By Ali Abare
Since coming into office, His Excellency, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has demonstrated capacity to continue on a trajectory that is driving development in Nasarawa State and growing the people of the state.
Coming from a private sector background, Engineer Sule is taking Nasarawa State beyond its civil service toga, a demeaning appellation for a backward state that goes to Abuja cap in hand, a parasite depending on the efforts of other states, that relies more on monthly federation allocation.
Engineer Sule is bringing his knowledge, experience and contacts to attract private investors to turn around the economy of the state, creating industries to drive the economy of the state, especially in agriculture, solid minerals, tourism, etc where Nasarawa State has comparative advantage.
For instance, Nasarawa State has great potentials in marble production but is yet to actualize this God given potentials until the coming of the Engineer Sule administration. Instead of allowing the shipping away of raw marble to far away states like Lagos to be processed, Engineer Sule saw the need to pursue a value chain development policy, partnering with a Chinese company to set up a complete value chain industry in Akwanga.
Presently, Nasarawa State produces 25 to 30 percent of finished marble in the country, with marble produced in Akwanga used in beautifying edifice such as the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Most significantly, Engineer Sule is drawing from his vast experience in oil and gas to exploit the oil potentials of the state, leading to the epoch making visit by the top management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, led by the Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, where it was announced that the company will start drilling the first oil well this month.
Aware that most of the industries coming into the state are to be located in the rural areas, Engineer Sule embarked on an ambitious, unprecedented opening up of the rural areas through road constructions. The 15km Sisin Baki-Farin Ruwa road, the 25km Mararaba-Udege road, as well as several other rural roads, are meant to open up the rural communities and make these areas accessible for ease of transporting people and goods.
Aware that the civil service is the vehicle that will translate the vision of his administration, Engineer Sule, embarked on meaningful reforms to reposition the service for effective service delivery. The Governor has made it a top priority of his government to enhance the welfare of civil servants in the state through continous training and especially ensuring prompt payment of salaries.
With Engineer Sule, Nasarawa State no longer waits for the federation allocation in order to pay monthly salary. Salaries are paid on the 25th of every month whether or not the federation allocation is made available. From an annual revenue of seven billion Naira in 2018, Nasarawa State under the leadership of Engineer Sule now generates over sixteen billion annually, with a target for thirty billion annaul revenue.
Knowing the significant role played by the youths towards the overall growth and development of the state, the Engineer Sule administration paved the way for the employment of over five thousand youths, converted the employment of hundred others that were serving as casual workers to permanent employment, with additional opportunity to employ one thousand youths as teachers.
Most significantly, in a bid to encourage entrepreneurship, Engineer Sule, through the Human Capital Development Office, trained hundreds of youths on employability skills, with the administration, in a landmark gesture, launching the N500m Youth Revolving Loan Scheme, in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI), where already, 10 youths received twenty-two million Naira to start their businesses.
A vote for Engineer Sule come March 11, 2023, will mean more time for the government to continue to drive development and bring prosperity and progress to the people of Nasarawa State.
Abare is the Special Assistant on Media to the Governor of Nasarawa State.