By Tukura Matthew
Umaru Tanko Al-Makura governed Nasarawa State from May 29, 2011 to May 29, 2019, eight unbroken years. In view of what many people felt he carried out in terms of developmental projects in the State, he has been described as the Architect Of Modern Nasarawa State. He is not an architect by training or profession, but he is so described having propelled some definite projects which people see as modernising the State.
During the campaigns leading to the 2019 Governorship elections, A A Sule, an Engineer by training and profession, was said to be one that would advance the development of Nasarawa State. Being an Engineer, he was said to be one who would be the Engineer of Modern Nasarawa State; he would take Nasarawa State to the next level of development.
By the grace of God, Engineer Abdullahi Alhaji Sule was declared elected as the fourth democratically elected Governor of Nasarawa State.
As you read this article, the Architect of Modern Nasarawa State has handed over to the Engineer of Modern Nasarawa State.
The outgoing Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji UmaruTanko Al-makura is not an Architect by profession but when he became the third civilian Governor of the State in 2011, he aggressively and with determination, focused on issues of development and moved the state to its next level. He kept aside the complex politics of the State with regards to religion and ethnicity and concentrated on the issues of development. Today his developmental strides in the past eight years have earned him the name “the Architect of Modern Nasarawa State”. His transformation of the State is uncommon and has tremendously added value to the lives of the people. Al-makura has touched almost every sector of the economy in the State and he is leaving Nasarawa State better than he met it. This he has said at several occasions. This many people have also said in commending his eight years as Governor. His developmental efforts are said to be there for everybody to see, touch and feel.
Prior to his coming in 2011, Lafia Town had no escape route if something blocked the federal road that leads from the College of Agriculture to Makurdi. Today if one is coming from Makurdi, at Lubona Junction, he/she can divert right by New Market Road and link up to Shendam/Government House Road to the newly constructed Bukan-Hari Road and get to Bukan Sidi and continue one’s journey to Akwanga, Jos or Abuja. At the same (Lubona) junction if a person takes left, he/she can link Doma Road at former Diamond Bank (now Access Bank), link up Kwandere to College of Agriculture. The Al-makura administration made extensive road network in Lafia. He also constructed roads in all the 13 Local Government Headquarters. Rural roads were not left out even as some major bridges that used to be problematic were reaired.
The building that houses the Maimuna Joyce Katai Orphanage Home in Bukan Sidi itself tells the sorry state of orphans. But today a befitting structure has been raised behind Specialist Hospital Lafia to accommodate these orphans.
Governor Al-makura’s capacity and competence in leadership moved him to approach the authorities concerned to step down the high tension coming from Makurdi to Jos in Lafia.
Education, health, agriculture, commerce, youth empowerment among others equally received the attention of Al-makura’s administration.
The performance of Al-makura and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the past eight (8) years has reportedly endeared him to the people and is said to have softened ground for the ruling party to win the 2019 general elections in the State. History as a Judge will judge Al-makura as one who came, saw and did his best, and left for others to continue.
Power being a revolving chair has turned to Engineer A.A. Sule, who will pilot the affairs of the State in the next four years. An Engineer by profession, an experienced manager who has successfully managed big oil companies is to build on the solid foundation laid by his predecessor.
On Thursday, January 10, 2019 when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) organized debate for some candidates contesting the 2019 governorship election in the State, Engineer A.A. Sule being one of the candidates had this to say: “First of all, what I want to do is to sustain what our party the APC started doing and has been doing since 2011 which has been unprecedented. For this reason, the work that the government of Ta’al has done for us is what by the grace of God I will sustain if become the Governor of Nasarawa State. And the activities are many and will be for the good of the State.”
The above response of the now Governor of Nasarawa State is pleasing to hear; a politician on a soap box assuring his electorate of better days ahead. The people of Nasarawa State will not expect less from a servant who has come to the corridor of power with so much wealth of experience and capacity to lead as a chief servant. The expectation of the people is for this royal son of Gudi, an experienced businessman now turned politician, to improve on Al-makura’s legacies for the good of the State.
