August 27th marks yet another milestone in the 28 year history of Kebbi State created in 1991 by the then Military Administration of President Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
After laying solid foundation by successive Administrations; the State witnessed unprecedented level of progress and development in many spheres of endeavours. Notably, the State Capital which hitherto host Headquarters of the defunct Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area recorded significant facelift ranging from road networks adorned with street lights, Waterways and Drainages, upgraded hospital facilities, tertiary institutions, housing estates, media Stations, ultramodern market and Motor Park, Hotels and Amusement Parks, Industries and a number of private sector investments across the State.
From Late General Patrick Newton Aziza, Alh Abubakar Musa Garkuwan Yauri, Commissioner of Police Hamman Misau, Cols Salihu Tunde Bello, JIP Ubah, Bature Chamah of Military extraction to Civilian leaderships piloted by Senator Muhammad Adamu Aliero, Saidu Usman Nasamu Dakin Gari, Late Aminu Musa Habib Jega and presently Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu have made indelible marks in the annals of Kebbi chronicles.
The review wouldn’t be complete without rolling out names and silent Contributions made by Fathers of the New Kebbi State who directly or indirectly influenced the movements that led to the creation of Kebbi State.
Alh Sani Aliyu Dandawo of blessed memory sung ” An bamu Jihar Kebbi State, Wagga Kasa munci gaba” ” Gwandu, Yauri, Zuru da Argungu yanzu su ak Kebbi State”
An amalgamation of four historically independent Dynasties of 18th Century established Gwandu Emirate, (Western Sokoto Caliphate), the over 500 year old Kabi Kingdom, the Jarabana Dynasty of Yauri and Confederation of Zuru kingdoms came together to form Kebbi State later coined as “the Land of Equity” by Col. JIP Ubah while serving as the Military Administrator.
To warmly welcomed the new State were the late Emirs of Gwandu Alh Haruna Rasheed, Alh Muhammadu Mera of Argungu, Alh Yakubu Shuaibu Abarshi of Yauri and Alh Usman Danga of Zuru and a number of State Elders whose contributions remained indelible.
Many others donated houses for Government Offices and accommodation for returning civil servants as all available facilities in the State Capital were overstretched forcing some of them to ply daily from neighboring towns of Argungu, Kalgo, Bunza, Jega, Ambursa, Zauro with several others made Kebbi – Sokoto travel almost a daily affair.
Today, after 28 years of existence, one can boastfully describe Kebbi State as Home of Peace and Hospitality; full of enormous potentialities (both human and materials) yearning for optimal utilisation.
Kebbi boosts of good roads, availability of stable power, agricultural resources, arable land and friendly people : constituting major prerequisites for direct domestic and foreign investments to the State.
Blessed with tourism enterprises, peaceful environments and eco friendly climates ; the enormous opportunities offered by Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival, Yauri Boots Regatta, Uhola in Zuru, Fulani Huttungo, Tomb of Abdullahi Fodio, Kanta Museum and host of other historical relics and monuments; could turn Kebbi State into Global tourism hub if well packaged in tune with global best practices.
Adding value to quest for diversification and in an effort to reposition the State economy for global competitiveness and import substitution; the Current leadership of Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu evolved and key into the economic agenda of the Buhari led administration by taking lead in the Rice revolution made possible by Anchor Borrowers Farming Program that moved Nigeria out from import dependent Nation to Self Sustaining and food sufficient one. Kebbi propelled from mere 400 thousand metric tonnes of rice to over 2 million metric tonnes within 4 years. This feat attracted multi billion Naira worth of investments by Labana, Wacot, Lolo, Dangote, Hafaz Rice Yauri, Khalifa Rice Aliero and host of small scale mills across the State.
Another multi billion Naira investments in Sugar and tomatoes productions are in the pipeline in Argungu and Yauri respectively; this economic feat is silent but unprecedented in Nigeria where over 20 thousand people are expected to benefit from direct employment with hundreds of thousands others benefitting in commodity value chain.
In the last four years too, we witnessed the national unveiling of LAKE RICE that resulted from synergy building between Lagos and Kebbi States to boost mass production and marketing of some notable Agro commodities for domestic markets as alternative to imports. The Lagos- Kebbi initiative remains an epitome of modern economic acumen that can drive and spur accelerated level of agricultural production, processing, value addition and sustainable marketing : a measure that would create income to millions of people as well as expand the scope of internally generated revenue to both States and the federal Government too.
NNPC – Kebbi partnership on ethanol fuels production is an ambitious project that seeks to project and launch the State into the future. In few years, machines will be run on alternative fuels, artificial intelligence and smart technologies, so Kebbi is veering towards that direction.
This anniversary celebration shouldn’t be another academic rhetoric but an opportunity to reflect and create sustainable pedestals upon which further developmental strides can be achieved with expediency, focussed direction and commitments anchored on God fearing leadership,Accountability, team spirit and Peoples Participation.
My Kebbi, Your Kebbi, Our Kebbi.
Abubakar Bagudu (Dallatun Kalgo)