In Nasarawa State, under the democratic dispensation which began in 1999, Engr Abdullahi A. Sule is the fourth elected governor of the state.He was elected through a popular vote on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He took over the mantle of leadership from the erstwhile governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, on May 29, 2019 at a ceremony witnessed by a mammoth crowd.
While addressing the crowd that gathered to witness his swearing-in, Sule articulated his mission in governance: Provide improved security; strengthen the fabric of peace and unity among the various tribes, communities and entire people in the state, carry out reform of government public service, ensure rapid industrialisation, initiate and promote youth empowerment programmes, renewed focus on energy development, pursue improved revenue generation as well as provide incentives to willing investors in the state so as to create wealth and employment and inclusiveness in governance.
In pursuance of his mission in governance, Governor Abdullahi A Sule has made real his pledge at inauguration, to unlock the opportunities that abound in the state. This is to enable the people and investors take advantage of investment as well as create wealth in line with the state’s Economic Development Strategy (NEDS).
He carried out the restructuring of ministries and departments, streamlining them to make SMART for efficient management and effective service delivery. He also constituted a committee to look into the issue of civil servants’ welfare, especially the issue of pending promotion implementation and annual increment.
The governor equally constituted another committee to look into the issue of new minimum wage implementation approved by the federal government. The two committees have submitted their reports to the state government and are awaiting implementation. Already, government has begun the process of the implementation of promotion and has paid outstanding salary arrears to civil servants as well as payment of pension, gratuity and death benefits to retired civil servants.
In addition to all these, he convened a stakeholders meeting where he brought together past leaders of the state, including retired top civil servants in order to fashion out the best way in tackling several economic and socio-political challenges facing the state, as well as ensure that all the various strata of the society are adequately reflected in the process of policy formulation and implementation. During the meeting, Governor Abdullahi A Sule humbly submitted himself to his august guests where he declared:
“Please I am one of the youngest among you. I appeal to you to look me directly in the face and tell me if we are going in the wrong direction, please tell me!” He went further to assure “I will not be angry because people criticise me openly. I will not be upset because people tell us this is not the right way, because for me the interest of Nasarawa State is more important and far above my personal interest or the vested interests of any individual!”
And ever since he assumed office, he has consistently kept faith with his pledge to ensure the enthronement of a secured environment to ensure the inflow of investors to the state.
In a bid to build stronger ties in the fight against banditry and communal violence as well as stem the rising profile of criminality in the state and other neighbouring states, especially Benue State, the governor travelled to Makurdi to meet with his Benue State counterpart, Governor Samuel Ortom with a value to re-evaluate earlier security strategies adopted by the two states in the past to curb the menace of the hydra headed monster of conflict and violence.
The State Government under the leadership of Governor Abdullahi A. Sule has also adopted the Community Based Conflict Resolution Mechanism put in place by the immediate past administration of the state. The Mechanism encourages warring parties to come together, discuss their differences and resolve them amicably. Apart from adopting the Community Based Conflict Resolution Mechanism as well as constituting the committees at the various levels of government right down to the village level, the State Government under Governor Abdullahi A. Sule has keyed into the Federal Government National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
In the area of infrastructure development, the State Government under Governor Abdullahi A. Sule, first embarked on the development of a strategic document to drive the development process in the state. The document tagged “Nasarawa State Economic Development Strategy” (NEDS) is a guiding document that is driving development and Investment process in the state.
So far, government under Governor Abdullahi A Sule has been able to bring in investors into the state in the area of Agriculture and Agro allied companies. For instance within the period under discourse, the State Government signed an MoU with AZMAN Group of Companies for rice cultivation and value chain processing; providing well over 40 hectares of land in Umaisha Toto LGA. This is in addition to the establishment of a private Agro-Allied processing company in Keffi.
Aside providing training of manpower in modern agricultural practice, the state government has assisted farmers in the area of provision of farm inputs such as fertiliser, sold at subsidised rates and improved seedlings and such other related inputs as part of efforts aimed at achieving quality yield for local and international markets.
In the area of education, the state government under the watch of Governor Sule and through the SDGs, has been able to execute well over 50 different projects especially in the construction of Primary/Secondary Schools across the state. The schools projects are in Mararaban Gongon, Wamba LGA, Angwan Jarme of Kokona as well as in Mahanga which is in Awe Local Government Area to mention a few. This is in addition to the completion of a Special Technical School in Lafia, by the polytechnic to provide training in vocational skills and middle cadre technologies, as well as the recruitment of well over 2500 teachers to beef up the teaching requirement in the education sector.
In the area of the healthcare delivery, the state government has equally made impressive inroad on the development of the sector. For instance, the Model Hospitals built by the immediate past administration in Akwanga, Nasarawa and Awe have been fully equipped and are now functional in addition to upgrading, equipping and staffing of a number of health care delivery centres across the state. Similarly the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia has also undergone re-structuring, equipped and made fully functional to serve the various health care needs of the people in the state.
The state government has fulfilled her earlier promise to support the take-off of the Teaching Hospital at the Federal University, Lafia by formally handing over the state owned Model Hospital which was at various stages of completion situated along B. A D Road Lafia. The School of Nursing and Midwifery Lafia has also been fully equipped and accredited, while 12 nurses are currently being sponsored by the state government for Masters Programme in Nursing. Interestingly, at the inception of the administration, it provided free eye care services across the three Senatorial Districts of the state where a total of over 500 patients accessed free medical care. Out of this figure, a total of 204 underwent various eyes care surgeries.
In pursuit of the urbanisation policy of the state government, it embarked on the construction of some roads within some urban centres such as Lafia, the state capital. Some of the roads under construction within the Lafia metropolis are the Al-Makura Street, Abuja Street off Shendam Road and the road which passes through the governor’s personal residence linking Crown Hotel from the Jibo Estate among several others. There is also the provision of two kilometres solar street lights across the 13 LGAs of the state.
In his efforts to open up the rural communities through road construction, the state government has also embarked on the construction of rural roads across the state and they include the Sisimbaki-Kwarra Road in Wamba LGA which has since been completed, Agwade –Shupe rural road in Obi LGA; Doka – Lakyo in Lafia LGA; Kanje –Abunni in Awe LGA; Kagbu – Wana road in Nassarawa Eggon LGA as well as the Mararaba –Udege road in Nassarawa LGA. Construction/grading of Mama – Marhai – Mashege stretch of the road to provide easy accessibility to the famous Farin Ruwa Water Fall has begun. In the area of potable water supply, the state government in the earlier part of the administration ensured the restoration of water supply to some local government headquarters such as Keffi, Akwanga, Kokona and Lafia to mention a few.
Akwe is the director of Information, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lafia.