Sakaba: Kebbi’s Blessed but Cursed Local Government

By Murtala Suleman Sakaba

The three tiers of government in Nigeria were not haphazardly designed for the country; they were carefully premeditated to allow leaders and the led to interact at different levels. Out of the three, the federal is considered the centre and also the most powerful in Nigerian setting. However, state and local governments are less powerful in the Nigerian federal system but crave greater impact and influence on peoples’ lives.

A state like Kebbi is considered promising because of numerous resources—agricultural, mineral and human—available there. It has …local government areas with vast arable land. This writer picks Sakaba LG and considers the magnanimity or otherwise of its progeny in its development or under development process.

Many sons and daughters of Sakaba have held important positions that are supposed to be used to touch peoples’ lives positively in the area and beyond. Since the return of Nigeria to democratic dispensation in 1999, many people from this part of Zuru emirate have acted or are acting in positions of “excellencies, distinguishes, honorable and so on.

Alas, their doing and undoing prove little or no value and significance to Sakaba and its people. This is because, to quote a distinguished historian Walter Rodney “development in human society is many sided… and at societal level it involves physical structures in terms of building good roads, water supply, school, hospital… these things are not near to be seen in the Local Government Area that was created some two and half decades ago.

Ironically, many people of high calibre and influence often trace their ancestry to the area. A sample of them could substantiate the claim! From 1999 – 2003 at federal level, Dr Muhammad Sani Udu represented Sakaba federal constituency at the lower chamber of the national assembly. He was replaced by Hon. Bala Ibn Na-Allah in 2003-2007 and returned again in 2011. In 2015 general election, the influential Na-Allah switched to the upper chamber and became the current senator representing Kebbi South senatorial district. He equally hails from Sakaba.

Although prior to Na-Allah, Major General Abubakar Tanko Ayuba whose LG is left underdeveloped, was the senator from 2007-2011. Accordingly, powerful positions of prime importance at the state government level were occupied by people from this part of Kebbi State. From 1999-2007, the Secretary to Kebbi State Government who is considered the engine of the executive arm was occupied by two illustrious sons from Sakaba. Bala Musa Sakaba served at the capacity from 1999-2006 while Aliyu Bawa Sidi (also from Sakaba) served around 2006-2007. The duos were very influential albeit the latter short-lived at the capacity as he lasted just for a year and was later appointed commissioner for agriculture in the same government.

Similarly, in the current political setting, Barr Rakkiya Tanko Ayuba who hails also from Sakaba is the commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of Kebbi State. The list of this calibre of people from Sakaba could be longer as we proceed. Therefore, a glance in to the above list and the influential positions could leave someone with the assumption that “Sakaba always takes lion’s share “from the developmental projects executed in the state as a result of presence of its sons and daughters at high policy and decision making bodies in the state. It is pertinent here to note that Sakaba is blessed, or somehow blessed at least. This is because it takes if not “lion’s share”, but something close to that as “juicy or strategic positions” which is expected naturally to, covertly or overtly, facilitates flowing of developmental projects to the area.

However, in terms of development especially infrastructure, Sakaba always takes something negligible or at least something far away from lion’s share. Unfortunately, virtually all the roads linking the local government headquarters with the major towns and villages are in deplorable condition because of sheer negligence. For instance, Makuku and Maganda road construction which was awarded in 2008 was abandoned since without reaching even 30% of the work.

Similarly, Dankolo, Janbirni, Gilwasa, Maza-Maza and Doka roads are in state of disrepair resulting in to avoidable sufferings and loss of lives of the people. In fact, one can question the influence of Sakaba’s progeny at different stairs of governance particularly at state level. At some point, one may argue that these chunks of influential and powerful people are only there to protect their personal ends and boost their personal aggrandizement.

Therefore, on one hand, the local government is blessed with a handful of influential people, but on the other hand is cursed because of their sheer hypocrisy, negligence and anti- people’s policies that have held the local government underdeveloped despite years of active democracy. And this is why an “objective” observer may argue that those powerful personalities from Sakaba are nothing but a curse and not blessing since they fall short of touching peoples’ lives positively in the area.

Murtala Suleiman Sakaba writes from Sakaba, Kebbi state. He could be reach on 08072370776