Mr Governor, these are what people remember when you’re gone
“It’s my opinion that the biggest legacy Kure left for us is the state university IBBU Lapai. By establishing the university, he made university education accessible to people who would have otherwise struggled to go to other places to fulfill their dream
Recently, Devin Thorpe, wrote an article for the Forbes magazine titled “The Real Reason the World Will Remember Bill Gates,” where he argued that Gates would be remembered not for his Windows software or any Microsoft products, but for his philanthropism. At the time of writing, Bill Gates and his wife had spent $26 billion on causes that will make the world a better place.
This got me thinking. I wondered if we could find a simple way to tell what people remember of the legacies of politicians after they leave office or when they are dead.
As you might already know, a former governor of Niger State, Engr. Abdulkadir Kure died on Sunday, 8 January 2017 which threw the entire state and parts of the country into mourning. It was a terribly sad event, but an opportunity to get the answer I sought. Therefore, I posted the following question on my Facebook wall:
“It’s my opinion that the biggest legacy Kure left for us is the state university - IBBU Lapai. By establishing the university, he made university education accessible to people who would have otherwise struggled to go to other places to fulfill their dreams. It makes me happy beyond measure to see our people graduating in psychology, mass communication, computing, etc.
“The incumbent leaders are reminded to also do something as big. Also, my first consulting job for a Nigerian university was for IBBU - when Professor Ibrahim Kolo offered me the opportunity in 2011. Which Kure’s legacy do you remember?”
From the question, I got torrents of answers, 74 comments, not counting the comments generated after the post was shared on other pages and social media platforms. These comments were collected and pasted into a word cloud application called Tagcloud. A word cloud is a data visualization tool that highlights the most frequently used words by giving them more prominence. Following were the words or projects that were mentioned most by people as Kure’s legacy.
Respondents mentioned: Rural electrification projects, the state university (Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University), road projects in Minna, Bida, Suleja, Kontagora, removal of beer parlors and brothels from the city centers, etc. What does this mean? From the people’s answers, we can extract at least six insights. One, people remember physical projects more than others, one of the respondent, Idris Mohammed Batati,for example, said: “Rural Electrification, even my village benefited. May is soul rest in perfect peace, amin.”
They also remember projects that endure, outlive the initiator or last for many years. Dr. Mohammed Paiko, one of the commenters, wrote: “IBB University suffices. You can never really discuss exhaustively the extent to which that legacy has impacted on Niger state.My opinion is that the university be renamed AA Kure university, Lapai to immortalize his name.”
Three, people also remember projects that are completely new or first-of-a-kind. “In this village, we’ve never seen anything like this before,” kind of projects. Mamman Muh, a respondent wrote: “My community, Nami, along LapaiAgaie road, was connected to the national grid under his electrification program. May Allah have mercy on him.”
Four, huge, significant and impactful projects are remembered. Five, projects that are completed are remembered. Nobody remembers uncompleted projects. For example, Kure started an ambitious program called Statewide Water Projects in about eight local government areas. As important as the initiative was, the projects weren’t completed, contractors were not paid commensurate to the work they put in, the succeeding administration of Babangida Aliyu abandoned them, until the APC administration of Abubakar Sani Bello continued with them. But many people don’t know it was Gov. Kure who started the projects.
Six, where projects are not physical, they would still be remembered if there is some sort of symbolism or the people can feel the social impact for a very long time. One example is the establishment of the Liquor Board and Sharia Commission, which removed the beer parlors from the cities to the outskirts. Now in Minna, when people pass by places where those vices used to take place, they remember Kure. And those who are less than 20 years old are unfamiliar with those vices.
A respondent, Danladi Kwatu, stated:“Promoting decency in all religions by way of preventing prostitution, reckless spending on the so-called leisure e.g. consumption of alcohol. Lest I forget we used to camp our intending pilgrims in Diko, enroute Abuja Airport but Minna International Airport now makes the camping and movements of our pilgrims easier.”
Another one, Abdullah Mustapha Muhammad, wrote: “I am a practical product of Engr. Kure’s achievements spiritually, morally and educationally. Through his leadership I was able to bridge the gap between HND and degree in my academic struggle. Through his leadership style that bannedbrothels, prostitutes, beer parlors and immoral places in Niger state, we are sound spiritually and morally now. May Allah reward him with Al Janatul firdaus. Amin.”
Our leaders may want to consider the foregoing.