Daily Trust (Abuja)

19 January 2013

Nigeria: Katsina and the Road to Transformation

opinion

Created in 1987, Katsina state has witnessed mixed development stages occasioned with any new idea; some palatable, some detestable and others transformative. Twenty five years after its creation the revolutionary transformation the state has gone through has brought a positive support to those who are calling for the creation of more new states.

Although previous administrations have committed their best in creating a foundation for a modern state never has the infrastructural development reached such an appreciable level as we have seen in the last five years since the advent of the administration of Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema.

Since its creation the state has seen modest achievement indices especially in the state capital where road networks, schools and drainages were provided while most parts of the state were left to struggle with the capacities of their various local governments.

But shortly after the advent of democracy, and especially from 2007 when the mantle of leadership returns to Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema the story begins to change from a state with modest development indices to one with total infrastructural development where the overall concept was the creation of a modern state.

Within a short time since 2007, the state was moved to a frame work of strategic infrastructure development through mass road networks, drainages, hospitals, schools, and other integrated mechanisms to fast tract the social economic development of the state.

This concept has been working so well that today no town, city or rural area is left behind in the provision of social amenities and infrastructures in the entire state. This inclusiveness is achieved through carrying the whole community in the decision making process as far as project allocation is concerned through the community development committees.

This wonderful achievement becomes successful through the CDC concept set up by Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema as a strategy to identify and eases the execution of relevant development in the state. Through the CDC strategy unique demands of the community are identified and provided as part of the administration's bottom-top governance. So far the concept has worked so well that each and every community today in the state is a beneficiary of one infrastructure or the other.

In the last five years over 60 road networks have been constructed, rehabilitated or dualised in the state, this is apart from the huge sums committed in the upgrading and internalization of the Katsina airport to compliment the infrastructural development of the state. In the last 360 days alone over 15 different road networks with drainages were completed and others are in the offing.

No economy and community will boast of any infrastructural growth without electricity and this has also received commendable attention from the administration that so far over 100 communities have been joined with the national grid in the state; this is apart from the massive rural electricity projects across the state. Katsina state could today be described as a hub of infrastructures in the country.

As at today, no so many local governments in the country could boast of dualised road networks as seen in Katsina state where all roads at the major local government councils have been dualised with fully working street lights. Over 30 town's roads have been dualised in the last five years and several others will be dualised before next year.

In the last five years also, over 4000 housing units were constructed across all the local government councils of the state to improve shelter to the ordinary man in the state. Many more houses are today under construction and by the end of year several other thousand houses will be constructed in the state as part of the housing for all project of the state government.

In the area of transportation the state government has acquired over 200 vehicles including over 20 marc polo luxury buses to part of efforts to improve the transportation sector and reduce the menace of road accidents accessioned by the poor transport system in the state.

Water provision is another area that has seen massive investment in the last five years and especially in the last one year with over 1000 communities having access to portable water through the massive borehole construction in all the nooks and crannies of the state. Over 300 solar powered water works, several urban water works, semi-urban water works and over 1000 rural water supply programme through the millennium development goals initiative.

One of the biggest infrastructural achievement so far recorded was in the area of education where several billions of naira was injected to ensure the provision of one of the biggest infrastructure in the education sector of anywhere in the country. Over N70 has been expended in this sector in the last few years alone. The effect of this massive investment is in the school enrolment where by the year 2004 only 142, 729 students were in secondary schools in the state, today over 2, 568.000 students are attending secondary schools in the state. The state has also introduced free education up to secondary school level with free WEAC/NECO payment and hundreds of buses provided to support and encourage punctuality of students in the state. Of recent the state government has investment over N600 million in ensuring a solid foundation for the take off of the federal University cited in Dutisnma local government area by the federal government.

The same massive infrastructural investments are done in the health, agriculture, solid minerals, human resources and youth empowerment as well as in women development. All these are factors responsible for the realization by many groups, organizations and governments of the visionary, dedication and commitment of Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema since his assumption of office five years ago.

No wonder with these massive infrastructural investments in all areas of development the administration has uniquely endeared itself into the hearts of the citizens of the state unlike any other government has seen since the creation of the state over 27 years ago.

The most striking aspect of this massive investment is the rare prudence, accountability and humbleness shown by the Governor in the management of the state's scarce resources that today people in the state are really celebrating the return of democracy day with hopes of many more amenities to come.

Haidar wrote from No 4 Unguwar Dabino

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