Friday, September 29, 2023


How Mohammed Umar Bago will deliver a new Niger state

How Mohammed Umar Bago will deliver a new Niger state
June 08
16:55 2023


Good and inclusive governance as well as people’s trust are, perhaps, the most important factors in attaining the socioeconomic development of any society. The imperative is such that they guarantee stability, prosperity, and collective well-being of the people.

For a leader to establish good and inclusive governance that earns people’s trust, he must come to power with vision, courage, tolerance, humility, and hard work. This is from the prism through which the executive governor of Niger state, Mohammed Umar Bago, is clearly approaching his administration.

After a triumphant entry and assumption of office as the 6th executive governor of the state, Mohammed Umar Bago is aware that earning the trust of the people he governs will not only be vital to his success but that all campaign promises must be delivered to sustain that trust, while also avoiding the mistakes of his predecessors.


Given the size, diversity, and development challenges of Niger state, the herculean task of spearheading the affairs of the state is enormous but surmountable. In order to confront these challenges, Governor Mohammed Umar Bago rolled out the policy thrust of his administration. The policy thrust and roadmap target a transformation programme that will help accelerate good governance, overcome obstacles, and harness the full potential of the state to spur inclusive growth, support economic transformation, promote development, and improve the socioeconomic conditions of the people.

During his inauguration address, the governor listed security, agriculture, education, commerce, tourism, health, infrastructural development, and women and youth empowerment as the priorities of his administration.

It is said that no meaningful development can be achieved in an insecure environment. This is why security tops the agenda of the new administration. The state’s development agenda highlights insecurity as the most compelling task ahead of the government. “We will tackle security challenges bedeviling the state with the intensity and urgency it deserves,” Governor Bago assured in his inauguration address.


To do so, the governor, with the swiftness of military dispatch, has set the ball rolling with his recent visits and consultations with service chiefs and heads of paramilitary outfits to consolidate the already established collaboration with security agencies towards a peaceful Niger state.

He hinted defence journalists after a meeting with Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Iraboh, on one of the strategies they would employ to secure the state. He said his administration would involve Fulani youths as part of non-conventional security personnel to protect forests within the state in order to wade off bandits.

“We will first take over the forests, clear them and make them useful, then the Fulani will now be given the responsibility to protect themselves and their assets because they are the occupants of the forest and jungles,” he had said.

The governor’s visits and consultations with service chiefs have started yielding positive results as they all assured that they would intensify efforts at bringing insecurity to an end in the state. On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Oladayo, assured of the deployment of more aircraft to ensure quick response to security challenges in the state.


“We know the problem we have now is that criminals don’t want farmers to go to their farms but we are working ahead of them. We are deploying some aircraft to Minna to increase our response to any security issue in the state,” he had said.

As Governor Mohammed Umar Bago fixes security, he will also strive to boost the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state and diversify its economy through agriculture, solid minerals, and tourism as well as other potential areas of comparative economic advantage. In repositioning the state for greatness, the governor is aware that agriculture is the backbone of the state’s economy and recognizes the potential of agriculture to rapidly promote growth and development. Consequently, the new administration will facilitate the attainment of food sufficiency, provide jobs across the agriculture value chain, and generate the needed revenue for the development of critical infrastructure in the state, thereby reducing over-dependence on federal allocation.

The state government will also leverage assistance from international development partners and donor agencies to fund some critical and revenue-yielding sectors of the state’s economy, especially tourism and road infrastructure.

Governor Mohammed Umar Bago is aware that promoting gender and youth mainstreaming is essential for an all-inclusive government that will spur development, hence intends to not only include them in decision-making but empower them to make meaningful contributions to the progress and development of the state. In driving this policy, the governor has earmarked the positions of vice chairman and secretary of the 25 local government areas of the state to women while 90% of those who would be appointed to his cabinet would be youths.


“Our administration’s determination to create a better future for youths and women will be unwavering; we will create opportunities for gainful employment for them within the state and beyond,” the governor has said. “I am confident that the engagement of our women and youths in skill acquisition will create the desired multiplier effects to change their socioeconomic status.”

Governor Mohammed Umar Bago understands the yearnings and expectations of the people which is why he has chosen to do things differently by taking a departure from the past in the overall interest of the people. It is in demonstration of this resolve that in his inauguration speech, he revoked the sales of houses and plots of land at the proposed 3-arms zone in Minna, by the immediate past administration of Abubakar Sani Bello. He said the 3-arms zone will be completed to provide accommodation to the 3-arms of government as contained in the original masterplan.


As a man that abhors the leader-knows-it-all mentality, the governor welcomes suggestions from the people on ways to further develop the state. And he demonstrated this when he personally received a report from the Niger State Development Forum, headed by the former minister of state for foreign affairs, Zubairu Dada, at the Niger State Lodge in Abuja. The report, which was put together by prominent sons and daughters of the state irrespective of political affiliation, contained the group’s suggestions and recommendations on ways to move the state forward.

The governor had told the gathering that the expectations of residents are much and that his administration will do its best to surpass the expectations.


“We shouldn’t be interested in the euphoria of the first 100 days,” he had said, “our limit should not be in the next 100 days. We don’t want to do window dressing, we want to do groundbreaking projects that will last for a long time.”

Undoubtedly, Governor Mohammed Umar Bago is ready and willing to build a new Niger state for the present and future generations. And armed with a modern governance framework and a pro-growth and development policy, the new administration has started on a good footing to deliver the dividend of democracy to the people of Niger state. But as our elders have advised, we must all be prepared to leave our comfort zones if things must get better.


With Governor Mohammed Umar Bago at the helm of affairs, there is high optimism that with collective support and cooperation, the new administration shall achieve remarkable milestones beyond the people’s expectations as we all believe that a new Niger state is a work in progress.

Bologi Ibrahim is the chief press secretary to the executive governor of Niger state

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.


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