A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) and socio-political analyst, Chief Ray Morphy, has given reasons why Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani-Bello, is a potential running mate to the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
According to the renown columnist, the Niger governor has demonstrated capacity and leadership in the state beyond expectations.
Chief Morphy said the governor should be commended and celebrated for what he is doing despite paucity of funds, the size of the state and security challenges posed by bandits.
He recommended Sani-Bello to the APC as running mate to Tinubu, saying the governor has the character, the mien and the disposition that is ideal of a vice president.
Speaking with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja, after a visit to Niger State to see the situation of things and the style of governance of Alhaji Sani-Bello, the APC chieftain said the governor has performed admirably well since he became the governor of the state in 2015.
Chief Morphy added that Governor Sani-Bello may not have shown interest but it behoves APC to come up with configurations with which it can win the public mind, this, he said can do by field Bello alongside Tinubu.
“Added advantage is that he is a performing governor from the North-central, a zone that is due for the job. More so, he has the experience, the pedigree and the buy in of both the youths and the elite,” he noted.
Morphy suggested that Niger State might even be larger than the whole of the South East zone of the country, and some of its 25 local government areas are larger than Lagos state. Thus, to govern Niger state is a huge task.
He continued: “There is no doubt that Governor Sani Bello has demonstrated capacity as a leader in Niger state and Nigeria and deserved to be commended and celebrated for what he is doing in state despite paucity of funds, the size of the state and security challenges posed by bandits.
“Realizing that Niger state is blessed with vast agricultural land, Governor Sani Bello had since inception of his administration prioritized the development of the agricultural sector and has developed the sector to serve as a catalyst for economic development and job creation.
“His administration has been a partner in progress with the farmers, providing regular farm inputs, purchasing and distributing tractors to farming households and initiating partnership with foreign investors in the areas of sugar and rice production.
“He has attracted South Korean Government to invest in the state. The South Korean Government through the Korean International Cooperation has established a modern Rice Processing Complex in Bida, Niger State to improve the competitiveness of rice produced in Nigeria in the international market.
“The governor has also leveraged on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure full participation of Niger farmers and had also supported beneficiaries with extension services and added services to ensure better yields.
“He has equally accorded priority attention to livestock and animal husbandry sector in general as the state has comparative advantage in the sector. Under his leadership the Niger State government gazette 33, 731 hectares of land to establish a model grazing reserve in Bobi, Mariga and Mashegu local government areas, thus, the farmers and the agric-business in Bobi and its adjoining communities now have vast livestock resources to boost meat and diary production while minimizing farmer/herder confrontations.
“The governor is also collaborating with countries with big pedigree in livestock and diary production such as Brazil, Hungary, Netherlands, India and Pakistan among others.”
Describing the governor as media shy, Morphy said Sani-Bello “is not one to blow his own trumpets.
“But as they say, a golden fish has no hiding place. His achievements in Niger state needs to be highlighted if for nothing but for record purposes as one of the performing governors of his era.
“The economist and businessman who comes from a glorious military background sees himself as a change agent whose mission is to transform Niger State from the parlous state that it was under the sixteen years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to a state that would fulfill its destiny in lines with the hopes and aspirations of the founding fathers.
“Though a member of the upper class by birth and who has gone on to become a successful businessman by his own right, Sani Bello had always identified and championed the cause of the common man. It is as a result of his love for humanity that he had devoted the past seven years and counting to the development of Niger State to make it better than he met it in 2015.
“He has brought fiscal discipline to Niger State through the introduction of Treasury Single Account (TSA), staff verification exercise, reduction of bureaucratic bottlenecks as well as prudent management of resources as critical drivers of his reform agenda.
“He was able to reduce cost of governance, block wastages, minimize corruption and enhanced the state collection and utilization of its internally generated revenue,” he added.
On insecurity in the state, the APC chieftain said the state government reinvigorated its support to the standing joint operations with logistics and welfare to enable them clear the crisis prone-communities of Rafi, Shiroro and Munya local government areas of the state under siege by bandits.
“The state government has gone further to use multiple approaches in tackling the menace. For instance, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello had in a bid to enhance the efficiency of the vigilantes in the affected local governments, presented more than 300 motorcycles, and over 20 Hilux vehicles to them due to poor accessibility of the roads.
“The essence of empowering the vigilantes is to back up the security agencies and work in accordance with the law for maximum results. The governor also made it a point of duty to compensate families of any officer who lost his or her life or sustain injury in the line of duty,” he said.