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OPINION

Al-Makura And The Burden Of History

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Wednesday May 29, 2019 will go down in the history of Nasarawa State as the date which Umaru Tanko Al-Makura otherwise known as Ta’ al or UTA handed over the mantle of leadership of  the State to Engr Abdullahi Alhaji Sule amidst pomp and pageantry. Since that Wednesday, our cyber space has been awash with all sorts of insinuations, claims and counter claims from Al-makura critics on one hand and his supporters on the other.

      On the side of critics, there are claims that former governor Al-Makura, due to reckless manner in which he ran the state for eight years, can not make any public appearance in Lafia, the state capital. The Al-makura’s critics who made this insinuation hinged their argument on ‘fear of the unknown’ as main reason that would prevent him from making such public appearance.

Al-makura’s critics made reference to Al-Makura’s ‘underperformance’ in the state as his source of fear. Elucidating further on this, critics said his eight years was driven by primitive but wanton accumulation of public wealth to the detriment of the entire  well-being and progress of the people of the state.

The critics held that Al-Makura’s reign was characterized by ‘reckless avarice’ and mal-administration, a result of which they maintained, was what made the people referred to his government as exclusively for the family. They (critics) pointed out that throughout Al-Makura’s eight years in office it was the circle of his family that called the shots, contrary to expectations of people of the state who staked their lives to oust late Aliyu Akwe Doma in 2011.

This set of critics further noted that through out Al-Makura’s eight years as governor, his personal interest always came first, second and third in all matters before him. While rubishing Al-Makura’s supposed achievements, his critics said when juxtaposed, the so called achievements of Al-Makura with the monies  that accrued to Nasarawa State in the last eight years from the Federation account, bail-out/Paris club refunds, budget support funds, ecological funds, bond funds/loans and internally generated revenues amongst others, one will shudder in bewilderment at the level of sharp- practices that went under his watch.

The critics then said, Al-Makura has not done anything that could make him not to make public appearance arguing that the ‘fear of the unknown’ which Al-Makura’s critics cited exist only in their infantile and senile minds. They pointed out that Al-Makura remains the architect of modern Nasarawa State, regardless of what his enemies would do or insinuate.

They also stressed that the state never had a governor who provided to the people of the state the needed infrastructures the way Al-Makura did, reasoning that the coming of Al-makura in 2011 has changed the whole deplorable narratives of the state. They further argued that Al-Makura came up with many policies and programmes which helped in uplifting substantial number of people out of poverty.

They asserted: ‘For the first time in the history of the state, the people started seeing asphalt roads, constructed by the state government. All the headquarters of the 13 local government councils benefited from Al-Makura’s policy on construction of township roads hitherto abandoned by his predecessors in the state’. Continuing, Al-Makura’s supporters also argued that under his policy on road constructions, no fewer than 150 roads have either been constructed or rehabilitated across the state, covering more than 800 kilometers, adding   ‘under this policy, all intra-state roads have either been constructed or presently under construction’

‘There was no state road that Al-Makura left untouched to the betterment of the people of the state”, they further stressed.

They cited the Awe- Tunga road, Obi- Keana road, Agyaragu-Doma road, Adudu- Azara- Wuse road, Toto –Umaisha road and Gitata-Panda- Kugwaru- Karu road as well as Unguwar Hashimu- Karu road as some the roads constructed by Al-Makura-led administration.

Al-Makura’s supporters further posited that Lafia the state capital was not left out as the city also benefited immensely from Al-Makura’s policy on road construction, saying that even a visitor to Lafia can attest to the changes that took place in Lafia in terms of road expansions. “Candidly, Lafia the state capital was transformed by Al-makura’s government and can now compete favourably with older state capitals in the country”, they added. They went further to argue that the success of Al-Makura’s government in Nasarawa State did not only stop at roads construction alone but transcended to other areas like, health and education, youth empowerment,  rural water supply, etc.

“On health for example, Al-Makura constructed/renovated 101 primary health care facilities across the state. This is besides construction of 160-bed ultra- modern hospitals in Lafia, Akwanga and Nasarawa as well as renovation of general hospitals in Awe, Toto, Mararaba, Doma, Gurku and Keana, and provisions of other medical equipments to boast the health care of the people of the state”, they also stressed.

They further maintained that the giant stride Al-Makura made in areas of education in Nasarawa State was overwhelming. Renovations/ construction of classroom blocks in primary schools as well as constructions of hostel blocks in the higher institutions were a common sight in the state. All these they noted, were in addition to welfare of civil servants in the state. “It is on record that Al-makura was the first governor to implement the 2011 new minimum wage, the supporters further pointed out.

“The achievements recorded by Al-Makura’s government in Nasarawa State were inexhaustible as time and space can not permit us to highlight them all here, but one fact that cannot be disputed even by Al-Makura’s so- called critics  is that the government under his leadership has in the last eight years paid its dues to the people of the  State through provisions of dividend of democracy”, they concluded.

Of-course, the eight years of Al-makura in Nasarawa State has the good and the bad side, depending on how one decides to examine it. One cannot in one breath input that Al-Makura has not achieved anything in his eight years in office, just as one cannot in the same breath say, he has achieved all.  As to whether or not former Governor Al-Makura cannot make a public appearance  in especially Lafia, the state capital, remains a subject of conjecture which only time will tell.

–Bala writes from Lafia, Nasarawa state

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