Come May 29, this year, Jigawa State governor, His Excellency, Dr. Sule Lamido, will bow out of office after eight years of compelling stewardship. Navigating with an old school discipline and the panache of a 21st Century diplomat, this Bamaina-born visionary from Birnin Kudu Local Government Area of the state has simply proven that when
human resolve is wedded to genuine vision, critical transformation of the human condition occurs. For Jigawa State this is what Governor Lamido has done.
What is the inaugural vision behind this transformation? The state’s chief helmsman captures it succinctly: “To create a secure and just society full of opportunities where the people are sufficiently empowered to participate in decisions and processes that affect their lives with an enabling environment for sustainable growth and development.” Against this backdrop it was perhaps not surprising what he achieved.
Tracking back, on May 29, 2011, Governor Lamido spoke to his beloved Jigawa citizens during his second-term swearing in ceremony at the Mallam Aminu Kano Triangle in Dutse, a structure he built in honour of the “Talakawa Struggle”. His words: “Exactly four years ago on May 29th, 2007, I stood at this very ground though not in this shape and form and took the Oath of Office as the Governor of Jigawa State. That
was after being formally sworn-in to run the affairs of what I then described as “uniquely unmitigated case of underdevelopment called Jigawa State’’.
“I then went on to narrate the ‘’utter difficulty of deciding which of the many nightmares of the common people could be consigned into the dustbin of history’ arising from this case of underdevelopment. I also stated the ideological framework by which I was going to confront this underdevelopment in a way that could satisfy the yearnings of the vast majority of our people whom poverty and misery have reduced to conditions unworthy of human beings.
“That is the ideological framework which defined the Talakawa struggle founded and led by the late Mallam Aminu Kano. This ideology simply means democratising LOVE, CARE and COMPASSION so as to benchmark humanity in terms of DIGINITY and RESPECT.”
Unhesitating with his gift of speaking with alarming frankness when the situation demanded, Dr. Lamido described the Jigawa he inherited from his predecessor as a “uniquely unmitigated case of underdevelopment called Jigawa State’’. Eight years on the saddle, Governor Lamido has fundamentally rewritten the development script of his state.
From the outset, Governor Lamido targeted seven priority arenas: education, health, agriculture, economic empowerment, water, infrastructure and public accountability. The conceptual clarity of his governance approach and ideological framework were game-changers.
With these he was able to confront Jigawa’s alarming underdevelopment in a way that was satisfactory to the yearnings of the vast majority of his constituents.
Perhaps his erstwhile portfolio as foreign affairs minister exposed Governor Lamido to the deeper meaning of education in the 21st Century and he made a particularly intensive effort in this critical theatre to change his home state. The disheartening cow sheds that passed for class rooms were immediately destroyed and mint new spaces for
imparting education were erected. In his first term he constructed 1,061 classrooms across the state and purchased 62,981 classroom furniture.
Out of the 779 dilapidated schools he inherited in 2007, Lamido’s administration renovated and restored 648 to full standard and equipped most of their laboratories to WAEC standard. He also established 21 new Junior Secondary Schools primary schools. Turning to nomadic education he constructed 216 nomadic schools across the state approved 64 schools and the renovation of 27 others, projects tackled with gusto during his final term. A total of 600 teachers have received various training for this purpose and he also initiated a scholarship scheme for 100 best students in the sciences every year to overseas universities.
Perhaps the high point of his education sector complishments was the building of the Jigawa State University which has already impressively set sail. In Jigawa’s Health sector, statistics in 2007 showed that Jigawa State had the highest maternal and infant mortality rate in the country and hospitals and other health institutions were simply imaginary structures.
At press time, Governor Lamido has developed an effective and impressive health care system under the Gunduma Health Care system with a bottom-up approach from primary health care to the secondary and the tertiary. The Rasheed Shekoni specialist Hospital, the most modern equipped hospital in Nigeria stands in testimony of this.
Jigawa State today offers free maternal services covering delivery and the child’s life up to the age of five.
An agrarian society, in Jigawa agric accounts for over 90% of its peoples’ preoccupation but the old fashioned way. The introduction of improved and high yielding seeds, subsidized tractor prices/hiring, loans facilities for work bull and appliances, farm extension services, crop fumigation and aerial spray against pest, opening of Fadama irrigation in suitable local governments for the youths and government’s purchase of excess harvest as incentive to grow more led to dramatic improvements in the sector.
His innovative economic empowerment policy led to the
construction/reactivation and equipment of six skills acquisition centres in Birnin Kudu, Dutse, Hadejia, Gumel, Ringim and Kazaure to train Jigawa’s youth in various trades and services, ranging from shoe making, cell phone repairs, chalk making, paint making, photography, tailoring, horse decoration, plumbing, mechanics and other such skills.
On the infrastructure front, Governor Lamido’s regime spent in its first term over N43 billion on roads, ranging from asphalting major arteries which intersect across the state to building new inter-town/inter-local government network that has made Jigawa to assume spider web in road facility today. It actually can be argued that Jigawa State has the best road network in Nigeria.
He also embarked on the transformation of all the local government Headquarters into modern cities with asphalted township roads and drainages complete with street lights.
The governor’s construction of an international airport to mainstream the state perhaps represents the high point of his infrastructure game-changer.
In the public accountability and water development spheres, Lamido probably lacks a match currently. His administration achieved 90% potable water services to Jigawa people. In a recent water conference held in Nigeria, Jigawa was cited as a model worthy of emulation by other states in the federation.
As the philosopher, democratic king of Jigawa State bows out, it is the hope of many that his successor will keep faith and build on these solid developmental foundation. And it is in this light that Jigawa people are urged to vote wisely. It must not be partisan. It should be about who would deliver the goods. If a wrong approach is made, Jigawa will be back to square one. Aminu Ringim, as someone with unimpeachable qualities, and as someone that works closely under Lamido shall be voted into power by all the people of Jigawa in the next gubernatorial election. It is not about PDP or APC. He is the one person that will assuredly sustain and even build on the noble legacies of Sule Lamido and even the Jigawa golden dream is realised.
*Gaya wrote from Lome Crescent, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja. He can be reached on: email@example.com