By Linus Oota, Lafia
There is an adage that says having had the privilege of noble birth is not as important as giving oneself a nobler rebirth.
This proverb is a true reflection of Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, who clocks 61 last Saturday (26th December 2020).
Without any iota of doubt, the 61st birthday of Engr. Abdullahi Sule is worth celebrating considering how he has made meaningful impacts on private and public sectors, especially in the last one year, six months of his administration as the governor of Nasarawa State.
Faithfulness of almighty Allah is another key factor in the life of Engr. Abdullahi Sule in his 61 years of existence. He has not found himself in a wrong place at a wrong time. This for sure could only have been guaranteed by Allah’s faithfulness.
Engr. Sule has thus far enjoyed a steady career and political progression. He is now serving his first term as the governor of Nasarawa State.
He is undoubtedly the best thing to have happened to Nasarawa State in terms of good governance. The fact of his noble birth and aristocratic background is indisputable.
He proved himself a special gift to Nasarawa State when he breathed the first air of this earth planet on the 26th of December 1959 in Gudi Station, Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
He was brought up in the small but multi – ethnic and multi – religious village. His father, Alhaji Sule is the current traditional ruler (Hakimi) while his grandfather, Abdullahi Angulu was the first traditional ruler of Gudi station. His mother, Hajiya Hauwa, was brought in Bokono and Keffi.
Governor Abdullahi Sule had his early schooling at Roman Catholic Mission (RCM) Primary School, Gudi Station in 1968, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate. He then entered Zang Commercial Secondary School in 1974 and later Government Technical College, Bukuru in 1977.
After his secondary education, he went to Plateau State Polytechnic, in Barkin Ladi in 1980. He then left Nigeria on a scholarship to study at Indiana University, Terre Haute, Indiana, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Industrial Technology.
Returning to Nigeria in 1985, Sule served as a Youth Corps Member with Plateau Utilities Board. He later joined the Jos Steel Rolling Mill in 1985 as a production engineer.
In 1989, Engr. Sule returned to the United States where he worked for several companies (Lancer Corporation, OEM Component and Osyka Corporation, among others).
While in the USA, he was also the Director of Business Development for Africa at Osyka Corporation in Houston, Texas. He was equally the Country Manager for Nigeria at Tetra Technologies Inc., Houston, Texas.
He returned to Nigeria in 2000 and started a company called Sadiq Petroleum Nigeria Ltd in Lagos, along with some friends. He was made the pioneer Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the company. That year, Sadiq Petroleum Company participated in the privatization of African Petroleum Plc. and won the bid.
Upon acquisition of the 30% ownership of AP by Sadiq Petroleum, Engr. Sule was appointed the Executive Director, Operations in November 2000. On April 2nd, 2001, he was appointed by the board of AP Plc. as the fourth Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
He inherited a highly indebted African Petroleum Plc., which was running as a government parastatal. The company had its share capital eroded with a balance sheet of N22 million, but he and his colleagues worked tirelessly to turn the company around. By the time he resigned from the company in July 2006, its balance sheet was N5billion.
He later joined Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc. in 2007 as Managing Director, and later, the Country’s Director of Fairport Process Equipment, United Kingdom (UK).
He re-joined Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc. as Managing Director and Chief Executive in December 2011, a position he held until his appointment as the Deputy Group Managing Director in November 2013 and Group Managing Director in 2015.
In 2018, Engr. Sule resigned his position as GMD in Dangote Sugar Refinery to participate in the crowded APC gubernatorial primary election in Nasarawa State.
His emergence as the Governor of Nasarawa State was historic, considering the support that heralded his choice as the standard bearer of the APC during the party’s gubernatorial primaries following the support of the then incumbent Governor, Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura.
He won the March 2nd 2019 governorship poll landslide by defeating two other frontline candidates of the opposition parties in the state who contested against him.
From the private sector, Engr. Abdullahi Sule moved straight to Nasarawa State Government House as the fourth democratically elected governor of the state.
Before his inauguration on May 29th 2019, Engr. Abdullahi Sule in one of his media interviews with our correspondent said: “My vision is anchored on industrialization of Nasarawa State. I would like to make it the industrial and economic hub of the North-Central zone in Nigeria
“We are convinced that this policy is capable of addressing the challenges of unemployment of youths and women, wealth creation, as well as boost economic activities in the state.
“Giving my background in the private sector, I will leverage on my net worth of investors, local and foreign, to attract their capital for the industrialization of Nasarawa State”.
Immediately he took over the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2019, Engr. Abdullahi Sule didn’t disappoint the people of the state.
It is of note that when Engr. Sule emerged as the fourth elected governor of the state taking over from the architect of modern Nasarawa State, Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura, Engr. Sule believes that government is a continuum. He hit the ground running from his first day in office.
He took a lot of bold steps in the early few days as a man who believes in putting smiles on the faces of others. He is someone who is passionate and empathetic towards people of the state.
His first public function in office was the distribution of sewing and grinding machines to women and youths across the 13 LGAs of the state under the skills acquisition and empowerment initiative programme.
Within his first 100 days in office, Governor Sule set up and inaugurated a 15-man Investment and Economic Advisory Council to drive the agenda for economic prosperity of Nasarawa State.
He also implemented the state version of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) for improved Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), in addition to granting full implementation of the financial autonomy to the 13 LGAs. Council chairmen in the state take full charge, control and management of their financial resources without any form of interference from the governor.
Within the period under review, Governor Sule awarded contracts for the completion of most projects in education, health, agriculture, and infrastructural sectors which he inherited from the previous administration of Umar Tanko Al-Makura. He equally renovated and upgraded facilities in all the sectors of the state economy.
May 29th, 2020 marked Engr. Abdullahi Sule administration’s one year, and a critical look showed that he has delivered on a lot of his campaign promises. This is evident in the remarkable list of achievements he read out to commemorate his administration’s first year in office.
Among the remarkable achievements of the Abdullahi Sule administration are the ongoing work on Sisinbaki-Farin Ruwa Road, Mararaba-Udege road and Kwandere-Keffi road.
Others are the ongoing construction of work of bus terminals in Karu and Lafia, the dualization of Shendan Road, the completion of Lafia Airport to add value to the transport system, improve security, attract investment and boost the economy of the state.
He has also embarked on expansion and rehabilitation of infrastructural facilities in educational institutions and establishment of technological hubs to improve citizens’ knowledge base on ICT among many other achievements.
So far, Governor Sule’s action, which is largely putting personal touch to governance has set the state on the path to industrialization.
As he celebrates his 61st birthday, I wish him the fulfillment of his heart desires for the good people of Nasarawa State.
Happy birthday, Governor Abdullahi Sule, the Engineer of Modern Nasarawa State.