by Stanley Azuakola
Governor Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa was a very wealthy man even before he ever set foot in the Nasarawa Government House. Like many businessman in NIgeria however, his wealth is not controversy free though. There are reports that during the administration of former governor of Bayelsa state and recently pardoned fugitive, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Al-Makura did a lot of deals with Alamieyeseigha. Unconfirmed reports say he acquired properties all over the world on behalf of the former Bayelsa governor.
When Alamieyeseigha got his pardon this year and the president was being condemned from many quarters, Gov. Al-Makura was asked why he supported the amnesty since he was in the Council of State meeting where the decision was taken and did not object. His response was: “The president reserves the right to exercise that power as provided by the constitution.” Translation: I have no qualms with it.
The Nasarawa governor has been hugging the headlines recently for a host of issues like his face-off with the state assembly over his repeated use of his name to sign off on government projects, as though they were his personal property. Primary schools built with UBE counterpart funding had “TAAL” inscribed on them; tricycles bought by the state government had “TAAL” inscribed on them as well. TAAL (Tanko Al-Makura) said it was within his right to do so, after all we have “Kwankwasiya” in Kano and we used to have “Keke Marwa” in Lagos. That matter is still in court.
The most recent controversy involving the governor is the wedding of his son.
The Peoples Democratic Party in the state is reportedly compiling a dossier so as to petition anti-graft agencies over the governor’s alleged N1.5 billion expenses on his son’s wedding last week.
For a whole week, activities in the state grounded to a halt as most government officials travelled to the United states where the event held. The governor’s son who is getting married to a Pakistani has reportedly been based in the United States of America even before he became state governor. Before the month of Ramadan, a first ceremony was held in Pakistan. Then last week another ceremony was held in America with yet another, the grand finale, planned for Abuja in a week or two.
As one should expect from such a wedding across three continents, the expenses are humongous. The American leg of the wedding alone reportedly gulped N1.5 billion. The state government claims that all that money is from the personal pocket of the governor. “He wasn’t a pauper before he became governor,” said Illiasu Yakubu, his Director of Press. Then he later added that the state government only contributed a paltry sum on N20 million for the success of the wedding.
Yakubu claimed that the governor was a successful business man who had made his money before entering government and as such can afford to spend such an amount of money on his son’s wedding ceremony. He challenged doubters to go and cross check from the code of conduct bureau (CCB).
“You can go to the code of conduct bureau and find out how much the governor declared before his assumption of office” he said.