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Savannah Sugar Company was astonished in the year 1971 by the then military junta shortly after the civil war. And it was not a mistake that it was cited in Numan the headquarters of defunct Numan Federation and headquarters of Now Southern Senatorial Zone in Adamawa State due to the vast land in the area and also the soil being suitable for the plantation. It is a sugar industry that was established to meet the sugar need in the country with a capacity to produce an average of 50,000 tones of sugar per anum and it cultivates about 6,750 hectares of land. Savannah Sugar Company Ltd., Meanwhile it’s  counterpart Kenana in Sudan was established in 1975 but started full production in 1984 four years behind Savannah Sugar Company. But sadly, Kenana has greatly improved and expanded beyond imagination leaving Savannah Sugar company years behind.

Photo Credit: Premium Times

According to information gotten from their website, The Company was established in 1975 and production started in 1984. The company’s objective is the production and marketing of refined sugar and the provision of technical and engineering services.

Designed Capacity:

  • – Refined sugar: 400,000 tons per year
  • – Molasses: 130,000 tons per year
  • – Fodder: 80,000 tons per year
  • – Ethanol: 65 million liters per year
  • – Electricity: 115 MW per hour
  • – Poultry meat: 3 million kg per year
  • – Fattening unit: 14,000 head of calves and a dairy unit

 

The Sugar Company was established with four mills installed for the milling of the sugar cane and with provision for expansion.

While Savannah still struggles with four mills despite the fact that even sometimes during the cropping season, some of the mills barely function. There was a time Savannah grind cane with only one mill: of course the implication is that most of the sucrose will be going to the boiler instead of process where it while be processed and refined into sugar and as a result, the target is not always met due to excessive loss. Kenana on the other hand had gone ahead to improve on their production capacity and are doing very well to the point that they are rated the best in the world. And there are so many beautiful stories around the company. The Corporate social responsibility of the company is superb and this explains why the company is growing. No need to go deep into that because we are not discussing Kenana at the moment but Savannah; may be some other time we will discuss Kenana. But the take home is that they have been producing to their capacity with deep hunger to expand all the more even to the point of exporting expatriates to Nigeria. I am a living witness to that. And don’t forget that this was a country ravaged by many years of civil war that eventually led to the disintegration of the country which gave birth to Northern and Southern Sudan yet, Kenana  has been doing excellently well.

 

The question is, why is it that despite the rich natural and human resources Savannah is not able to produce to its own capacity? I will attempt to answer this question in this article.

It is interesting to know that despite the so much money that has been put into it, it has never produced up to 30,000 metric tons in a single production year or cropping season. The highest so far recorded was in the nineties during the time of Alhaji Suleman who until this moment is considered the best Managing Director Savannah ever had. Now back to the question, why has Savannah not able to produce to it’s expected capacity despite huge resources pumped into it? The answer is simple! Corruption, Nepotism, ethnicity and favouritism. Yes you heard me right! These are the factors killing the so much prospective company which is supposed to be the largest sugar industry in Africa. Corruption, nepotism, ethnicity and favouritism as against competence and justice have led the company to its downfall which eventually produced bad management. Of course, when you have a bad manager in a place you will only harvest bad management and eventually, failure. The company failed woefully under government and was later sold to Dangote as  scrap for a paltry sum even though the company has the capacity to do so well and was well refurbished as most of the equipment were functioning well yet it was sold at a giveaway price. People were hopeful that the company will thrive under a private management but whether it has thrived or not, it is for you to judge for yourself.

 

The painful truth here is that, leaders who don’t have anything to offer, tend to divide people in order to continue ruling them, that is what exactly Savannah Management always do instead of thinking of ways to move the company forward.

Problems persists particularly in terms of appointments and promotions which are lopsided and eventually paved way to mediocrity and of course demoralized the performing ones. All efforts to put the company back to its feet has proven futile due to these factors, and because of that even the corporate social responsibility that is mandatory as part of their agreement with the government and the host community was disregarded with outright impunity and disrespect and this gave birth to agitations that led to protests and eventual closure of the company a number of times.

The recent happening in the company calls for concern to the point that the military was used in civil matters and that led to the shooting of some of the members of the community, this is sad, it is barbaric and totally unprofessional to for the military and also shameful for the military to allow themselves to used as touts in any civil disagreement. Even if there is need to use the security in resolving the issues, where was the police? What happens to their role in the society?

I appreciate the swift response of the governor and really appreciate the manner in which he handled the matter while we await the result of the investigations. We hope and trust that this is not just another matter that would be swept under the carpet as at other times. Justice must be done and the questions I would love to leave here are who called the military in such a civil matter? Who gave the order to shoot unarmed citizens who were protesting airing out their grievances? Was the governor who is the Chief Security Officer of the state aware of the order? Until these questions are duly answered, there can never be justice; it will only be one of those occurrences and only a matter of time these issues will still come up again and it is important for leaders to understand that power is transient, today you are the one, and tomorrow it would be another person. Before this management came on board, there has been so many managements, this too shall pass. A word is enough for the wise.

Finally, on this episode, the authorities concerned should know that if these issues are not well handled, there will never be peace. A child that says his mother won’t sleep, he too should know that he will not sleep. May we all enjoy our good sleep.

Caleb Adiga Zadok, EzineArticles Basic Author