OPINION

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Visit To Nasarawa State And Its Significance, By Azige Machue

President Muhammadu Buhari, will on February 6, 2018, visit Nasarawa State to witness the flag off, supervision and commissioning of some projects initiated by the Governor Umaru Al-Makura led government in the state.
Across the globe, a President’s visit to any section of his entity is usually very significant for him and the host community. Although President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Al-Makura have met severally and at various levels, the President’s visit is particularly significant because he will interact with the people directly- an experience that will strengthen the bond between the President and the people of Nasarawa State and trigger greater commitment that will ultimately improve the fortunes of the state.
Since President Olusegun Obasanjo visited Nasarawa State in November 2002, no Nigerian President has visited the state to flag off, supervise or commission any project(s) initiated by either the state or federal government. But former Vice President Namadi Sambo was in the state on July 29, 2013 to commission a new Federal High Court complex and a newly constructed Ta’al Model School in Lafia.
Nasarawa State is reputed as Muhammadu Buhari’s “political laboratory.” The state is the only state in Nigeria that the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) under his leadership cruised to victory in the 2011 general elections. Even President Buhari’s home state (Katsina) could not surmount the challenge of the time and produce a CPC government but it was achieved in Nasarawa State under the leadership of Umaru Tanko Al-Makura.
As a private citizen, Muhammadu Buhari has visited Nasarawa State severally, especially after Umaru Tanko Al-Makura keyed into his philosophy and emerged victorious at the 2011 election. Buhari was in the state to attend the inaugural ceremony in 2011 where Al-Makura was sworn-in in Lafia the state capital as the first individual to oust an incumbent Governor in the state.
Before the 2015 general elections, he was also in the state to inspect some projects initiated by the Al-Makura-led government and to flag-off the construction of some roads. Thus, President Buhari is not coming to Nasarawa State as a visitor, he is coming home; but this time around, as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Al-Makura and the only CPC-led state contributed immensely in the merger with other political parties that led to the emergence of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC). Al-Makura under the platform of the defunct CPC sustained the legacy established by Muhammadu Buhari and led the party to form the alliance that successfully ousted an incumbent national government and won election to control 23 states in Nigeria.
President Buhari’s visit is expected to bring to national limelight, some of the legacy projects initiated by the Al-Makura-led government. The President will see for himself, the massive investments of the Nasarawa State government in the provision of health facilities to carter for the healthcare of a greater majority of the people; educational facilities and even for the disabled, markets for economic activities; road construction for easy movement of people and goods across the three Senatorial Districts of the state, among others.
The visit is expected to present President Muhammadu Buhari the opportunity to tell the people of Nasarawa State what his government is doing to improve their lives through the provision of basic infrastructures and other social amenities.
Equally significant too is that the visit will undoubtedly give the people of the state the opportunity to parley with the President and present him with some of the challenges confronting the state and get him to commit himself to address them. The President’s pronouncements and assurances can give confidence to the government as well as the people of Nasarawa State.
Governor Al-Makura has initiated the smart-city project at the Gurku-Kabusu area with a strategic plan to utilize a 13,000 hectres virgin land. This fresh land directly links Nasarawa State with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), bordering Maitama and Mpape and is only few meters away from the President’s official residence (Aso Villa). The support of the President can fast track this development.
Nasarawa State prides itself as the ‘Home of Solid Minerals’ – this, is a significant component of the diversification agenda of the Buhari administration. Therefore, the state stands to benefit from the President’s visit as he will be committed to making pronouncements that will ultimately increase investment in the sector and particularly in the state.
Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential visit promises to be significant and all well meaning citizens of Nasarawa State should be prepared to make the best of it.
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