Umaru Tanko Al-Makura
Umaru Tanko Al-Makura

Al-Makura: A pacesetter at 69, by Jibrin Baba Ndace

NEWS DIGEST – Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura means different things to different people. To some, Al-Makura is architect who didn’t study architecture; to others, he is an engineer, who didn’t study engineering. Still, there are those who see him as an accountant who didn’t learn accounting as a course.

Viewed from whatever angle, Senator Al-Makura is like rolling the expertise of an architect, an engineer, an accountant, an agriculturalist, a lawyer, a medical doctor into one man as manifested in the way and manner he carries out his various activities in business, entrepreneurship and politics.

Born on Sunday, November 15, 1953 to the family of Malam Abdulkadir and Hajiya Mainoma, Al-Makura has also been unique and different from birth. At birth he was named Tanko for being a boy after many girls had preceded him over a period of 15 years in his family. He was also the first to be sent to acquire western education in the family and made success of it.

Al-Makura fondly called Ta’al was not just born different, he sought and worked for every opportunity to make a difference.

An old boy of the famous Keffi Teachers’ College, he also built a pan–Nigerians mindset early in life by seeking western education outside what was considered the catchment area and natural place for students of his generation from northern part of the country to seek further education. Rather than choosing just any College of Education in northern Nigeria, the young Al-Makura decided to choose College of Education, Uyo, for National Certificate of Education, NCE.

When he graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Education, like his contemporaries is natural calling was the civil service – but he chose a different path to make a difference by establishing a family business. He civil service experience was his stint with Nigerian Television Authority, Kaduna, where he worked briefly as Assistant Producer and for his National Youth Service where he was a teacher at the Government College, Makurdi.

For those familiar with Al-Makura, venturing into partisan politics after making a success of his private sector concern didn’t come as a surprise. He was always politically active as an undergraduate and held various elective positions as a student – in social and cultural clubs on campuses.

Al-Makura’s life, no doubt, is an example of a man who has successful combined business, entrepreneurship, politics, and made success of all.

As he expands his family business and establish new ones and venturing into various business and entrepreneurship areas, Al-Makura didn’t loose sight of the need to consistently stake his claim in the political affairs of his state in particular and the nation at large.

In business, his companies continues to grow from just the mother company, Al-Makura (Nig) Limited where he was the Managing Director and his elder brother as the Chairman with interest in construction, import and exports as well as general supplies; to Shukura Limited a construction concern; Unique International Limited (imports and exports ) ; and Ta’al -focus on real estate. While at it, he has simultaneously, held various positions at party level in last over decades of his political life – as youth leader of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the President Shehu Shagari-led Second Republic, Secretary of Plateau state’s National Republican Convention in the Third Republic. He was a member of Constituent Assembly in 1978 that drafted the 1979 Constitution.

A kind, humble, compassionate, proactive, responsible, responsive , accessible, acceptable, caring, loving, magnanimous, amiable, and upright leader, Al-Makura political career hit the roof top when in 2011, he contested for the governorship of Nasarawa state on the platform of a new and relatively unknown political party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and without the backing of any godfather, he made history by defeating the incumbent governor of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He did not just fight and defeat
established status quo in the state, but also the federal might at the national level.

A graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU), Zaria, Al-Makura’s politics of inclusion, which he perfected through a movement he founded, Al-umma, did not just earn him victory at the poll in 2011, the feat was repeated in 2015 when he was re-elected, in yet another very difficult election as an opposition party.

It was also his style of leadership that helped in galvanizing all stakeholders in the state across political, religious and cultural barriers and boundaries in steering the affairs of Nasarawa state for eight years. His tenure witnessed phenomenal development in various sectors – human development, agriculture, health, solid mineral, revenue generation, education, rural development, peace and security among others.

He provided purposeful leadership using his private sector experience of creative thinking and result-oriented mindset in running the affairs of the state.

His outstanding performance as governor earned him appellation “The Architect of Modern Nasarawa state”. And when he was done with the state, his people overwhelmingly elected him as Senator to represent them in the National Assembly.

As a leader who has his eyes on the future of Nasarawa state, he
ensured the emergence of a worthy successor through open, inclusive and transparent process. Alhaji Abdullahi Sule, the successor to
Senator Al-Makura said in his congratulatory message on the 69th birthday of the political icon thus: “ Sixty-nine Garlands for a
natural leader…congratulations to the Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta, the architect of modern Nasarawa, Icon of the CPC, APC and detrabalised statesman. Your legacies and footprints in the sands of time are indelible and duly acknowledged.”

In the same vein, Plateau State Governor, Rt. Hon Simon Lalong
described Senator Al-Makura “as an outstanding politician and a dogged fighter for democracy, human rights and the rights of people with disabilities
… a broad minded Nigerian who has continuously embraced unity, peace, tolerance and oneness in his public and private life which has earned him admirers widely.”

Similarly, the Minister of state, Science and Technology, Barrister Mohammed Hassan Abdullahi, close ally of Senator Al-Makura who worked with him as Attorney General, Special Adviser, Special Duties and Secretary to State Governor described him as a dogged politician , who was always willing to win against all odds. “Senator Al-Makura is a
leader, who sees possibilities in impossibilities. When contested as Governor of Nasarawa state in 2011, nobody gave him a chance. He was up against the incumbent in the ruling party at the state and national levels… His tenacity of purpose, strong will make it possible for him to deliver on mandates and achieving set goals and targets…he is a leader who carries people along and trust his team. Whenever there is any issue, he brings it to the table, debates it with his team and when necessary bore to superior argument…he is an asset. I believe, he still have a lot to offer Nigeria in terms of service to fatherland.”

A builder of institutions and a grower of mentees, there is no doubt that Senator Al-Makura left Nasarawa state better than he met it with clear legacy of dedicated and selfless service. His inspirational and exemplary leadership, premised on simple, humble and humane disposition as well as his hands-on of reaching out to the ordinary citizens of the state stands him out as a true servant leader.

At 69 Al-Makura’s aspiration to Chairmanship of All Progressive Congress (APC) will no doubt be crowning of a leader who epitomizes humility, courage and carriage, capacity and capability to provide purposeful leadership for the party. There is no doubt that
Al-Makura’s trajectory as attested to, and confirmed by, those who should know has shown that his election as National Chairman of APC will be a fitting recognition of a loyal party man and unrepentant Buharist who has over four decades of experience in party politics and how to run it in a broad, all-inclusive manner being alive to dynamics and aspirations of members. He has shown that he has the maturity, capacity and temperament to manage the various tendencies and political interests in the APC.