By Muhammad Danjuma Abubakar
For the grammar ‘lords’, the title of this piece is itself ‘audacious’ and might be erroneously perceived as undiplomatic, aggressive, and forceful.
However, those well-schooled in journalism and those gifted with wisdom would look at it with a different lens. This essence provokes readership and ignites curiosity about a crucial matter that demands attention.
Within the context of governance and leadership, audacious attributes often translate to courage and boldness when confronting challenges and addressing key issues head-on in ways that could better the lots of ordinary citizens.
This is in the DNA of all serious-governance-ready leaders who are always seen addressing the unaddressed and championing the cause of their people with unwavering determination.
Governor Bago’s recent statement aligns with these when he said that Niger State also deserves a 13% derivation formula that oil-producing states are being given monthly.
The governor stated this when the Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Tijjani Aliyu Ahmed, led other principal officials of the commission on a courtesy visit to the governor at the Government House, Minna, made headlines on various media platforms. This is an indication that such is a rare call, yet assertive.
A straightforward demand that those who governed the Power State(Niger State) before Bago couldn’t make, probably due to the ‘overwhelming’ vastness of the responsibilities of governance or because of the perceived unimportance attached to such kind of demand.
Yet, in this writer’s good knowledge, the plank of leadership embodies enormous responsibilities, a firm resolve to serve the people and a better platform for a powerful voice for the voiceless everyday citizens.
How, then, could a genuine demand that would better the lots of the electorates who stood to vote for their leaders skip the memories of successive governments in the state?
This demand is indicative of the understanding of Niger State’s potentials and its vast contributions to Nigeria’s economy.
Of truth, during the last general governorship elections, my candidate was Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya (Audu Kwangila Bida) of the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), a symbol of motherhood. Khadijah Abdullahi Iya, a daughter of the first indigenous contractor in Northern Nigeria (Late Audu Kwangila Bida), also came prepared; toured all the nooks and crannies of the 25 local government areas of Niger State to campaign responsibly within the ambit of the electoral law.
Nonetheless, options of multiple choices are the cornerstone upon which democracy is hewn. The same democracy spoke, and Governor Bago now holds the reins. And it’s crucial to understand that he is the governor for all, and sincere support, prayers, and cooperation from all Nigerlites are essential for the success of the New Niger Agenda.
This is why no person of good conscience could agree less with Governor Bago, given the numerous contributions of the hydroelectric dams. From Power Supply, which power houses, businesses and institutions.
This call, when heeded and implemented, can enhance the infrastructural development of the host communities around dams and spur economic empowerment through the support of local businesses in the communities that would also translate to the economic well-being of the nation.
Governor Umar Bago’s demand echoes the need to ensure that host communities benefit substantially from the abovementioned benefits and that the people directly affected by the power production are active players in the nation’s progress.
As a matter of importance, in championing this cause, our national assembly members from Niger State and across Northern Nigeria should work assiduously with their fellow lawmakers and prove their mettle of strategic lobbying and networks to make this practicable. Sadly, the majority of the citizens do not know the enormous economic contributions of the hydroelectric dams to the country, which should warrant fair compensation through the 13% derivation.
In closing, Governor Bago’s demand is not only a call for more resources. Instead, it is a call for fairness and to recognise the significant roles that Hydroelectric power-producing states, notably Niger State, play in our nation’s economic growth and development.
Therefore, in good conscience, whether a Nigerlite or not, we need to rally around Governor Bago’s cause because the demand for equity is lawful and a stride towards a more balanced and prosperous nation.
Muhammad Danjuma Abubakar writes from Minna, the Niger State capital and can be reached via email@example.com.