By Balkisu Saidu
“O you who believe! Fear God, and stand with those who are truthful (in words and deeds).” These are the directives of Almighty Allah (Quran 9:119).
I was shocked by the content of an article titled ‘The North is Suffering and Smiling’ by Abu Shekara, Special Adviser on Media to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, published online by thisdaylive.com on 5 January 2019. My shock stems from the personal knowledge I have of the author, having worked with him at various times, since the 90s. Abu was known to me as a person who paid great attention to details and was interested in accuracy of facts. The flowery and superficial article in the publication bears little resemblance to the quality I expected from the Abu Shekara I knew.
It is, however, a political season. And as Albert Einstein reflected “all of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.” Political agenda can becloud good judgment!
It is therefore not surprising that Abu Shekara will publish such scathing attack on the person and administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. What is surprising is his failure to point to the economic policies of the Government that were designed, as he claimed, to “adversely target” the Northern economic activities and have “ravaging impact on the livelihoods of the Northern masses.”
What I know, as a Northerner, is that going into the 2015 elections, our major concerns in the North were:
1. Insecurity, majorly in the North East, where insurgents were in full control of 17 Local Government Areas with frequent abductions; recurring ethno-religious and communal conflicts; and farmers/herders clashes;
2. Inadequate and dilapidated infrastructure, which had crippled economic activities with devastating implications on standard of living; and
3. Growing population of out-of-school children and fallen standard of education.
In the three-plus years of the Buhari administration, all the areas under the control of the insurgents in the North East have been recovered; hundreds of abducted persons have been rescued; deliberate and decisive steps have been taken to address the farmer/herders clashes and communal conflicts, with verifiable accomplishments. Admittedly, there are still pockets of asymmetric attacks by insurgents and criminal activities by hoodlums and bandits, who are on the run and being rounded up.
These three-plus years have also recorded numerous achievements in the execution of projects in the North. Some of these projects include:
1. The completed 135km Sokoto–Tambuwal–Jega Road, in Sokoto and Kebbi States.
2. The completed Shagari Irrigation Project, in Sokoto State.
3. The provision of power supply to Federal Universities including Usmanu Danfodiyo University – Main Campus, Sokoto; Bayero University – New Campus, Kano; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University – Gubi Campus, Bauchi; and Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue.
4. Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers in Sokoto, Sokoto State.
5. Construction of Yauri-Koko-Jega Road, in Kebbi State.
6. Provision of 60MVA Transformer in Dan Agundi Substation, Kano, Kano State.
7. Provision of 2X60MVA Transformer in Kakuri Substation, Kaduna, Kaduna State.
8. Provision of 60MVA Transformer in Katsina Substation, Katsina, Katsina State.
9. Provision of 40MVA Mobile Substation at Zaria, Kaduna State.
10. Provision of 2x40MVA 132/33KV Power Transformer at Daura, Katsina State.
11. Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Hadejia, Jigawa State.
12. Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Funtua, Katsina State.
13. Completion of Galma Dam, Kaduna State.
14. Construction of 3,050MW Mambilla Power Plant, Taraba State.
15. Completion of 330/132KV Molai Transmission Substation in Maiduguri, Borno State.
16. Completion of 330/132KV Damaturu Transmission Substation, Yobe State
17. Provision of 60MVA 132/33KV Power Transformers at Bauchi, Bauchi State.
18. Provision of 40MVA Mobile Substation at Damboa, Borno State.
19. Provision of 28/40MVA Mobile Substation at Mayo Belwa, Adamawa State.
20. Provision of 30/40MVA Mobile Substation at Gombe, Gombe State.