An Abuja-based businessman who hails from Adamawa State, Idris Tijjani, has accused Governor Mohammed Jibrilla of Adamawa State of constructing some of the most expensive roads in Nigeria.
The governor, popularly known as Bindow, has been receiving accolades for carrying out massive road construction seen by many as opening up the state. However, Mr. Tijjani alleged that the governor is simply hiding under the road construction to steal the state’s funds.
Read excerpts of the interview below:
PT: Please tell us your view of the administration of Governor Mohammed Jibrilla in Adamawa State.
Tijjani: Well the APC administration under Governor Bindow is currently constructing roads all over the state capital and some major towns. However, I feel, the governor is getting his priorities wrong by concentrating on just road construction and nothing more.
In the same vein, in as much as I agree Adamawa needs roads, the state deserves good quality roads that would stay the test of time. The roads being constructed by the Lebanese contractors that the governor brought to the state cannot last for more than two years.
The governor actually brought in these Lebanese as fronts for him because he is the one personally executing most of the contracts. He awards to himself using foreign fronts. If he truly wants to construct good quality roads, we have so many indigenous firms that can do that and the best way is for the government to have encouraged competitive bidding for all interested companies so that the best could be selected to do the jobs.
I candidly believe the Lebanese companies he brought cannot compete with most of the local companies we have in Yola.
PT: Are you saying the local companies were denied the chance to partake in the road construction, did they signify any interest at all?
Tijjani: Many did, but they were never given any chance. Companies such as Maiwada Wurohausa, IDT construction, Dada Construction, and Gongola construction all applied for the road contracts but were denied the opportunity.
PT: Don’t you think road construction is what the state needs at this time, to open up and give people access to resources and the like?
Tijjani: My major concern is the kinds of roads being constructed. If you compare the kinds of roads being constructed in other states with those of Adamawa, you will pity our state. Take for instance the road he is constructing for Atiku along Faro road, the lorries expected to use that road will damage it in just three months.
PT: Perhaps those are the kinds of roads the state can afford; seeing that the state is not all that buoyant?
Tijjani: Everyone knows that Adamawa is not rich, but the governor has been collecting loans left, right and centre. In that case, he has no excuse. Let me also tell you something: the governor is constructing the most expensive roads in Nigeria today. What my state is paying per kilometre is much more than even the ones being paid for in the Niger Delta.
You know the Niger Delta terrain is a difficult one for road construction. Based on the template used by the Federal Ministry of Works, roads are constructed in the northern part of Nigeria at a little over N120 million per kilometre and most of the roads being constructed are far better than the ones in Adamawa State.
The Niger Delta rate is N170 million and above, per kilometre. However, in Adamawa State, based on the 2015 sectoral virement recently approved for the governor by the state House of Assembly, Governor Bindow is constructing a road of 1.125 kilometres at the cost of N1.3 billion. On average the Adamawa state governor is paying N260 million per kilometre, so the issue of not having money does not even arise at all.
PT: But have people like you reached out to the government since you have all this information?
Tijjani: I called him more than fifty times. Ask him when you get the chance and inquire how many times I have talked to him on this matter. I told him that he is on a wrong course, but of course, sycophants would always tell him that what he is doing is the best. I advised Bindow to personally keep records of all he is doing because I am sure he would be called to account when he leaves office.
The highest he can stay in office is eight years and he should learn from some of the past governors in Adamawa today, they are a thing of pity. Here we are even talking of governors who were never dubious like him.
PT: How do you mean?
Tijjani: Go to Adamawa today and ask the people who is Bindow and you would be told he is called digital because he lies to all and sundry irrespective of age. Any foundation built on falsehood will surely collapse one day.
Today Bindow is concentrating on roads alone 100 per cent in a state bedevilled by poverty, unemployment, lack of hospitals and potable water. Truth is ‘Adamawa has entered one chance’ and it is only God that can come to our rescue. Adamawa State needs someone with the intellectual capacity to govern it.
Let me give you an example of some of the problems we are facing. Recently, during the administration of Umaru Fintiri, there was a vacancy at Adamawa University for the office of Vice Chancellor. Three persons who were all professors were shortlisted for the job. However, when governor Ngilari came into office, he decided to appoint the one who came third in the interview on the grounds that they were close or related. Unfortunately, the one appointed by Bala kept messing up, so when Bindow came and saw what was happening, he suspended him and promised to appoint the one who came first in the interview conducted earlier. However, he suddenly had a change of mind and appointed someone, who is not a Professor as acting VC.
Bindow told some people that he decided not to appoint the Professor who came first in the interview because he is too old. At the end of the day, they finally decided to confirm the Doctorate holder as the Vice Chancellor in a state with so many capable professors and intellectuals.
We understand that the VC paid his way into office and that is unfortunate. This action by the governor proves those saying the governor lacks the intellectual capacity to govern Adamawa State right.