Many have sought to know why the Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, is being called ‘Baba Mai Calculator’ by the citizens of the state.
The phraseology is roughly translated to mean ‘the man who uses the calculator always.’
It may not be easy to explain the genesis of the name to someone who does not know the governor at close range, except, of course, for those who knew him before he became governor.
Badaru has been an international businessman long before he joined politics. In fact, his business acumen and successes were the propelling factors that friends saw in him that made them encourage him to become a partisan politician.
Their thinking was that he could bring into the governance of Jigawa State the same careful and meticulous financial discipline that he used to build and sustain his business empire.
So far, the governor has not disappointed those who vouched for him. Since he became governor, Jigawa State has moved from a pauperized state to one with abundant recourses for developmental projects.
There has not been a time that the state ran short of money to pay salaries at the minimally agreed rate or to do works that have been approved to be done.
The journey began on the 29th, May 2015. Of course, it has not been that easy, for it was like attempting the impossible with nothing. But through God’s guidance, Governor Badaru’s calculator lights through the dark tunnel and gives hope to the people of Jigawa state.
The financial liabilities and contractual commitments on ongoing and new capital projects at that time was more than the annual budget of the state which was about N110 billion. The inherited liquidity was only N16 million in the state treasury.
To make things worse, the monthly federal allocation dropped from an average of about N5 billion to N3 billion.
But Governor Badaru did not panic. In his effort to effectively face the challenges despite the economic situation at that time, he adopted several measures in order to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the electorate whose hope was to have the dividends of democracy at their doorsteps.
In this regard, the tenets of good governance, particularly accountability and transparency, were adopted with the aim of having the principles of prudence and value for money, which became the binding ethic under his watch.
That was the point at which the ‘calculator’ came into the reckoning. Money no longer came out of the state coffer without due scrutiny. The businessman in the governor was unleashed on those who thought state money could be recklessly wasted.
The high cost of administrative governance was addressed; running costs of ministries and departments was reviewed and reduced in addition to the review and verification of all inherited contractual liabilities and commitments.
The governor was able to save as much as N8.28 billion through discounts and other cost-saving measures which made it possible to complete all inherited projects and new ones.
Jigawa State, under the administration of Governor Badaru, is one of the few states, if there is any other, that completed inherited projects initiated by previous administrations.