Reflecting on the impact of HYPPADEC in Niger state

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“When the people are well informed on governmental policies and programmes, they can always trust their government” – Alexandra the Great

The Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC), under the visionary and dynamic leadership of Alhaji  Abubakar Sadiq Yelwa and his amiable team, has impacted tremendously and positively in most of the communities ravaged by flood in Niger, Kebbi, Kwara, Kogi, Plateau, and Benue states. 

The commission achieved this through infrastructure, human capital development, entrepreneurship, youth empowerment, provision of housing, among others. Live jackets are also provided for the people to guide against loss of precious lives while security gadgets are as well made available to curb the menace of incessant insecurity prevalent in the affected host communities.

The wind of change on some far-reaching initiatives brought to bear in Niger state host communities under the unique and dynamic leadership of Sadiq Yelwa and his management team cannot be overemphasised as HYPPADEC has seen to the holistic transformation of  communities ravaged by  the Kainji Dam. HYPPADEC places so much premium on education of the youth who constitute the larger percentage of the host communities’ population. Accounting to the immortal words of the late South African President, Dr Nelson Rohilala Mandela, “Education is the greatest weapon we can use to change the world”. It is in this direction, that HYPPADEC has expended about N50 million on Students Education Support (SES) in Niger state.

Thirty one medical students benefited from SES while 1,452 students different fields like engineering and others also benefit83 across the 77 HYPPADEC political wards in Niger state. In the same vein, 25 local government areas of Niger state benefitted from the free NECO/GCE examination November/December 2022, with each local government area having 46 candidates making 1,157. A popular African adage says, “A healthy man is a wealthy man”. It suffices to state that if health is lost, all is lost. And in promoting sound and healthy living in 17 local government areas in Niger state, the HYPPADEC team leader and his team conducted free medical/surgical outreach on residents from March 12 – 15, 2022. 

Considering the role the youths play in any progressive society, HYPPADEC’s focal point is to galvanise them for social transformation via skills acquisition which is the centre point of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. Àbout 1,500 youths of Niger state extraction have been trained on different skills acquisition programmes, geared towards economic reliance and sustainability as well as contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. Relatedly, HYPPADEC has shown compassion  through the distribution of 1,615 bags of rice to the people. The bags of rice were distributed from February to March 2022 with Mokwa getting 918 bags, Gwada 316 and Borgu 351.

Interestingly, NPK and UREA fertiliser were also distributed to farmers in selected communities at a highly subsidised rate. This was done since July 2022 which is geared towards given a new lease of life to farmers in the affected communities.

Because water is life ‘wey no get enemy’ as sang by the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti, HYPPADEC as a way of meeting up with one of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, drilled 155 solar-powered boreholes across the communities. This gesture clearly is a great manifestation of a caring leader who believes in the words of Adams Spencer who said, ”No one shall be free, until all are free, no one shall be okay until all are okay, likewise, no one shall be happy until all are perfectly happy”. Additionally, two hand pumps were drilled in each 77 HYPPADEC wards in Niger state communities. The commission also constructed 17 blocks of classrooms, VIP toilets and offices, one in each of the 25 local government areas of Niger state.

As a way of complementing the efforts of the conventional security agencies in Niger state,  the HYPPADEC  leadership provided 539 motorcycles to Niger state with seven motorcycles distributed to each of the 77 HYPPADEC wards. In like manner, the HYPPADEC leadership has always risen to the occasion at the right time and when needed. HYPPADEC has provided relief materials such as mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets, bundles of zinc, bags of rice, bags of millets, bags of corns, detergents, sanitary pads as well as free medical outreach to communities affected by devastating flooding which submerged most villages. And in the area of housing tagged ‘Rescue Village’, HYPPADEC leadership has constructed a total of 90 housing units with 60 in Muregi and 30 at Ketso communities in Mokwa local government area with the aim of mitigating the effect of the IDPs displaced by flooding and banditry.  

A born leader with the love of the youths, Sadiq Yelwa carefully selected youth from across 227 political wards for need assessment and enumeration exercise to carry out level of environmental degradation, flooding and other menace for field back report to the leadership of the commission. This is to give room for proactive action to be taken and save people from any hardship. And as a way of reducing incessant boats mishap in Niger state, the commission has provided 1,850 live jackets to communities in the riverine areas of Niger state and beyond. This is to reduce the hazard and disaster being faced by boats operators.

A great team player who believes in the broom stick analogy that a single broom can easily be broken, the HYPPADEC team leader has been carrying critical stakeholders along to achieve the commission’s set goals. As a result, HYPPADEC organised a one-day stakeholders’ meeting to brief government functionaries, traditional institutions, local communities and other interest groups on the enumerator’s findings and the recipe they intend to apply in solving teething problems such as environmental degradation, insecurity, flooding, boat mishaps and others. Niger state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has been one of those who praised HYPPADEC’s impact in his state. “The takeoff of HYPPADEC has brought lots of reliefs to the riverine communities in the six states affected by the activities of hydro dams and ecological degradation.” 

At this juncture, it would not be out of place to encourage HYPPADEC management not to relent as it brings succour to the people in the affected states. Ricardo Housham must have had Sadiq Yelwa and his team in mind when he said, “Your goals are closer than you think, stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize, then follow your heart.”

Ibrahim is a former President, Kwara State Students, University of Abuja.

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