There is, at least, in Nasarawa State, a time in the reign of every governor, when he becomes the problem, not the solution to existing problems of the state.
Sometimes, it happens so quickly.
The people do not take to his methods, development rarely occur, disillusion sets in. This period is called the ‘dead cat bounce’.
After a few months, the governor cuts his losses, admits he made some mistakes and changes gear.
Sometimes, it takes the governor a longer time to know the depth and reality of the mess he plunged the state and its people into.
Maybe there is an initial improvement and the governor is acclaimed for the changes he makes. Things go well. The state witnesses some artificial changes. The changes are artificial because they seldom affect peoples’ living conditions. New projects initiated and or completed. Maybe there are honours for the governor, like the 2014 good governance award given to Al-Makura, recently, by the Foundation for Transparency and Accountability in Abuja. A school renovated! Few roads tarred!! For a little while, it’s hard to imagine that this could ever sour.
But then, perhaps after a couple of years, progress stalls as it is the case in the state now.
Maybe an important political ally of the governor becomes his foe. Maybe few allies start grumbling. Maybe there are differences and cries of marginalisation. Maybe the money runs out. Maybe there are rows between the governor and the party. Maybe the thugs grow deaf to instructions they once heard loud and clear.
And amid the friction, development projects tail off and, perhaps, the spectre of crises looms. There’s a recognition that the magic has gone and that things have grown stale and ordinary.
The governor, under such a situation, becomes limited as far as the actions that can be taking are concerned. He finds it hard to maintain success. The governors, normally, have a shelf-life of two or three years and then they get themselves enmeshed in crises.
And then there is a history like the history Umar Tanko Al-Makura has with the state.
A history at its most glorious in the early years, certainly, but a relationship sustained through mutual loyalty and confused state of minds.
A relationship that survived the considerable strains placed upon it by the seismic move from PDPs underperforming years to Al—Makura’s performing days.
A relationship nurtured by the recognition that Al—Makura laboured under severe communal crises for years.
Recognition, that despite those restrictions, despite the crises, Al—Makura has kept his state and APC in the mix of positive public glare.
There is gratitude to Al—Makura in the state and beyond for that. There is gratitude for everything he has achieved.
Nasarawa State could, for instance, have had Plateau’s history over the last 10 years of perennial killings. It is down to Al—Makura that the state has witnessed some physical developments.
But now Al—Makura faces a horrible dilemma. Because slowly, Al—Makura, too, has become the problem, not the solution, in Nasarawa State.
Seasons after season, the people lament Nasarawa’s failure to mount a prolonged challenge for true peace and development.
For some months, the unrest is more voluble than other months but it is always there.
Sometimes it sticks in the throats of the Nasarawa people because they know how much they owe the APC governor.
They know that, in many ways, they owe him plenty. He built the modern Nasarawa State. He has become one of the greatest figures in the opposition politics in this country.
And yet a terrible paradox is gripping Nasarawa now: The state is awash with bright, young talents and yet it feels as if it is a state of atrophy.
It takes a step forward and then it takes two steps back.
Problems are identified but they are not quickly or ever fixed. And by the time they are remedied, there is another problem to fix.
That feeling of progressive change and vitality has gone. It has been replaced by a reluctant acceptance that we admire Al-Makura now for what he once was, not what he might yet achieve.
Many people, in the state, know this and yearn for change. Some hold it in as their guilty secret.
Even though some politicians broke ranks recently and criticised Al-Makura, there is little appetite in especially Lafia, the capital of the state and where he hails from, to dump him.
How can you dump Al-Makura? But even if there is great appetite among the electorate to usher him towards the door, that will not change whatever the number of people that will continue to suffer, socially and economically, because solutions are not implemented where the problems are detected by this government and because the policies of the government are only designed to create and sustain hardships.
Regrettably, Al-Makura, too, was the solution once, of course.
How sweet it would feel if he could be once again, but that is a dream that is fast fading.
The governor has since lost touch with the realities of the state and now appears set, considering his actions and inactions, to only help himself out of the seat of power.