The self acclaimed Sarkin Yamman Sokoto, Alh. Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State was sworn in twice; in his first tenure as the Executive Governor of Sokoto State first on the 29th May 2007 and second on 29th May 2008 following his landslide victory at the polls in April 2007 after the re-election victory of 2008 respectively.
The good people of Sokoto hitherto believe that having spent two terms in office Sarkin Yamman has recorded ground breaking achievements that are unprecedented in the history of the state. These achievements include payment of arrears, gratuity and pension to state civil servants and pensioners in the state. There have been a lot of improvements in agriculture, health, works, transport and water sectors including infrastructural development. It is testified that Magatakarda Wamakko’s administration has done wonderfully well particularly in the area of education considering that knowledge is key to success. No society can attain any meaningful development without according education high premium. Indeed education remains the only credible legacy a parent, guardian or government can bequeath to those under their care for sustainable development so as to be useful to the society. In view of these Magatakarda Wamakko unveiled a multidimensional approach to those sectors.
Education has been acknowledged to be the backbone of any society. Without hesitation Sarkin Yamman attaches great importance to this sector that within his period in office tremendous improvement was recorded. Its unprecedented effort to save the system made the government to declare a state of emergency in the sector and committed more than 22 percent of the state budget in order to revitalize and reposition education in the state. In his resolve to provide qualitative, accessible and affordable education to the citizens of Sokoto State, Magatakarda has embarked on renovation and expansion of primary, secondary and tertiary schools across the state considering the fact that teaching and learning can only be effective in a conducive atmosphere. In almost all the schools and colleges across the state there was either a complete renovation of structures and or provision of new structures to accommodate the rising number of school age children in the state and three additional women centres have been constructed in each senatorial district for married women to enroll for their secondary education that would qualify them for tertiary education.
Boarding schools were developed and improved with facilities; dormitories have since been put in place for students’ comfort, huge sum of money was expended on procurement and supply of beds, mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets for both boarding primary and secondary schools in the state and has also continued to shoulder the responsibilities of uniforms and free feeding of all students. In addition to free textbooks and exercise books as well as other instructional materials free of charge, all these was done with the aim of increasing school enrolment figure and reducing the burden on parents and guardians. Also supply of water and electricity in the schools have received adequate attention where a number of grounded boreholes were re-activated and put to use in schools and 30KVA Perkin generating sets have been supplied to senior boarding schools across the state.
As we all known, no effective teaching and learning can take place without competent and qualified teachers. It was in view of this that ALU administration has, in the period under review, recruited more than 2000 graduate teachers to Secondary Schools in the state. This is in addition to series of trainings, workshops and seminars organized to the teachers to boost their morale and efficiency. Moreover, Magatakarda Wamakko approved and implemented the payment of Teachers’ Salary Scale (TSS) for all qualified teachers working in the state.
It is also interesting to note that this administration has never excluded nomads from acquiring formal education where nomadic schools were built and equipped for the children of nomads. Magatakarda has made it an upward review of bursaries and scholarship payable to state indigenes studying in any institution of higher learning within and outside the country.
Also, Wamakko administration has expended millions of naira for the sponsorship of the state indigenes to study at various higher institutions of learning, like Federal Science College Sokoto, Zaria Academy, Shika and Key Science Academy Abuja. Also about 50 state indigenes were sponsored to pursue courses in medicine at Albion College London, United Kingdom, 10 indigenes to pursue ACCA course in London while about 30 indigenous medical doctors were sponsored to undergo Post Graduate Studies in UK and Malaysia that would qualify them to become consultants. Also another set of 74 state indigenes were studying at the Nigerian Maritime Academy all under state sponsorship.
To reciprocate the leadership confidence Magatakarda Wamako declared a policy of poverty reduction since then he engaged in various developmental projects designed to uplift the living standard of the people to move along with the modern society. The cardinal policy of Sarkin Yamma’s administration is provision of infrastructure and good road network for overall socio-economic development and enabling environment that would ease the hardship of the goods and farm produce from villages to towns which encourage public private entrepreneurship.
The importance of the provision of good road network in the socio-economic development of any society cannot be overemphasized; the administration of Magatakarda Wamakko gives much consideration to road construction and rehabilitation in both urban and rural areas as part of its priority.
