By Ali Abare
The Wikipedia online dictionary defines an achiever as someone enbued with a constant need for attainment. That an achiever is someone who feels as if each day starts at zero and that by the day’s end, he must achieve something tangible to feel good about himself.
For all intent and purposes, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, is an achiever in his personal life, as a top flight chief executive in the organized private sector, as well as in his present capacity as the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State.
The story of his life is an open book for all to see. How from a humble background, he was able to traverse the challenges of life and to become successful in every sphere of his earthly existence.
Born on December 26, 1959, to a royal family, in Gudi Station, Akwanga-West Development Area, Engineer Sule began his early education in 1968 at the Roman Catholic Mission (RCM) Primary school, Gudi Station, from where he proceeded to the Zang Secondary Commercial School, Bukuru in 1974. In 1977, Engineer Sule proceeded to Plateau State Polytechnic, B/Ladi and later Indiana State University , Terre Haute, Indiana, USA towards the end of 1980.
Through sheer determination, din of hard work, including taking extra lessons and with God on his side, he was able to utilize the 4- year scholarship afforded him by the then Plateau State government, to obtain both a BSc (1983) and Msc (1984) degrees in Mechanical Technology and Industrial Technology respectively from the same Indiana State University USA.
He started his work experience in 1980 when he was offered employment by the Plateau Electricity Corporation, Jos even before he passed out from the GTC Bukuru in May 1980. Upon graduation from the technical college, he worked for about 3 months with the PEC before proceeding to Plateau State Polytechnic in September 1980.
Later and on his return from the USA, he did his national youth service, NYSC with the Plateau Utilities Board, Jos and later joined the Jos Steel Rolling Company Ltd in 1985 as a Production Engineer. In 1987 Engineer Sule was rewarded with accelerated promotion from GL 9 to GL 12 in recognition his remarkable performance and hard work. He left the Jos Steel Rolling Company as a Principal Production Engineer in 1989 and returned to the USA.
While back at the US, Engineer Sule went to Texas, first to San Anthonio and later Houston, where he worked for companies such as, Lancer Corporation, San Anthonio OEM components, Houston, Houston Morgan Performance, Houston Dril-Quip Incorporated, Houston Osyka Corporation, among others.
He worked in various capacities from Workshop Engineer Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Programmer, CNC Operator, Facilities Engineer, Project/ Production Engineer and finally the Director of Business Development for Africa and the Middle East for Osyka Corporation.
Engineer Sule returned to Nigeria in 2000 and along with some friends started a company called Sadiq Petroleum Nigeria Limited in Lagos, following which he was appointed pioneer Managing Director/ CEO.
Later in the same year, Sadiq Petroleum Company participated in the privatization of African Petroleum Plc and won the bid. Upon acquisition of the 30% ownership of AP Plc by Sadiq Petroleum, he was subsequently appointed the Executive Director Operations of AP in November 2000. On April 2, 2001 he was appointed by the board of AP Plc as the fourth MD/CEO.
It is on record that Engineer Sule inherited a highly indebted AP Plc which was running as a government parastatal. The company had its share capital eroded and negative balance sheet of over N22 million. Together with his colleagues, he worked tirelessly in making the historic turn around of AP along with all the other stakeholders . By the time he resigned from AP in July, 2006, the company recorded a N5 billion positive balance sheet.
Upon his resignation from AP, he took another job with an American Multinational oil service company called Tetra International in July 2006 as a Director of Business Development / Country Manager.
Engineer Sule left Tetra in December 2006 to join partisan politics and to seek to serve the people of Nasarawa State and Nigeria in general. While in AP as the MD/CEO, he also served as a Director in IMB International Bank Plc, Ulti-Care Pharmaceutical and Chrismatel Holdings. He was also the was also the chairman of AP Oilfield Service Ltd and Partner in Star – AP Oilfield Services.
Since my return to Nigeria in 2000, I have participated in several private and public projects in Nasarawa State. On June 21, prior to his gubernatorial ambition in 2018, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc. announced Engineer Sule as the substantive Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Company, from where he retired to return to politics and to contest for the seat of the governor of Nasarawa State.
Indeed, leadership comes from God. And like William Shakespeare, the renowned English dramatists and writer said, some people were born great, others achieve greatness, while some have greatness thrust upon them.
For Engineer Abdullahi Sule, it is indeed the combination of all the three scenerios painted by Shakespeare. Engineer Sule was born great, having come from a royal family, he achieved greatness through the din of hard work, having risen through the ranks in his chosen profession and to retire as the GMD of the Dangote Group.
Engineer Sule has greatness thrusted upon him, when the people of Nasarawa State voted him into the exalted office of the governor of the state.
Indeed, by all standards, temporal or spiritual, Engineer Sule has remained exceptional, having also memorized the holy Qur’an from an early age, as well as possessed equally tremendous knowledge of the holy Bible and Christianity, from his relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, both in Nigeria and the US.
For a leader who is versed in both Islam and Christianity, greatness, does not lie in being strong but of essence is the rightful application of that strength, which rightly applied, is not used for the purpose of carrying a man above his fellows mainly for selfish gains. The greatest is whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his exemplary character.
If at the commencement of his administration, there were those who showed some levels of doubt in his capacity to transmute from a successful business mogul to an effective political leader, such people may have become eager converts of the Engineer Sule sterling leadership qualities.
He came into office in 2019 fully prepared to take Nasarawa State to the next level of development. It was visible from day one that Engineer Sule was determined to bring his reputation and experience garnered from years of hard work, loyalty and dedication in the organized private, to bear in the administration of the state.
To this end, the Engineer Abdullahi Sule administration adopted an ambitious, well-thought-out strategy, the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), which encapsulates the vision and mission of the administration towards ensuring sustainable development in Nasarawa State.
This development strategy, according to the governor, is a testimony of the collective determination of the administration to implement a practicable economic transformation strategy for the state, founded on a vision to sustain accelerated growth of the economy of Nasarawa State.
“We have recognized that the growth of the Nasarawa State economy is low and suffers from some vagaries of the national economy, albeit being tackled by the current federal administration, which has not successfully translated to the delivery of tangible results to our people,” Engineer Sule has posited.
Already, the quality of leadership being demonstrated by the governor in his nearly two and a half years of stewardship, it’s clear for all to see that greatness of a man, according the the late reggae music icon, Bob Marley, is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and ability to affect those around him positively.
Certainly, Nasarawa State is on the move to greater heights, thanks to the innovative and pragmatic leadership being demonstrated by His Excellency, Engineer Abdullahi Sule. Nasarawa State is now wearing a new look as it begins to take its rightful place in the commity of states in the country.
As the Engineer Sule administration confronts the challenges of building a virile economy through opening up Nasarawa State to investors and new ideas capable of transforming the state and its people, it should be pointed out that it’s still not yet uhuru. A lot needs to be done to be able to take Nasarawa State to the desired destination.
In this guise and as our amiable governor marks his 62nd birthday, it behoves on every well meaning citizen of the state, to accord maximum cooperation and understanding towards the administration, so that, when it’s time to be counted, our names will be included among those who offered selfless service for the development of our dear state.
As His Excellency, Engineer Abdullahi Sule celebrates his birthday on December 26, 2021, it’s our collective prayer that Allah (SWT) will continue to guide and protect him as he fulfils his onerous responsibility of providing effective leadership and good governance to the benefit of all and sundry.
Abare is a Special Assistant on Media to the Nasarawa State Governor.