Six years ago, five young Nigerians graduated from Usmanu Danfodio University with a bachelor’s degree in Law and were on the verge of missing admission into the Nigerian Law School due to lack of finances. Over dinner, it was mentioned to the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, of the dire situation the young ones were in and how their dreams of becoming lawyers was getting away by the hour. Without asking who they were, he directed us to contact them. Few days later, he not only paid for all they required, he ensured each of them got a laptop computer to aide their studies.
The interesting aspect of this story is that few days ago, I encountered one of them in Abuja and while thanking me for intervening at a very critical period in their lives, he expressed disappointment that none of them was able to meet with Tambuwal to thank him collectively and individually for his dream-saving gesture.
Why am I telling this story today? The lesson here is simple: some people are attracted to those who need help because it feels good to be of help at critical times. Whenever someone is hurting or suffering in some ways, kind-hearted individuals deliberately come forward to help without even wanting to be praised. This is where Tambuwal comes in.
I am sure the lesson in this encounter is not lost on Tambuwal himself. This is because his life does not lend itself to embellishments – it is an inspirational and captivating study of the triumph of mind over matter. As we mark his birthday today, we will all meditate on this lesson, and draw the positives that will continue to illuminate paths in our relationship with others.
In the last 52 years, Tambuwal has left no one in doubt about his capacity for fair and equitable representation. Over the years, he has demonstrated ability to meet with the needs and demands of the people that he encountered. His profound achievements as Governor in the Seat of the Caliphate have drawn praises, honour and recognition from far and near.
In his role as the Number One citizen of Sokoto, Tambuwal has raised the ante of purposeful leadership and good governance. By a magic of work, ethics and sincerity of purpose, his administration has prioritized areas whose importance will continue to have enduring impact on the life of the citizenry. Such sectors include education, agriculture, health, women and youth empowerment, energy, poverty eradication and revamping of the entire governance structure.
His administration is making positive impact in public schools by building new classrooms, supplying of chairs, tables and textbooks for students, delivering new buses to schools, and flagged off program to enroll 1.4 million new kids into schools in the next 12 months. All these led to a stamp of commendation by UNICEF after the number of out of school children dropped by half in the state in two years.
In agriculture, 140 women and pensioners were trained in fish farming and supported with grants and starter-packs of tanks and fish feeds to start businesses. The government gave out 981,000kg of improved rice seeds to farmers free of charge to support them, and after ir introduced wheat farming to the state for the first time, it gave 6000 bags of 100kg wheat seeds to farmers, free of charge.
To ensure sustainability, promote new technology and enhance private sector participation in farming, the state government and Dangote Industries Ltd started a rice outgrower scheme at Goronyo and Middle Rima Valley. 1000 farmers were engaged for the pilot project in 2017 with 500 hectres of land committed. For the 2018 farming season, 2000 hectres will be used with the number of farmers also increasing.
All these efforts were complemented by distribution of fertilizer, water pumping machines and pesticides. The result is increase in yield and more wealth and prosperity for Sokoto farmers.
The same team work and strength of character led to these successes replicated in all the sectors of the economy of the state.
Tambuwal’s approach to leadership is defined by the vision to build people and enduring structures that can stand the test of time. While most are admired because they move others to follow their example, Tambuwal belongs to the category of a few who are special enough to encourage others to find their own unique path. Just by being who he is, he has sparked many to be who they want to be. Through thoughtful leadership, great vision and sincerity, all parts of Sokoto have felt the positive impact of his activities. And for that, if for nothing else, he deserves to called a leader who inspires.
In this season of politics, many, especially closer home, have deliberately chosen to misunderstand Tambuwal. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson said decades ago, “Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
With time, people will understand the fact that Tambuwal is indeed a role model for all those seeking to understand how to make impact with their lives. And on this momentous day of his 52nd birthday, I thank him for his service, and wish him a happy birthday.
