His Excellency, Dr Bello Muhammad Matawalle, emerged Governor of
Zamfara State when the state was on the brink of socioeconomic collapse. Prior to May 29th, 2019, Zamfara citizens were marooned between the devil and the deep blue sea: this was literally symbolized by the pillaging administration of former Governor Abdulaziz Yari on one hand and the rampaging bandits unleashing terror on another end.
Zamfara was hitherto synonymous with sanctioned state looting, banditry, endemic poverty, hunger, disease, palpable social discontent and all-round retrogression. It boasted of the highest maternal and infant mortality rate in Sub-Saharan Africa; an incontestable position down the ladder of human development index, and other accompaniments of failed leadership.
But when His Excellency Dr. Matawalle heeded the divine call, he hit the ground running. Within one year, the gloomy trends have been supplanted by a new era of peace, progress and prosperity for all.
Today, Zamfara is earning accolades as a global model for good governance. Governor Matawalle’s achievements have stunned critics and cynics, restored hope to a fragmented populace and set Zamfara on the pedestal of socioeconomic recovery and growth.
It is noteworthy to highlight some key achievements of the Governor Matawalle Administration in just one year, as follows:
Considering that sustainable development cannot be achieved amid
insecurity, Governor Matawalle moved to address the lingering insecurity challenge, which had cast Zamfara negatively in the global spotlight.
The Governor met with President Muhammad Buhari and Vice President
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. He also met with the Service Chiefs; the Hon. Minister of Defence; traditional rulers, community and religious leaders; leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of
Nigeria (MACBAN); Civilian Joint Tax Force (CJTF) and other notable
stakeholders. His subsequent negotiations facilitated the release of
over 800 captives, including several expatriates, by bandits.
To consolidate the new found peace, the Government spearheaded the
disarmament of bandits, resulting in the handover of a cache of
sophisticated arms and ammunition to the State Government.
Furthermore, over 200 surveillance vehicles, equipped with hi-tech security gadgets, were procured for distribution, to boost the capacity and morale of security forces. That’s in addition to deployment of drone technology. Today, Zamfara is peaceful, with over 25,000 persons hitherto displaced returned to their homes, and hundreds held captive reunited with their families.
No society advances above the educational level of its citizens.
Hence, in its 2020 Budget, the Government allotted 19% to Education,
the highest provision in the state’s history. From this, N7 billion
was earmarked for renovation of science schools and training of
science teachers. The provision also covers renovation of five
secondary schools, with all public primary schools earmarked for
Furthermore, the Governor approved the promotion of 6,709 primary school teachers who had 5 to 7 years backlog of promotions, and theirsalary arrears cleared in September 2019. In addition, 556 teachers neglected by the previous administration, were reinstated, and over 200 students granted educational scholarships to study abroad. To
complement Government’s efforts, the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Bello
Matawalle, placed 41 orphans on academic scholarships.
Moreover, Governor Matawalle awarded contracts for the construction of
613 primary school classrooms, while equipping them with 14,810 desks
and chairs; 962 desks for staff and modern ICT centres. N4.5 billion
was earmarked for the execution of these projects.
Governor Matawalle further visited TETFund, where he secured One Billion Naira Intervention Fund for Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara and the enlistment of Zamfara State University by NUC.
Health, they say, is wealth. The leadership of Governor Matawalle
accorded priority attention to revitalising the once moribund health
sector. 17 ambulances were immediately procured and distributed to
General Hospitals across Zamfara.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Zamfara State Government promptly
constructed and equipped the Damba Infectious Disease Center; purchased hundreds of tricycle ambulances for distribution to health centres and procured ventilators, patient monitors and COVID-19 Zero-Contact Booths Testing equipment. Hence, Zamfara successfully discharge all its cases of COVID-19.
Contracts were also awarded for completion of Shinkafi Orthopaedic
Hospital and construction of 147 Primary Health Centres in the respective Local Government Wards, along with procurement of beds for all the facilities. The construction of Kagara Hospital has since been completed.
To boost life expectancy in Zamfara, Governor Matawalle kick-started the establishment of ultramodern Women and Children Hospitals across the 14 Local Governments of Zamfara, at a free cost for pregnant mothers and children under five.
Urbanisation and Critical Infrastructure
Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, now wears a new look. Governor Matawalle has executed several impactful projects, including:
Completion of Canteen Daji Area road rehabilitation; Completion of Kwanar Inno Doya, Sabon Gari Road via Sarkin Tasha Mosque, Sardauna Bread linking up to Late Ladan Mada House;
Completion of road from Old Motor Park near Auwal Bread, beside the
railway, linking up to CIS, up to the Government House Road, opposite
Completion of a suburban close along Kantin Sauki line, via the house of Liman Dan Alhaji Sambo, linking up to the Emir’s Palace Mosque;
Kanwuri Gusau; Tudun Wada; Sabuwar Hanya; completion of road down to
Tsamiya Masaka, linking up to Koramar Boko House, also linking up to
Sunny Fast Food.
Furthermore, Governor Matawalle synthesized a Rural Transformation
Scheme modeled after the Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructures of 1986. Several projects are in progress in many rural areas of Danmarke, Kadaddaba, Ruwan Doruwa, Kanoma, Gwaram and Yardanya, among others.
In pursuit of a robust rural remodeling program, the adroit leadership of Dr. Matawalle identified a plethora of gains in the Rural Grazing Areas program, as a masterstroke to end frequent clashes between herders and crop farmers, while opening massive vistas of investment and employment.
The project will boast of integrated settlements; properly equipped
Schools; a veterinary clinic; an earth dam; cattle cottages; grazing yard; abattoir; mosques; cemeteries; overhead tanks; irrigation system; milk collection centre; assorted animal feed processors;
traditional community/social arena etc., that make for a good life, sustainable development and catalytic wealth creation. Today, the pilot project in Maradun is at 80% completion. The project will be replicated across the three senatorial districts of Zamfara State.
Industrialisation and Foreign Direct Investments
Governor Matawalle maintains an eagle eye for investment opportunities. Upon creating a viable environment for investments by enhancing security, practicing an open-door approach and provision of robust infrastructure; many countries, NGOs and Development Partners now offer to contribute in developing entrepreneurial skills for youth empowerment.
Governor Matawalle is also showcasing Zamfara’s Investment potentials on the global horizon; from the 2019 UN General Assembly in the United States, to the Russia-Africa Economic Summit; and China from 23rd to 24th December 2019, to promote Zamfara State’s potentials in mining, agriculture and industrialization.
In Beijing, China, the Governor wooed investors for a win-win partnership in solid minerals development, stressing that 50% of the 34 commercial minerals listed in Nigerian are found in Zamfara; including gold, zinc, columbite, silver, gypsum, limestone, copper, tantalite and barite. The governor promised added incentives for prospective investors.
Back home, Governor Matawalle laid the foundation for a N9 billion 3-Star Hotel under a Public Private Partnership agreement. This will create more employment opportunities; as several national and international programmes and other VIP occasions could be hosted in the state.
To spur industrialisation, Zamfara State Government signed an MoU with
African Export-Import Bank in October, 2019. Governor Matawalle also
secured a 1 Billion US Dollar investment input to facilitate trade and
industry; through revival of cotton production, animal husbandry, beef
processing and exploring opportunities in minerals and water
Indeed, a new Zamfara State is being built. With the successes recorded so far, we can boldly say that Zamfara is lighting the pathway in the journey of people-driven leadership, geared towards engendering a greater Nigeria.
Dr Bashir Maru Muhammed is the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Zamfara
State Governor and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org