By Imam Imam
THE ongoing campaigns by various candidates seeking elective posts and their political parties have provided Nigerians with the opportunity to assess those seeking to rule over them for the next four years. When politicians come to the people directly for a face to face interaction, citizens can evaluate their programmes and suitability for the office they are seeking.
In Sokoto State, attention of voters is now fixed on the plan of action rolled out by the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the governorship contest, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. At the flag-off of his campaign penultimate week, Tambuwal, better known to Nigerians as the ever-smiling and no-nonsense Speaker of the House of Representatives, promised to take the state on a journey of prosperity already started by the incumbent governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko.
The greatest treasure the state is currently enjoying, according to him, is the peace and tranquility found in abundance within its borders. Located in a region bedeviled by the Boko Haram insurgency, Sokoto’s ability to steer off crisis has been a source of admiration for sociologists. Considering its unique position as the centre-point of Islam in Nigeria, Sokoto has in the past taken the lead in finding lasting solutions to the menace of terrorism in the country. Political and religious leaders have, at various times, given a true interpretation of all the tenets of Islam, and have openly abhorred wanton killings and destruction of property.
The citizens of Sokoto have at various forums harped on the need to ensure continuity of government policies. Many who gave their inputs into the Tambuwal agenda emphasized that coming to start afresh will be detrimental to the prosperity of their state. Their claim followed a close observation of the achievements of Wamakko in critical areas like education, healthcare, social reorientation, youths and sports development and infrastructural delevlopment.
The economic potential of Sokoto is enormous. With the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria factory located in the state and various small and medium scale industries scattered all over, Sokoto has already charted a path to industrialization. As Tambuwal noted in Shagari and Tureta LGAs during his campaign stop, there are also abundant water resources for irrigation farming and other agro-allied activities. The Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority has its headquarters in the capital and so far, there are plans to enhance its capacity to meet the growing needs of the people of the area.
The people of Sokoto are known for their entrepreneurial disposition. Tambuwal said when elected, the state government will complement their efforts by creating an enabling environment to boost investment and other commercial activities. He said this can be done by ensuring that parameters for ease of doing business are enhanced for both local and foreign investors.
Given its huge economical potential, it is pertinent to ask: what will the incoming administration do to further harness them to advance the socio-economic development of the state and its people? The initiatives of the present government are numerous. Let us look at a few. The first is the vision of the administration in developing the human resource capacity to meet its development challenges.
Since its inception in 2007, the administration has invested handsomely in education, based on a vision premised on developing skills for the future industrialization of the state. The state has its gaze fixed on developing the mining industry in the state in the very near future.
Today, the human resource to drive that industry is being prepared. For example, quite a number of youths have been abroad to study various courses in Mining and Mineral Engineering. Others went to other parts of Nigeria and Africa to study agricultural extension. All these are done with the aim to ensure that those trained contribute their quota towards the development of various sectors of the state.
As a leader, the Speaker has promised to lead from the front, working in tandem with other progressive Nigerians from all walks of life to bring about needed change in the socio-economic landscape of his dear state in particular an Nigeria in general. This he said can be done by fully implementing the policies of the APC as espoused in its manifesto.
In Sokoto today, many are confident that Tambuwal will leverage on his experience and contacts in national and international circle to the benefit of the state. In him, they see a person who will not only redesign the economy of the state, but will also redefining its politics.
*Imam wrote from National Assembly, Abuja and can be reached on twitter at @imamdimam