Three Glorious Years Of Governor Bello‘s Stewardship, By Mu’awiyyah Muye
Posted On May 29, 2018
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello Made history in 2015 as the first ever Aspirant to defeat an incumbent Candidate and Party in Niger State since 1999. He made another history to become the first former commissioner in Nigeria to defeat his former boss after resigning from Talba’s cabinet due to irreconcilable differences on the direction of governance under that administration.
This was of course largely possible due to the fact that Nigerlites, like most other parts of Nigeria then, were tired of the level of impunity, brazen corruption and the lack of empathy on the part of leaders then towards the citizenry. Governor Abubakar Sani Bello represented a breath of fresh air. He campaigned vigorously and his message resonated with people in the remotest areas of the state. He told them of his plan to give them a better Niger State and bring dividends of Democracy to the nooks and crannies of the State.
No aspirant since 1999 toured all the nooks and crannies of the state Like Governor Sani Bello did in 2014/2015. The electorates were already yearning for a messiah of sorts, who will bring them the needed change and it was an opportunity for Mr Governor to meet them in person and understand their plights.
Dr Abubakar Sani Bello represented that hope for a new Niger state and true to his words, he matched his words with actions, he immediately hit the ground running. He made sure he toured some of the public facilities and amenities immediately after assuming office to ascertain the level of rot in the State’s infrastructure. One of such facilities was the minna water works, where he was aback by the level of rot in the sector and set out to right the wrongs as he believed providing basic amenities to Nigerlites, most especially something as basic as clean and safe water was a necessity and not luxury. Another of such visit was when he toured Government Science Collage izom and saw the level of dilapidated structures in the school, a condition in which he described in his own words as not fit for even animals. Something must be done about our existing structures. You can’t ignore the existing structures in bad shape to build new ones.
So far, more than 4 billion naira has been expended in order to resuscitate the Minna, Bida, Kontagora and Suleja water works, the work which is still ongoing, when completed, will mark a landmark achievement in the administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello. It is noteworthy that there are places in Minna (the State capital) that have never seen pipe borne water since the return to democracy in 1999. Most parts of the state capital currently experiencing difficulty in water, is largely due to rotten subsurface pipes and work continue in earnest to fix those pipes and bring them water.
Governor Sani Bello’s “Restoration Agenda” has brought the restoration and rehabilitation of public facilities that have been abandoned for decades. In the area of Agriculture, Governor Sani Bello has signed momerandum of understanding with both local and international investors. These include, PJS Agro Farms to irrigate about 7,500 hectares of land at Swashi for Rice cultivation, Umza Farms International with 10,000 hectares for rice production, Dangote Group with 50,000 hectares proposed for Rice and Sugarcane production. Others are Coza Investments with 9,000 hectares acquired for Rice and Poultry production, Anadariya Nig. Ltd with 5,000 hectares at 2 locations in New Bussa for Ionage Sugar, 50,000 hectares at Swashi in Borgu LGA for sugarcane production and processing, Agrocarft Nigeria Ltd. The government is also giving due attention to the developing Shea tree sector with the engagement of a Consultant to develop the sector and capture the value chain.
The administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in collaboration with CBN through the Anchor Borrowers Scheme has supported thousands of farmers and produced multiple millionaire farmers already, it has encourage dry season farming and the Government is reviving 17 irrigation schemes across the three senatorial zones in the State, including the one from Tungan Kawo dam in Kontagora. There are ongoing rehabilitation of Irrigation infrastructure with a 72 Hectares irrigation field. This has contributed immensely in the recent declaration making Niger State the Number one rice producer in Nigeria, The state government is in the process of partnering with a Chinese consortium to develop production clusters intended to engage our local farmers in both seasonal and dry season irrigation activities.
Also just a few weeks ago, the Governor flagged off the new farming season with the launching of 130 375 Model Merssey Ferguson Tractors and other farming machines procured by his administration while we await additional 200 tractors through the partnership with Nigeria Incentive-Based Risks Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
In Education sector, one of the focal points of his administration, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s administration has witnessed a lot of tremendous change since the inception of his government. In his Whole School Development Approach, Governor Sani Bello has facilitated the complete overhaul of Nine (9) secondary schools across the three senatorial districts of the state, They include Government Science Collage Izom, Maryam Babangida Government Girls Science College Minna, Government Girls College Kontagora, Government Secondary School Rijau and Government Science College Baro among others, another set of Nine (9) Secondary Schools to undergo total overhaul have been included in the 2018 budget. The administration has also Built and renovated over 500 other schools across the state, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in his foresight and quest to not only improve the living condition of students across the state but also those of teachers, also founded the Niger State Professional Teacher Development Institute where students are drawn from the 274 wards across the state and giving the best of education and taught to be professional teachers from their senior secondary school to higher institution for free, there is also a section for polishing the skills of existing teachers.
In Health sector, In an effort to ensure availability of qualitative healthcare for the people, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello led administration has resolved to provide fully functional health facilities in each of the 274 political wards of the state. This also include complete overhaul of the general hospitals in Minna, Suleja, Bida and Kantagora; in addition to upgrading IBB Specialist Hospital to provide tertiary healthcare services, The administration also renovated The Bida Nursing Collage after more than 40 years of total neglect, the College has since received full accreditation for its program after the administration met all the requirements for accreditation. Another Nursing College is in its final phase of construction in Kontagora to complement the school of nursing bida, School of midwifery Minna, School of health technology minna. School of Nursing Bida still remains the Apex Nursing College in the State.
Niger State is also among the few states in the country to have acquiesced to the demands of health workers even before the commencement of the ongoing JOHESU strike. The State had met about 95% of their demands, a feat which saw Niger State Government demand a public apology from the association for embarking on the strike in solidarity with other states, as the Niger State Government believes its citizens shouldn’t be punished for the crime of others given it is on course to meet all necessary requirements including upgrading of health facilities and Health Workers salaries in the State.
In the area of Infrastructure, it is important to note that, the administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has keyed into the FG led agenda of making this year, the year of Infrastructural Development. This administration understanding the place of infrastructure as critical to development, embarked on the construction and rehabilitation of township roads including the construction of gbeganu-fadikpe road in minna, construction of brighter school-himma-school-NNPC mega filling station road in minna, construction of bangaie-Dancitagi road in Bida, Rehabilitation of Sabon-Gari UK Bello road in minna, Rehabilitation of Minna-Suleja road and numerous other urban roads in all the major towns of the state, some of which are federal roads. The State Government through the Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) in collaboration with the world bank and others, has also rehabilitated more than 200 Rural roads.
In the area of Fire fighting, the hitherto moribund State fire service is not spared by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello administration’s drive. Additional fire service stations at Mokwa, Lapai, Bida, Minna, Kontagora and Agaie have been constructed. This is in addition to the recruitment of 150 firemen and procurement of new fire fighting vehicles to curtail fire outbreaks in the State, little wonder his exploits in the area of Fire fighting got a boost from federal Governments with the donation of a state of the art Fire fighting vehicle to Niger State.
Women and Youth Empowerment
Armed with the insight that any meaningful development devoid of the inclusion of the youth and women is one bound to fail, critical decisions were taken towards the empowerment of our youths and women groups who make up the bulk of the population. As a result, over 3000 Youths have been trained on various youth empowerment programmes including in the areas of ICT, Green House Agricultural Technology, Youth-Skills Acquisition Programme (CYSAP), Rice Milling, Poultry Production and the recent training of 250 Artisans in different areas of skills acquisition through the office of Coordinator, Youth Empowerment. Alhaji Nma Kolo.
In sports development, the state competed in various Championships and won laurels for the State in Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Squash and Weightlifting. Our state darling team, the Niger Tornadoes came 2nd in the Aiteo Cup Championship thereby qualifying to represent Nigeria in the 2018 WAFU Championship.
The renovation of the Bako Kontagora Memorial Stadium as well as other adjoining sports facilities have been completed and Nigerlites can now watch their darling team Tornadoes play at home after a long hiatus.
In the Area of security, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has said security of lives and property is paramount to his Adminstration, he has procured over 100 vehicles for security formations across the state and also for our local vigilantees who Man the rural communities and help the security agencies in protecting Nigerlites, Governor Sani Bello has continued to support our security agencies in every area possible to make it easy for them to secure our citizens, in 2017, he established a one stop security formation to enable the various security formations in the state gather intelligence to curb insecurity. it’s no wonder that in the whole carnage across the North Central region, Niger State has been able to curtail the activities of armed bandits menacing the region.
Indeed, 2015 to date has been a roller coaster ride for Nigerlites all thanks to Governor Lolo. The administration met a depleted treasury due to the mismanagement of the past administration, the Adminstration in 3 years; even in recession and dwindling revenues has been able to achieve a lot, more than the previous administration achieved during the era of oil boom.
Governor Sani Bello has been able to increase the State’s IGR from between 250-450 million per month to 690-700 million per month. the government has also managed the mess it inherited in pension including the 7.5 contributory pension and has been one of the states that have never failed in paying its salaries, something other states have failed to do.
Nigerlites have been the biggest pillar of support for this administration, justifiably so, the Governor will continue to strive to provide better services and dividends of democracy to Nigerlites as he believes it is the responsibility of Government to do so. Developing Niger State to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello is foremost a service to self as he believes after office, he also becomes an ordinary citizen that will benefit from reforms and development of basic amenities provided by his Adminstration.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello’s performance and achievements over the past three years have earned him Kudos from Nigerlites and should be given some accolades for his steadfast leadership.
Mu’awiyyah Yusuf Muye is the Senior Special Assistant, Digital/New Media to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello.