Niger state has lost its prestigious status in Nigeria. Successive federal governments and politicians have treated it as mere vote-generating industry, which they abandoned after every election. The inter-state roads in Niger state are in a pitiable state, and one wonders if the people are being punished for some unstated wrongs.
I avoid Minna almost like a plague because the road from Suleja, like other roads across the state, is a nightmare. The never-ending cycle of rehabilitations has proven to be a wasteful project that profits only the political class. But, again, to what end?
A fellow asked me yesterday why I haven’t bothered to draw attention to the state of the roads and, in my bout of anger, I asked whether I participated in bringing to power the man charged with fixing this perennial problem. It gets tiring. Elections are intended to be a good transaction, but such exchange does not favour us.
I doubt if there’s a state in Nigeria that has endured ingratitude as much as Niger state, especially in the Buhari government that not only treats the state and its people as some occupants of the nation’s boys’ quarters, who only deserve crumbs from the National Cake.
I will provide a few examples:
- When the Abuja airport was about to be rehabilitated, Kaduna airport was chosen and rehabilitated over Minna airport in spite of massive lobbying for the latter. It didn’t matter that Minna was closer, and the temporary use of its airport could’ve
facilitated repair of its road and revival of its local economy.
- In choosing Ministers to form the federal cabinet, Niger state representatives are often given junior roles or tasked with overseeing insignificant portfolios. This happened in bot
h 2015 and 2019, and also experienced in 2007 and 2010 when representatives of the state were appointed to manage the Ministry of Sports, with Nigerians less qualified and inspiring handed significant ministries.
- Even though Niger state voted for
Buhari overwhelmingly in all his five presidential bids, the reciprocation has been spiteful. It’s this sentiment I cited when confronting the fellow asking me to draw attention to the state of roads in Niger state. I reminded him of what Buhari himself
once said: “People should only fear the consequences of their actions.”
- Niger state is technically the source of electricity in Nigeria, but the power situation in the state undermines such status. It’s been a never-ending series of power outage
s, and this has crippled both industrial outputs, and frustrated small business and the helpless people. Efforts by elected political officials to redeems this have not been received with the needed seriousness.
It’s tragic, really. It stirs a certain curiosity that a state hosting the residences of two former Presidents of Nigeria and a bunch of powerful military and political overlords, has no negotiable road to the federal capital, and is undergoing such glaring marginalization.
Perhaps these new realities may trigger the elite in the state, and the usual block-voting masses, to re-assess their political choices, demands and strategies in moving forward. We must suffer the consequences of our actions indeed.