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By Imam Imam
If he were to be asked his birthday wish in 2015, the then Sokoto State gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, would have probably prayed for success in the elections he was facing few weeks away. He wouldn’t have stopped at that. The Tambuwal I know would have definitely prayed for God’s hand in not only winning the election but also discharging the responsibilities that come with the victory creditably.
I don’t know whether somewhere in his mind, in his usual meditation to mark his birthday, Tambuwal, indeed, supplicate to God on these two fundamental issues. But one thing that is clear is that God almighty has been gracious. Less than 90 days after his 49th birthday, Tambuwal emerged as the Sokoto governor-elect and now at 51, he has performed so wonderfully that he is celebrated home and away.
This is enough reason for Tambuwal to be grateful to God, and it is a good reason for all of us his lieutenants and, indeed, the entire people of Sokoto State to join him in appreciating the blessings of the almighty at this important juncture.
In steering the state-ship, Tambuwal’s major account for success is his recognition, ab initio, of the weight of expectations that come with leadership, especially executive power entrusted to a governor in a state like Sokoto. But most importantly is his realisation, like all great leaders in history, that leadership essentially means taking people where they should be, not necessary where they want to be.
There is no gainsaying that the developmental challenges, bugging developing countries like Nigeria is long diagnosed to be the result of poor leadership. Years of self-serving, shortsighted leadership has contributed in no mean way in stagnating development around here and making us wander in the same cycle of problems and challenges.
With this clear vision on the expectations and where he wants to see the state under his stewardship, Tambuwal set out to prioritise and articulate this vision into areas of focus.
Refreshingly, he set out to differ by coming up with genuine, insightful and visionary ideas to turnaround, not only the day to day course of life, but initiatives that would also alter the face of the society. For Tambuwal, whatever is done is not just another project, it is part of the bold revolutionary interventions that have set his government apart from the pack.
Sokoto, like many a northern state, is often listed among what is termed ELDS; educationally least developed states. This negative ranking is tabulated based on enrolment ratio, the out of school children, school dropouts and other parameters.
A state that is the nucleus of the knowledge-driven Sokoto Caliphate was unfortunately lagging in the area of education, especially for the girl child. It was therefore revolutionising for Governor Tambuwal to marshal out sweeping policies aimed at turning around the statistics. To this end, the state government announced state of emergency on the education sector. This impressive pronouncement has since been backed by action.
The first of those bold steps was the announcement, early in the day, of enforcement of school enrolment for all eligible children. The government, in attempt to tackle the lethargic attitude of some parents to modern schooling promulgated punishment against parents who refuse to enroll their school-aged children in schools.
The government then went a step further by introducing incentives for parents who enroll their daughters in school, through conditional cash transfer scheme to enable the parents support their wards through school. Through this carrot and stick approach the state government targets enrolment of 1.2 million pupils that are hitherto out of school.
As a surest path to development, the emphasis by the Tambuwal administration on education is not only commendable but also exemplary especially for educationally challenged states of northern Nigeria.
Education, in this information age, is the key to the further. The wisest decision, for any leader in this age is to have a holistic and wide-ranging investment in human capital development through education. Here is the Tambuwal model, a model of societal uplift through the viable investment in its human capital.
By making education the mainstay of his administration, Governor Tambuwal has put Sokoto, once again, on the pathway to greatness. If this noble agenda is pursued diligently, beyond the rhetoric as in many government programmes, then it is safe for one to expect Sokoto shine among peers in near the future.
This trend will continue through the year 2017 as we have seen with the budget submitted last month to the State House of Assembly by Governor Tambuwal, where education is given the lion share of 27.3 percent of the N204 billion budget estimate. This is a first from Tambuwal as the allocation exceeds even the utopian target of 26 percent set by UNESCO.
The huge attention being received by education in Sokoto under Tambuwal, justified as it is, does not mean that other critical and important sectors are neglected.
• Imam, media adviser to Governor Tambuwal wrote in from Sokoto