*Imam, the spokesman to Governor Tambuwal, wrote from Sokoto
Many years after it was conceived, the Zamfara-Sokoto-Kebbi-Tahoua cross border trade route has finally become a reality with its official launch in Sokoto Tuesday.
The event, which held in Sokoto Government House, had in attendance Governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Sokoto and Kebbi states, as well as Abdulrahman Musa of Tahoua region of Niger Republic.
In his remarks, Tambuwal said the launching of the trade corridor is another landmark achievement of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, who aim is to ensure growth and economic development of the two countries.
He said the initiative will positively redress the several obstacles experienced by the country’s cross- border traders such as road harassment, multiple and sometimes illegal check points, unnecessary delays and unlawful charges at the borders.
He said such illegalities hinder agro- pastoral business in the borders and deter their collective efforts towards achieving regional economic integration.
The Sokoto Governor therefore enjoined all stakeholders to ensure faithful implementation of the project so as to ensure full realization of its primary objectives which include serving as catalyst for free flow of goods and boosting of trade transactions within the corridor.
He said Sokoto state government, in collaboration with the Federal Government, will establish and upgrade some infrastructures and institutions in the state that would support the corridor.
“Such infrastructures include establishment of the Illela International market which will promote high level commercial activities in the area and the planned extension of rail service from Kaura Namoda to Sokoto and the Niger Republic border as well as establishment of Truck Transit Park,” he added.
Others are business information centre and inland dry port at illela to ensure effective import and export of products to and from Nigeria.
Tambuwal said so far, the state government has embarked on the construction of some important Trunk A roads that link Sokoto state with Niger Republic. The roads according to him were started during the last administration in the state and are presently being executed with renewed vigor by the current administration.
The roads include Ruwa Wuri-Niger road, Tsululu-Kuya junction and Wauru -Kadadi-Rafin Duma-Galmi roads.
In their separate remarks, Governors Bagudu and Musa expressed optimism that the trans-border trade between the zone and Niger Republic will increase economic activities and be of benefit of citizens of both countries.
Diplomats from the two countries’ external affairs ministries witnessed the event.
The committee set up by Sokoto State Government on sales of government quarters to deserving public workers has recommended the sale of about 1500 houses located at various locations in the state.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state has initiated the Right to Education Bill 2016 in recognition and protection of right to education for children between six and 18 years in the state.
This is the first time any state in Nigeria will seek to legally make education a fundamental human right of all children.
The bill is one of the major component of the policy on the state of emergency in education declared in the state in December 2015.
“Sokoto will be the first state in Nigeria to provide right to education, thereby bringing it in comformity with status of fundamental objective and directive principle of state policy under chapter two of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999,” Justice Commissioner Suleiman Usman stated this while fielding questions from reporters in Sokoto.
He added that it would consolidate the declaration of emergency in education by the administration in concrete terms.
Usman described the bill as one of the major achievements of the Tambuwal administration, adding that in view of the high premium the administration had given to rural transformation and delivery of social services to the people especially at the grassroots, the Social and Community Development Agency Bill 2016 has also been initiated by the Executive and is before the state House of Assembly.
“This Bill seeks to create Social and Community Development Agency ?for the execution of social and community development projects throughout Sokoto state,” he explained.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, alongside Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal Monday inaugurated 50,000 pre-paid meters purchased by the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company( KAEDCO) for distribution to customers within Sokoto state.
Speaking at the event, which took place at the premises of the State Independent Power Project (IPP), Tambuwal said the new pre-paid meters would curb the menace of the usually controversial estimated billing system.
The governor said the new pre-paid meter would make for more prudent use of power by the residents.
According to him, the pre-paid meters billing system is efficient and reliable, and advised the distribution company to roll it out across the state.
On efforts by his administration to boost power supply in Sokoto, Tambuwal said 172 transformers have been purchased for installation to boost power supply across the state.
