It is a moment of stock-taking for most state governments. However, for the former Speaker, House of Representatives and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, he is walking the talk. Shola Oyeyipo writes
As usual, the covenant between the electorate and those seeking political offices is often defined by those promises made during the electioneering. In this clime, therefore, the citizenry begin to evaluate the success and failure of governments when it is 100 days in office, but even where some people contend that 100 days is too short 365 days is long enough to have started making noticeable impact.
During the campaigns in Sokoto State, former Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal vowed to run a fair government and as governor-elect, he told his people that “As the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, I understand the expectations of my immediate constituency (Sokoto) and the wider national political family in my new public service engagement.”
He repeatedly promised to provide good governance in the state with utmost transparency and fairness, saying “We remain grateful for honouring us with your mandate and this is a responsibility that we do not take lightly, and we will endeavour to continue to provide good governance in Sokoto State with utmost transparency and fairness.
“We make a solemn pledge to you today that this government shall be fair to one and all, and shall at all time work hard to meet the yearnings of our people for responsive and responsible governance.”
An assessment of the performance of the former speaker’s administration in the last one year reveals a government striving to keep to its words in spite of the economic challenges.
Evaluation of the governor’s sectoral performance indicated that Governor Tambuwal made effort to provide an atmosphere conducive for work for Sokoto State civil servants. The government provided home renovation loan to 1,000 civil servants, settled the payment of gratuities for 1,902 retirees and as a way to address the problem of unemployment, the government engaged 500 unemployed citizens into the state civil service with qualifications such as BSc, HND, NCE and OND.
As part of efforts at create jobs and at the same time protect lives and property, eight additional fire service stations were created in the state with youths employment. Tambuwal therefore set aside N500 million for the Ministry for Home Affairs to acquire firefighting equipment for the fire service departments. He also approved the creation of training centres for firemen in order to enhance their productivity in the state.
While the government is employing 200 female as environmental marshals, in order to keep households across the state clean and tidy, Tambuwal has always concerned himself with making Sokoto State clean, and as such, re-introduced the sanitation exercise. This has also led to the employment of more youths in the state.
Knowing full well that farming is the traditional occupation of most of his people, immediately he was sworn in, Tambuwal started distributing fertiliser to farmers at subsidised rate. The gesture was extended to dry season farmers in addition to improved seeds and seedlings, pesticides and herbicides given to them at low and affordable prices as ways of boosting agricultural outputs.
The government approved the purchase of 9,000 metric tons (300 trucks) of assorted fertilisers and 16,000 water pumps for distribution to dry season farmers at the cost of N1.660bn for the 2016 farming season. In another development, N392 million has been approved to purchase Faro Rice Seeds to be distributed to farmers across the state.
Tacitly, Tambuwal ties his projects to industrialising the state while at the same time creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youths to curb restiveness. He plans to set up a fertiliser plant in the state with a production capacity of 100,000 metric tons of fertiliser and create 5000 job opportunities. The project is already in top gear.
In line with the pledged he made during the campaigns that he would appropriately and justifiably ensure that youths are well catered for, the government is set to train 25,000 youths through skills acquisition scheme within two years so as to make them self-reliant.
He also partnered ERISCO, a tomato company to create employments to youths and good people of Sokoto State and also boost the economy of the state. He has also partnered an Italian company through United National Industrial Development Organisation to establish a cluster, which will help boost the leather works for which the state is renowned.
In the area of education, which is key to sustainable development, Governor Tambuwal has set aside 29 per cent of the 2016 budget for education. He introduced levy on contractors and other governmental partners in funding education, especially to train and re-train teachers, cater for teachers’ welfare, school welfare as well as students’ feeding programme.
He has released N903 million for payments of students tuitions fees studying abroad and for the registration fees of Sokoto State students studying in various universities across the federation. He released the sum of N20 million to Sokoto State University as grants for research and development, purchased and distributed 8,000 UTME/JAMB form to Sokoto State students seeking admission into Nigerian universities and to provide a conducive teaching atmosphere. He has pledged to build houses (teachers’ villages) across the 23 local government areas of the state. The government recently kicked off a programme to enrolled 1.2 million kids into school.
As a way to curb leakages, the state government adopted the federal government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) and when the policy took effect, over 100 redundant accounts belonging to government were discovered with the sum of N1.5 billion in such accounts.
Now in the pipeline, Governor Tambuwal is concluding arrangement to establish three micro-finance banks in three senatorial zones in the state to ease access to loan by small scale medium entrepreneur (SME) to boost economic activities across the state. The banks are to be named Giginya Microfinance Bank, Fodio Microfinance Bank and Gudale Microfinance Bank respectively.
In collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BOI), the state already earmarked N2 billion to give out as loans through the Sokoto Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Development Agency (SOSMEDA).
To facilitate quick urbanisation, growth and development, the government has directed the completion of the all ongoing projects, inherited from the immediate past government. Also, for him, after food comes shelter because, it is the pride of every family and community life, as such, he has ensured 100 per cent completion of all housing units inherited by previous government and pledged to build additional 1, 300 houses across the 23 local government areas of the state.
He has also approved the construction of some rural roads across the state which includes a 13km road linking Dabagin Ardo – Illelar Gajara – Dutsin Andi – Hetarete Sidingu – Gi’ere at the cost of over N136m. There is the construction of Arkilla – Gidan Bawan Allah – Paila junction road has been approved at the cost of over N49m.
In an effort to ensure improved water supply in the metropolis, Governor Tambuwal approved the purchase of four 150KVA and 2000KVA generators at the cost of N394, 390, 420 to facilitate water reticulation. And for the comfort of state public officers, he approved the purchase of two 500KVA generators for Usman Faruk Secretariat and Shehu Kangiwa Secretariat at the cost of N65, 123, 600.
The administration also focused on health care delivery to the people and no stone has been left unturned in fighting all kinds of diseases attacking the people, especially polio, Lassa fever and other forms of ailments. Medical equipment, facilities and drugs needed in hospitals and primary healthcare centres have been provided to facilitate this.
He has ordered the purchase of cold chain equipment for immunisation in order to fight polio, meningitis, measles, and yellow fever among other diseases bedeviling the people of Sokoto State at the cost of N297m.
The Tambuwal administration earmarked N10,000 million monthly as relief fund to some select hospitals and pharmacies in order to help the less privileged in their medical treatment across the state and in a nutshell, the government of Sokoto State spends N31, 500m every month on the less privileged in the state.
Being an important aspect of the state, religious activities are encouraged and related programmes have been funded as inherited by previous administrations, some of which include the payment of N6, 500 monthly to less privileged, Zakat and Endowment Committee is now elevated to a commission, Ramadan feeding programme and provision of free medicine for less privileged among others. The state government donated N500, 000 to each of the 138 families of the 2015 hajj stampede victims from Sokoto State.
Indeed, it has been an eventful 365 days in the saddle for Governor Tambuwal as he continues to make efforts to actualise his campaign promises to the Sokoto State electorate, who are confident that he possess the requisite experience and capacity to move the state forward.
Indeed, it has been an eventful 365 days in the saddle for Governor Tambuwal as he continues to make efforts to actualise his campaign promises to the Sokoto State electorate, who are confident that he possess the requisite experience and capacity to move the state forward