29 March 2008

Nigeria: Governor Aliyu And Senator Aliyu, Putting Smiles On Borgu Faces

Abuja — Last Monday, the executive governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, and Senator Nuhu Aliyu, representing Zone 'A' senatorial district of the state, stormed Borgu local government and with good reason, as the electorate were not only given the opportunity to recount their problems and what they wanted the government to do for them but also took delivery of 400 motorcycles and sewing machines, courtesy of Senator Aliyu, as part of his constituency projects.

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did provide for the existence of three arms of government, namely the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. This presupposes that government and governance can be anchored on this tripartite structure.

In spite of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, which allows these three arms of government to operate without undue interference from one another, one thing that still remains paramount and ultimately important, particularly in a democratic system of government is the provision of good governance through dividends of democracy to the electorate.

This provision of the dividends of democracy is measured by the level of intervention in the aspect of poverty eradication, by empowering the electorate through engagement of one positive form or the other.

The responsibility of the legislature in advanced democracies is basically to make laws for good governance, not necessarily roads construction, boreholes and even the provision of some other amenities such as the construction of health centres, but the case of Nigeria is different, because of the level of poverty and the inability of some of the lawmakers to coordinate themselves and attend to the yearnings and aspirations of their people through sponsoring relevant bills. The Nigerian situation has remained a problem that would persist for some time until the right set of leaders are elected.

Suffice it to say that across Nigeria, the situation is almost the same. The people have one form of problem or the other. In the Niger Delta region, the issue of land pollution has remained the greatest problem of the people. They have no land to farm, a situation that has created over-dependence on government. This has further created the level of restiveness Nigeria is presently experiencing in the region, despite that the region produces the wealth of Nigeria.

The case of the South-East is the issue of bad roads, coupled with poverty.

In the northern part of Nigeria, it is the same story of poverty, bad roads and unemployment, which are no doubt traced to bad leadership and selfishness of leaders who have abandoned the ideas of the forefathers and their concept of good governance.

It was in the face of all these problems that Senator Nuhu Aliyu , again took the bull by the horns and went out of his constitutional mandate to intervene in the helpless situation of the people of Borgu in Niger State last Monday.

The occasion was the donation of 400 motorbikes and 400 sewing machines to the local government, to be distributed to the people as part of the first phase and concluding part of his assistance to his senatorial zone.

Senator Nuhu Aliyu represents eight local governments in the Zone 'A' senatorial district of Niger State on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Chairman, Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence, Senator Aliyu was elected in 1999 and is so far one of the longest serving senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A retired deputy inspector-general of Police (DIG), Senator Nuhu Aliyu also told journalists of his intention to launch a foundation to be called, 'Senator Nuhu Aliyu Foundation'.

According to Senator Aliyu, "What I have done is part of my constituency projects. Like you know, I have eight local governments in my senatorial zone, and in each of these eight local governments, I have distributed the same number of motorcycles and sewing machines to the people.

"The sewing machines are for the women, while the motorcycles are for the men. However, out of the 400 motorcycles, one should go to each chairman and secretary of the party at the ward level, while the remaining is shared among party members.

" I am concerned about the plight of the people and I feel that giving them these motorcycles and sewing machines is not just enough. I am also putting together, a foundation which shall be called the Senator Nuhu Aliyu Foundation. I have made one of my sons as member of the board of the foundation so that even when I die, the foundation will continue to do what I started.

He continued, "I am going to be spending a minimum of N8 million yearly. What that means is that each of the eight local governments would be entitled to N1million worth of what the foundation would be doing.

"The foundation, which I would launch sometime in April this year, would be responsible for awarding scholarships to students of the various local governments who do not have the money to sponsor themselves at various stages in pursuit of their academic careers.

"I have discussed it with the governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, and I must tell you that he is impressed and willing to assist in order to make the foundation a huge success".

Although the primary assignment of a lawmaker is that of making laws for the good governance of the state, while that of the executive, particularly in a presidential system of government, is to ensure that the laws passed by the legislature are implemented, the Nigerian situation appears to be a little different as a result of the level of poverty which no doubt requires the collaboration of both the legislature and the executive in delivering physical dividends of democracy to the people.

The donation of the materials to the people of Borgu local government in Niger State by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Security and Intelligence, Senator Nuhu Aliyu coincided with the 'Borgu Ja Amar Forum', organised by the executive governor of the state, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, who actually distributed the motorcycles and the sewing machines to the people of Borgu local government of the state.

The occasion, believed to be a twin-programme, was chaired by the governor of Niger State, where the electorate were given an opportunity to present their problems to the governor.

The Chief Servant, as he prefers to be called, Dr. Aliyu, the governor of Niger State did what is expected of a chief executive of a state, by giving hope to the hopeless.

The governor earlier on told journalists that his administration would ensure that education at all levels was free in the state, irrespective of tribe and religion.

According to the governor, "I have also discovered that most of our children could not go to school, and the reason is that the parents of these children don't have the money to train them. They cannot even pay their school fees.

"We have also rehabilitated some of the classrooms, because when we came in, we also discovered that school children were sitting on the bare floor, and I cannot imagine how school children would sit on the floor to learn.

" We also discovered that there were no teachers in the schools. There was a particular school I went to and what I saw was not good. It would surprise you that the only teacher I saw in that school was an Arabic teacher, he was the headmaster , the teacher and everything. So in such situations, we have decided that we would employ grade two teachers and send them to the various schools, even though the minimum qualification for teaching in the primary and secondary schools is an NCE certificate.

"By so doing, the grade two teachers would complement the efforts of the NCE or even the Arabic ones that we have in some schools. We have also discovered, when we came in, that NECO could not release the results of almost half of the students that sat for their examinations, and what we did was to first of all clear the debt, so that their results could be released. But henceforth, we are going to take over the school fees of everybody living in Niger State. We are not just doing that for the indigenes alone, but for everybody living in the state.

'We are also going to build more class- rooms for the schools and try to elevate them to a good standard, so that the students would have good learning atmosphere".

Also speaking at the occasion, the Niger State governor assured the people of his determination to engage every graduate from the local government as a way of reducing the rate of unemployment in the state.

It is worthy of mention that the governor of Niger State, a former permanent secretary in the two federal ministries, may have understood the essence and importance of leadership and the need to respond to the yearnings and aspirations of the people, which is even the reason he chooses to be addressed as the chief servant of the people of Niger State.

His disposition towards raising the standard of learning in the state is no doubt a testimony of one who is out to empower his people by giving them education at no cost. This development can also be said to be in line with the ideas of the forefathers, whose understanding of leadership was simply to empower the people so that they can take care of themselves even after the leaders may have died.

The Borgu experience, as seen in the leadership style of both the governor and Senator Aliyu, goes to show that the people who voted them into power are also given a sense of belonging.

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