by Ahmadu Aliyu anaruwa
Kebbi State, the “Land of Equity” as it is popularly called, was created in 1991 by the government of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. Since creation, the state had the experience of different brands of governance by about eight administrators; four military and four civilian. Today, it has been 25 eventful years of a long journey in search of greatness. Out of these years, eight were spent under the leadership of Saidu Usman Nasamu Dakingari, the immediate past governor of the state. As the state gets set to celebrate its silver jubilee, the people of Kebbi State remember the two tenures of Saidu Nasamu and the question in every one’s lips is, how far have we gone since the exit of Saidu Dakingari?
Saidu Dakingari succeeded Alhaji Muhammad Adamu Aliero as the governor of the state. Both men were refined Custom officers. Both men were very close to each other. Both men enjoyed wonderful and even close family ties. This perhaps explains the choice of Saidu Dakingari to succeed Adamu Aliero. Thus, the political structures of Aliero were used to ensure the victory of Saidu at the polls. Thus, on May 29, 2007, Alhaji Saidu Usman Nasamu succeed Adamu Aliero as the governor of the state.
Saidu Dakingari did not waste time in expressing his mission and vision for the state, he would curb waste, discourage corruption, ensure accountability, promote education, encourage farming, provide healthcare services and ensure rural and urban development. His first two years were therefore those of very tight economic policies. He made sure there was little or no money to be wasted by governing officials.
His economic policies ensured prudence and accountability; only very important projects and government activities were funded with government funds. It was a period of renaissance and naturally, some officials of government and politicians who hitherto have seen and treated government and its money as personal cried throughout the period. The Governor was viewed by this category of people as high handed and strong headed. The usual political patronage where all sorts of political jobbers put their hands in government coffers soon disappeared.
Saidu cultivated his first set of enemies but remained undaunted. For him, governance was all about the people and a good government must be ready to serve and protect the interests of the vast majority of the people and not about promoting the selfish interests of a few influential or powerful people. The government outlined an action plan for the accelerated development of the state based on two pronged agenda of infrastructural development and attitudinal change.
Farming has always been the pre-occupation of the people of Kebbi State and agriculture has been and is still the mainstream of its economy. The most visible achievement of the Nasamu administration was the agricultural revolution which brought fertilizer, equipments and seeds to farmers throughout the state and at affordable prices. Fertilizer and equipments were sold to farmers at heavily subsidized rates. Dry season farming was not only encouraged but was deliberately promoted. This led to a serious decline in unemployment, increase in full production and massive economic development, first for the farmers and then for the state through increased revenue generation.
With regards to infrastructure, the government awarded contracts for the construction of roads in various parts of the state, some of which have been completed and others at various stages of completion. Before May, 2015 more than 70 roads were constructed as many communities which were disconnected by water were connected through bridges and roads. Rural communities were not only expanded but were opened and connected to different parts of the state with some connecting the state to neighboring states and countries.
The economic and social benefits of these roads are enormous. It is on record that no government constructed the quality of roads provided to the people of the state than the Nasamu administration. There is hardly a community which has not enjoyed the road revolution during the administration.
Side by side with roads and bridges, we saw the massive rehabilitation and provision of public utilities across the state. This has helped to ensure adequate supply of water in both the rural and urban areas.
Saidu Nasamu gave concentrated attention to the education sector; schools were rehabilitated and renovated; model schools were also established. No section of the state was left out. There was hardly any community which did not get a school during the Nasamu era. In the state science education was promoted just like the girl- child education. Many female schools were established to promote girl-child education. Tertiary institutions were properly funded and a state polytechnic was also established at Dakingari to provide people of the state with access to tertiary education.
The revolution in the health sector was wonderful, general hospitals were built in all the local governments. We also witnessed the construction of rural healthcare centers all over the state. It was a big revolution.
Today, Kebbi State has a befitting and standard airport courtesy of the Nasamu Administration constructed using the highest quality standards, the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, Birnin Kebbi is one of the best in the country. Nasamu funded the airport very effectively. It commenced Hajj operations and local flights. This has improved the image of the state and eased transportation challenges as travelers no longer go to Sokoto for flight.
— Anaruwa lives in Badariya, Birnin Kebbi