Al-makura was not a flawless individual therefore the Engineer would not be wrong to come up with a vibrant team that can actualize the package he has for Nasarawa people as Governor by adopting his style of governance differently.
The civil service is the engine room of any government. The civil service would expect this engine room to be properly fuelled and serviced by giving them incentives such as prompt payment of salaries, training and re-training of civil servants as well as promotions as at when due. The civil service needs revival for effective service delivery. To say the least, the civil service has suffered untold neglect over the years and made to appear dispensable. Civil Service has been abandoned, this to the disadvantage of the government and people of the State.
Information is power and if you are not informed and involved then you are deformed. In re-engineering governance in Nasarawa, the government should re-think having a state media outfit. This will reduce government cost on publicity and government should think outside the box on how to get people more informed about its activities and give room for criticism.
Nasarawa State, being the gateway to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, a lot of people live in the State and go to Abuja on daily basis for work or business. The government should therefore have a functional transport outfit to ease the transportation of people to and from Abuja. In this regard engineering Nasarawa State through an efficient transport system should be a necessity. As an experienced manager, the Engineer Sule led-administration should use experts to take a critical look of what led to the collapse of the “On-The-Move” and re-introduce the state transport sector and recall its staff to work. The same should be done to the Investment House the staff of who were on their own and generating revenue to pay themselves. All the government needs to do is the re-establishment of these agencies by going through the statutory processes in the State House of Assembly to make their existence legal. The staff of these agencies are now jobless with some of them on the streets and a burden to friends and relations. Let the government re-think this and keep them off the street by re-engaging them in their various productive areas.
The stepping down of the high tension (power) by Al-makura is a road map for Engineer Sule to bring stable power supply to the State. This will pave way for the administration in making the State one of the industrial destinations in the country as he promised during the BBC debate for governorship candidates early this year.
Security has become a daily threat in the country and Nasarawa state is no exception. Good enough, Engineer Sule is from a royal family, and he knows the importance of having good relationship with traditional rulers. The indirect rule succeeded in the northern region because the colonial masters collaborated well with traditional rulers. In the same vein, let the new government start work with traditional rulers who know their domains much better to fight insecurity in the State. The role of the royal fathers is so important for Engineer Sule’s administration to succeed.
Development has no colour; therefore, a government that thirsts for development must keep issues of religion and ethnicity aside and employ real ingredients of development for advancement. All that is required in governance is commitment to serving people diligently.
Equally of importance is for the Engineer-led government to be aware of sycophants. We are in an era where sycophants spread falsehood in order to eat. Most of them know this fact that most leaders want to hear sweet things or praise singing about their activities. Let him distance himself from them. They are only coming round looking for food and to ruin his well-thought-out good package for Nasarawa State people.
Accommodate constructive criticisms, for they are there to shock you back into action when you are gradually slowing down and to make you sit up and perform.
Personal assistants, senior special assistants, cabinet and other political appointees must be drawn from people of proven integrity who will have the welfare of the people at heart. Experienced intellectuals with good thinking abilities and ideas about development should be in the “Noah’s Ark” in our quest for next level of development.
Engineer A.A. Sule is not a magician; he is a human being and is capable of human errors. He does not have the capacity to take the State to the deserved next level all alone. He needs support from all and sundry or else the next four years will just end up building castles on air. All hands must be on deck as his pillars of support.
Good enough, he recently made this clarion call in his country home Gudi. He said: “I call on my co-contestants to come and join me with their wealth of experience so as to take the State to the next level of development. My administration will work with anyone or group of persons that have developmental ideas that would uplift the State.”
Governance is a serious business that needs serious minded people. All things being equal, it is expected that after four (4) years Nasarawa State, people will remember him by his words “after four years of my administration people of the State would remember me for my honesty, integrity, hard work and all the developments that would have been witnessed in the State and ensure that I build on the good works of Governor Al-makura to positively change the entire Nasarawa State.