When the unprecedented came knocking on the doors of Nigerians, especially the people of Nasarawa State on Tuesday, 6thMarch, 2018, it met a people ill-disposed to play host! The news was absolutely shocking. Personally, I was disoriented. I made desperate efforts to condition my mental state, trying in the process to convince myself that I had, perhaps fallen into a bad trance, possibly the kind ofoverwhelming incubus that persistently intruded in my sleep a few days earlier.
It could not be true! Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma, former Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, from 2007 to 2011 dead? It is really painful that this sterling stuff of a manshould pass away now. Death, everyone knows is that eternal price everyone pays, a sort of universal debt hanging ominously like a sword of Damocles on humanity. When it strikes, it leaves a permanent scar on the psyche; it makes the heart to ponder.
And in fact, in this harmattan of such grief, even time appears to come to a halt. Such indeed, was the predicament of the people of Nasarawa State a week after the demise of Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma, one time deputy governor of the old Plateau State and the immediate past Governor of Nasarawa State.The passage of Alhaji Doma, who is popularly regarded as the founder of Nasarawa State considering his enormous contributions to the creation of the state, to the great beyond has indeed created a vacuum that will be too difficult to fill.
Though, this piece is a tribute to the memory of the late icon, it is, however, necessary that we itemize some of his achievements when he held sway as the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State from 2007 to 2011. In spite of several constraints, including paucity of funds, the PDP administration under his dynamic leadership left a spectacular legacy of achievements in the state. They include but are not limited to there-engineering of agricultural sector through ‘BadakoshiProgramme; Construction of 500 housing units; establishment of drug revolving scheme; payment of encumbrances and loans for Karu International Market; conversion of vocational and relevant technical centres to full-fledged Skills Acquisition Centres in Doma, Lafia, Nasarawa and Wamba.Others are the reconstruction and rehabilitation of State House of Assembly; recruitment of 1,600 teachers and promotion of 1,900 of them; and procurement of 20 numbers 500KVA transformers. Similarly, his administration posted other fundamental achievements in the following areas: construction/rehabilitation of several bridges/roads, including Goto-Bagana bridge; Doma-Akpata-Benue border road; Doma-Okpatta road; Toto-Umaisha; Panda-Kigwari-Karu; Keffi-Kokona-Agwada-Udege;Doma-Agyaragu-Kadarko-Giza-AgazaAgwatashi-Obi-Assakio; NasarawaMada Station to mention just a few.
Judging from the foregoing, there is no denying the fact that Doma indeed paid his dues as far as the development of Nasarawa State is concerned and even showed remarkable courage in the face of several daunting challenges. Above all, as an outstanding politician and man of Peace, he related perfectly well with everybody irrespective of tribe, religion or political differences. That, indeed, is the stuff great men are made of.
AliyuAkweDoma, was born on 1 September 1942 in Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State to parents from the Alago Ethnic group. He completed his primary education in Doma Junior Primary School and Lafia Senior Primary School respectively between 1951 and 1957. He proceeded to Government Secondary School, KatsinaAla and the Higher Teachers’ Training College, Gombe, where he obtained the Grade II teachers certificate in 1963. He attended the University of Ibadan (1964–1966), the British Drama League, London, England (1968) and the World Tourism Organisation, Centre for Advanced Tourism Studies, Turin, Italy, (1973). He attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1976, and Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in 2002 where he obtained a Master’s in Public Administration.
He joined the old Plateau State civil service, where he rose to become Permanent Secretary in several departments between 1976 and 1983. He then became Deputy Governor of Plateau State. He was a member of the Presidential Joint National Consultative and Advisory Committee of Traditional Rulers and Leaders of Thought (1995–1998), and a member of the National Committee on the future of Higher Education in Nigeria (1996–1998). He was appointed a member of the Technical Committee of Presidential Council on Tourism in 2004. He held private sector positions as Chairman of the Oriya Group of Companies in 1984, Chairman of Integrated Tourism Consultants in 2003 and as a representative of Steyr Nigeria for many years.
AliyuDoma ran successfully for election as governor of Nasarawa State in April 2007 on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform, taking office on 29 May 2007. He ran for a second term in office in April 2011, but lost to UmaruTanko Al-Makura, the candidate of the opposition Congress for Progressive Change(CPC).
It is hard to eulogize any man — to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person — their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who put Nasarawa State on the path to sustainable development!Given the sweep of his life, the scope of his accomplishments, the adoration that he so rightly earned, it’s tempting I think to remember Aliyu Akwe Doma as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men.
It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection — because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried — that we loved him so. He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood — a son and a husband, a father and a friend. And that’s why we learned so much from him, and that’s why we can learn from him still. For nothing he achieved was inevitable. In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness, and persistence and faith.
We will never see the likes of Akwe Doma again. We will miss him deeply. May God bless the memory of Doma. May God bless the people of Nasarawa State. However, the memories of his positive contributions to the development of Nasarawa State and even the old Plateau State will continue to linger in peoples’ memory for many years to come.He will surely be missed by family members, the people of Nasarawa State, friends and associates like this humble writer. I join millions of Nigerians to salute his memory and loudly proclaim that may his gentle soul rest perfectly in the bossom of the Lord!
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