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Re: Governor Badaru, Jigawa people and matters arising

The scathing criticism by Adamu Muhammed Usman, a former Special adviser to former Governor Sule Lamido would have been ignored as a ranting of a…

The scathing criticism by Adamu Muhammed Usman, a former Special adviser to former Governor Sule Lamido would have been ignored as a ranting of a lost political glory. But setting the record straight is a necessary article of democrats, a democratic value needed to strengthen our collective experiment.
Jigawa State has one of the highest poverty rate of 90%. With such a deplorable indices, it is a pity that a government elected to primarily improve the living condition of its people, will engage in economically wasteful project of building an airport of N17bn without a cost benefit analysis for better utilization of the money,a usual paradox that places the demands of a privileged few Nigerians living in opulence, to that of the majority wallowing in abject poverty. Emerging what N17bn would have done to the education sector, or agriculture, or health, or even employment.
The worst economic consideration about the Dutse airport, was the subsidy the state government pays to Overland airline monthly, this is at a time millions are living in poverty, wallowing away without education and healthcare. To argue that the airport was sited to serve as a cargo for the transportation of perishable goods exposes the myopic thinking of the then government, in placing the cart before the horse. Would it not be better to use the N17bn to develop the agriculture sector that will produce the said perishable goods to commercial level before thinking of setting a cargo airport? Aside, 90% of the N17bn used for the construction of the airport was illegally sourced, as monies meant for the development of rural areas through local government was forcefully and illegally used to construct the airport which is today lying idle.
To understand the misplaced priority about the Dutse airport, is to understand socio-demographics of the state. With a population of  3.6 million people and  Life expectancy of 52 years with a total fertility rate of about 6.2 children per woman of childbearing age, and a  predominantly rural population , constituting (90%),  any sensitive government would have prioritize agriculture, job generation and education. More so, in terms of age distribution, the 2002 CWIQ Survey indicates that 45.2% of the population in Jigawa state was made up of young people below the age of 15; 49.0% between the ages of 15 and 59 while 5.8% were people aged 60 and above. This survey showed that the state is a very young state, with the potential to emerge as one of the biggest economic hub of the nation, if its young population is utilized well. Is N17bn airport what these teeming young potentials need? No. What they need is what the current government of Governor Badaru is doing- developing education sector through upgrading, equipping, and training of teachers, prioritizing agriculture through public private partnership- wooing investors, providing conducive atmosphere for  transfer of technology that will boost the sector, etc.
Badaru has introduced serious reforms in the education sector, prudent management of resources, areas the former government failed woefully. It is unthinkable therefore, for the former government to insinuate insensitivity, when what is actually happening, is the process of dismantling the former government’s failed projects, which only serves elitists’ interest.

Hassan B Nagado wrote from, 2 block D10, Wuye Finance Quarters, Abuja.

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