The dilemma for Nasarawa: Al-Makura,the problem not the solution
By Awwal Hudu
There is, at least, in Nasarawa State, a time in the reign of every
governor, when he becomes the problem, not the solution to existing
problems of the state.
Sometimes, it happens so quickly.
The people do not take to his methods, development rarely occur,
disillusion sets in. This period is called the 'dead cat bounce'.
After a few months, the governor cuts his losses, admits he made some
mistakes and change gear.
Sometimes, it takes the governor a longer time to know the depth and
reality of the mess he plunged the state and its people into.
Maybe there is an initial improvement and the governor is acclaimed for
the changes he makes. Things go well. The state witnesses some artificial
changes. The changes are artificial because they seldom affect peoples'
living conditions. New projects initiated and or completed. Maybe there
are honours for the governor. A school renovated. Few roads tarred. For a
little while, it's hard to imagine that this could ever sour.
But then, perhaps after a couple of years, progress stalls as it is the
case in the state now.
Maybe an important political ally of the governor becomes his foe. Maybe
few allies start grumbling. Maybe there are differences and cries of
marginalisation. Maybe the money runs out. Maybe there are rows between
the governor and the party. Maybe the thugs grow deaf to instructions they
once heard loud and clear.
And amid the friction, development projects tail off and, perhaps, the
spectre of crises looms. There's a recognition that the magic has gone and
that things have grown stale and ordinary.
The state's governors are limited like that. They find it hard to maintain
success. They have a shelf-life of two or three years and then they get
themselves enmeshed in crises.
And then there is a history like the history Umar Tanko Al-Makura has with
A history at its most glorious in the early years, certainly, but a
relationship sustained through mutual loyalty and confused state of minds.
A relationship that survived the considerable strains placed upon it by
the seismic move from PDPs underperforming years to Al—Makura's performing
A relationship nurtured by the recognition that Al—Makura laboured under
severe communal crises for years.
Recognition, that despite those restrictions, despite the crises,
Al—Makura has kept his state and APC in the mix of positive public glare.
There is gratitude to Al—Makura in the state for that. There is gratitude
for everything he has achieved.
Nasarawa State could, for instance, have had Plateau's history over the
last 10 years of perennial killings. It is down to Al—Makura that the
state has witnessed some physical developments.
But now Al—Makura faces a horrible dilemma. Because slowly, Al—Makura,
too, has become the problem, not the solution, in Nasarawa State.
Seasons after season, the people lament Nasarawa's failure to mount a
prolonged challenge for true peace and development.
For some months, the unrest is more voluble than other months but it is
Sometimes it sticks in the throats of the Nasarawa people because they
know how much they owe the APC governor.
They know that, in many ways, they owe him plenty. He built the modern
Nasarawa State. He has become one of the greatest figures in the
opposition politics in this country.
And yet a terrible paradox is gripping Nasarawa now: The state is awash
with bright, young talents and yet it feels as if it is a state of
It takes a step forward and then it takes two steps back. Problems are
identified but they are not quickly fixed. And by the time they are
remedied, there is another problem to fix.
That feeling of progressive change and vitality has gone. It has been
replaced by a reluctant acceptance that we admire Al-Makura now for what
he once was, not what he might yet achieve.
Many people, in the state, know this and yearn for change. Some hold it in
as their guilty secret.
Even though some politicians broke ranks recently and criticised
Al-Makura, there is little appetite in especially Lafia to dump him.
How can you dump Al-Makura?
But even if there is great appetite among the electorate to usher him
towards the door, that will not change whatever the number of people that
will die in clashes bound to occur because solutions are not implemented
where the problems are detected by this government.
Regrettably, Al-Makura, too, was the solution once, of course.
How sweet it would feel if he could be once again, but that is a dream
that is fast fading.
Hudu wrote from Makurdi Road, Lafia
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