Governor Al-Makura’s Anti-Corruption Crusade and Corruption Requitals in Nasarawa State By Nasiru Abdullahi
Political corruption is believed by many to be a persistent phenomenon in Nigeria.Many have given their views, definition according to their assessments on corruption and its effects on our socio-economicdevelopments. To our President and commander in chief Muhammadu Buhari, “corruption is the greatest form of human right violation”.
It is a general believe that Corruption has succeeded in infiltrating and bastardizing our institutions, government parastatals, the private sector and even our traditional institutions that are supposed to be our last resort for the defense and restoration of our norms and values.Unfortunately, have taken a center stage in the race of corruption in Nigeria.Seeing how corruption has eaten up the very fabric of our nation’s developmentsand how it has also cut open the nation’s arteries and letting it bleed to deaths,President Buhari saw the need to salvage Nigeria from the shackles of corruption and the enemies of this country.
Being a man with a heart for the masses and the down-trodden, president Buharideemed it pertinent and a “MustFight”if he must save this nation from free falling and from the hands of this evil scourge that has taken over Nigeria.That is why at assumption of office; he launched the “Anti-Corruption Crusade” in Nigeria.A cause regarded by many as the only panacea to the scourge of corruption and under-development in our beloved country Nigeria.
Despite seriesof requitals from corruption, President Buhari remains dodged and resilient enough to absorb all the punches of requitals and maintain the ring believing that every cloud has a silver lining. And in just one year, we are all witness to the positive result this corruption crusade of Mr. President has yielded.
The Nasarawa State Scenario
At the drop of a hat,Governor Al-Makura as one of President Buhari’s mentees and disciples was swift in keying into President Buhari’s fight against corruption in his state. Though this “Best thing since sliced bread”was officially launched by his mentor, but Governor Al-Makura had started his fight in Nasarawa state since 2011 at assumption office.History is witness to the fact that Nasarawa state has experienced a tremendous change in terms of infrastructure, social and economic development among others.
However, Al-Makura’s strategy in fighting corruption was not targeted at past looters of the states’ treasury like we are witnessing with the government at the Centre but it was to halt certain unwholesome practices without the need for looking back at the destruction’s the previous administration has done to the state. Under listed are some of the corrupt practices that was invoke before the coming of the true Agent of change;
The previous administration was in the habit of collecting loans from some commercial banks just to pay workers’ salaries thereby increasing the burden of debt on the state. This practice left the state Government with a burden of debt that gulped up to N37 billion which was left unpaid. But on assumption of office of this “Eager beavered man”, he made sure that all these huge debts was paid off in just two years and without taking any loan from the bank.
He also halted the financial hemorrhage that was invoke before he came on board and insisted on strict strategy of fiscal discipline.
Also cost-cutting measures was implemented to enable workers get their full salaries and at the appropriate time. Just to give you a glimpse of whom the man Al-Makura really is and his vision for Nasarawa state, the man embarked on the fight against corruption in his state long before president Buhari.
Permit me to digress a little from the topic to highlight and acknowledge some of Al-Makura’s achievements even as his anti-corruption fight rages on, he remained focus on developmental projects and policies that will better the lives of the Nasarawa people. Just like PMB, Al-Makura is a man full of love and concern for the masses and the down trodden. This explains why he was the first to key in to the implementation of the minimum wage as approved by the federal Government just four (4) months of assumption of office in 2011. A development that astronomically increased the monthly salaries of workers in the state from N800 Million to N2.4 Billion every month.
And not only that he keyed in but he is one of the state Governors that pays the highest in terms of workers’ salaries in the National Minimum wage table of all the 36 states.He is currently paying even higher than the oil producing states like Rivers, Bayelsa, etc. and the almighty Lagos state that has IGR of almost 5times greater than that of Nasarawa state. All these states mentioned above and more receives higher than Nasarawa state in the federal allocations to states, also with far greater internally generated Revenue (IGR) compared to Nasarawa states yet the man has recorded a tectonic achievement in almost all spheres of the state economy.
Apart from social amenities and commitment to capacity building in the state, the Governor also made infrastructure one of his major focus among other basic amenities that will affect the lives of the ordinary people in the state. Nasarawa State has experienced an unprecedented development under Governor Al-Makura’s administration like never before since the inception of democracy in Nasarawa state; in terms of road construction, his administration built over 600km of roads in the rural areas and the expansion of these rural roads and the construction of over 200km Asphalt roads across the state. A project that has literally transformed the state capital from suburb to city.Governor Al-Makura’s administration has an unprecedented achievement in the areas of health, where a 360 combined capacity of ultra-modern hospitals in all the three Senatorial zones of the state was built. Re-activation of the Nasarawa drugs complex which ensures the availability to quality medicines to the people and increased immunized children from 25% to about 52%. Not to mention his free education program in the state, youth empowerment among others.
It is a common phenomenon for corruption to fight back its fighter, just as we’ve seen with President Buhari at the Centre where every now and then, the corruption he has declared war against is using the media to fight, always trying to dent his name, saying derogating statements and comment in the online and print media just to smear the visionary leader. But seeing that it didn’t yield any positive result, they have resulted to using some miscreant called militants to decimate his administration by trying to cripple our economy through vandalization and bombing of gas pipelines in the Niger-Delta.Nonetheless, that we believe will not make our resilient president to relent or succumb to their demands to stopping the Anti-corruption fight against those that have ripped-off our country’s treasury dry.
