Nasarawa State At 10


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October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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Nasarawa State At 10: Is This The State Of Our Dream?




Suleyman Bin Muhammad Odapu



Ten years! How time flies is unimaginable. Its just like yesterday when we celebrated our ‘liberation’ from Plateau state (October 1st 1996) and today we are celebrating not two years but ten. Nasarawa indigenes had hoped that the new state will bring good roads, governance close to the people, good education, kill marginalization, open up development and truly leave by its name of Nasarawa (victory) whether it is ‘Nasara’ or not, only time can tell.


A raba a bamu namu’ people of the old Plateau may still remember this slogan. Not many do. That was our slogan canvassing for the creation of Nasarawa state. The struggle for the creation of Nasarawa state dates back to the second republic. NPN and NPP played politics with it. NPN canvassed for Middle Belt state while NPP canvassed for Nasarawa state, they all had the same mission, a state for the lower Plateau.


The likes of Abdurrahman Otto Oso Ojiri, Aliyu Akwe Doma, E.O Elayo, Ari Gwaska, Abdullahi Adamu (state governor) Shehu Othman, Muhammad Othman, Ashikeni, Adamu Musa, Yakubu Sabo, and Danladi Yakubu threw their political differences. Politicians were not alone in the struggle; Late Senator Haruna Abubakar led the students’ wing of the struggle. The students meeting of 1981 in Akwanaga showed student’s commitment even when some students sympathetic to the NPN were refused state scholarship. In fact, the struggle is what Muslims called ‘Fardul Kifaya’ (collective responsibility)


Though a ‘Fardul Kifaya’ there were few dissenting opinions. Regrettably, the dissenting views are beneficiaries today. And to abuse our intelligence, one of the beneficiaries wants to govern us by 2007. You can not lead a state you never wish it existed.


Infrastructure is zilch in Nasarawa state. If your dream is to see the state capital with street lights, good road network, amusement parks, and good housing estates, then sorry. An average resident of Lafia will prefer money for amusement park, to be spent on fly over at the Emir’s palace road. There is no need of amusement park when we are a source of amusement (sorry state). Off course you can not deny the Government house as one of the finest in the north and the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital Lafia is not just a building.


As for social amenities: water, electricity and good roads, Nasarawa is in Nigeria and that is a problem in Nigeria. However, water and electricity it is not really a problem in Akwanga and Keffi. Let me give you a business tip. Construct borehole in Lafia and you are a millionaire, if you are not rich for that get Kuskus (water truck pushers) and you will make it. This is to tell the state of water problem in the so called closest state capital to Abuja.


My Alago brothers in Keana call it ‘moto ko fo’ referring to the Horne sound of the bus while my Eggon brothers call it ‘Domo’ bastardise name for ‘On the move.’ On the move is the state transport company’s bus, it was a source of pride. Truly on the move but now it is not moving.


At 10, Nasarawa state is performing well in sports. Nasarawa United Football Club is a force in the league. Our performance in National Sports Festivals has been very encouraging. We have distinguished personalities, Abdullahi Adamu was chairman Governors Forum, don’t forget he is the governor with the highest number of traditional titles (By my counting) what that translates to I do not know. And Musa Elayo was the youngest Attorney General Nigeria ever had Jibril Sabo Keana ‘initiated’ Association of Local Government of Nigeria. (ALGON) On the other side, a minister from the state was relieved of his appointment on allegations of sleaze and a senator was caught neck deep in another alleged corruption scandal that shook the National Assembly and caused a national broadcast by the president. A scandal that Nasarawa state more than any state awaits its final out come to speak clearly about 2007 election. We also have this unfortunate record in Nigeria as the must gagged state


To be fair to all, education has improved in the state. If for nothing, the state university established in 2001 will feed the state for years. It is a colossus even in the United States of America or United Kingdom not to talk of Nasarawa state. The state made history by allocating 28 percent to education in the 2006 budget which is three percent higher than the UNESCO recommendation of 25 percent. The question however, is the implementation of the budget. One can not reconcile the allocation and priority to education with the inability of the state government to provide accommodation to students of the state polytechnic even when it was establish same year with the university and the non payment of bursary to students for two years.


On unity, at the inception of the state, ‘Dan arewa a London’ you know him?   Talban Bauchi, Dr. Ibrahim Tahir called for unity among the stake holders. What we have now is a strongly divided state according to senatorial zones, built and maintained by our leaders who use lopsided appointments and placement of projects to grease and keep the divide strong. No body is talking of credible candidates, but our zone must produce the next governor, though zoning is undemocratic, events in the state makes it desirable.


 Man power development is fast in the state, while structural development can compete with a chameleon. We have allowed monopoly and dictatorship every where and depend largely on government, If salaries are not paid, nothing moves in the state. And those who have well withal do not invest in the state.

Unless we wake up from our slumber and resolve in words and actions that the state must move we would be stagnant and when fellow states: Gombe, Zamfara and Bayelsa are moving to the moon we would be struggling to get to the hub of our tourism site; Farin Ruwa Falls.  God forbids.


The state is ours, we did not move out of Plateau for fun but for development, we must there fore work together to make it a better place. It is bigger than any body, so blames should not be directed on individuals or group(s) we are all stake holders in the project. Like the American dream, let us have ours, show commitment to it, and let us pursue it with verve so that our children’s children will one day say at Farin Ruwa Falls with a loud voice to the delight of the world, that for their tomorrow, we gave our today. A great Nasarawa is ours to build.


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