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“Niger State is the best”, World Bank, French Development Agency lauds Governor Abubakar Sani Bello -By Keem Abdul

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Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello’s exemplary leadership continues to receive international acclaim and draw the attention of notable businessmen to Niger State as a profitable destination for their investments.  The World Bank and the French Development Agency for Nigeria have just rated Niger State as the Best in Rural Roads Rehabilitation in the whole of Nigeria.

Both organisations wrote a letter of commendation to the Niger State Governor and it was jointly signed by World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri and the Country Director for the French Development Agency for Nigeria, Mr. Pascal Grangereau.  The two entities collaborated as developing partners in the second Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP-2) that involved the coordination, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of rural road networks in many parts of Nigeria. Based on their assessment, Niger State emerged the best in terms of “procurement, safeguards, financial management and technical experience to manage rural roads.”

Niger State’s notable proficiency, professionalism and increased capacity has been driven by its current Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello. A reformer at heart yet a silent achiever, his commitment to excellence is one of the reasons that the world is taking notice of Niger State. In January 2020, Saudi Prince Naif bin Abdullah bin Saud Al-Saud invited the Niger State Governor to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for talks towards collaborating for the establishment of Niger State’s very own Silicon City. The meetings they held were fruitful and plans are in place to create through the Niger State Silicon City, a Digital Economy which will help drive the economic and social development of Niger State.

A few months prior, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello was in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A for a High-Level Roundtable on Primary Health Care and Human Capital Development convened by Bill Gates. Sources say he alongside Aliko Dangote secured the commitment of Bill Gates to invest in developing critical infrastructure that Niger State needs. The Governor is passionate about leading his people and bettering their lot. In his own words, “To lead a people from where they are to where they have not been is not enough. You can lead people to a worse place than they were before and that would be terrible. A good leader should lead the people to where they ought to be. That requires vision, courage and tenacity especially if you are going against the norm.”

Clearly, he is a man of vision, courage and tenacity. His peers recognize it too and it is probably why he recently was voted by them as Chairman, North Central Governors Forum. The Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP-2) that the World Bank and the French Development Agency for Nigeria partnered to execute led to 176 kilometres of road already completed in Niger State, with another 404 kilometre stretch undergoing rehabilitation. The impact of the project also included river crossings and will provide all-weather access for an estimated 342,000 people across 120 communities in the state. The corollary effect will improve access to health facilities, lead to increase of children enrolled in school, reduced transportation costs and improving the standard of living of people dwelling in rural areas. Of greater import is that the commendation from the World Bank will attract other donor agencies and financing institutions to help develop Niger State, knowing that the corruption and greed that attends many Nigerian projects has been practically done away with in the State.

That is the kind of leadership Nigerians crave and it is what the people of Niger State are enjoying. It is the hope of many that Abubakar Sani Bello will beam his light into the larger space of national leadership when his tenure as Niger State Governor eventually comes to an end.

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