By David Odama
It is not unlikely that Governor Umaru Al-Makura’s business background was the catalyst for the socio-economic revolution that has recently ignited the state.
Indeed, soon after assumption of office, there were clear indications that good vision and positive things were on the horizon for the state that had until not too long ago remained in a state of infancy since its creation.
Al-Makura’s path was to put in place a purposeful and people oriented programmes and action-plans different from the way of his predecessors.
The state capital which was before a glorified state capital, attracted the interest of the administration with massive constructions and dualisation of township roads to give the state capital the true image of the seat of government.
For instance, the Makurdi – Lafia East Road, which was an eyesore to residents and visitors, was not only dualised, but also fitted with streetlights.
The popular UAC Road leading to Kwandere and up to the College of Agriculture was also expanded with streetlights fitted while the construction of a bye-pass from Shendam Road to Bukan Sidi, among many others were given due attention.
Similarly, trafficlights have been installed in all major and strategic locations around Lafia to add value and prestige to the state capital.
Aside the state capital, Governor Al-Makura constructed three kilometers of township roads in all thirteen local government headquarters in the state in addition to the construction of rural feeder roads across the state.
Given the governor’s first calling as a teacher, it was not surprising that he showed some passion for education.
The administration has seen to the renovation of classroom blocks as well as the construction of new ones to make for conducive environment and atmosphere for teaching and learning.
In the last five years, over 144 blocks of three classrooms and toilets, 36 two-storey school buildings have been put in place by the government in the state.
The Federal University Lafia also benefited from the construction of 10 hostel blocks of 256-bed capacity each. The same gesture was also extended to the Nasarawa State University Keffi, the College of Agriculture Lafia, the State polytechnic, Lafia and College of Education Akwanga.
Another significant initiative of the Al-Makura administration is in the area of the construction of 5 modern e-Libraries each in Lafia, Akwanga, Keffi, Nassarawa and Karu, including a 200 capacity lecture theatre at the State owned University in Keffi.
Apart from injecting enormous resources into the education sub-sector, governor Al-Makura also made it a cardinal policy of his administration to make primary and secondary school education tuition free and in addition, pay NECO examination fees for SS3 students in all government owned schools in the state.
The encouraging outcome of these policies has resulted in the steady rise in school enrolment rates in the state from a paltry 30% before he came to about 60% in the current session.
Within the period under review, the administration has equally transformed the health sector with the construction of three Ultra-Modern Hospitals, one each in Lafia 160 beds, Akwanga 100 beds and Nasarawa 100 beds.
This is in addition to the construction and renovation as well as equipping and furnishing of a total of more than 101 Primary Health Care PHC facilities across the thirteen local governments and seventeen development areas in the state.
The completion and relocation of the School of Nursing and Midwifery Lafia to its permanent site as well as the construction of a male hostel, renovation of General Hospitals in Awe, Toto and Mararaba Gurku and the completion of the Central Medical Stores in Lafia are all in a bid to give credit to the health sector in the state.
In the area of agriculture, the administration has embarked on the empowerment of farmers through steady supplies of inputs and pesticides as well as the establishment of a rice incubation plant to encourage large scale productions in the state.
The Government has also acquired land and completed feasibility works for the construction of an international cargo Airport in Lafia the state capital, water supply also got substantial attention from the government of Tanko Al-Makura to reduce the problem of water supply in Nassarawa, Nasarawa Eggon, Lafia, Doma and Toto among others.
The state media outfit, the Nasarawa Broadcasting Service was not left out as the electronic media has been over-hauled, digitalised, supplied and installed with state-of-the-art equipment.
However, with his patience and selfless commitment, Governor Al-Makura led a successful management and control of the crises and a restoration of peace to the state, this feat to close watchers of events, probably accounted for why the people of the state massively rose in unison to reject the failed attempt by the state legislature to impeach him.
Indeed, like the governor himself stated when he inaugurated the peace and reconciliation committee, it now behooves on the entire people of Nasarawa state to close ranks, regardless of religion, ethnic differences, and work with the government towards the realization of the dreams of the founding fathers of the state.
No wonder therefore, the State commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Tim Ayiga is calling on the people of the state to continue to show understanding with the APC government in the face of the trying period the state is going through assuring that the state would soon witness economic growth.