Bamanga Tukur Still a “Global Villager”



Some of his old friends of my generation would call him in those glory days of Nigeria’s renaissance, “Lagos Boy.” He really represented the elements of that title in his youth because he knew that city and its people inside out. He was more than integrated with the people, defying colour, tribe and tongue as General Manager/CEO of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). He swung into politics and business and in his insuppressible self metamorphosed to a “Global Villager.” He has a dream. Bamanga Mohammed Tukur had become pre-occupied with how to re-direct the fading star of his country to regain respectability for the people by fighting poverty and building structures that would guarantee peace that offered bread and butter.

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It seemed a lost battle but he gingerly stuck to his guns that the goals were achievable.

It appears he is now convinced that there is a new dawn that can guarantee peace and equanimity for his country and by extension Africa. And that is why he is calling it quits with partisan politics yet sticks to his dream to build a Nigeria and Africa where poverty as a curse is perpetually banished.

He says he wants to be saddled with how to positively grow Africa to shed the toga of the beggar and the sick.

Bamanga Tukur’s generation had men and women who drank the tonic of patriotism brewed by informed patriots like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano and Leopold Senghor. He is now 80. Any of his generation if they were not deprived by forces of retrogression instigated by neo-colonialism, would have turned Nigeria to a first-world nation.

Tukur built four ports as a General Manager of the NPA in less than three years that Jimmy Carter of America while on an official visit to Nigeria described it as breaking a world record.

They say that charity begins at home and that was the knack Samuel Ogbemudia displayed when he captained the Midwestern Region in those glory days. The structures he left behind are still evidence of his ability though now ill-maintained.

Lateef Jakande ruled Lagos for four years and left indelible marks of progress in that state, opening areas unknown to development.

Abubakar Rimi as governor of Kano changed that state to modernity with the United Nations awarding him a medal for breaking a record in adult education. There really was competition for who best served the people among the leaders of the 1950s to 1980s until the World Bank/IMF introduced individualism instead of collectivism to Nigeria’s socio-economic politics.

Before then men like Audu Bako of Kano operated with Kingsley Mbadiwe’s motto of “forward ever, backward never.”

Ahmadu Bello, premier of the North, had changed the region to a medium-level industrial power in agriculture and allied industries. Granaries, food processing factories and textile plants were prominent features all over the region. The Eastern Region, under Michael Okpara, led the world in palm produce…

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