Analogous to the case we are witnessing in Nasarawa State, seeing Governor Al-Makura’s resolve to remain steadfast in his fight against corruption in the state, corruption has since declared war against him and his administration. And just like President Buhari they are using the online media (Facebook, twitter etc.) to smear his name. Some unions in the state like, NLC, NUT, and ASUU NSUK etc.are also some of the tools used by these enemies of development in the state to distract Governor Al-Makura from fulfilling his campaign promises to Nasarawa people. Apart from the obvious enemies of the Al-Makura-led government, there are also enemies from within, and these enemies are saboteurs within the government. And we will not be surprise by their actions because Al-Makura anti-corruption fight has to some great extent blocked all leakages within Government Institutions in the state,an avenue previously used by these saboteurs to drain the state’s lean resources. At the wake of this development of blockages, these saboteurs went absolutely bonkers. They have resolved to aid Al-Makura’s obvious enemies in achieving their self-serving gains,part of which is to hurt him for halting their unwholesome act.
Thencome the introduction of the treasury single account (TSA) and the bank verification exercise (BVN) in the state by Governor Al-Makura that has exposed over 1600 ghost workers across the 13 local government and18 development areas in the state. This wonderful strategy for fighting corruption in Nasarawa state was also able to discover that only 58,000 workers and pensionersare the authentic people on Government payroll. This was confirmed by the Executive Director(ED) Skye bank that were responsible for the screening exercise in the state couple of months ago at the occasion of the formal presentation of the workers Bio-metric report to Governor Al-Makura in Government house. The E.D who affirmed during the presentation of the report that if properly implemented will go a long way in creating jobs for the teeming youths in the state as well as aid government to embark on meaningful projects that would enhance the living standards and conditions of the citizens. The E.D also confirmed that during the exercise they were able to discover over N87Million monthly as leakages and if government allows this, it will sum intoN990Millionannually.
The bio-metric report became the major factor that intensified the heat between Al-Makura and those corrupt infinitesimal groups who have been using this avenue to hinder the development of our state,which involves top government officials at both state and local government level.You will find a top government staff having names of his children and relatives whom have not seen the fore walls of a classroom and sometimes their unborn grand children into government payroll as avenue to syphon the little resources accrued to that LGC or parastatals. For years such practice had been order of the day, where one person receives salaries of over 10-20 people, or you will find someone who is even out of the state without going to the office yet gets alert at the end of the month, turning government institutions to a Father Christmas. Seeing that Al-Makura is trying to take away all these from them, they became enraged over this development and sworn to fight back using every means necessary to defame, ridicule and turn the people against Governor Al-Makura.
Though,we acknowledge the fact that what the Al-Makura-led administration is facing from these enemies of the state is not uncommon with anyone or organization fighting corruption and the strategies employed by these corrupt individuals. Even the president is facing such campaign of calumny in the media. So we are urging him to be steadfast and remain on cause.
However, it is rather unfortunate for Governor Al-Makura to have the very components that he needed the most in his fight against corruption betray him.Even though they pledged to support his cause,but instead they took the path of sentiment and fell for cheap benefits. They abandon the true essence of their existence which is to promote and protect the interest of the people in which they represent. It will be recall that on Friday 10th September, 2015. The organized Labour in lafia organize a rally with the theme: “NLC campaign for Good Governance”to the Nasarawa state government house to register organized Labour’s support for president Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade and urged Governor Al-Makura to key into the Anti-corruption crusade of president Buhari in the state.At the occasion Comrade Danladi Sabo Namosaid and I quote “We thank God for sending us a messiah to come and salvage this country and he is no any other person than President Buhari. We also call on Governor Al-Makura to key into President Buhari’s crusade by fishing out bad elements in the state ministries.” But little did Al-Makura know that they hypocritically gave him a mouth-service support that day.
It will also be recalled that recently the organized labour had been in disagreements with the government. Permit me to draw our attention to something very fundamental about organized labour-government history in Nasarawa state. Let me start by reminding us that the organized labour in Nasarawa State never went for strike or saw the need to in Governor Al-Makura’s, first four years in office until after his emergence at the 2015 Governorship polls. The Governor’s emergence suddenly triggered the drop of a hat for the organized labour to begin their several industrial actions against his administration. And in just one year of his second tenure they have called for industrial actions against this administration couple of times. Now here is the catch.Governor Al-Makura had been doing excellently well in his four years of his first term to this people (Organize labour) until he decided he wants to re-contest for a second term. That was his only offence, and the whistle for this war they waged against him was officially blown because the good people of Nasarawa state made their choice prevail by voting in Governor Al-Makura into office for second term to complete the good work he has started against the choice of the organize Labour’s candidate. So as a way of expressing their grieve they decided not to be reasonable and understanding with the government for the collective interest and development of our state.
Finally, I wish to use this medium to call on these saboteurs and all agents of our greatest and collective enemy (Corruption) to tow the path of honour and stop doing the biddings of some sworn enemies of our state helping them to stall the development and progress of Nasarawa state by trying to distract a man born to do the job, a man who have always match his words with actions, a man that has literally transform Nasarawa state especially our state capital Lafia into a real city, a man who brought about purposeful government in Nasarawa state. What this leader needs is our collective support not attacks.
However,I understand you feel a little far cry from how it used to be and sometimes you feel a bit under the weather as the fight wages on, yes I know those feelings but you know what, that is an indication that it’s game over. It means Elvis has since left the building. It’s over. Fights that will cost you an arm and a leg why continue? Why not sheath your sword and support peace and development as Al-Makura takes us to the promise land.
God bless Nasarawa state!!! God bless our amiable Governor!!! And God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!
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