The Association of Local Governments Of Nigeria (ALGON) has honoured four serving state governors across the country, including Jigawa State Governor Badaru Abubakar, who bagged the Best Governor in Infrastructure Provision award.He was also singled out for mentioning for his role in saving some local governments from insolvency in the 2015/2016 fiscal year, when allocations from the federation account were at their lowest.
At its yearly investiture and awards night recently in Abuja, ALGON, in its citation, said: “Before “salary bailout” became a popular catch-phrase in the states, Badaru was quietly augmenting the allocations of almost 70 per cent of his 27 local governments, so they could settle recurrent liabilities till the financial situation improved.
“This went on from November 2015 to March 2016, and this process helped thousands of local government employees to continue getting their pay cheques on schedule without realising that a rescue operation was in place at the state level.
“The governor took the politically unpopular decision to complete all the ongoing infrastructure projects he inherited from the previous administration after verifying them for value for money and economic impact”.
According to its Chairman, Gambo Tanko Kagar: “The audit panel came up with a figure of N91.6billion in ongoing projects, mainly roads hurriedly awarded between January and May 2015, and N13.6billion unpaid vouchers. “Over N11billion discounts were negotiated with the contractors, with N8.2billion savings realised on road contracts alone, and contractors were given a commitment to instant payment of verified valuation certificates, which prompted them to resume work at a dizzying pace.
“As at May this year, 716.5 km of those inherited projects were completed, with Badaru keeping to his word and paying over N31billion as and when due.” The ALGON boss said what was particularly endearing to its selection committee was the fact that while billions of naira were going into capital expenditure in Jigawa, it remained one of very few states where all state and local government salaries, including optional allowances, and all pension and gratuity liabilities were paid as and when due from the administration’s inception to date, even though the state politely declined the salary bailout package offered by the federal government.