A Cold Farewell to Governor Babangida Aliyu By Ibrahim Muye Yahaya
Few weeks from now, the tenure of Dr. Babangida Aliyu, the Executive Governor of Niger State will come to an end, with his dream of retiring to the Red Chamber been scuttle by his old foe, Barrister David Umaru of All People’s Congress (APC) whom he defeated in the 2007 and 2011 gubernatorial elections. Many in 2007 including this author saw his coming as a beginning of good leadership and development which the State suffered its paucity during the tenure of his predecessor, Engineer A. A. Kure. He is armed with intimidating credentials as a PhD holder, eloquent speaker and career civil servant that got to the pinnacle of civil service as a federal Permanent Secretary in five different ministries. Though, he is highly intelligent, but mercurial and voluble. Since the Country’s return to democracy in 1999, Niger states have not fared well nor endowed with a kind of leadership and development anticipated by the masses despite the huge allocations it received from federation account. Sources from the federal Ministry of Ministry of Finance website show that our State received about 1 Trillion Naira from 2007 to 2015. The said amount superseded what the State got since its creation from 1976 to 2007. We have been hurt, and we have been disillusioned. We have seen a wall go up that separates us from our own government. We have lost some precious things that historically bond us and our government together. We have been a State wandering for too long.
Every honest Nigerlites as well as those whose domestic and personal bills were oiled by the state’s treasury will concur that our State fell beneath the bar in Nigeria that dividends of democracy and good governance have not been so palatable. When you look at Niger State from 2007-date, it’s the same as the Niger State of 1999 to 2007. For example, while many States in the Country were busy revamping federal roads, the reverse is the case of ours under the Chief Servant. From any route one chooses to access Niger State, the poor road network is the first gauge to substantiate the poor performances of the Governor. A journey from Suleija-Minna, Minna-Bida, Lambata-Lapai-Agaie-Bida, Minna/Sarkin-Pawa, Bida-Doko, Kwakwuti-Kafinkoro, Agaie-Katcha-Baro, SabonWuse-Garam-Bwari, Bida-Mokwa, Lemu-Zungeru, Tegina-Pandogari-Birnin-Gwari, Bida-Katcha, and Kontagora-Yauri road will tell the deplorable condition of our roads in the State. Virtually the Chief Servant’s administration doesn’t have enough trace to justify the billions of naira’s been channelled to the sectors. Today, majority of Schools in the State look more of the abandoned farm houses, where by the renovation and equipping of Hospitals across the state has remained the responsibility of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). Under the out-going administration, the capital projects and Staff development at the State’s owned tertiary institutions have been taken over by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), while construction and renovation of Primary and Secondary Schools were carried out by Millennium Development Goal’s (MDG’s), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), community efforts, private individuals and political office holders mostly legislatures at the State and National Assembly who embark on the projects to enable them have an evidence for their re-election bids.
The State despite been the second largest in the Country with landmass of 74,244sq.km with a good climate and soil that is fertile with capacity to produce virtually all of Nigeria’s stable crops such as Rice, Yam, Cassava, Beans, Millet, Guinea-Corn, Soya-Beans, Maize, Wheat, Sweet-Potatoes, also with ample prospects for grazing, fishing, forestry and opportunities for the establishment of large scale farms in each of the Senatorial zone which will lead to job creation, transfer of skills and technology were never utilized by the Chief Servant’s administration. The situation is so pathetic that hardly any of the 25 Local Government Councils today can boast of a single functional tractor. Lack of access to water supply has gotten to a peak; the case of Minna, Bida, Suleija and Kontagora is pathetic as the residents can’t recall last when water run through their taps. The population of water cage pushers which are very glaring in every nook and cranny of Minna is a clear evidence of the obscurity the residents faced over water scarcity. In fact, prior to the coming of the Chief Servant in 2007, 20 litres of water cost 10 Naira, but today it goes for N50. This was a sector the Chief Servant claims to have invested billions of Naira. The most awful situation is our State which was created in 1976 is now wadding behind Katsina, Akwa-Ibom, Jigawa, Gombe, Delta, Kebbi, Osun, Ekiti and Zamfara States that were created in 1987, 1991 and 1996 respectively in terms of physical and human development. Even the States of Yobe and Bornu that is engulfed with insurgent crisis for past three years has accomplished better than ours.
