Aza Msue writes on the challenges before Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, as he prepares for another term
It has often been said that it has not been easy to effectively and efficiently run the affairs of Kaduna State since its creation in 1976. Kaduna is one of the toughest and delicate states considering the diverse backgrounds of its people which cut across religious and tribal affiliations.
But despite its long history and past glory, it is presently lagging behind in terms of socio-economic development as ethno-religious conflicts have nearly taken the centre stage despite efforts to end the menance.
Worried by the backwardness of the state in the area of education, agriculture, investment, and health among other sectors, the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, in 2015 when he won his election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), vowed that he would pull Kaduna state out of the shackles of underdevelopment and incessant crises.
However, observers noted that the rejection of $350m loan approved by the World Bank by Kaduna senators at the National Assembly almost hampered the state government's massive developmental plan for the people, although the governor stood firm with the meagre resources at his disposal from the federal allocations to fix the health, educational and infrastructural challenges.
Hence, in planning for the task ahead in his yet to commence second term, the governor recently inaugurated the state transition committee ahead of May 29 swearing in with the hope that, the next four years will be bigger, better and brighter for people of the state.
Performing the inauguration at the Government House on behalf of the governor, the deputy governor-elect, Dr.Hadiza Balarabe, said the committee's work would, among others, lay emphasis "on the concept of 'Putting people first', which is the fulcrum of this administrations' agenda. The choice of "Putting people first" as the thrust for this second term bid of Malam Nasir El-Rufa'i is not only apt, but demonstrates that this administration, exerted deliberate efforts to feel the pulse of the people and their perceptions of governance.
"The concept is intended to be a ground-breaking concord that commits the State Government and its MDAs, and the Local Government Councils, to a socio-economic transformation of service delivery to the people over the next couple of years".
"Four years ago, we were all party to this administration's promise to "Make Kaduna State Great Again". Over these years, a lot of work has gone into fulfilling the promises made, and despite numerous challenges faced, we endured. What this period means therefore, is the fact that it is crucial and vital that a smooth, successful and seem-less transition into the next phase of governance is assured".
Earlier, el-Rufai said that his re-election is a mandate to continue putting the people of Kaduna state first, in the formulation and execution of policies and programmes. The governor further said that the people appreciate that the difficult and tough decisions that his administration has been taking in the last four years are in their collective interest.
He pointed out that the people appreciated the fact that every government policy and programme that were executed were "intended to deliver for them equality of opportunity."
The governor also noted that the mindset of the people of the state has also changed in the last four years, stating that: "Ordinary people of Kaduna state have eagerly embraced the idea that their children deserve quality education, that they themselves should be treated in decent hospitals and that their wives do not have to die while birthing the next generation," he added.
The governor argued that "where the elite had tried to rule by creating and exploiting dependency, we are trying to liberate people by making them educated, healthy, productive and economically self-reliant."
el-Rufai also called all the people to join hands in building a better Kaduna and "to improve themselves, to tackle poverty and disease, to accelerate development, build new businesses and create jobs. Let us not wallow in narrow divisions when we can work together for collective progress, in recognition of our common heritage as children of Adam and Eve".
"Diversity is no excuse for not working together. We should see and embrace diversity as a source of strength. Let us remove barriers to mutual understanding and cooperation. Let us not allow our ethnic or religious identity to deter us from respecting the rights of others, acknowledging their citizenship or obeying the law".
According to him, election is over and "the winners have emerged. The losers may challenge the result in the tribunal. We are committed in our governance to continue our reforms that put the ordinary people first, in a fair and just manner."
The governor emphasised that that his government "will enforce the law without fear or favour. We will enhance the protection of the lives and property of all our citizens in this state. And we will continue to create opportunities for them, whether they voted for us or not".
el-Rufai also called on all residents of Kaduna to say a collective farewell to division and strife, advising that "we can all make our contribution to peace and harmony, and in building more secure communities. We can ensure that the divisions and pains of the past do not become our destiny. The future can be better, if we decide to work together".
He also commended the people of the state for the peaceful and responsible way they conducted themselves before, during and after the election.
"Everyone thought Kaduna State would be a potential flashpoint during the election. I am happy that we disappointed all the naysayers and had very peaceful elections", the governor said.
Meanwhile, