Two And Half Years Later, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello…Building An Impactful And Impeccable Legacy For Niger State, By Mu’awiyyah Muye
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Vince Lombardi who was an American football player and coach, Lombardi affirmed that “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”.
Even the greatest leaders and legends such as Nelson Mandela, Mohammed Ali, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Chinua Achebe, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Maya Angelou, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Micheal Jordan, Micheal Jackson, Tiger Woods, the William sisters, Bob Marley, Fela, Tupac, to mention but few, are never considered to be faultless. Those people and their likes were considered some of the greatest in their respective fields but they were never perfect because perfection is an attribute of Allah alone.
In the current political dispensation, we have leaders, few among a great many who are really dedicated to their jobs and tasks, leaders who will never sleep until they see the tasks ahead of them being taken care of, Leaders like President Muhamadu Buhari, Nasir elrufai, Umar Ganduje, Akinwunmi Ambode, Atiku Bagudu, Hadi Sirika, Babatundd Raji Fashola, Audu Ogbeh, Rauf Aregbesola and Our own Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello. With leaders such as the likes of these dedicated gentlemen, there has been a restoration of hope in public Governance and service delivery.
In 2015 when Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello assumed office as the 5th elected Executive Governor of the State, there was a great expectation from him by Nigerlites due to the failure of the previous administrations, but the chips were down from the many years Of mismanagement and neglect. Nigerlites were hungry for development and were yearning for a leader that will assume the mantle of leadership solely for the love of the state and restore her glory to its full potential.
Before then, Governor Sani-Bello who had, after a stellar career in the private sector, as a successful businessman, thought of bringing his rich experience over the years to the public sector to help in the building of Niger state, he had a brief stint in the administration of Muazu Babangida Aliyu as the commissioner of commerce and investment, along the line, he resigned from his positions then because of irregularities and the fact that the then administration took a turn different from what he signed on for, a feat that is unheard of in Nigeria.
At a time when millions were jostling to get appointed to positions of power to take their own share of the National cake, Governor Sani-Bello was heading out just because he wasn’t satisfied with governance direction of the then government. Something that is only prevalent in leaders who have the love of their people, state, and the country at heart.
A few days ago, at an event, Governor Sani-Bello Said something that caught my attention, he said and I quote “To my Chief Of Staff, Secretary to the State Government, and Head Of Service, I get angry at you sometimes, not because I don’t like you or you are not doing enough but because I want you to do more”.
If you ever come across anybody that has worked or has been close to Governor Sani-Bello, they always say the same thing about him, he is someone that demands the best from you, he is focused and passionate about developing Niger state and most of all, he is a prudent manager of resources, true to his Inclination as a trained economist.
During the build-up to 2015 election, Nigerlites yearned for a breath of fresh air, someone from a different class of thinking, someone with different ideas, someone with a rich background in the private sector, Governor Sani-bello endeared himself to the populace with his charisma and likable persona.
He toured all the nooks and crannies of Niger State to tell them about his plans for the state. He became the only option Nigerlites were left with due to his antecedents. At the polls, he took his opponents to the cleaners and emerged the Governor of Niger State.
After assuming office, Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello hit the ground running despite the insecurity and monetary constraints in the country, Nigeria immediately slid into recession due to the gross abuse of power and the embezzlement of our commonwealth by the past administrations.
Governor Sani-Bello immediately embarked on the restoration agenda of the state in areas like Education given his belief that sound education is the foundation of every society; Agriculture because of our dwindling revenue due to the fall in the prices of oil, hence the need to diversify and go back to the farm and create jobs for the growing population of youth unemployment; infrastructural development; and youth and women empowerment were also strong parts of the policies he set out to embark on from the word go and a host of others.
In Education sector, Governor Sani-Bello made Education one of the focal points of his administration, the sector has witnessed tremendous changes since the inception of his government. In his “Whole School Development Approach”, Governor Sani-Bello has renovated and restructured six secondary schools across the three senatorial districts of the state.
In the area of Agriculture, In line with the APC’s manifesto, Governor Sani-Bello has signed a memorandum 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, signed a $450 million agreement with Dangote Group for 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, Agrocraft Nigeria Ltd. The government of Governor Sani-Bello is also giving due attention to the development of Shea butter tree sector with the engagement of a Consultant to develop the sector on its value chain.
In the Health sector, In an effort to ensure availability of qualitative Healthcare for the people, Governor Sani-Bello led administration has committed to the provision of a fully functional health facility in each of the 274 political wards of the state. This also includes a complete overhaul of the general hospitals in Minna, Suleja, Bida, and Kantagora in addition to upgrading IBB Specialist Hospital to provide tertiary Healthcare services in the State.
In Infrastructural development, his administration in keeping with its understanding of the place of infrastructure as a critical driver of development has embarked on the construction and rehabilitation of township roads in all the major towns of the state. The state government also embarked on the maintenance/rehabilitation of some Federal roads including Minna-Suleja road and a host of others across the state, all in the bid to ease passage of people and facilitate a trade for Nigerlites and Nigerians who visit or go through Niger State.
The Niger State Fire Service, hitherto moribund due to neglect by previous administrations, is not spared by the Governor Sani-Bello’s administration. The service is witnessing a facelift. This is in addition to the construction of new fire service stations at Mokwa, Lapai, Bida, Minna, Kontagora, and Agaie; the recruitment of 150 firemen and provision of additional firefighting trucks to curtail fire outbreaks in the State.
On women and youth empowerment, the Governor armed with the insight that any meaningful development devoid of youth and women inclusion, is one bound to fail. To this end, 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 ICT, Green House Agricultural Technology, Youth-Skills Acquisition Programme (CYSAP), Rice Milling and Poultry Production.
In sports development, the state competed in various Championships and won laurels for the State in Football, Hockey, 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, will likely continue in the new year. It is the time we bring our darling Tornadoes home.
Governor Sani-Bello was able to achieve these feats and more with the overwhelming support of Nigerlites despite our dwindling revenue, diversification in line with APC Manifesto and his resolve to increase our IGR. Next big task is for our state to become self-reliant reduce reliance on federation allocation; something Mr. Governor has doggedly pursued since assuming office.
Nigeria officially got out of the recession a few months ago, and with the presentation of the 2018 budget of N128,010,602,977.00 tagged “People’s Budget” By Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello to the Niger State House of Assembly, 2018 is looking to be a bright and hopeful year; of boom and Greatness for Niger State and Nigerlites.
Muawiyah Yusuf Muye is the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State on Digital/New Media