By Victoria N. Ikeano
The first thing to say about this book is its creativity as each point is beautifully illustrated with graphics. For this one must give kudos to the graphic artist for a job well done. The graphics together with the elegant cropping of pictures both of which are generously splashed in this 158-page book in exquisite colour makes it attractive and inviting to the eyes. It also makes for smooth reading as well as easy assimilation of the points without the reader belabouring himself/heself foraging through tonnes of texts. It is printed in high grade quality paper and to wit, its technical production is top notch. I guess that the subject- matter of this book, His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi A. Sule coming from the private sector where they settle only for the best, would have made sufficient money available most probably from his own pocket going by his own ethical standards, for a very good production.
Also, as part of its creative style, this book deviates from the normal book format that is divided into chapters. That is to say it has no preface or table of contents, instead, it has random topics each of which is an aspect of the main theme which is the industrialization drive of Governor Abdullahi Sule during his first year in office. In fact, this book is one of three books rolled out by the director-general, strategic communication in the office of the executive governor, Mallam Yakubu Lamai to commemorate the first anniversary of Governor Sule’s assumption of office. The others are a compendium of the governor’s speeches during the period and articles on him.
Expectedly, the publication begins with an introduction which is aptly captioned, “The many transitions of Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule”. This is essentially the transition of the governor from a private sector, corporate company professional to public sector governance as governor cum politician, starting with his first professional stint at the Jos Steel Rolling Company Limited to his other working experiences at home and abroad, namely, Lancer (Worldwide), Oskya Corporation, Sadique Petroleum, African Petroleum and Dangote group. These are graphically illustrated as steps. The sixth is the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from merger of some political parties on which platform he transited to the seventh by becoming its Nasarawa state gubernatorial flagbearer, culminating ultimately, in his being sworn-in on May 29,2019 as its executive governor. This seventh step is a critical one for him, going by the law of numbers. Here he entered into a new world of politics and public governance, with it, a new life so to speak.
Therewith, he adopted the mantra ‘Exceeding all Expectations’ and set for himself the goal of making Nasarawa one of the five most competitive states in the federation. And the plank for this is industrialization, the specific goal (in line with the citizens goal) being, ‘to bring industries, generate employment and create economic prosperity and wealth’. Thus, the core of the book is a summary of how the governor has gone about meeting these objectives in his first year. It begins with a brief definition of industrialization, the theoretical framework/underpinnings for industrialization, that is creating a conducive environment to attract investors and for industries to thrive. These are headlined as “The 6 critical achievements of Engr. Abdullahi Sule in leading Nasarawa state to the path of industrialization”. They are, development of the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), establishment of the Nasarawa Investment and Economic Advisory Council, development of the Nasarawa state Investment Guide, establishment of the state’s Ease of Doing Business reforms structure, improvement of the fiscal framework. What follows are write-ups on some of these key areas, more like an insight into them. Among them are, “The Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS 2018-2023)”; “Overview of the Nasarawa State Investment and Economic Advisory Council”; “The Nasarawa Procurement Bill”. They are all (as is the style of this book) generously interspersed with photographs, graphics as well as quotes.
There is the all-important agricultural sub-theme with the topic on the governor’s “Agricultural Scorecard”, preceded by a short piece on, “Why Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule positioned agro-allied industries as key driver to industrialize Nasarawa state”. It can be seen therefrom that the governor has within the period under review, attracted some companies into the state as well as expanded scope of the one already on ground. They include Dangote which is into sugar and rice production, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Azman Rice Mills and Farms limited, Olam.
A considerable number of pages are devoted to security- related matters, under the general topic, “One year of monumental investment in Peace and Security” with several other related sub-themes. The prominence assigned this issue in this book is understandable given that there can be no meaningful progress cum development without peace. Generally, it explores the governor’s peace-making moves since inception of his administration, a chronicle of his activities in that regard including Sule’s “Model of resolving the Almajiri debacle in northern Nigeria” which dovetails into the Child Rights Bill that “ finally saw the light of the day with the sign and seal of Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule”. Among the engagements of the governor as a “Security conscious peacemaker” are his regular peace meetings with his Benue state government, his intervention in the Taraba state communal crisis as a neutral host, his hosting of the federal government sponsored ‘North Central security summit”, mapping out of strategies to curb the recurring farmers/herdsmen clashes that is predominant in the north central region as well as tackling kidnapping and, massive donation of various equipment and land to the security agencies for their operations.
On the subject of Digital economony (an emerging sector that is contributing significantly towards the nation’s economy), “Keying ICT into the industrialization drive of Nasarawa state” highlights the state’s achievements in the area of information communication technology under Governor Sule, chief among which is establishment of technology information hubs. Thereafter, there is the “Quick Read” which lists at a glance with appropriate photographs, 50 achievements of Governor Sule across board. In “Highlights from selected ministries & agencies”, achievements of ministries and agencies are listed in spreadsheet format.
Then follows an interesting piece “Abdullahi A. Sule… By dint of personal sacrifice” by Yakubu Lamai himself. This gives an insight into the other side of the governor that is not often reported. From it we learn that not only has the governor silently undertaken many a good cause but that they were also undertaken from his own personal pocket, without dipping into the state’s coffers. The book closes with selected quotes from some citizens of Nasarawa state about Governor Sule’s administration. This is a rather bulky book in that it is longer horizontally in size and heavy. Thus, it is not a standard book that can fit into a lady’s bag, a laptop bag or briefcase, to be carried about and read while in transit say in a private car or bus. Since it is not generally for sale, I suggest that copies be made available in public libraries in the state and Abuja where it can be accessible to the general public. Overall, it is a good documentation. Researchers will find it especially useful.
Victoria N. Ikeano is a Public Affairs Analyst.