In the words of one-time US National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, the task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been. The veteran US diplomat is not far from the truth. If that were the litmus test of a political leader’s, many leaders across the world and particularly in developing nations do not think like that, or if they did, then translating those thoughts into actions is something they need to get better at.
One young Nigerian leader apparently shares Mr. Kissinger’s views in that regard albeit with a slight amendment. He is from Niger State in Nigeria and currently has the mandate of his people to serve them as their Governor. His name is Abubakar Sani Bello.
“To lead a people from where they are to where they have not been is not enough”, he says. “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.”
Undoubtedly, he is a man with a good head on his shoulders. He does have the qualities of great vision, courage and tenacity in addition to the pedigree of having a great man as forebear. His father, the estimable retired Nigerian Army colonel Sani Bello is a successful businessman well known for his sound moral values and leadership abilities. The man is a one-time Governor/Military Administrator of the old Kano State and served the nation meritoriously throughout his career. His son Abubakar – or “Lolo” as his supporters call him – certainly inherited some of his Dad’s gumption but he is his own man.
The trailblazing Abubakar recognizes that as Technology enhances the march of Civilization, his people and indeed his country run the risk of being left behind. Not on his watch though! He is assiduously working to not just leave Niger State better than he met it when he assumed office, but also have it at par with the top states and cities in the world. Lofty targets, yes especially when considering how puny the funding that Niger State gets from Nigeria’s central government in comparison to other states in the country.
To achieve that, he has sought and is getting the support of men, women, institutions and nations that can make it happen. The Dubai and United Arab Emirates vision which has now become a globally celebrated and phenomenally successful reality was attained through a coalition of progressive minds. Abubakar Sani Bello has learned from that. This past January he was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to meet Prince Naif bin Abdullah bin Saud Al-Saud. His visit was at the behest of the Saudi prince and for the purpose of exploring avenues for collaborating towards 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.
In November 2019, he was a prominent participant and dignitary at a High-Level Roundtable on Primary Health Care and Human Capital Development held in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. The conference was collaboratively convened by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the Nigerian Governor’s Forum. Sources say over the two days the conference lasted, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello gained the peculiar attention of Bill Gates and as they discussed Gates committed to helping him actualize his vision for Niger State. Upon his return, his peers in recognition of his giant strides and leadership ability voted him as Chairman, North Central Governors Forum. The North Central zone of Nigeria is comprised of Niger State, Nasarawa State, Benue State, Kogi State, Kwara State, Plateau State, and Nigeria’s federal capital Abuja. With increased influence comes greater responsibility but Lolo is up to the task.
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership and leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. Abubakar Sani Bello has heeded that calling and is demonstrating that he does have the capacity to translate vision into reality. Nigeria surely needs more men like him.
Culled From Inaugural Edition Of TEJ