A peep into Gov. Aliyu’s leadership of continuity

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the special guest of Governor Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto of Sokoto state, to commission some legacy projects in celebration of the eventful one year anniversary of the unassuming governor. And to the delight of the people of Sokoto state, Obasanjo, who is known to be very miserly with his praises, almost embarrassed the shy Governor Aliyu with his effusive praises for his leadership. 

Praising elected public officials is not one of Obasanjo’s strongest points because governance is an area that he is deeply passionate about, just as he is not known to be generous with his money, which might not be unconnected with the fact that Obasanjo, the poultry farmer, works very hard for his money. 

Considering the former president’s love-hate relationship with the mass media, it was surprising that the one area Obasanjo had problems with Governor Aliyu during his visit was the governor’s failure or refusal to vigorously publicise his numerous achievements. Thankfully, Abubakar Bawa, the chief press secretary to the governor, has picked up the gauntlet.  

Obasanjo, no doubt, believes and is optimistic that once the question of focused leadership, which affects lives from cradle to grave, is resolved, and competent leaders like Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto are in the saddle, Nigeria would witness sustainable development. This will happen because focused leaders will properly harness the immense human and other potential that God has richly endowed Nigeria with, to advance the material welfare and wellness of the people.

It is notable that the former president, who is known to brutally speak his mind no matter whose ox is gored, wasn’t being polite or politically correct in his praise of his host, Governor Aliyu, the 20th governor of Sokoto state, the Seat of the Caliphate. Therefore, when he heaped praises on the governor for having put up a very credible performance in his first one year in office, many who heard him were inclined to agree with his assessment. The old warhorse only stated the obvious. 

Governor Aliyu must be very proud of himself for earning the validation of Obasanjo on the directions he has chosen in the last one year; especially his dedicated service to the people who invested their hope in him to better their lives. He would also be proud of his hard work, empowerment programmes for women, investment in education, health etc. 

An amiable fellow, Governor Aliyu, with the strong and support of former Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, who strongly backed him for the position, would going by his disposition, not allow the praise by Obasanjo to get into his head. Not even the fact that the former president’s good words were also corroborated by Governor Nasir Idris of Kebbi state and numerous other stakeholders. Rather than rest on his oars, the commendation by credible compatriots would only inspire him to continue to soar like the eagle. 

Another issue which Obasanjo fundamentally addressed, which is complementary to the issue of leadership, is consistency and continuity in policies which are crucial for development. He enthusiastically praised the governor on his commitment to good governance which is key in addressing the welfare and well-being of the people and in devising effective policies. Nigeria has never been short of policies, consistency and implementation have always been the issue.

Governor Aliyu’s impressive scorecard is a sign of a better tomorrow. He has undoubtedly proved his critics wrong by his focused leadership. In the last one year, the governor has strategically tackled infrastructure and housing deficits, as well as the rot in the education sector, while investing in the empowerment of women who hold the key to a prosperous society. 

Nigeria has a housing deficit of 28 million units, a point Obasanjo noted while commissioning the 136 federal government houses purchased by Sokoto state government for its citizens. Provision of housing would continue to be pursed vigorously by Governor Aliyu. 

Other projects that the people’s governor has aggressively tackled include the Danchadi, Magajin Gari Alu and Bodinga roads within Sokoto metropolis. To enhance security, solar powered street light were installed. The wired demarcation on all major roads has not only curbed accidents but added to the aesthetics of the state capital. 

Sokoto, like Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara states in the North-west zone, equally suffers from the crippling terrorists’ attacks especially in its eastern boarder with Zamfara state. The bandits have wreaked havoc, but the security challenge is becoming history due to the concerted efforts of the state government. Very critical is the question of inadequate manpower of the security agencies which Governor Aliyu addressed with the establishment of the Sokoto State Security Corps to complement the federal security agencies. This has proved to be a masterstroke in the war. To motivate the security agencies working in the troubled zone, the government approved special allowances for them and has ensured that they are provided with the necessary equipment to enable them defeat the terrorists. Though peace has thankfully returned to the area, Governor Aliyu has continued to pay attention to the threat by the cross boarder terrorists. 

Another area that the governor has given a very good account of himself is in the education sector. His effort to promote education stems from the governor’s conviction that education holds the key to better tomorrow for his people. Being highly educated himself he clearly understands the value of education. He has invested in the renovation of dilapidated structures in both primary and secondary schools, provided instructional materials and lifted the morale of teachers with a number of welfare schemes. 

Clearly, Governor Aliyu’s determination to transform the education sector includes addressing the plight of the about one million out-of-school children, the learning environment and security challenges which had adversely affected school enrollment and attendance, especially in the areas where terrorists had been operating. 

Studies have shown that when women are empowered, they are able to pursue paid, stable employment, poverty rates decrease, food insecurity decreases, and the stability, nutrition, and overall wellness of her family increase. So, empowering women is not a favour but a win-win for society. The distribution of 300 grinding machines to women might seem insignificant to some elite, but it’s indeed a life enhancing gesture. 

Going forward, Governor Aliyu is expected to continue on his developmental path. After all, you don’t change a winning team or abandon a formula that yields visible results. The governor cannot afford to fail himself, or disappoint Senator Wamakko, his mentor whose commitment to the governor’s success is obvious as his respect; or would he dare to fail the good people of Sokoto state who stood by him after his questionable defeat in 2019.

Ado writes from Kaduna.