Sokoto’s development paradigm

This year’s budget for Sokoto state was aptly named ‘Budget of Consolidation and Sustainable Development’ simply to sum up its focus and policy thrust that are primarily centered on completion of all ongoing projects. It was presented before the state’s House of Assembly by Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko in November last year for deliberations and subsequent approval.
The N125.8 billion budget was meticulously packaged to ensure unhindered progress of the state by focusing on critical sectors of investment in physical infrastructure, education, agriculture and rural development. It is also to sustain and intensify various interventions in the area of poverty reduction in addition to implementation of projects and programmes that address critical targets of MDGs.

Wamakko chose to pay special attention on ongoing capital projects spread all over the state in line with his administration’s consistent philosophy that no chance will be given for any project he initiated to be abandoned for no just cause as such a practice is inimical to democracy and detrimental to the overall development of any society.
One could simply agree with Wamakko’s philosophy by mere looking at the number of projects commissioned last year; and this speaks volumes of the epic strides taking place in the state. Such commissioned projects include Sokoto State University, UDTH library complex, ultra-modern government villas, roads, skills acquisition centres at Sokoto and Kware, 20 million gallon Asari water scheme as well as 350 housing units for flood disaster victims at Tsaro.

There are several other conspicuous projects completed and have since been earmarked for commissioning. They include the flyover bridge, reconstructed Ahmadu Bello Way, dualised Western and Eastern Bypass roads and the triplised Airport Road. They also include Wamakko orthopaedic hospital, NYSC permanent orientation camp, children’s amusement park and Sokoto modern abattoir.
This is besides the over 50 other development projects that are at the moment awaiting commissioning, cutting across strategic sectors that have bearing to socio-economic development of the state. This shows the administration’s resolve to overcome challenges and ensure good governance despite the lean resources at the disposal of government.

Indeed, the administration has laid a sustainable foundation for the transformation of the state; and this success is no doubt a collective pride of all stakeholders. Significantly, the actualization of the promises made to the electorate is out of the governor’s innermost conviction of what really constitutes a defining moment of his mandate and foremost scale in measuring leadership credibility.
Two key ongoing projects stand the administration out in Nigeria. They are independent power project and government’s determination to embark on a state wide accelerated reconnaissance and prospecting for mineral resources including hydro-carbon.

It is also part of the policy thrust to sustain peace and security as well as accelerate human capital investment in health, education, agriculture and rural development. It is to equally strengthen public service capacity for good governance.
The administration is also determined to towards human capital development, youth empowerment and poverty reduction in addition to plans to establish fruitful partnership with the private sector in order to create economic and educational opportunities.
General administration received a boost this fiscal year as a total of N19 billion has been allocated to the sector for capital projects; and this is out of concern that the machinery of governance has to always remain rugged for smooth implementation of policies and programmes.

It is a fact that the reputation of the state has been amplified by its religious legacies; therefore N1 billion has been allocated for programmes and projects under the religious affairs subsector this fiscal year. There are elaborate plans to construct, renovate and rehabilitate Juma’at mosques, Islamiyyah schools just as the administration is committed to extend all necessary welfare support programmes to scholars and physically challenged persons.

Agriculture, which remains the mainstay of people, received deserved attention this fiscal year. And, as captured in this year’s budget, the administration’s major capital commitments in the sector will revolve around purchase and rehabilitation of tractors, spare parts and farm implements, purchase of heavy duty irrigation pumps and their accessories for sale to farmers at subsidized rate and ensuring procurement of grains, pesticides and other related projects.

Other areas include animal health and fisheries development, water resources, rural development, education, health, social welfare and women affairs, among many others. N5.3 billion has been earmarked for the health sector this year.
Such huge budgetary allocation is to complete health projects spread across the state, sustain and improve health programmes as well as fund the running of health resource institutions. The administration of pentavallent vaccine, which is, at the moment, adjudged to be of highest efficacy in controlling six childhood-killer diseases, will particularly be intensified.

Jirgi wrote from Sokoto

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