Its a wonderful time to partner with legion others to congratulate Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello on the occasion of his joining the Golden Age Camp, as he turns 50 years today.
The occasion must also offer some time to reflect on the journey so far for the governor, an assessment of how well he has prosecuted the project of governing Niger state, and justifications for the trust which the people reposed in him by voting him as their governor on April 11, 2015
Bello, Born 17 December 1967, is the eldest child of the Nigerian Business man and former military Governor of old Kano state, Col Sani Bello (Rtd).
Abu Lolo, as being fondly called among his teeming admirers, is born with silver spoon, but has been someone whose humility has worn admiration, even among the underprivileged segment, whose situation he had, prior his emergence as governor, sought to better even with his personal wealth.
His emergence as the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress and eventual clinching of the mandate to govern Niger state, was therefore consequent upon his long-standing popularity among the populace.
Prior his coming into politics, his network of friends and admires had soared in the state and beyond, given his conception of life as centering purposely on service to the community and its people.
Upon his emergence as governor, Abubakar, has been able to translate his ideals of simplicity and purposeful governance to actual and operable policies and programmes, based simply upon the philosophy of ‘people first’.
Repeatedly, he has also maintained that the value of a project is not based on the monetary weight of such project, but the critical value attached to it by the people of the community, immediate beneficiaries of the project, which is why today, Niger state is often referred to as projects state, on reason of rich, almost limitless, harvest of projects across entire lengths of the state.
He explained that the common practice of thinking for the communities and giving them projects based just on the whims of the leader is an era which must be seen to have ended.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Abubakar’s governance has cut across not just the 25 councils of the state, but all programmes as set at inception as his cardinal foci, including water, education, health, agriculture, commerce and more.
Today, the state has a minimum of 500 already completed projects, alongside several ongoing ones, cutting across these set objectives, a feat attained through strict management of ever-scarce resources and conscience driven programmes.
Today, agriculture is flourishing while farmers, supported through various programmes have been reaping gains of their investment. FADAMA and other interventions have fundamentally reversed the picture of what Niger state used to be.
Roads are central to conveyances, whether town roads, or intern communities. The age has cone in Niger when farmers harvests can make it to the markets on time to meet the buyer. The picture was different prior his coming.
In health, the hospitals have been refurbished and the primary health care centres, projects just recently complete across a number of councils in the state, have caused a change of attitude of our people to the issue of health.
Health they say is wealth, but when not accessible on time, it may cause havoc. The construction of primary health care centres and their fortification with drugs and personnel have brought a new age and song of health for all, wealth abundance.
Education has received a generous dose of attention as well, with the renovation of entire schools in the state, including primary schools. The innovation of creating teacher training colleges in the state has been doing a lot regarding paucity of teachers.
It has however not been all governance in Niger since Abubakar’s assumption of office. The governor has equally given attention to efforts that unite the people and communities, as the administration believes that good governance must start with attainment of peaceful coexistence among the people.
Governor Bello noted that governance and development is possible only in an atmosphere of peace and harmony, arguing that development will remain a mirage when people are disconnected and when needless strife are allowed to obfuscate genuine needs for fellow feeling and communal progress.
This is why entire projects and accomplishments of the administration has spread among the residents, irrespective of party affiliation or religious belief, a feat made possible through decisive efforts to spread the little resources of the state.
On several occasions, governor Bello would maintain he is governor of the state and that so long he remains governor, religion would not determine who gets what, where, when and how. “I am governor of Muslims, as I am of Christians, of politicians as much of those outside politics.”
As the governor marks another year, the wish, the very genuine with of the lovers of democracy across the state is for the Almighty God to grant him the clean health to paddle the affairs of Niger state for the next two years and more.
Your excellency, the people of Niger state wishe you many Happy Returns of the Day, Long Life and Prosperity.