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JIGAWA: Lamido’s Eventful Years And The Controversies

By From John Akubo, Lokoja
17 May 2015   |   4:20 am
THE outgoing Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, does not need any introduction, having made his mark in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and national politics. Lamido has also, through his developmental strides, taken Jigawa to an enviable height with infrastructural and human development.
Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido. Image source Nigerianorth

Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido. Image source Nigerianorth

THE outgoing Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, does not need any introduction, having made his mark in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and national politics. Lamido has also, through his developmental strides, taken Jigawa to an enviable height with infrastructural and human development.

He would be remembered for his controversial role in the New-PDP leading to the exit of about five governors from the PDP fold that became the albatross of the so-called largest party in Africa.

The governor, who referred to himself as a man of controversy, played a leading role in the diplomatic shuttle by the five ‘rebellious’ governors, but backed out when the others decided to join the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). In terms of governance, he has placed the state on a level where it can compete in equal terms with its peers.

Democracy may not solve all human challenges, but no human challenge can be overcome without democracy. But the dynamism of democracy is what has added value to his leadership.

One fact is, the governor demonstrated his passion for the development of his people in every nook and cranny of the state with one effort or the other.

In the first place, his belief in the civil service as the bedrock of governance inspired him to adopt a strategy attractive to civil servants. Jigawa civil servants were known for their perchance for living in Kano and working in Dutse. Others resorted to commuting from their various local councils on daily basis.

The story, however, changed in the last seven years of the Lamido’s administration. Today, the state capital, Dutse, like Abuja, can boast of its own three arms zone, housing the civil service, judiciary and legislature, all within the same vicinity.

More importantly, civil servants have stopped their daily shuttle from Kano and other places. The city that was formerly a caricature of a capital, now exhibits the true attributes of its status as a state capita, no thanks to the efforts of Lamido.

The first thing he did on assumption of office, in May 2007, was to relocate all the ministries, which were hitherto scattered in the five emirate councils of the state, back to Dutse.

That made co-ordination of government activities less cumbersome. This singular action increased the hustling and bustling within Dutse, attracting to it, more indigenous investors and business people.

His predecessor had scattered the ministries in five zones to appease those who never wanted Dutse to be the capital. The city also witnessed development of massive housing estates such as, New Legislators quarters, Fattara, Godiya Miyetti, and Dan’masara.

Another major achievement in public service delivery is the Manpower Development Institute, which is the engine room of capacity building for civil servants. Today, the Jigawa State civil servant is well trained and can compete favourably with his or her counterpart anywhere.

The state secretariat that was almost modeled after the Federal, Secretariat is another massive structure. DESPITE these laudable achievements in infrastructural development, some areas were still left out: The Yolawa, Mobile Base, Takur and Sabon Takur areas suffered in terms of roads, drainages, water supply and other amenities.

It is sad that Yolawa and Takur-Addua cannot boast of tarred roads or drainage within the settlement. And Takur-Addua is the next neighborhood to the Government House.

Also, the development of the housing estates has favoured mainly the middle and high-income earners, to the detriment of the low-income earners. The government needed to engage in the development of mass housing unit in the Takur and Gida-Dubu housing estates to cushion this effect.

This was imperative in view of the expansion of the city and influx of people, especially with the establishment of the Federal University. The educational sector also experienced some level of success. Government constructed and renovated schools across the state and equipped them with necessary facilities to function effectively and efficiently.

The government had also improved standard of teaching staff through capacity building and improved packages. One of the major achievements in this sector is the establishment of the state university in Kafin-Hausa. Locating the university in Kafin-Hausa shows that Lamido evisioned every part of the state as his home. The appointment of a non-indigene, Prof. Abdullahi Ribadu, as the pioneer Vice-Chancellor, was a further demonstration of Lamido’s desire to see the smooth take-off of the university.

But the Governor goofed, when, like former Governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu, he named the school he established after himself, forgetting that like Audu’s name was erased and now replaced with Kogi State University by his successor, Lamido’s name may also be erased before long.

The health sector also witnessed positive changes across the state. General hospitals have been remodeled and equipped with modern facilities. Indigenes and residents of other parts of the country troop to Jigawa to enjoy the benefits of the free and qualitative services the sector offers.

The enhanced welfare package has also attracted qualified workforce to the sector. The Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital is comparable to some states’ University Teaching Hospitals in the country. Despite the achievements enumerated above, employment generation has not been impressive.

Even after the Jigawa State Economic and Investment Summit in 2013, the anticipated participation of private sectors have not been realised. The much talked-about employment from the Maigatari-Free Zone, sugar factory in Hadejia, and cassava-processing plants in Kila still remain a mirage.

The state has not taken advantage of agriculture, which has the capacity to greatly impact on unemployment, income generation, and poverty reduction. There was a need to initiate policies and programmes that would have attracted agro-allied industries to the state. Majority of its citizens are farmers, and policies that would benefit them should have been in the front burner.

The government’s skill-acquisition programmes were not enough to impact unemployment like the agricultural sector. The Jigawa airport, which has gulped over N15 billion, and one of the best in the country, was not supposed to be a priority.

It is yet to commence full commercial flight operation. Analysts say these funds could have been deployed to the agricultural sector, especially, as there are airports in Kano, Gombe, and Bauchi within the reach of Jigawa people. For now, the airport can only serve pilgrims going to Mecca.

The take-off of commercial flights are not encouraged, given the nature of economic activities in the area. BE that as it may, the failure to set it’s priorities right culminated in the non-improvement in the Internally Generated Revenue capacity of the state. Jigawa’s IGR is still the lowest in the country. Another area of great economic potential that had remained dormant is the tourism sector.

Baturiyya Sanctuary and numerous rocky landscapes could make Jigawa a tourist haven.  Up till now, the state capital cannot boast of a decent hospitality facility of minimal international standard. The so-called 3-star hotel is, at best, a ‘zero-star-hotel’! The proposed amusement park opposite the Jigawa Broadcasting Corporation is still in the drawing board.

As most state economies strive to diversify, tourism is a great potential away from oil. The new state-of-the-art multi-million naira Jigawa Broadcasting Corporation is also perceived as another economic waste because digital broadcasting does not require gigantic edifice, but the rich content that can be utilised to showcase the great economic potentials of the state to interested investors.