He added: “The state government’s IPP will also soon come on stream, in partnership with KAEDCO.”
Tambuwal further said that, the state government was undertaking myriad of interventions to augment power supply to the state.
He disclosed that, the state government was collaborating with the Nigeria Energy Support Programme, to tap the abundant renewable energy sources in the state.
These, according to the Governor, include sources of energy like wind and solar energy, as well hydro -power potentials at Goronyo Dam, among others.
In his remarks, Fashola said the pre-paid billing system would curb losses to the power firms, occasioned by their inability to collect due rates.
He said the new meters would eradicate the use of unmeasured electricity by the customers.
“That problem increases waste, while the purchase of the meters abroad always takes its toll on the nation’s volatile foreign reserves. They will therefore ensure fair billing system, as well as enhance regular power supply,” Fashola added.
The chairman of KAEDCO, Alhaji Yusuf Abubakar, commended Fashola for optimally facilitating the power sector reforms.
He also hailed Tambuwal for his uncommon commitment to the issue of power in the country.
He enumerated the franchise states of the firm to include Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi.
Governor Tambuwal had also inaugurated 1000 motorcycles for the firm’s Sales Representatives and metering officials in the four states.
The ceremony was attended by the Sokoto Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu, heads of agencies and other stakeholders in the power sector.
Over the years, traffic signals were controlled by electrical or mechanical devices, but with the advent of the microprocessor, they are now programmed and controlled by computer systems. These signal controls are designed around a communication system that ties individual intersection signals together through a central computer system or a series of computers that can coordinate the timing sequence of multiple intersections. The main objective of these traffic signals is to provide convenient signal coordination to motorists, in order to help reduce accident and save lives. However, the rate at which these traffic lights are being abuse in Sokoto State – by both road users and the government itself – must leave any spectator wondering whether the state government is only wasting tax-payer’s hard earned money to beautify the city center or is bereft of ideas on how best to utilize these pretty gadgets.
In this part of the world lives a widely accepted belief that traffic lights presents much often the best solution to road accidents more than any other option, as such, quite a number of them have been installed allover in the capital city of Sokoto, even in places where no such legitimate operational warrant exists. It is on record that the attitudes and misunderstandings that sometimes lead to unjustified installations of these traffic lights in the state has done more harm than the initial purpose on which they were installed, which is why it is absolutely imperative to thoroughly study the location, road capacity and conditions before determining where to install traffic lights and where not to. Traffic signals should be used only where lesser forms of control have proven ineffective because they always create more intersection delay and minor movements may experience excessive unexpected delays, particularly if the signals are improperly timed. As a result, many drivers opted for less desirable alternate routes or to residential streets or move against the signals to avoid added delay.
So far, Sokoto state government has spent over N1billion to install traffic and street lights in the last ten months, but unfortunately, the purpose for which these traffic signals were meant to serve is seemingly becoming unrealistic and misplaced, instead, they only added salt to our injuries and made things even more worst than they were. Albeit the uncompliance attitudes of motorists contributed a lot to the insuccess of these signals but the government should to a large extent be blamed.
That motorists in Sokoto have in their genetic composition a chromosomal deficiency of traffic obedience is perhaps a clear indication that the authorities themselves are also not getting the right approach and ideas favourable for citizens compliance: the ongoing installation of traffic lights at the wrong locations in Sokoto State while ignoring places in dire need of traffic signals is a clear example of how best a government can discourage citizenry from obeying safety rules and regulations.
This renewed efforts by the state government only solved problems that did not exist, but failed to deal with the problems which need tackling, as these traffic lights, though they do help a little, were hardly necessary. Traffic signals and roundabouts serves the same purpose and need not to be operating together, the former should only exists where the latter failed, and vice versa. It makes no sense to have street lights and roundabouts operating at the same location akin to what we are witnessing in Sokoto State today. There are several dangerous intersections/junctions in the state where there has been many fatalities and even lost of lives, but sadly, the state government is yet to see any reason for having traffic signals at these junctions where they are needed the most, rather, they opted to install them in roundabouts where they serve little or no use at all. To cut it short, installing these devices in roundabouts alone without giving due emphasis to the many deadly junctions in the state didn’t only made no meaning but went further to substantiate the fact that the state government lacks the required ideas on how best a traffic light can be utilized.
