from this route is symbolically telling as it is economically and psychologically. It was a difficult moment beyond their imagination. Coming during the rainy season was more economically nauseating not just for commuters plying the roads—but for the government as well. One does not need any engineering knowledge to guess that constructing or repairing a bridge in the rainy season is more economically costly.
It is, as many engineers or those knowledgeable in that area would tell you. Ordinarily, it should have been a hopeless moment for many people—if it were in the time of other governments. But certainly not with Bala Mohammed. The collapsed bridge was a test on him and his administration, especially amid dwindling revenues and rising demands from across the board.
Bala Mohammed was physically on the ground shortly after the bridge has collapsed. He was there with a team of engineers and construction experts to assess the magnitude of the damage caused by perennial floods. He was so empathetic to the victims—in fact, he was closed to shedding tears as he moves around to look at the collapsed bridge and the magnitude of the damage done.
Being a responsive governor who sleeps and wakes up with his people at heart, Bala Mohammed took the bull by the horn—despite the fact that the collapsed bridge is a federal road, the governor was eager to bring to succour to the millions of commuters plying the road.
“We are here with the officials of FERMA and Triacta on a joint inspection visit to this collapsed highway bridge to see how we can solve the incident immediately.
“The economic losses as a result of the incident is so monumental and as such, Bauchi State Government will support contractors to fix the bride and we hope Mr President will refund the funds to us because of his love to the people of Bauchi State.
“On behalf of the Federal Government and the State government, I want to use this medium to commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the incident”, the governor was quoted saying at the time of the visit to the scene of the collapsed bridge.
Leadership is about responsibility. Taking responsibility and providing the impetus for success to thrive has been the watchwords of Bala Mohammed. It naturally flows in his veins—as blood does in your veins. As a man of many ideas, he sat down with experts to dovetail a quick and sustainable solution to the problem.
His language all the time is that “there is no problem that is insurmountable”, to him, every problem no matter the magnitude could be addressed when the right and responsive leadership is provided.
Being the man in charge, he did not wine and cry—he matches words with action. He mobilized men and resources and ordered them to the site. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than voice, the pictures flying on social media are enough evidence to demonstrate the authenticity of the saying, at least in the case of Bala Mohammed.
An alternative has been provided, in less than a week. Thanks to the man at the helm of affairs in Bauchi State. Commuters, traders, families and institutions are now reconnected—their socio-economic activities can now resume—and the hardship is literarily decimated, courtesy of purposeful and impactful leadership.
That is Bala Mohammed for you—a man, who came, saw and conquered. He has conquered with passion, empathy and dexterity—and that is why his achievements are so glaring. His response to emergencies is so telling—such that his sense of compassion, humility and unpredictability continue to model his leadership, just as it resonates with masses.
Thank you, Bala Mohammed, for always inspiring us! May your days be long, in peace and prosperity.
Mu’azu is the Special Assistant to Governor Bala Mohammed on New Media. He writes from Ramat House!