A one time president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt once enunciated that “leadership is having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react if you’re in control, they’re in control”.
The 2023 general elections have come and gone leaving behind a catalogue of memories in the annals of history. The elections came with the usual noise and tension associated with elections in Nigeria ,the polity was almost near evaporation point with the crash currency recolouring policy that put Nigerians and the economy in a rather precarious situation. The negative fallouts of that infamous Naira redesign process are still here with us, however, time will in the future tell the tale in more graphic details.
The Sokoto APC led by the indefatigable Aliyu Wamakko like any other party geared up for the campaigns and the general elections with all the determination the party and its unwavering supporters could muster. As fate would have it, Ahmed Aliyu emerged triumphant at the close of the APC primaries, and other contenders who couldn’t belly the outcome left the party, and their distraught supporters also defected to the PDP in droves.
What was more encouraging was that , Aliyu Wamakko and the then APC gubernatorial torchbearer and their staunch supporters remained undeterred and unruffled in the face of the apparent muscles of the party in power then! The almost general calculation was that, the APC was moving against the powerful tides of the incumbency of the PDP led by Aminu Waziri. The PDP and its rather overconfident supporters were buoyed by the factors of incumbency and the multitude of those high-ranking people who defected to the party. Alas, they calculated wrongly as all those so-called bigwigs who defected to the party from the APC were in essence empty vessels and rolling stones.
In the heat of the campaigns, there were all sorts of shenanigans to scuttle Ahmed Aliyu’s emergence as the governor, they employed the EFCC, the ICPC and even the leadership conundrum just to throw spanners in the works of the APC, however, all their evil machinations collapsed like a pile of cards, and today Ahmed Aliyu is the Governor of Sokoto state by the unstoppable of God. It was on record how some overrated PDP bigwigs and their brainwashed supporters swore to the high heavens that Ahmed Aliyu would never be the governor of Sokoto state. It’s a relief that God doesn’t confide in mortals before taking decisions, His decision to crown Ahmed as the governor of the state was taken at the crack of creation.
It was obvious to discerning minds that the APC was certain to coast home to victory as a reflection of the dismal performance of the Aminu Waziri administration that succeeded only in plundering the state in its eight years of adventure in governing the state.
There were questions that couldn’t be adequately responded to by the PDP: what manner of welfare and motivation did the administration offer to the civil servants, how did the Waziri administration boost the state’s economy through support and intervention for the business community, how did his eight years improve education in the state through the phoney State of Emergency on Education, how has his eight years reflect on the overall development of the state, how secure is the future should his posture of underperformance and nonchalance continue after his exit??? These and many more questions and fears explained why the mass of the people and the civil servants rallied round the APC the result of which today leaves the PDP gasping for breath as a consequence of the ghastly defeat with almost fifty thousand margin of valid votes.
It’s difficult to narrate the landmark achievements of this promising administration in a space of a one page as they’re as many as they’re trailblazing.
It should be recalled that, the Aminu Waziri administration scampered away rather unceremoniously without the usual handing over formalities such that there were no comprehensive handing over documents to compass the new administration. It could therefore be said that, Ahmed Aliyu took over the reins of administration of the state without the necessary guidance from his predecessor, Ahmed deserves commendation for his strength of character of being able to navigate the activities of governing the state through groping in the dark.
When he came in, almost every sphere of governance and administration of the was tottering to a halt as almost all sectors were in a state dysfunction. He hit the ground running with the ambition to rescue the state from the ruinous grip of the recent past.
Restoration of water supply in the metropolis captured the attention of Ahmed Aliyu as a cardinal stratum of his people-centred administration, inhabitants of the state capital have for long suffered shortage of potable water arising from neglect by the previous administration. Residents of the metropolis heaved a sigh of relief when their taps gushed with water after years of dryness. As I write this, pipe borne water is running all over the metropolis for domestic and other uses.
Security challenges have over the years remained the headache of governments at all levels in Nigeria. Governor Ahmed Aliyu meets and interfaces with all heads of security formations in the state regularly to strategize on the way forward. It was in the course of such meetings that it was revealed how allowances of men and officers deployed to banditry flash points were denied for almost half a year by the previous administration, and Ahmed Aliyu had to immediately take care of that anomaly. It should be however understood that in terms of kinetic approach to security challenges there’s a limit to state governments could actually do, the people’s governor has during his campaign days promised to do all it takes to secure the state; and so far he has demonstrated ample readiness in that direction.
