In the words of Harold S. Geneen, “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” This brief but factual assertion summarises the character and approach of Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo, GCON to leadership.
Namadi had served as the Executive Governor of Kaduna State before he ascended as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 2010 and 2015 and left indelible marks at both levels of leadership.
As he clocks 63 years on August 2, his lifestyle of little noise and more action became evidently manifest, however, even in amidst the low key celebration, the impact of Sambo’s numerous developmental initiatives at both Kaduna State and Nigeria is evident and speak louder than a million words.
The people of Kaduna State still recall with nostalgia his master craft handling of security throughout the state, when he served them as governor. It is incontrovertible that his tenure witnessed peace and security and this did not happen by accident. Namadi Sambo was the architect of the ‘Operation Yaki’ security outfit, which subsequent regimes of Yakowa, Yero and today’s Elrufai retain as a model.
The joint military and police operation was well funded and equipped by the Sambo administration. The outfit was efficient and able to maintain peace and security in the state, during Sambo’s three-year reign. Thus, the Namadi Sambo administration in Kaduna State satisfactorily discharged the cardinal objective of governance, which is protection of lives and properties of all citizens.
In the aspect of provision of critical infrastructure, Sambo initiated several laudable projects in roads construction, education, health, power and water supply, to name a few. He initiated the ambitious project of the 150 million litres per day, Zaria Regional Water Scheme, vigorously being pursued by the present administration of Mallam Nasiru Ahmad Elrufai.
Before he left office in May, 2010, Sambo as governor of Kaduna State had completed some major components of the water project. This was the reason; Sambo publicly berated his successors for abandoning the people oriented project until the assumption of the present administration.
Even, while serving as VP, Namadi Sambo influenced the completion of the 180m cubic litres per day Galma Dam in Soba Local Government Area of the state. The dam is to supply raw water to the Zaria water treatment plant.
It is also on record that Namadi Sambo initiated the 300 bed specialist hospital at the Kaduna Millennium City. The international standard hospital, was designed to end medical tourism abroad to most Nigerians. Sadly too, it was abandoned since he left as governor of the state at a completion rate 67%.
The Sambo’s free Maternal and Child health for pregnant women and children under the age of five was monumental to the reduction of maternal deaths and infant mortality in the state. The programme ensured a pro-poor and efficient health service delivery during Namadi’s reign.
It is also worthy of note to know that Sambo lobbied and got about $20 million for Kaduna State as grant from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for the establishment of 6 science secondary schools to be located in different parts of the state which is also being pursued by Elrufai.
In education, Sambo accelerated growth of the Kaduna State University (KASU) by constructing several projects at the University. He also attracted several projects executed by the TETFund at both Kaduna and Kafanchan Campuses, which helped in growth of the institution to a centre of excellence.
In the area of improving governance and its capacity to deliver to the people, Namadi Sambo initiated and substantially executed construction of the New Governor’s Office at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House. Despite initial criticisms, the edifice today does not only serve as befitting office of the State Governor, but has become the preferred venue for meetings of Northern Governors’ Forum and the respected Northern Council of Traditional Rulers.
As Vice President, Namadi Sambo influenced Federal Government decisions that led to initiation and completion of numerous projects in the Northern part of the country. To mention a few, he played a key role in completion of the Kaduna-Abuja standard rail project, which today has become the preferred means of travelling between the two cities today.
Namadi also influenced the timely completion of the Gurara Dam project as well as the 98% completion of the 215 Megawatt Power Station at Kudendan in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The power project is meant to supply power to the Kaduna Industrial Layout as well as residential usage.
As a leader, Namadi Sambo remains a celebrated leader, mentor and role model to an army of loyalists and admirers that appreciate his contributions as a private business man and a politician. He certainly left a Kaduna State that was stable, peaceful, secured and prosperous.
On the national scene, Namadi Sambo will forever be remembered for his role in the first peaceful transfer of power from a ruling party to an opposition party. He has demonstrated his belief in politics without bitterness as a true elderstatesman, by actively participating in events at both federal and state levels whenever he is invited.
For this and other numerous contributions to the development of this great country, we salute him as his clocks 63 today. Sir we wish you long life, good health and many more years of active service to Nigeria.
Happy birthday to a great leader!
Ahmed Maiyaki, a public affairs analyst writes from Kaduna