Govt House Diary

By George Daniya

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello

The governor of Niger State, Alh Abubakar Sani Bello, has been very busy indeed in the past three weeks, since he assumed office. And although it may be quite early to hang labels on him, I think one would be right to say that he is a diligent and meticulous chief executive officer. He gives attention to detail,  even to an inordinate degree. For some two weeks now, he has been conducting briefing sessions with ministries, which attend the sessions with the heads of their departments and agencies. The goal, in the wisdom of Mr Governor, is to get first hand information on the progress and challenges bedevilling the ministries. In trying to move the state forward in the direction of change, a lot of information is obviously needed for planning and action. These briefings are sometimes supplemented with on-the-spot  project assessment visit to evaluate the situation on the ground or plainly to support verbal explanations. The briefings are led sometimes by the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso, who prefaces the meeting by saying that the goal of the ministerial briefings is not to witch hunt,  but to gather relevant information as inputs for policy making and effective governance. In attendance at the briefings is also the Head of Service, Alh Mohammadu Maude, who in the recent past was a permanent secretary  in the state. What the entire process tells me is that in trying to move the state forward, the government wants to establish a strong database for action. And the governor is taking necessary time to achieve it.

A fortnight ago when the governor swore in some key government officials, he made a remarkable statement, which one must continue to ponder on. He said that his administration has no room for arrogance and stubbornness, that they are in government to serve the people. And to serve effectively and efficiently requires all of us – civil servants, members of the public, members of the APC family, all politicians, irrespective of their political  hue – to support Governor Bello to deliver his campaign promises to Nigerlites. After all, good governance is good for all, not for APC or PDP member, Christian or Muslim. When the system runs well, we are all winners; when it doesn’t,  we all carry the cross. The governor has promised to run an all-inclusive government, which means a government that gives all equal opportunities to participate in governance. And regardless of our different affiliations or what we do, we can contribute our own quota to good governance and development of our dear state, as long as the government is not arrogant and does not pretend to know it all. Therefore, the governor will need our mass support to deliver Niger State from underdevelopment and poor governance that have characterised the state since its creation in 1976.

Since he mounted the reins of office, the governor has been touring some ongoing projects in the state. While he is satisfied with some, he is displeased with others. Notably, however, he is concerned about the water scarcity in Minna, the state capital, and as such, he has visited the Minna water works, which he promised to overhaul to tackle the problem of water shortages in the state capital. At the 3-arms zone, Gov Bello said he was satisfied with the level of work done, as the construction of the legislative and commissioners quarters has reached various levels of completion. He then promised that he will fund the project to ensure its completion.

The governor also inspected the 5-star hotel project and was satisfied with the concept. He said that if completed, the hotel will be one of the best in the north central zone, and has pledged his commitment to complete the project initiated by his immediate predecessor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu. However, there are some projects that the governor said that the state was not disposed to carry on as a result of financial status of the government. The Minna City Centre project is one of such. Although a nice concept, he regretted that the state cannot, at this moment, finance the city centre project.


Now that the governor is taking stock of assets and liabilities, one significant symbol and concept of the past administration still stands in the Govt House. That is the map of Niger State with the Vision 3:2020 inscribed in it. Will this administration continue with the Vision 3:2020? What of the Minna Airport City project?

This week, when I picked up the schedule of the day at the Government House, Monday, I discovered a new innovation; the protocol department duly recognised the afternoon Muslim prayer time, Zuhr. A break from work is to be observed at that time to enable Govt House staff to leave their work stations to pray.


As politicians continued to troop into Govt House on a daily basis, all eyes and ears are  focused on Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to make public the list of his cabinet. I know that as soon as the names are released, all the suspense and elevated BP will disappear.