By ALTINE SHEHU KAJIJI
The Silverbird Group, owners of the Silverbird Television and Rhythm FM on 28th February, 2020 unveiled Sokoto State Governor, Rt. Hon.Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as its 2019 MAN OF THE YEAR. Tambuwal was chosen for his administration outstanding performance in the provision of infrastructural and education development following a keenly and transparent contest with other notable nominees through online voting pattern by Nigerians.
According to the organiser, the prestigious Silverbird Man of the Year award was instituted fourteen 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 today.
Upon assumption of office as the sixth Executive Governor of Sokoto State, Tambuwal’s revolutionary imprints was first noticed in the State’s education sector when it first prioritized through the allocation of highest budgetary. The latest sectoral allocation of N47, 880, 096, 366 .25 to education, been 24% share of the budget sum of N202, 444, 458, 429.02 was a testimony.
To complement this, an Educational Trust Fund was raised under the able care of His Eminence, Dr. Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, Sultan of Sokoto was launched. 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 begin 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 its stand 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 feathered parents of 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 be 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 Tambuwal administration to study medicine and para-medicine courses in India, Ghana, Sudan and Ukraine.
Meanwhile 168 students 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 others technology related course.
At home, a total number of 21,000 our 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 numbers of state indigenes assisted to attend various scholarship interviews have rose to 366.
Others Tambuwal scholarship scorecards include 163 students sponsored at various private universities in Nigeria, 245 students with disabilities are enjoying varied sponsorship and 75 students sponsored to read specialised courses at AFRIGIST, at Ile-Ife, Osun state under the current administration.
On infrastructure, our indigenous contractors are today busying with various construction projects now ongoing across all sectors. It ranging from the construction of no fewer than 50 blocks of 6 classrooms in schools across the state under SDG and funded by the state. In addition, 500 blocks of 6 classrooms, administrative blocks and libraries in schools all over the state via SUBEB/UBEC counter-part funding have been completed.
Others were the completion of College of Midwifery Sciences, Tambuwal, College of Legal Studies, Wamakko, College of Agriculture, Wurno, construction of Ultra-modern Library at the state university, Sokoto and construction of 60 office complexes in the state university among others. Since the inception, Tambuwal’s administration has never defaulted in the payment of accreditation fees of colleges and courses in various institutions and payment of WAEC/NECO examination fees.
As the case maybe, Sokoto is among the few States in the federation who are still shouldering the purchase of JAMB UMTE/DE forms for aspiring students. The idea, is no doubt an act of Governor’s milk of kindness to the less privileged parents in the State. Recently, the nation’s Premier’s newspaper, Nigerian Tribune, recognised Governor Tambuwal as the torch-bearer of educational development in the country.
Noteworthy, the premier’s newspaper was not only one of the reputable organizations that have taken the bold steps (like Sliverbird Group) in appraising the Governor as an achiever. 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 asked how our amiable Governor was able to achieve these feat with ease, having been handed mirage of unfeasible policies and abandoned projects by his predecessor ranging from 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, Gidan Salanke Housing Project to mention a few.
These aforementioned projects have, in the past suffered scant attention from the immediate past administration but are now according priority by Tambuwal’s administration from scratch to finish. This means that as a politician with unique charisma, Tambuwal knows his ways in sailing through a storming weather and best to achieve success in the end.
The recent socio-economic ties 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 in the development of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Mining and Energy will be put to test in the State, while the benefits can never be hidden to Sakkwatawa within a short time.
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.