By Jamil M. Jamil Gusau
The administration of Bello Matawallen Maradun Barden Kasar Hausa and Shatiman Daular Usmaniya is three years old as at 29th May 2022 and as rightly expected by many people and as the tradition, people have been expecting the usual heavy celebration such as commissioning of development projects as part of the fulfillment of the development agenda of the government.
As citizen of Zamfara, I am part of those with similar expectations, but I did not allow such outrageous expectations to take away my conscience, especially about the true situation of the state in terms of the re-emerging security challenges confronting it and its people.
Basically, however, I am among those that have always demonstrated their concern and extend goodwill to the government of Bello Matawalle especially, considering the good take-off the Governor had, since inception in 2019.
But we should not also ignore the challenges faced by the administration at its infancy stage, from litigations to political crises and masterminded insecurity by opponents of the administration.
Before the beginning of this fiscal year, 2022, we are all living witnesses to the genuine aspiration of transforming the state as demonstrated by Governor Bello Matawalle in education, healthcare sector, security management, infrastructure as well as human capital development.
We cannot under-estimate the impact of the lingering political crises deliberately caused by the opposition to distract the much needed attention of the government.
Evidently before the beginning of the year 2022, the Governor started on an excellent note by off-setting the outstanding matching grants to the UBEC National Headquarters, Abuja which assisted the state in accessing additional funds that were used in renovating over one thousand blocks of classrooms and an additional funding for the training and retraining of teachers and also okayed the reinstatement of the abandoned (500) school teachers earlier recruited by his predecessor.
He also ordered for the reinstatement of the aggrieved 1,400 civil servants also recruited by his predecessor but were neglected with an order for the payment of all their outstanding entitlements. He also championed the payment of the annual leave grant, which was not paid throughout the eight year term of his predecessor.
The government of Bello Matawalle ordered the state Ministry for Health to also recruit additional 200 health personnel into the state civil service and within the year, also approved the recruitment of another set of 500 health workers into the service of the state.
He has embarked on the renovation and upgrading of the abandoned Talatar Mafara General Hospital and also awarded the renovation of General Hospitals Gummi and Tsafe. This is beside ongoing total reconstruction of Farida General Hospital and King Fahad General Hospital all in Gusau.
Though the completion of Shinkafi referral hospital is at its peak, the administration of Matawalle saw to the renovation and upgrading of General Hospital Birnin Magaji and that of Kagara in Talatar Mafara.
His celebrated 142 primary health care centers constructed across the political wards in the state are the first unique projects in the entire Northern Nigeria since the return to democracy in 1999.
The volume of the road network provided by the administration of Bello Matawalle is significant enough to speak about the foresight of the administration toward infrastructural development. In Gusau alone, there are over fifteen of these township roads including the most yearned for Kantin Daji road which had hitherto assumed the position of dead trap before the Matawalle magic touched it in 2019.
In education for instance, the administration of Bello Matawalle undertook the renovation, rehabilitation, and the supply of furniture at Government Science Secondary School, Shinkafi at the cost of N911,790,250. In his persistent effort to settle the backlog of WAEC, NECO and other examination bodies which were not paid by the past administration, Governor Matawalle released the sum of N170,000,000 to both WAEC and NECO to facilitate the writing of the 2021 school leaving examinations by our students in the year under review.l
The current administration has also released the sum of N186,699,600 as full payment for 67 medical and para-medical students currently in their second year of studies in Sudan.
There is also the payment of N24,500,000 for 23 students in India and N56,463,440 92 for students studying in Cyprus, in addition to 19 students studying online in China institutions. The government again released N41,200,000 as part of payment of the backlog of debt inherited and owed Al-Hikmat University, Ilorin and the Crescent University, Abeokuta, respectively.
Based on the realization of the pivotal role of early childhood education as the foundation of all learning endeavors, Governor Bello Matawalle has been able to maintain a modest effort of giving full support to the Universal Basic Education in the State.
Accordingly, the administration released N1.5 billion naira counterpart funds to UBE, which made it possible for the board to draw matching grants and execute various projects under the fiscal year.
Some projects executed include 966 classrooms across the 14 Local Government Areas, 54 classrooms of a story building, 1 Administrative Block and Library, and 11 well furnished blocks of ICT centers.
Others carried out by the Matawalle government include the construction of offices for Education Secretaries and 1 Block of 200 Capacity Students’ Hostel, Perimeter Wall Fence in 31 Schools, and 95 Cells of 32 Blocks of VIP Latrine. Similarly, 520 classrooms were renovated, and 33,246 seats provided.
Moreover, 1,372 Teachers’ Tables and Chairs were supplied.
Judges, Emirs and District Heads are also beneficiaries of the gesture of Governor Bello Matawalle. They were given brand-new vehicles to help in reviving their statuses as the royal fathers and learned jurists whose contributions to the development of the state are acknowledged with esteemed regard.
One cannot ignore the significance of the ongoing Cargo Airport to the development of the state. Though criticism have trailed the entire exercise, it is evident that there is no better time Zamfara needed the airport more than now, considering the immense economic opportunities Matawalle has been canvassing through foreign direct investment.
Within the past three years, the administration of Bello Matawalle has made the Ministry of Commerce and Investment more active than ever before. Within the past one year, the present Commissioner for Commerce, Yazeed Danfulani has succeeded in the transformation of the ministry through tour of various countries to canvass for investment opportunities in areas where Zamfara State has comparative opportunities.
On the area of security management, the government invested hugely in the provision of operational vehicles and payment of monthly allowances to security operatives on special duties. He did not stop there but championed the establishment of Nigeria/Niger inter-regional security network where he succeeded in bringing on board, the Governors of the neighboring Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Jigawa states to fashion out ways of strengthening transborder security management.
The administration has also renovated and upgraded its liaison offices at Abuja and Kaduna and also constructed a well befitting Presidential lodge in Gusau, the state capital.
In 2021 alone, the administration of Bello Matawalle completed 12 township roads in Gusau, the state capital while eight others are at various levels of completion.
The construction of the Deputy Governor’s office is ongoing, construction of Gusau International Airport, which was awarded at the inception of this government is also ongoing.
The most prominent among the projects completed by the administration of Governor Bello Matawalle in three years are summarized below:
Supply of 200 Toyota Hilux to Security Agencies, Supply of Prado Jeeps to Sole Adminstrators, supply of Toyota Camry 2019 model to Vice Chairmen and Councilors as well as supply of 200 Tri cycle ambulance to 147 wards across the State.
Other projects included construction of 147 PHCs across all the politicak wards, construction of three WCWC to each of the senatorial districts, construction of (47) kilometers Danmarke-Kadaddab and Kanoma link road construction of Gusau township roads which include Stadium junction-Kasuwar Danjuma-Tashar Magami road, Zawiyya-Kanwuri road, Kasuwar Danjuma Dan Mai Kyau ginnerry road, Gusau Hotel- Tashar Magami road, Kantin Daji road, Kanwuri-Kantin Sauki road among others.
Other projects include construction of RUGA, construction of (17) kilometer Maradun, Magami to Faru road ongoing, construction of (42) kilometer Tsafe to Yankuzo road ongoing, construction of Mada to Lilo road as well as construction of Janyau ta Gabas road.
The administration of Matawalle also constructed (14) units of local government lodges, constructed Yar Dantsi Bridge and facilitate th release of cash assistance of N50,000 each to thousands of mini-traders.
The administration has also renovated Zamfara State House of Assembly as well as constructed Garba Nadama Multi-purpose Hall amongst others.