Almost all roads in the state capital are dualised or were in the process of dualisation, including Gusau road and the dualisation of eastern and western bye-pass roads and Rundi-Katarni-Silame road and powered with solar street lights for night visibility.
Other road projects executed by ALU administration are too many to be mentioned but a few are the construction of Kalambaina, Arkilla, Nasarawa, Polytechnic road, and Yarabba road, Ahmad Rufai road, Unguwar Rogo Junction, Mabera road as well as rehabilitation of Gado Nasko Avenue. It is also imperative at this juncture to state the bold efforts of the Aliyu Wamakko led government in consideration of the economic activities that exist in Illela and its position as boarder town. The state government has also reconstructed 80Km Sokoto-Illela Federal road and Tambuwal-Kebbe road. In fact on the issue of roads anyone who knows the seat of Caliphate very well, particularly the state capital, will justify and agree that from what Magatakarda inherited the face of the state has changed in terms of good access roads within the metropolis and environ; this effort is commendable.
The road projects carried by this administration include the rehabilitation of 20 access roads all within the metropolis; time will not allow us to continue to mention all. Indeed ALU has done well in this sector. His performance was applauded as exceptional by almost all the citizens and this had ensured his prominence. In fact that is why he is today the most prominent and successful politician. He is also the most relevant and respected personality among all and this can never be eroded. Knowing Wamakko and his performance give him chance to be re-elected in 2011 for the second term despite political machinations by opposition party after winning all the court cases filed by the opposition aimed at denying him his victory then.
However, another most important and significant sector is health. This sector contributes to the measurement of level of development of a people- accessibility and affordability. This is also in line with Magatakarda Wamakko’s administration to give healthcare to all citizens of Sokoto free and affordable. Since health is wealth, Magatakarda’s administration witnessed tremendous progress in terms of infrastructural development, drugs and laboratory equipment were supplied to hospitals and maternity, manpower development and expansion of existing health facilities were also provided. Among the project executed by this administration was total repair and renovation of specialist hospital and all general hospitals and also primary health care centres across the state were upgraded and equipped to cater for minor health problems. The state government has deemed it necessary to cater for any health related problem of its citizen. In this regard, Sarkin Yamma built and equipped Orthopedic Hospital at Wamakko Local Government with modern facilities.
In its determination to adequately staff the health facilities across the state, the present administration has established new school of midwifery at Tambuwal with a view to pursuing the reduction of maternal and child mortality and morbidity rate in the state. The Sultan Abdurrahman School of Health Technology Gwadabawa and State College of Nursing was equally provided with necessary teaching materials to facilitate and enhance conducive atmosphere for students’ learning at the two schools respectively.
ALU gives much concern on human resource development and training to encourage medical/ pharmaceutical students and Medical Laboratory Scientists on training by placing them on salary GL.08 as soon as they reached 400 Level in their studies. This motivational policy had earlier on been extended to other medical and nursing students wishing to specialize in various disciplines, as they were placed on salary grade level 04 while medical doctors on residency program are also supported to sit for various examinations to update their skills and knowledge.
Moreover, Magatakarda administration during the period under review has initiated two programmes that seek to take health care services to the doorsteps of the rural dwellers in the state. This was done with a view to making the services accessible and affordable to even the most common man in the state. These programs are FREMCARE and RUMCARE.
FREMCARE: Is a programme that provides Free Medical Care to pregnant women and children less than 5 years with a view to reducing maternal and children mortality across the state. Rural Mobile Medical Care know as RUMCARE programme on the other hand, is designed for those who cannot afford health care services or are hard to reach due to the area they live. Under the program a mobile clinic van with doctors would visit communities every week to see the success of the programme, mobile clinics and ambulances as well as drugs and other health facilities worth over 750 million were purchased and supplied to the Ministry of Health to support the two programmes respectively.
As we all know the most important organs of the human body are five of which the eye is one. The Magatakarda administration has vigorously supported the state eye care programme which has the goal of improving the quality of life and socio-economic development of the citizens through the reduction and prevention of avoidable blindness and empowering the irreversibly blind people to exercise their rights and responsibilities, and to have the same opportunities as their sighted peers. The scheme has succeeded in the treatment and surgeries of thousands with eye related problems like cataract, trachoma and glaucoma. Also about 540,725 people were treated with river blindness and various eye conditions at communities in the state.