From 2007 to date, the Chief Servant approved and committed the State resources to the following projects which his administration failed to execute. The projects include; 10 Kilometre roads in each of the 25 LGA’s totalling N8.6 Billion since 2009, construction of a N400 million stadium in Minna, U$700 million for the development of a Estate to be known as ‘African Village’, 5Star Hotel, Waterfalls and a Cable Car all at Zuma Rock since 2008, establishment of U$300 Million Niger-American Medical City in Minna, 2.5 Billion Naira 10,000 capacity stadium in Maikunkele, near Minna, N4.6bn shopping mall in Minna, 25-storey city tower with five-star hotel and a cultural centre which its cost remains mysterious to the Nigerlites, Construction of Baro Refinery which 12.8 Billion was committed by the State government, construction Hydro Dam in Izom which the sum of U$200 Million was also committed, Minna Cargo Airport, Construction of Permanent NYSC Camp, Construction of three arm zone, Minna Airport City and IBB University Business School at Suleija were among numerous projects which Billions of State’s fund were channelled to and they remain white elephant projects. The out-going Governor today cannot tell the people of Niger State the number schools that were constructed, equipped or renovated since 2007, number of hospitals that were constructed, equipped or renovated since 2007, number of communities that were provided with electricity since 2007, numbers of foreign investment he brought to the State despites his uncountable foreign trips to woo investors, numbers of Nigerlites that were offered foreign scholarship as did by other Northern States, number of communities that where provided with portable drinking water since 2007 and number of times fertilizers, seedlings and pesticides where purchase and sold at subsidize rates to the farmers since 2007 under his leadership. Apart from Chief Servant unfulfilled promises, he is living behind a debt burden of over 45 Billion to the State.
If not for the developmental holocausts under the Chief Servant; the State today is presume to be ranked among the strongest and economically viable hub due to its agrarian nature in the Country. The State’s failure is traceable to his haughtiness, equivocal, deceptive, gregarious, mercurial, two-faced and voluble for his lack of comprehension or readiness to face the truth, but chooses to prop up his selfish agenda and looking for cheap reputation. The Chief Servant would not have had this tragic end had it been he dedicated and focus his time; attention and energy to utilize the resources for the development of the State which would no doubt have given him a special place in the history of the State. It’s very unfortunate that someone who led a State of 4.1 Million people for 8years was not only humiliated at the poll by the people of his Senatorial Zone, but was out rightly rejected by immediate ward on his bid to represent them in the Red Chamber. Now Nigerian’s must have come in term that the self acclaimed Chief Servant is a ‘Horse Man without a Horse’.
He will be remember for many controversies and unguarded statements which includes; championing the cause of G7 Governors which he later betrayed, his out-burst that to be a Politician in Nigeria one must be a liar, his claimed to be in custody of the agreement signed by the out-going President of not contesting in 2015 which he never made open to Nigerians and his claimed that his choice and support for his anointed successor, Umaru Nasko was his conviction of “Istihara” (Prophecy). The Governorship election is a week ahead, I can’t conclude if his prophecy about his successor is something that will come to pass, but as Hausa adage said: Juma’a da zata yi kyau, daga laraba ake ganeta. The political earthquake of 28th March, 2015 that rocked the State and entire Northern Nigeria that forestall his own aspiration is a sufficient raison d’être that it’s not going to immune his anointed Successor on 11th April, 2015 gubernatorial election.
Now, by 11am of Friday May 29th 2015, the immunity he enjoys under section 308 of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) will come to an end, he will become a private citizen without his bills; that of his family, friends and cronies been Oiled by the State treasury, without long motorcades and outriders, without uncountable routine of security men attached to him, without having access to State treasury and without his convoy obstructing transits along the way. I wonder what name next would the citizens of the State name after his celebrated Chief Servant at entry. Hope not a ‘Thief Servant’ on his exists. It’s indisputable fact that the Chief Servant deserves a cold farewell from the people of Niger State.
Mr. Yahaya wrote from Jagbele Quarters of Muye, Niger State. Danmuye@yahoo.com