From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Niger State and former Chief of Staff Government House, Alhaji Umar Nasko last week 20th November, 2014 officially declared and assured to run an inclusive government when voted into power come 2015 general elections.
Nasko said this during his formal declaration at the Bako Kotangora stadium in Minna, stressing that his young age cannot be an obstacle but a reawakening to youth in the state to take advantage of their opportunity to serve the people.
Born 39 years ago, precisely on 13th March, 1975, Nasko, who would be two months above 40 on the date of swearing-in by 29th May, 2015, may not be too young to be governor of any state. A native of Magama local government area of Niger State, from the Niger North Senatorial District where the ruling PDP governorship has been zoned, the PDP aspirant is expected stiff opposition even from his locality as the governorship seat for the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been zoned there.
According to Nasko “I declare for the intent to be the next governor of Niger State under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) come 2015. I pledge to run an inclusive government and I will not let you down.
“The time has come for the youth in Niger to stand up and take responsibility. We can achieve a lot with your unflinching support. In a country where life expectancy is put to be less than 50 years, a 40 year old could not be too young to serve in the exotic office of the state governor.
“What is important in this journey, is not the age of the contestant, but the quality of the age, and how the individual feels about the age, it lies on the state of mind of the individual.
“That is why, the 30 year old with the right exposure and experience can achieve more than some 70 year old. That is not to diminish the value of old age, but only to understand to give the young chance to partake in the affairs of the state.
He added that “if given the ticket, we shall carry everybody along and consolidate on the giant strides of Governor Babangida Aliyu in ensuring we are among the top three most developed state in the country.
The aspirant had served in various ministries as commissioner in the state before his last appointment as Chief of Staff to the governor, leaving behind such impact that was in no doubt always felt at every position he has headed.
Nasko at the event said that in Niger State certain indices of good governance are taken for granted – transparency and accountability in public service, institutional capacity building, legal frameworks, participatory democracy and grassroots involvement in governance, etc. Similarly, that certain dividends of democracy are also taken for granted – improved educational facilities, qualitative healthcare delivery, improved infrastructural facilities, and abundant food supply, among others.
Niger State Governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu at the event urged Nigerlites to support the candidature of Umar Nasko saying he is a resilient and courageous young man who means well for the people.
Governor Aliyu who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Saidu Idris Ndako Kpaki, threw his support behind Nasko’s candidature saying, “I tell this mammoth crowd that the foundation of the Vision 3:2020 will be sustained because Nasko is a loyal and dedicated young man. And I present him to you.”
Alhaji Umar Mohammed Nasko before a mammoth crowd of supporters declared to run for the governorship of the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party promising to build on the solid foundation already laid for the development of the state by Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu.
“I Umar Mohammed Nasko today the 20th day of November 2014 declare my intention to run for the governorship of Niger State on the platform of the PDP. I seek your support to be next governor of our dear state”.
Nasko sought the cooperation of the people to ensure that he does not only win the party primaries but the election proper next year saying that ‘together we can secure the future of our dear Niger State’.
The former Chief of Staff promised that if he eventually becomes the governor of Niger State he will give the young ones a chance to lead while also assuring the people of the state of transparency and accountable leadership as well as building institutional capacities that will galvanize the state to the Promise Land.
Nasko said qualitative and free education, payment of NECO, WAEC and NABTEB registration fees for students in public schools will be pursued with vigour by his administration just as health care delivery system will be brought closer to the ordinary Nigerlites.
He also sued for continued peace in the state assuring that all security agents in the state will be assisted to perform their duty to make the state the most peaceful in the country thereby ensuring economic and social development of the state.
The aspirant showered praises on the Niger State governor for the tremendous development he has brought to the state in the last seven years declaring that “Aliyu is the best thing that has happened to Niger State”.
Chairman of the declaration organizing committee, Professor Muhammad Kuta Yahaya in an address, described the aspirant as a faithful, loyal servant who has been tutored enough to continue the good work of the outgoing administration.
Kuta admonished the people of the state to queue behind Nasko who will establish a people friendly administration and a government that will continue the drive to make the state one of the most developed by the year 2020.
Former Bayelsa State, Governor DSP Demipreye Alamesieya’s presence gingered the crowd in an address at the event, describing Alhaji Nasko as “a rising star, and a young man that has been divinely gifted to Niger State”.
Other speakers who gave goodwill messages include the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Barrister Adamu Usman who led members to the podium, as well as various groups and political associations that used the occasion of the declaration to throw their support behind Alhaji Umar Nasko.