Tuesday 21st February, 2017
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Tambuwal @ 51: Indelible marks on the Seat of The Caliphate

Tambuwal @ 51: Indelible marks on the Seat of The Caliphate

If he were to be asked his birthday wish this day in 2015, the then Sokoto State gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rt. Hon. Aminu Wa­ziri Tambuwal, would have probably prayed for success in the elections he was facing few weeks away. He wouldn’t have stopped at that; the Tambuwal I know would have definitely prayed for God’s hand in not only winning the election but discharging the responsibili­ties that come with the victory creditably.
I don’t know whether some­where in his mind, in his usual meditation to mark his birth­day, Tambuwal indeed suppli­cate to God on these two fun­damental issues. But one thing that is clear is God almighty has been gracious. Less than 90 days after his 49th birth­day, Tambuwal emerged as the Sokoto governor-elect and today, at 51, he has performed so wonderfully that he is cel­ebrated home and away.
This is enough reason for Tambuwal to be grateful to God, and it is a good reason for all of us his lieutenants and indeed the entire people of Sokoto state to join him in appreciating the blessings of the almighty at this important juncture.
In steering the state-ship, Tambuwal’s major account for success is his recognition, _ab initio_, of the weight of expec­tations that come with leader­ship, especially executive pow­er entrusted on a governor in a state like Sokoto. But most importantly is his realisation, like all great leaders in histo­ry, that leadership essentially means taking people where they should be, not necessary where they want to be.
There is no gainsaying that the developmental challenges bugging developing countries like Nigeria is long diagnosed to be the result of poor lead­ership. Years of self-serving, short-sighted leadership has contributed in no mean way in stagnating development around here and making us wander in the same cycle of problems and challenges.
With this clear vision on the expectations and where he wants to see the state under his stewardship, Tambuwal set out to prioritise and articulate this vision into areas of focus.
Refreshingly, he set out to differ by coming up with gen­uine, insightful and visionary ideas to turn around, not only the day to day course of life, but initiatives that would also alter the face of the society. For Tambuwal, whatever is done is not just another project, it is part of the bold revolutionary interventions that have set his government apart from the pack.
Sokoto, like many a north­ern state, is often listed among what is termed ELDS; educa­tionally least developed states. This negative ranking is tabu­lated based on enrollment ra­tio, the out of school children, school dropouts and other pa­rameters.
A state that is the nucleus of the knowledge-driven Sokoto Caliphate was unfortunately lagging in the area of educa­tion, especially for the girl child. It was therefore revolu­tionizing for Governor Tam­buwal to marshal out sweep­ing policies aimed at turning around the statistics. To this end, the state government an­nounced state of emergency on the education sector. This impressive pronouncement has since been backed by ac­tion.
The first of those bold steps was the announcement, early in the day, of enforcement of school enrolment for all eligible children. The govern­ment, in attempt to tackle the lethargic attitude of some par­ents to modern schooling pro­mulgated punishment against parents who refuse to enroll their school-aged children in schools.
The government then went a step further by introducing incentives for parents who en­roll their daughters in school, through a conditional cash transfer scheme to enable the parents support their wards through school. Through this carrot and stick approach the state government targets en­rolment of 1.2 million pupils that are hitherto out of school.
As a surest path to devel­opment, the emphasis by the Tambuwal administration on education is not only com­mendable but exemplary especially for educationally-challenged states of northern Nigeria. Education, in this information age, is the key to the further. The wisest deci­sion, for any leader in this age is to have a holistic and wide-ranging investment in human capital development through education. Here is the Tambu­wal model, a model of societal upliftment through the viable investment in its human capi­tal.
By making education the mainstay of his administra­tion, Governor Tambuwal has put Sokoto, once again, on the pathway to greatness. If this noble agenda is pursued diligently, beyond the rhetoric as in many government pro­grammes, then it is safe for one to expect Sokoto shine among peers in near the future.
This trend will continue through the year 2017 as we have seen with the budget sub­mitted last month to the State House of Assembly by Gover­nor Tambuwal, where educa­tion is given the lion share of 27.3 percent of the N204 bil­lion budget estimate. This is a first from Tambuwal as the al­location exceeds even the uto­pian target of 26 percent set by UNESCO.
The huge attention being re­ceived by education in Sokoto under Tambuwal, justified as it is, does not mean that other critical and important sectors are neglected.
Agriculture and healthcare delivery have equally ben­efitted from the Tambuwal’s methodic and strategic inter­ventions. Under healthcare, for example, the state govern­ment, like in all sectors, set out with a strategy by having 33 professionals brainstorm to come up with the Sokoto State Strategic Health Plan 2016-2020.
One of the fall outs of this is the identification of six gener­al hospitals that are currently being upgraded into premier reference. Also, just as 2016 was coming to a close, Tamb­wal flagged off the Sokoto con­tributory health scheme where the government put down the seed fund of N100 million.
Contrary to the usual prac­tice in Nigeria, Governor Tambuwal went all out since his coming to ensure that all works he inherited have been completed by budgeting huge sums of money for that. The result today is the commis­sioning of the 500-units Ka­lambaina housing estate by President Muhammadu Bu­hari in November last year. Another big one in this regard is the coming on board of the 38MW Sokoto State Indepen­dent Power Project.
Even by this pigeon-holed look into the stewardship of Sokoto state by Governor Tambuwal it is evident that this true leader of his people is indeed serving the people diligently towards creating a new vista for Sokoto State. The Matawallen Sokoto is poised to making his Sokoto a pride of all Sakkwatawa.
At 51, Tambuwal is unargu­ably one of Nigeria’s most en­terprising politicians. His ev­er-smiling disposition brings forward a happy mien that is intricately infectious. Like his forebears in Sokoto always say, the future tends to be brighter for he who smiles often.
Written by Imam Imam, the spokesman to Governor Tam­buwal.

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