By Ahmed Maiyaki
Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo clocked the wisdom age of 60 years and by implication joins the exclusive class of elder statesmen in our great country. As a mark of his quintessential achievements and contributions to nation building, many friends and associates have rightly chosen to roll out the drums in rejoicing with him. It is however imperative that while we celebrate his life to also reflect on his immense contributions to improving the overall living conditions of every Nigerian. A great man is nothing if his achievements have not impacted positively on the lives of the less privileged in the society.
On assumption of duty as Vice President, Sambo left no one in doubt of his capacity to assist President Goodluck Jonathan in actualizing the Transformation Agenda of the present administration. His cordial working relationship with Jonathan is a major source of strength not only for the administration but also the stability of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. Sambo has demonstrated absolute loyalty and support to his boss, which has led to the many achievements of the administration. His disposition is to put Nigeria first in all assignments rather than consider selfish interest that often is catalyst for collision between leaders and their subordinates in the country. With Sambo, Jonathan is assured of a loyal lieutenant that always has his back.
Consequently, the VP has strived to successfully accomplish all responsibilities assigned to him by the Constitution of the Federal Republic as well as by the President. As Chairman of the National Privatization Council, Sambo has successfully reduced the level of friction in the privatization programme through eschewing personal interests by officials and putting the interest of the country first. This was manifest in his handling of the power sector privatization. Before the Jonathan administration came on board, the power sector reform was heading for the rocks, but through the committed leadership of Sambo, the process was completed and is incrementally improving power supply in the country.
Other agencies under the office of the Vice President are also responding positively to the transformation process of the Jonathan administration. A case in view is that of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which in the last few years witnessed a major reform with increased capacity to manage disasters. NEMA has acquired modern technical and manpower capacity to deal with emerging calamities. The emergency resilience and preparedness model of the agency is second to none in West Africa and has become case study for similar agencies across the African continent. Today, NEMA can swiftly respond to emergencies and also provides relief to victims of disasters in all parts of the country, no matter the terrain. The agency can boast of a helicopter, an air ambulance and dozens of ambulances that are stationed in strategic locations in the country for rescue operations. In addition, NEMA has also increased the number of its offices across the country to take the agency and rescue process closer to the people.
Another agency under the supervision of the Vice President’s office is the National Boundary Commission. Under Sambo, the commission has also successfully resolved several boundary issues within the country. Many disputes have been amicably resolved, avoiding the usual conflicts and sometime violent clashes involving boarder communities. The responsive action of the boundary commission has instilled confidence in its ability to demarcate boundaries to the satisfaction of all parties in disputes. Today, Nigerians no longer resolve to violence in resolving boundary disputes; they look to the boundary commission.
While efficiently leading federal agencies under his office, the VP has also supported the President in initiating massive developmental projects across the country. Through the intervention of Sambo, many critical infrastructures that have been abandoned across the Northern region are now being completed by the Jonathan administration. The present administration has exhibited clear commitment to improving the state of infrastructures in the North by the construction of roads, rails, dams, power projects and educational institutions.
As at May 2011, there were 79 road projects spread across the three geo-political zones of the North, with a total contract sum of N475.2 billion. About 30 months into the Jonathan Administration, the number of road projects in the North grew from 79 to 117, with a total contract sum of N914.8 billion.
It is also on record that to curtail the scourge of the traditional Almajiri system, the Jonathan-Sambo Administration has successfully incorporated the Almajiri Islamic Education System into the national educational policy. A total of 101 Almajiri Model Schools are now in full operation across the North. The administration has also established Federal Universities in six Northern States that hitherto had no such institutions.
To improve power supply in the North, work on the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro-power projects that were abandoned for many years are now receiving attention. The projects are to produce a combined 3750mw to the national grid. Other similar projects are the Gurara Phase I and II, the Galma Dam, the Bakalori Dam, the Kashimbila Dam and the Itisi Dam all in the North. There is also the 215mw thermal power plant in Kaduna and completion of various transmission and distribution projects across the region.
Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) the Federal Government is reaching more farmers with subsidized fertilizers and hybrid seeds every year. The present administration has made tremendous efforts at improving the agriculture value chain process through massive investments. For instance, the rice transformational plan envisaged the establishment of 14 rice mills, ten (10) of which will be sited in the North.
In furtherance of his commitment to revamping the railways, Sambo as a loyal deputy, contributed immensely to rehabilitation of the Kano-Lagos, Zaria-Kaura Namoda and other rail line linking the North with other parts of the country. The VP is also in the forefront towards ensuring the completion of the Kaduna-Abuja fast rail line, which is presently at about 75% completion.
As we celebrate the newest elder statesman in town, it is important to appreciate his many selfless strives in the quest for building a modern industrialized nation. For close to three decades since he first took public office, Sambo has left indelible marks in all the positions he held. As commissioner in two different ministries and later Governor of Kaduna State, the VP left legacies beneficial not only to the present generation but also to the future.
At 60, we can only thank the Almighty God for the gift of such a selfless leader that is committed to common good of all. Our hope is for the Almighty to continue to sustain him with good health and wisdom to continue to support our great Leader, President GoodluckEbele Jonathan in actualizing all the set targets now and beyond. We say a big happy birthday to you Sir.
Ahmed Maiyaki can be reached on email@example.com