The systemic problem which these traffic lights in roundabouts has not addressed (but which the state government hasn’t took into consideration) is that there are so many junctions, crossings and turnings across the state that have resulted to many lost of lives and injuries. The awkward T-junction along Gusau road, just adjacent to the main gate of FGC Sokoto is perhaps one of the most dangerous junction across the state and even across neighboring states of Kebbi and Zamfara. It is astonishing that the government saw NNPC roundabout worthy of traffic signal over this dangerous junction, it is so sad that the government did not consider this junction which has claimed the lives of many poor road users and still counting. It is a junctions with an obvious and urgent need for traffic signals, likewise several other junctions across the state, from Old Airport junction to Runjin Sambo, from Ibrahim Dasuki road to Arkilla Fire Service junction just to mention a few. If there’s any need for traffic lights in Sokoto, then these junctions ought to have been given more priority before others. Therefore, a modern sensible traffic control that will reduce accident and provide safe crossings for pedestrians as well as road users is highly recommended.
With the increasing rate of accidents recorded daily in the state, one needs no magic to believe that the state government has made the wrong choices in applying its traffic solutions and has failed to utilise the gadgets effectively. If the purposes of installing these signals are to curb accident and ensure free movements of vehicles, then sorry to say but our N1billion has just been wasted on a project that made no positive impact. The whole traffic signals were installed at the wrong places and seems no traffic study was conducted in the first place. Ideally, there are a number of factors that needed to be properly examined before traffic signals are installed, which were clearly not considered in this case:
First of all, a roundabout is a type of a circular intersection or junction in which road traffic flows almost continuously in one direction around a focal point, they were designed so to prevent any likelihood of collisions by reducing traffic speeds and minimizing T-bone and head-on collisions, especially on points where three or four junctions met. Roundabout forced traffic to move slowly in order to allow visual engagement with pedestrians, minimize driver confusion associated with perpendicular junctions and reduced queuing associated with traffic lights. As such, traffic lights need not to be installed where roundabouts exists.
Secondly, Traffic signals are important means of traffic control. When use properly or installed at the right place, they can help to improve safety, manage traffic flow, and make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street. However, the location that fits best for traffic signals should be taking into account first before any move, if the street is relatively narrow and motor vehicle traffic on the cross-street is moderate to low, then traffic lights can result in more pedestrian delay while waiting for the walk signal. In this scenario, impatient and hazy pedestrians would cross against the lights and motorists whose turn is to move may run them, hence resulting in a more severe damages and even lost of lives. Therefore, traffic lights should not be install on narrow and less busy roads.
Thirdly, another very important consideration is traffic signal spacing. When signalized locations are too close together, they could create more congestion and gridlock conditions, making it imperative that traffic lights be generally spaced further apart. However, due to the high cost of traffic signals and possible negative safety implications, it may be best to try other measures in lieu of traffic lights in places where signal spacing proved difficult, such as reducing the number of lanes, improved lighting, improved warning signs and pavement markings.
To this end, if really Sokoto State government is sincere in this latest drive to minimize accident and improve safety, they should carefully study these traffic signals and make proper amendments where necessary, all signals in roundabouts should be uninstall and reinstall in places where they are needed the most – junctions and intersections. Virtually all traffic lights in Sokoto have no pedestrian signal which perhaps can be attributed to the fact that little attention was paid to pedestrian activity at the time most of the signals were installed. Therefore, they should all have pedestrian crossing signals except for some narrow street crossings, but where pedestrian activities are large, a pedestrian bridge will solve it all. Though I have seen some solar powered traffic signals in about two roundabouts, there’s still the need for the state government to have an alternative energy source to power these devices in order to save cost, instead of adopting the expensive method of using power generating sets. In a nutshell, the state government should come up with a ‘traffic act’ that criminalise by-passing traffic signals and proscribe a severe retribution for noncompliance, which may not only serve as a deterrent to deter others but will go a long way in forcing all road users to comply with the rules and obey traffic control. A stitch in time saves nine.
