NASARAWA State is hugely endowed with numerous natural resources such as arable farmland, solid minerals, tourism potentials and a good climatic condition.
The state is also well located as one of the strategic adjoining states to Nigeria’s Federal Capital, Abuja. So we can say that Nasarawa State is blessed, more so with emergence of the new governor, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, who luckily enough has a private sector background. He is a very wealthy and successful businessman who I believe is on a rescue mission for his state. From all indications, he will bring his wealth of experience and business acumen to bear in the running of the state’s affairs.
Already, he has started charting a course for the economic and infrastructural development of his state. Recently, while inaugurating his transition committee, he promised to complete abandoned projects by his predecessors. This is the stuff patriots are made of. He is the first governor in the present dispensation to understand the critical need for power in driving any state’s economy.
Recently he strategically engaged the major stakeholders in the power sector- Power Holding Company of Nigeria. He is also reported to have started meeting with several segments of the society to chart a way forward. From the foregoing, there is no doubt that Governor Al-Makura will make the desired difference , to open up the state.
By the strategic location of Nasarawa State, if strategic planning is done as the new governor has already started, obviously the state will sooner or later reach the status of states like Ogun and Oyo which with the multiplier effects of Lagos expansion, rose to near mega states. It is therefore gratifying to note that Nasarawa State today has a governor with vision and mission.
Even before his emergence as governor, it was public knowledge that Alhaji Al-Makura was a major stakeholder in his home state as he invested in many areas of the economy. From tourism, agriculture, education and commerce, his business presence was manifested. As the Governor, he is in a good stead to know the needs of his people.
He lived among them, and feels their pulse. He is a man of the people.
It is therefore gratifying to note that in less than one month of his being sworn in as the state’s Chief Executive, that things are already looking up as investors have started trooping into the state.
This is as result of his many proactive initiatives aimed at jump-starting the once comatose economy. As it is very well known, one advantage of Nasarawa State is the proximity to Abuja, and the likelihood that once the right policies are in place, the adjoining Nasaraswa towns can easily enjoy the same status like the FCT. Therefore what is needed is for the Governor to urgently embark on massive infrastructural development of those adjoining towns like Karshi, Ranfinkwara, Maraba, Keffi and others. By so doing, he would have created the much sought-for alternative to the congestion of the Federal Capital Territory.
His administration also have a choice to partner with numerous estate developers to embark on the provision of mass housing projects, which I believe many Abuja residents would find as a viable alternative to the hardship being encountered in the Federal Capital, as a result of shortage or inadequate accommodation. Given that people are the drivers of any development, the influx of settlers in the proposed cities will in no small measure accelerate the economic and infrastructural development of the state.
In the area of agriculture, Nasarawa State has an opportunity to replicate the Kwara “miracle” by inviting Zimbabwean White farmers to avail of the vast arable agricultural land in the state.
To do so, the state government must liberalise the acquisition of agricultural land, and in no time the miracle will manifest. Indeed, agricultural outputs from Nasarawa and other surrounding states can feed the FCT populace, but who will spearhead the effort? The good news though is that the new governor has a good disposition to accept new ideas, especially considering his private sector background.
In conclusion, one can say that Nasarawa State is in good hands with Governor Al-Makura at the helm of affairs. Obviously, in due time when he would have fully unfolded his agenda for Nasarawa, the state will be transformed, and the citizens would have reaped the dividends of democracy.
There is no gainsaying, that if every state like Nasarawa overcomes the challenge of providing good leadership, then it can be said that the state is set to develop to its fullest potentials. Regrettably, what is lacking in most states of the country is leadership but this time around, Nasarawa is in the lead with Governor Al- Makura.
Mr. CHUKWUDI ENEKWECHI is SA to the National Chairman of CPC.