17 January 2013

Nigeria: Kaduna - the Triangle Yero Should Pay Attention to


The emergence of Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero as governor of Kaduna State represents "the new generation" that is needed in the Nigerian political landscape like in other parts of the world. Also, Yero's administration can be linked to the proverbial "baby born with a silver spoon." This is because the incumbent governor is fortunate to pilot the affairs of the state at a time that many of the state predecessors are still alive. They can serve reference manual for the new governor's management of the complex state. There are indeed many challenges ahead of this administration which of course, is a continuation of the late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa's developmental policies. The good people of Kaduna state are earnestly waiting for the governor's ability to ensure that there is god service delivery.

But this requires total and strict adherence to the principle of equity, merit, dedication, honesty of purpose and of course an all-encompassing open-door policy. It is in view of this that the new governor needs to be acquainted with some of the critical issues in the state that needs immediate attention. These issues can be captured in a sort of triangle, that is: the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Kaduna State University (KASU) and the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board (SMPWB).

It is on record the unfortunate incident that befell our beloved Kaduna state recently where the head of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) was allegedly involved in the fanning the embers of sectarian violence during the recent post election violence in the state. It was a great shock that the accused (either rightly or wrongly) of participating in such ugly incident is still the helm of affairs of the relief agency in the state. There is need for a thorough investigation of the matter for justice to take its course.

Recent development in Kaduna State University really called for concern. There are allegations of flagrant discrimination against certain religious/ethnic groups in terms of staff recruitment/posting by the incumbent leadership of the tertiary institution, where our future leaders are moulded and shaped.

Also, the admission of students recently conducted by the university has been condemned by many stakeholders in the state as an exercise tailored to alienate one section of the state from the institution created to serve all. There is need to revisit this issue with a view to find a lasting solution to it all.

It is on record that Governor Yero served as Kaduna State Amirul Hajj in 2011, his team assisting the then Ambassador Sule Buba management throughout the hajj operations. The circumstances that led to the resignation of Ambassador Buba, who was appointed based on political consideration, are open secret.

After his resignation, Alhaji Yahuza Makarfi was appointed to handle the 2012 hajj operations. The appointment of former diplomat appeared to have only succeeded in disorganizing the concrete structures put in place by the previous administration as far as hajj management is concerned in the state.

The state government may not have learnt from the former diplomat's incident because indications are that the governor could be under pressure to appoint yet another politician as executive secretary of Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.

The politician in question was once an adviser in the state; his incompetence, even in that capacity was obvious to everyone.

The so-called favoured candidate, to say the least, is least qualified, if at all merit is the determining factor in the appointment of the new chief of the of the pilgrims board. How can such a man manage a more sensitive and complex pilgrims' board that has over 7000 pilgrims to attend to - the highest in the country every year?

More so, there are few qualified officers serving or recently transferred to other ministries and agencies in the state with requisite educational qualifications, added advantage of Arabic; IATA professional certificates as well as practical and positive operational experiences in the state pilgrims board that can revive its lost glory.

The new governor should be steadfast and not succumb to political pressure in appointing the new executive secretary for the pilgrims' board. The governor should learn from the recent experience which only worsened hajj management in the state.

It is equally expedient to emphasize that the interest of the general public should not be sacrificed because of political consideration.

Usman, of Kaduna Good Governance Forum, wrote from Malaysia Street, Kawo, Kaduna.

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