Usama A. Dandare, a social commentator write from Sokoto. Reach him via email@example.com, www.facebook.com/usama.dandareor twitter @osadaby
Incessant rain and rising water level have left more than 100 homes destroyed while a toddler was reported dead in the village.
Addressing the victims of the disaster, Tambuwal said government has already sent in emergency supply of relief items to the area.
He said in the mid-term, the state emergency management agency will conduct a full assessment of items destroyed to enable government assist the victims.
While praying to God to ensure such calamity doesn’t occur again, Tambuwal said efforts are being made to ensure that all houses to be rebuilt will be strong enough to withstand heavy rains and strong winds.
In a bid to mitigate the effect of malaria infection across Sokoto state, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has flagged off the house-to-house campaign for the administration of preventive drugs which targets estimated 1.8 million kids.
Speaking in Isa LGA of the state during the flag off, Tambuwal said “government has adopted many strategies in solving the menace of malaria and other health related diseases such as capacity building for the health personnel, provision of health care facilities and provision of essential drugs among others.”
He said his administration “would pay more attention to human resources development, equipping of health care facilities and provision of medicament for effective and efficient services to the people at the grassroots,” adding that ?”the ongoing upgrading and renovation of health facilities at Yabo, Dogon Daji, Silame and Illela will soon be completed.”
While urging local government councils to give maximum support and cooperation to the programme, the governor commended development partners for their contributions as well as appreciated the efforts of Sultanate Council for the social mobilization of the programme.
The Commissioner of Health, Dr. Balarabe Shehu Kakale, said the Ministry, in collaboration with Malaria Consortium,Ministry for Local Government and State Primary Health Care Development Agency, had trained health personnel to handle the exercise of attending to children of 3- 59 months of age.
He disclosed that the exercise would target 1.8 million people.
Following the continues increase in number of malnourished children in Nigeria especially in the Northern part of the country, Sokoto State government said it will start producing Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a nutrient used for treating malnutrition.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Shehu Balarabe, who disclosed this in Sokoto, said the state government can no longer afford to continue to spend on the importation of RUTF which is produced from groundnut paste.
“In the past, imported Ready to Use Therapeutic Food from South Africa and United States. However, what we’re now working to stop that. We will soon start producing it right here in Sokoto.
“RUTF is highly nutritious and is made from groundnut paste. We also thank God that Dangote is investing in the production of the drug here in Nigeria, so we commend him for that.
“This is the first step of boasting nutrition to have intelligent children.
Balarabe explained that if proper measures are taken, all that is needed in Nigeria for proper nutrition is available and will cost nothing. He added that “breastfeeding can save Nigeria in excess of N300 billion every year. Breastfeeding is part of nutrition and it’s free.”
Earlier, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, Sokoto Field Office, Paul Mudzongo charged the media to wake-up to their responsibilities by holding public officials accountable as they discharge their duties, so as to ensure transparency in the way they utilise funds allocated to children-related issues.
He also urged the media to be in the front burner ?through their reportage in getting government committed to the fight against malnutrition in the country.
Mudzongo, advocates for a renewed commitment and immediate attention by governments at all levels in Nigeria to curb the trend of malnutrition by adopting a comprehensive state, multi-sectoral nutrition strategic action.
According to him, governments should ensure adequate funding and timely release of funds for nutrition budget line; increasing the nutrition budget allocation and to fully integrate nutrition in revitalization of Primary Health Care.