Goodbye Abdulkadir Kure, Welcome Babangida Aliyu
Alhassan Maji Tswako (PhD)
This should be the season of a sigh of relief, and hope for a new beginning for the Nigerlites. As such, one should just say a happy good bye, yes happy good bye to the departing Governor with the hope that the bad days are now over. It should be our hope or it is our hope and prayer that the departing Governor will depart also along with him, with all the ills of his mal-administration, lack of focus, dedication and sincerity of purpose of service to the people. We hope that the end of Kure’s administration will also mark the end of the era of a bashi millions, the days of official Haji and Jerusalem trip sadakas or sponsorships, the days of car sharing to politicians, traditional title holders, big and small, or to friends and relatives and the days of squander of public funds for the service of cronies and political hangers’ on. Of course, it is our sincere hope that his administration will mark the end of frivolous appointments of do nothing – self serving special advisers and assistants that promoted indolence and lack of contribution to state economic growth; and we hope it will be the end of mediocre politicians as the movers and shakers of state polices, the end of the age of illiterates and sometimes rouges as the the most influencial personalities in the corridors of power.
There after we shall now welcome our new Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu. Sir you are welcome to the seat of power of Niger State. By now, Sir, you must know, even if just by the introduction I have given, what had bedeviled the State you have come to govern now after eight years of mis-rule. The past administration is to say the least unfortunate to the citizens of the state and even for those who hold sway during that period, for the simple fact that prosperity will not forgive them. There were some of us that lamented the situation then and we are echoing the bad fate so that you and feature leaders of the State will learn from it. It was an era which many of us will love to forget and it is only your learning from it that will make us to forget that immediate past. It pained us watching State meager resources surrendered to few individuals for personal comfort squander under whatever guise.
However, we have hope in you, in your background as a seasoned technocrat, to reverse the misfortunes of the past and turn the State towards the path of developmental governance. You should therefore permit me sir, to hint you or may I say remind you, for one presupposes that you know, on what we believe the State citizens needed most. One of such and probably the foremost is in the area of agriculture. Niger State is an agrarian State, take it or leave it, and no developmental impact will be felt by the masses if agricultural sector is not the pivotal point. Therefore Sir, you must invest heavily in agricultural sector in order to transform the present peasantry agriculture of the state to an industrial one. This you can achieve by providing our peasant farmers with mechanized tools such as tractors and power-tillers (for lowland rice farmers), agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and agro-chemicals at affordable prizes and accessible locations. You must open rural roads in anticipation of bumper harvests that will follow to permit easy evacuation of such produce to the market centers in urban areas. There will be need to gear up effort in providing irrigation facilities for rice and sugar cane production in the State, the two major internationally tradable crops which the state has great potential. Already existing irrigation facilities in the State need to be up-graded. You must also Sir, take steps towards encouraging entrepreneurs towards establishing agro-allied industries in the State to avoid gloat of agro-produce in the hands of the farmers and of course this will also provide processing centers for export and job opportunities to the teaming population of the State.
Sir, the State you have come to govern is still educationally backward. The largest population of Niger State is in the rural areas and in these areas education is nothing to write home about. The primary schools, where they exist, have very poor structures and facilities and very poorly educated teachers, hence learning hardly take place in such schools. Most products of such schools can not fit in to any junior secondary school, because they can hardly read or write. Primary school level is the backbone of anybody’s educational carrier; once it is ill treated the educational carrier of such a person can hardly be redeemed. There will of course be need to back them up with secondary schools. Sir, still on education, it may be interesting to know that many Nigerlites are poor and can not afford most of the charges now payable in many higher educational institutions today, especially universities. Most students that have mental capacity to enter such institutions do not have financial capacity to do so. In essence, your administration will do well to re-enforce the State scholarship for such students, particularly in science, medical and engineering courses.
Finally, our health sector needs your urgent attention. A sick population is not only indolence but highly unproductive. There is need to provide efficient rural setting medical facilities to cater for our teaming rural population.
As a technocrat, I believe you also know the importance of civil servants, which the out-gone administration has totally destroyed and you will need to re-build from the scratch.
Civil service in Niger State for the past eight years have been reduced to non-existence level and this had a negative impact in decision making and implementation in the State in near past. The civil servants have been totally demoralized, have lost courage and professionalism. There is need for you to re-build its confidence and dependability in order to provide machinery for the conduct of governance which they suppose to serve as a tool. Politicians are not good executors of policies, particularly our type of politicians that will serve themselves more than they serve the public.
The areas mentioned as deserving your attention are not exhaustive in themselves, but are probably the areas you will make much more impact on the lives of the ordinary citizens of the State. But Sir, permit me to add that many, if not most of those who brought you in to power, and by this I mean the politicians, are self-serving individuals. They see politics as a trade or vocation and means of livelihood. You will therefore need to make it point blank to them that, politics is about forming a government and not milking it, and therefore they must be encouraged to find some gainful engagement rather than sit around the corridors of power seeking fortunes without productivity.
Let me finally pray All Mighty Allah to show you the light and direction away from the ways of our immediate past ant to the ways of government of development and service to the people.
National Cereals Research Institute