Altine Shehu Kajiji
The Silverbird Group, owners of Silverbird Television and Rhythm FM on 28th February, 2020 unveiled Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as its 2019 Man of the Year. Tambuwal was chosen for his administration’s outstanding performance in the provision of infrastructural and educational development in a keen and transparent contest with other notable nominees through an online voting by Nigerians.
According to the organisers, the prestigious Silverbird Man of the Year award was instituted 14 years ago to recognize individuals who have impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians through their chosen careers. By this conferment, Governor Tambuwal is in the league of past winners of the prestigious award that include, Business Mogul, Aliko Dangote, Governor Nyesom Wike, late Professor Dora Akunyili, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Dr. Mike Adenuga, among other recipients.
For many, Governor Tambuwal’s leadership qualities are believed to be the motivational factor that earned him the deserved reward and many awaiting. Permit me to further unveil these giant strides that have made it possible to celebrate Governor Tambuwal.
Upon assumption of office as the sixth Executive Governor of Sokoto State, Tambuwal’s revolutionary imprints were first noticed in the State’s education sector when it first prioritized through the allocation of highest budget. The latest sectoral allocation of N47, 880, 096, 366 .25 to education, being 24% share of the total budget sum of N202, 444, 458, 429.02 was a testimony.
To complement this, an Education Trust Fund was raised under the able care of His Eminence, Dr. Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto. The scheme which has been adjudged as first in history of the State now allows a monthly contributions of token by individuals in a proportional form to develop the education sector.
But, as the saying goes, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step’, the bold steps taken by Governor Tambuwal is now yielding positive results. One of such is the rapidly reduction in rate of out of school children, as recognized and certified by UNICEF. At it stands today, Sokoto is the first State to initiate a payment of conditional cash transfer to mothers of girls enrolled into primary one, in order to boost girl-child education.
The governor believes that uplifting the standard of education in the State can not be done without students aspiring for higher education learning. In his wisdom, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal knows that the State Scholarship Board must also be prioritised. So far, it is undisputed that under Tambuwal’s watch, N7.5 billion has been expended judiciously on various scholarships.
As it stands, the dream of indigenous students in studying abroad has never been dashed through sponsorship of State students across the state. So far, no fewer than 200 students of which 50 are female have been sponsored by the Tambuwal administration to study medicine and para-medicine courses in India, Ghana, Sudan and Ukraine while 168 (about 60%) have so far graduated and returned to the State to contribute their quotas in the health sector.
In addition, 400 students are currently studying various selected professional courses in 32 universities across the globe courtesy of Tambuwal’s administration while another 200 qualified students are waiting to be sponsored to China to study computer science, engineering and other technology related courses.
At home, a total number of 21,000 indigenous students are studying in various universities, Colleges, Polytechnics among other Higher institutions across the country whose tuition fees are being paid by Governor Tambuwal’s administration. The number of law graduates sponsored by his administration has increased to 148 while the number of indigenes assisted to attend various scholarship interviews have risen to 366.
On infrastructure, indigenous contractors are today handling various construction projects now ongoing across all sectors in the state. In addition, 500 blocks of 6 classrooms, administrative blocks and libraries have been completed.
The United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) and other international organizations have also recognized and certified the governor’s stewardship in education sector.
One would like to ask how the Governor has been able to achieve these feats with ease, having inherited abandoned projects from his predecessor .Some of these include Independent Power Plant, Cattle Breeding Project, International Conference Center, Kalambaina Housing Project, Sokoto City Projects at Asaro, Nakasari and Runjin Sambo, College of Nursing Sciences, Sokoto, College of Agriculture, Wurno, College of Legal Studies, Wamakko, College of Midwifery Sciences, Tambuwal, and Gidan Salanke Housing Project to mention a few.
These aforementioned projects have, in the past suffered neglect by the immediate past administration but they are now being accorded top priority by the Tambuwal’s administration. This means that as a politician with unique charisma, Tambuwal knows his ways in sailing through a stormy weather and best to achieve success in the end.
The recent socio-economic co-operation with Indonesia is a testimony to this virtue. The partnership deal will bring to the State various initiatives to advance her economy through the strengthening of the Zakat and Waqf Commission, healthcare delivery, dairy production, tourism and culture among other sectors. Also, a recent Public Private Partnership with OCP Africa and COPAG from Morocco will boost the development of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Mining and Energy.
In all, permit me to borrow from the Governor’s speech on the 2020 budget as food for thought: “I wish to assure the people of Sokoto State that we have laid a solid foundation in our first tenure for greater socio-economic development through a commitment to policies and programs that have had relevance to the needs and aspirations of our people. Our scorecard is, by the special grace of Allah (SWT), attested to by local, national and international groups and agencies.” Once again, congratulations to our Man of the Year.
•Kajiji writes from Sokoto