By Sulaiman Bala Idris
In the past few years, it has become a tradition for me to put down a befitting tribute every 2nd of September to celebrate my boss’s birthday, the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal.
It won’t be any different today, but unlike previous years, I am writing about Dauda Lawal, a Governor, as he clocks 58.
I have written many articles about what Dauda Lawal achieved as a private citizen, his philanthropy, and, of course, his services to humanity.
“The Dauda Lawal I know” was the title of one of the tributes to the Governor in which I explained that he is not just a political scientist or a seasoned banker but a man who believes in serving humanity and touching the lives of the less privileged and the oppressed.
The reason behind that tribute in 2020 was to expose the desperation of some politicians, knowing fully the capacity and intentions of Dauda Lawal. Still, those political desperadoes tried so many times and in so many ways to block his chances of clinching power. He has been accused without facts because his traducers were desperate to scandalise and push him out for selfish reasons.
These agents of doom know exceptionally well the volume of interventions and philanthropic services enthusiastically executed by Dauda. The mission was to block him from making it as the Executive Governor of Zamfara.
The clandestine move by the forlorn politicians started in 2019 when a selfish captain capsized the ship due to excessive arrogance and dislike for Dauda.
In 2023, they ganged up in one camp, calling themselves the political Godfathers in Zamfara. They boasted about crushing Dauda before noon on election day.
Many people believed that Dauda would not survive the gang-up, going into a political war with a serving Governor, three former Governors, and two Senators, among other big shots.
I clearly remember the day before the final announcement of the Zamfara governorship election result, tensions were high; I was trepidatious and almost discouraged. The smile on the face of Governor Dauda was what revived my hope. I informed him of my fears but he smiled, apparently dismissing my pessimism.
After three months in office as the Governor of Zamfara State, I have come to understand the fears of the retired political leaders of Zamfara State. They have all the reasons to lose sleep because there is a new Sheriff in town who has started correcting the chunk of recklessness they established in more than 24 years.
The Dauda I have known for many years is financially stable. Unlike some other politicians who scavenge for public funds, Lawal has been an established banker with an outstanding record in the banking sector. He has been a successful businessman for decades. The people dragged him to politics and brought him out of his comfort zone to serve his state, for a change.
Governor Lawal has been clear from the beginning; he said many times during the campaigns and political rallies that he would not be a Governor who will open the State Treasury for people to steal or misappropriate public funds. But he promised to rescue Zamfara from drifting and committed to rebuilding the state.
Under Dauda Lawal’s watch, things have started to take shape. In the country, so far, he is the only Governor practising a lean governance. Lean governance focuses on governing and serving the people with respect and continuously improving service delivery by cutting out “waste” and “inefficiency” in administration processes.
On assumption of office, Governor Lawal signed an Executive Order restructuring the state government ministries from 28 to 16. The measure was to cut wastage in government and eliminate duplication of functions.
I do not doubt that Zamfara will be greater because I have seen the commitment and political will of Governor Dauda.
No position can change Dauda Lawal; he is still as humble as he has always been. Being modest doesn’t mean giving up your authority or being weak, but rather showing respect for other people and their opinions while being willing to listen to all sides of an issue before making a definitive decision.
Governor Lawal’s tenacity, transparency, and patriotism as well as selfless service to humanity and contribution to national development have been eventually discovered.
Happy birthday, Gamji.
*Idris is Spokesperson to Zamfara State Governor