Can Habu Lolo Unlock The Potentials Of Niger State?


Muhammad Al-Ghazali


To say that Niger state is richly endowed with abundant resources is a massive understatement. On a recent trip to Pategi through Bida and Nupeko for the recent wedding of my big brother Dr. Husseini Mohammed, I got another potent reminder of why the state should have nothing in common with poverty and underdevelopment.


From the fringes of Doko, up to one of the tributaries of the river Niger where we boarded a ferry which virtually landed us in the heart of Pategi, the terrain was all lush and made up of vast paddy fields of all types of farming.  And we covered a distance of fifty kilometers! With effective irrigation and correct expertise, the fields could be made to yield all year long. Niger state could be an industrial scale producer and exporter of agricultural products with effective leadership.


The situation is pretty much the same in other parts of the state as well. From Muye, through Badeggi, and down to the lush plains near Mokwa, the state boasts of rich soils, and paddy fields, which could easily be exploited to make the state a net exporter of food. It is precisely for that reason that the National Cereals Research Institute is located in the state.


The presence of the three hydro-electric power dams also suggests Niger state government could exploit and encourage the development fisheries on a commercial scale. With the right policies, incentives, and visionary leadership, the state should, to a large extent, create and enabling environment for its teeming youth population to escape the clutches of poverty.


On my recent trips home to the state I encountered some scenes that actually broke my heart. I saw teenage children on the streets begging, a thing un-heard of in those parts a decade or so ego. They descend on you when you stop to buy newspapers or at various eateries. I donít know about others, but to me, nothing could be as depressing as watching children so young lose their self-esteem that early in their sojourn though life.


Niger state, in my opinion, should be better able to cope with such social challenges with better leadership. It is not only home to three of the nationís hydro-electricity stations at Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro with a promise of a forth to follow, at Zungeru; it also has one of the nationís few natural inland ports at Baro, once the epicenter of boisterous economic activity, but now sadly, in an advanced stage of neglect and decay. Baro is equally connected by rail to Minna, a major railway junction. Niger is also known to harbour solid minerals including Gold.


With his much trumpeted PhD, and rich bureaucratic experience in the federal civil service, Nigerlites expected much from the erstwhile governor Babangida Aliyu, but were eventually made to curse the day he was elected into office, and that is to be kind to the man. Under normal circumstances, topping his (Aliyuís) act should be a cakewalk for his successor Abubakar Sani Bello since the man left very few legacies beyond abandoned projects. But he will still have his work cut out for him.


With lower hand-outs from the center due to crumbling oil prices set to be worsened with the re-entry of Iranian crude into the market after the signing of its nuclear deal with the West, Bello, or Habu-Lolo, as the governor is more popularly referred to in the state, will have far lesser resources to make an impact. The dire situation is sure to challenge his leadership and managerial credentials. But that is also where Niger stateís enormous potentials will be a blessing.


With very few industries, Niger state cannot dream of the sort of Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) enjoyed by other states, but it can still make its tax regime more effective, added to the prudent use of its god-given resources. Niger state should be able attract foreign expertise and investments to create jobs for its youth.  


Niger state can put pressure on the federal government for the reopening of the Baro inland port which will unlock unaccountable avenues for jobs and wealth creation. And that should be done as a deliberate strategy of the Niger state government in partnership with its neighboring states.


But, above all, the new governor should give the idea of granting soft loans to qualified graduates to venture into agriculture by creating farming communities in all the three Senatorial Districts. With his ideas about operating a lean administration, youth empowerment will make people less dependent on government and more productive.

That is the way the future is structured. It has no room for loafers or hangers-on. And, like I suggested to the former governor almost eight years ago in through this medium, Habu Lolo can start by summoning a Niger state Economic Summit rigorously debate all options open to his administration.


One of the failings of his successor was his overwhelming propensity to assume that he alone had the answers to all the problems of Niger state. Unfortunately, as it turned out, he didnít even know how to vacate the scene gracefully.


The manner of Aliyuís exist should serve as a lesson to the amiable Habu-Lolo. Power is transient and must be used wisely. I wish our new Governor Godís guidance tackling the enormous tasks ahead of him. He must not fail our generation.    




Hi Muhammad, You wrote well. We should now throw diplomacy in the wind and challenge the west and if they use aid to force our hands we should accuse them of no-colonialism. We should be ahead now in our thinking not the other way of responding. The way the west is trying to force on Africans to follow this strange practice of legalised sodomy is a violation of our rights and culture. It is neo-colonialism of still thinking that the West, or the white man, is always right.


Also for an African American president to carry such crusade on his head shows how little he was exposed to the culture of his father while growing up. Obama has betrayed his ignorance and he is too arrogant to say the least. Someone should tell him. He was hijacked by the Hollywood moguls who are perverts and was forced to do their bidding. He sold his heart to them.


Africans should now reconnect with their culture and bring back polygamy and be proud of it. Since colonialism, Africans have tried to buy everything the West put forward and neglected or subjugated their values but I think this pervert practice has finally got Africans to start distancing themselves from the west. A lot of people do not even want integration with the West anymore. That is how this pervert culture touched people.


In the past the visit of an American president called for celebration and a feeling of acceptance into the real world.  It is no more the case; the visit of Obama to Africa is now not exciting because he is looked upon like an inflicted man, a toxic waste to be avoided. Now which Nigerian wants Obama in Nigeria, it would be nice to have an opinion poll on it but I bet most will not want him here. This is how low America is fallen.


I am a Christian but actually there was no chapter in the gospel which says polygamy was wrong. One man one wife was a white manís design and we Africans bought it. This gay thing MUST BE REJECTED in its entirety and we must find a way to turn the table on the west for abusing us.


-        Ndinigwe  Ugochukwu Ė