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Nasarawa: Between the people and a revolutionary

The smiles reflect the contentment of a visibly fulfilled man. And at every turn, on February 6, the multitude that defied the scorching February sun…

The smiles reflect the contentment of a visibly fulfilled man. And at every turn, on February 6, the multitude that defied the scorching February sun and searing heat, waved in appreciation as they counted their blessings. They trusted him with their lives, when all hopes seemed lost by massively voting for him in 2011. It was a fresh start in the life of a state, which since its creation had been held hostage by the folly and excesses of a powerful cabal. So Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura was some sort of a revolutionary who must challenge the cabal and foster a new political order anchored on service to the people. 

Many agreed that the task at hand then was a herculean one and effecting the much required change through a political platform, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which was just learning to walk, was indeed a tall dream. But with a dogged fighter and the willingness of a people to take their destiny in their hands, it was an overwhelming defeat of the old order at the polls.

Understandably, cynics and adversaries of the administration see these as ambitious plans which the state cannot afford, even as they question the capacity of the new executive to match his words with actions.

However, four years later, the people were to celebrate the mystery of what observers referred to as the ‘New Renewal Project”. It is a remarkable journey, and the story of a people determined to reshape the course of their existence, a struggle borne out of a vision and courage to reinvent what many had regarded as one of Nigeria’s youngest failed states.

Midway into the first journey, the cabal infiltrated the state Assembly, where they attempted to use the members to impeach the governor over phantom allegations. But the people rallied around their messiah by taking to the major streets of Lafia, Karu, Akwanga, Keffi, Nassrawa, Wamba, Keana, Awe, Doma, Obi, Kokona among others in protest.

When the impeachment move failed, the cabal turned to the then ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s presidency to unseat Almakura the same way former Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State had his tenure prematurely terminated. But like the earlier one, the people were vehement in their support for their leader and not only protected him but returned him during the 2015 election. Years down the line, the people have every cause to celebrate their actions as they count their blessings through many projects commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, another of their idols.

The president said since the inauguration of Al-Makura as governor of Nasarawa State in May 2011, he has been following the massive transformation in all sectors. He also said during a campaign visit to Nasarawa State in 2015, he noticed the transformation within Lafia metropolis. He lauded Al-Makura for his many people-oriented projects at a time most of his colleagues could hardly pay salaries. President Buhari was especially elated by the establishment of the Lafia Comprehensive Special School, which was contemplated to cater for the deaf, the blind and other physically challenged, a clear example of “our inclusive policy” where no child, man or woman will be left behind.

The relationship between Buhari and Al-Makura nurtured over the years was also to positively affect the entire state and its people with the former also promising to site more federal projects that will attract foreign investments to Nigeria, taking into cognizance the daily influx of people to the state from within and outside the country.

But like the Oliver Twist he is, the governor urged the federal government to consider taking over the construction of the Lafia-Keffi virgin road which the state has already commenced work on. The road, when completed, will serve as a bypass which will take motorists just about one hour to reach Abuja, instead of the usual three-hour journey from Lafia through Akwanga to Keffi, as is currently the case. Expectedly, the governor’s request drew applause from the crowd.  

Inuwa wrote in from Akwanga, Nasarawa State.

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