People hate Governor Aliyu because of his oratorical prowess. My friends in the south have often led these antagonists whose main grouse is because an “Aboki” man not only has PhD, but surpasses their governors in confident expression of the Queen’s language. In Minna, our people envy Governor Aliyu’s royalty, and the grandeur with which he marks every traditional and religious festival as though he were an emir. Our Governor even owns an elephant!
Governor Aliyu came to us by chance. He came in after a political permutation struck out the candidate chosen by his predecessor. When I saw Governor Aliyu, I saw change. I knew he wouldn’t let the goons of the outgoing Governor Abdulkadir Kure’s days return to feast on our treasury. He was an intellectual, who had earned a PhD at a big American university. So, I wasn’t surprised when he shamed all those sycophantic journalists, friends and aides scrambling to label him “His Excellency”. Governor Aliyu asked us to call him a servant, our “Chief Servant”. Shun gaudy garbs—that’s what intellectuals do!
Governor Aliyu is a renegade. He set himself apart. He refused to live in the Government House. He leased his private residence to the government and, for this, every infrastructural development in the state capital starts from there, such that the only streetlit roads in Minna are those on his route, where his convoys of bomb-detecting SUV’s navigate from his residence to the Government House daily. That’s what Chief Servants do.
You see, Governor Aliyu is a man of style. He knew that he is the Moses to free us from the economic prison built around us by the previous administration. That was why, in imitation of Vision 2020 of late President Musa Yar’adua, Governor Aliyu proposed Vision 3:2020, a blueprint to get Niger State ranked among the three most economically developed states in Nigeria. That’s what visionary leaders do.
While he awaits a miracle to implement his policies, Governor Aliyu sees the need to end the beliefs held by our superstitious people that Zuma Rock was a palace of the jinn. Not that Governor Aliyu was afraid of the jinn, but he hired white mountaineers and helicopters to, in their word, “conquer” Zuma Rock. Governor Aliyu signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Canadian tourism development company to jointly invest USD 700 million in turning the ambience of Zuma Rock into a tourist site. That’s what responsible servant leaders do!
Governor Aliyu knows his people. Aside from his initial grassroots intervention initiative, Jama’a Forum, which kicked off with the flurry of his Vision 3:2020 project, his elitist airs were understood implicitly in his demolitions of structures without a definable development blueprint. Our visionary governor plans to build a five-star hotel in a town that has no single industry; now various state-owned landed properties are to be sold and the proceeds invested in construction of a “Three Arms Zone”, a grand structure modeled after Abuja’s. Our Governor knows what “Three Arms Zone”, fashioned after America’s Capitol Hill, will do to his ego. But our Governor doesn’t just serve the elites alone, he knows what his people need is an escape from the monstrous poverty that haunts them in their houses. So he rganized and designed ostentatious programmes – carnivals, festivals, symposia, seminars, colloquia and workshops – repeatedly, to get the media abuzz. Governor Aliyu only does what people see. This is a man who can donate a billion dollar if, say, James Bond wishes to pay him a three-minute visit.
People envy Governor Aliyu because he glamourises our newspapers every day. The journalists love him. His Vision 3:2020 policies were implemented on the many billboards bearing his name and grinning, chubby face across the state. Even in the hinterlands, there are testimonies of his achievements written in the faces of billboards. May God bless the companies contracted to plant these bearers of a future unseen
Only Governor Aliyu and his policy analysts know how to recover the billions invested in tourism (and his many PR stunts) when there are no tourists ready to rub shoulder with Boko Haram freedom fighters. Only Governor Aliyu propagates free education hype when every school in Niger state now is a glorified abattoir. Only Governor Aliyu hires white mountaineers when what this wasteland of a state needs are “white” farmers (the Zimbabweans, yes!) to till this state with the largest landmass in Nigeria. Only Governor Aliyu thinks that the “idlers” of Niger state need his investments in inessential carnivals and cultural revival flaunts when there is no pipe-borne water in Minna…
And so my wise governor proved his intellectual wisdom again when the who-is-who in Nigeria, including his envied colleague, the Jesus of Owerri, Owelle Rochas Okorochas, headed to Minna on the 28th of December, 2012 for his daughters’ wedding extravaganza. His propaganda machinery was launched to cover up his failures: Streetlights were installed and repaired, roads were tarred and patched, electricity and, yes, water(!) were stable immediately before and throughout the duration of the wedding. They even renovated our central mosque. In just three weeks. But a complete blackout was registered in Minna soon as the guests left. That’s why I love Governor Aliyu
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