In this piece SAMUEL OGIDAN writes on the secrets behind the relative peace in Jigawa, a state that prides itself as the ‘new world’
For some five years now or thereabout, the nation has been enveloped in all manners of security challenges. Most pronounced of these is the spate of terrorism occasioned by the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram, a supposed Islamic group, with base in Maiduguri and Damaturu, in Borno and Yobe states respectively.
Today, the activities and impact of the group is being felt in various parts of the country, especially in the north. But beyond the Boko Haram, there are other skirmishes such as the Ombatse crisis in Nasarawa state, Fulani herdsmen related violence in Benue/Nasarawa states, the indigene question in Plateau and of course the gruesome killings in Zamfara and Katsina states, to mention but a few.
All of these have resulted in the wanton destruction of lives and property in the affected areas.
These unforeseen and unpredictable circumstances have given concerned citizens cause to worry while others have taken steps to checkmate this aberration described as a novel confrontation that is alien to Nigeria. Of course, the dastardly acts have always been greeted with condemnation, a development that prompted the deployment of soldiers to these areas to prevent re-occurrence.
However, one state which has designed a blueprint to guarantee a harmonious relationship between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers is Jigawa, where Sule Lamido, a core disciple of the late Aminu Kano holds sway. He opened up to some journalists on the entourage of the Governor Jonah Jang-led Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on this and his developmental efforts in the state.
Disclosing this to newsmen, the Director of Press to Jigawa state governor, Umar Kyari said not only has the governor devised the method of curtailing crisis in the state, but has also put modalities in place to ensure transparency in any project executed by his administration.
He said that grazing land and water are made available for the Fulani herdsmen as specific locations in the state to avoid clashes on vegetation, adding, “50 grazing lands are made available. There is wind mill to pump water as water is cited at areas where the Fulanis are concentrated. This helps to stop Fulanis/farmers clash on vegatation.”
He also added that the governor put in place a cow transport policy where selected farmers smiled home with some cows. According to him, 10 farmers were selected from each of the 288 wards in the state, adding that 6000 farmers had already benefited from this gesture at a cost of N120,000 (one hundred and twenty thousand naira), per farmer. The farmers assembled at the cow market to select cows of their choice.
Governor Lamido administration’s outstanding achievements are not only in the area of curtailing the Fulani/farmers confrontation, but a glimpse into other sectors showed that the man, described by his people as ‘Mr. Transparency’, has actually done a lot for the state in spite of the meager resources.
A tour of various projects both ongoing and completed, around the state, revealed the governor as a silent achiever. The projects inspected include the N11.7billion Dutse International Airport slated for commissioning by President Goodluck Jonathan at the end of this month, the new Jigawa State University in Kafin Hausa, new College of Nursing and Midwifery, Birni Kudu, Jigawa State Academy for the gifted, the N785 million General Yakubu Gowon NYSC Orientation Camp and Sports Centre, State Secretariat Complex, roads, Legislators’ Quarters and scores of housing estates among several others.
Kyari said the NYSC camp with the capacity to accommodate 2,020 corps members at a time, and built within two years, was a feat that President Jonathan described during the commissioning as “transparency at work.”
Explaining the capacity of the international airport, the site architect, Victor Obati said the airport with a runway of 60 meter by 3km can take five medium size aircrafts at a time. Obati also noted that agriculture was also put into consideration in the design of the airport as it will provide a transit for agricultural produce.
The director of press also explained that about 4,050 physically challenged are placed on monthly salary of N7000 each, adding that the governor also pays allowance of N9,960 each to 310 students of Birni Kudu College of Nursing and Midwifery, a college built in 2012 and commissioned by Rivers state governor, Rotimi Ameachi.
Transparent governance in Jigawa which results in fair distribution and utilization of the state’s resources is one lesson Lamido’s colleagues must have gone away with. Little wonder therefore that Jigawa has remained not only peaceful, but also a fast emerging new world where the peoples psyche is being changed for the better. The contention among the visiting journalists is that if other governors could emulate the gesture of their Jigawa counterpart, certainly Nigeria would be a better place to live in.