Restoration of electricity supply to public buildings including hospitals, in this direction, Ahmed Aliyu had to organise over N1 billion to cajole KAEDCO to restore supply of electricity to MDAs, schools, colleges and even the hospitals owned by the state government as huge debts unpaid by the previous administration had moved the power distribution company to disconnect such institutions for months.
Specialist Hospital in the state capital attracted the attention of the new governor which actuated him to at midnight pay an unscheduled visit there to see things for himself. The terrible situation of the hospital jolted him into action by procuring a standby generator for the health facility and restoring its full cash impress for improved and effective service delivery. It was unfortunate that the previous administration denied the hospital its monthly cash impress for months.
Sokoto Orphanage was for the time in recent history visited by a serving governor, the kids there were visibly over the moon when they hosted Ahmed Aliyu. His demonstration of compassion for the kids at the orphanage when he freely interacted with them was historic as they felt the fatherly warmth which they longed for. Days later, he redeemed the pledge of a Toyota Avensis Station Wagon to the orphanage as his personal donation.
Refuse evacuation in the state capital suffered serious neglect from the last administration which brought about heaps and heaps of refuse everywhere. Even the monthly cash subvention to SEPA was denied for several months, unfortunately. The new administration had to deal with the nagging problem of refuse evacuation decisively by propping up a powerful committee to take charge. The committee has indeed lived up to the task by ensuring the round- the-clock evacuation of refuse in all nooks and crannies of the metropolis.
Salary to civil servants was a nightmare in the days of the previous administration as whenever the end of the month approaches civil servants are often apprehensive since no one was certain of getting his or her salary. It would be recalled that many staff of the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury were rendered redundant because Consultants were engaged to handle salary and IGR matters. When the new administration took over, the governor had to employ tact and ingenuity to source for money and May salary which was left unpaid by his predecessor. Civil servants are now relieved and confident that their pay packages will always be due on the 20th of every month without having to wait in utter suspension as was the case previously.
Restoration of payment of stipends to people with disabilities is another composite of Ahmed Aliyu’s social engineering strategies, the Aliyu Wamakko administration introduced the monthly payment of #6,500 stipends to the disabled who are registered as beneficiaries. Unfortunately however ,the immediate past administration abruptly halted the payment of the stipends for almost two years! The new administration has since through a committee verified the beneficiaries and restored the disbursement of the stipends accordingly. This same redemption strategy was applied to the situation of Imams, their deputies, Muezzins and the sundry mallaman makarantun allo who suffered the same fate with the disabled in the hands of the past administration.
In his frenzied nostalgia on the eve of leaving office, the immediate past governor arrogantly renamed some Institutions of higher learning without recourse to the State Legislature, on assumption of office, Ahmed Aliyu immediately reversed the misnomer.
Rehabilitation of metropolitan roads embarked upon by this administration is already elegantly changing the outlook of the state capital. From Gawon-nama, Sahara business hub ,Kangiwa square to the Diplomat flyover all one sees are roads reconstruction projects either completed, ongoing or almost completed, in addition to the many ongoing streetlights installations going on. The road from the Usman Faruk Secretariat leading to the government house is now adorned with beautiful architectural arcs as obtained in other states. The welcome to Sokoto entry gate on the outskirts of Sokoto by the Giginya Barracks along Gusau Road is also receiving a touch of Ahmed Aliyu’s sense of modernity.
The Sokoto central market which suffered substantial damage as a result of an inferno was left unattended to by the last administration despite repeated promises and several hundred of millions of Naira received as donations. The present administration has since swung into action with work going on in earnest to reconstruct and restore the lost glory of the market.
In a space of just 100 days in office, Ahmed Aliyu has been able to restore hope, redeem the state from further descent into uncertainty and put smile on the faces of people who were hitherto disillusioned and unsure of what next happens to their commonwealth.
As it stands now, nobody who sincerely means well for the state is in any shred of doubt as to the unflappable zeal and determination of Ahmed Aliyu who is already trailing the path of his father and mentor, Aliyu Wamakko to reposition Sokoto state for further elevation in all spheres of development. Even his detractors are left with no option but to catalogue Governor Ahmed Aliyu as a silent metaphor for redemption.
Binji contributes from the Desk of Sokoto Liberal Democrats Media Foundation (SOLID)