25 November 2012

Nigeria: Al-Makura at 60 - Portrait of a Workaholic


It was one Hausa comedian/musician who, in one of his popular soundtracks, described Governor Tanko Al-makura as a workaholic, Apparently referring to his restless efforts to move Nasarawa state to the next level of development, the comedian singled out Al-makura as the only Governor in the Northern states who knows nothing other than service to the people when he titled the music thus:

'Al-makura Inna Kafito Aiki, Inna Zakaje Aiki' This musical track, to say the least, succinctly depicts the full scenario of what is playing out in a real life situations about Governor Al-makura in Nasarawa state. Although, I stand to be corrected if I refer to Al-makura as the only Governor that Nasarawa state is privileged to have since her creation in 1996 whose entire life is dedicated to serving people.

Al-makura believes so much in the Nasarawa state project and he is working tirelessly towards it. There is no minute that you will not find him talking or thinking about the state. Even in his sleep, the thought is about Nasarawa and how to move it forward. He, in fact, confessed this himself when he stated that being a Governor has denied him the luxury of rest.

Of course, before him, we had some governors whose only preoccupations while in government was how to enrich their personal interests. To them, of paramount importance was themselves. They only talk about people when they want to use them. On the contrary, Al-makura's thought is not about him self, rather about the people which , of course, explains why his government is people-oriented.

One other salient fact about Al-makura is that he does not only like offering service to the people but he hates seeing people losing lives and property. It was precisely against this background that you will find him always on hand when there is a crisis. He has at several times demonstrated these traits, where he personally averted many crises that could have led to violent uprising in the state.

Only a fortnight ago, he confronted an Eggon youth group under the name, 'Ombatse' and persuaded them to sheath their sword and take the path of civility, when they were provoked by the armed soldiers in the cause of carrying out their 'traditional oath-taking'. But then, before we go further, it will be appropriate if we look at the brief profile of the man,Al-makura, so that we can have full grips of the kind of person he is and how he moderates his life at 60.

The man Umaru Tanko Al-makura, was born in the ancient city of Lafia, now capital of Nasarawa state,into a humble family of Alhaji Audu kura 60 years ago. He attended the famous Dunama Primary school Lafia in 1958. As usual with all Lafia man, Al-makura, before he was enrolled in primary school, attended a Koranic school, which is compulsory for every child of 3 years old.

After the primary school, he went to Government Teachers College, keffi and graduated in 1971. Al-makura further enrolled at College of Education, uyo and obtained his Nigeria Certificate of Education, NCE, in 1975. By 1978, he graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with Bsc in Social Studies.

Immediately after his mandatory National Youth Service (NYSC) in Benue state, he joined his family business as General Manager and eventually became the Managing Director. Before vying for governorship position, he was a successful businessman with a substantial investment in properties and tourism industry both at home and abroad.

On the political front, Al-makura is not a new comer in the art ofpartisan politics. Contrary to some insinuations in certain quarters, he served as Youth leader of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) Plateau state chapter, and also served as the Secretary of the National Republican Convention, NRC in Plateau state. During late General Sani Abacha's regime, Al-makura represented Nasarawa state at the National Constitutional Conference.

Now, from this brief resume, one can deduce that in spite of his rich family background, he shunned the craze for overseas studies which was the fashion then, and rather choose do all his studies locally.

And while men of his contemporaries were busy, during hey days, demonstrating their ego and arrogance, Al-makura in his characteristic manner of modesty, decided to lay low and pursue life with moderation.

While felicitating with Al-makura for clocking 60, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, Clerk to the National Assembly in a full page advert (Daily Trust 15/11/12) described Al-makura as People's Governor whose 60 years of life has been a source of blessing to our people.

Bala wrote this piece from Lafia.

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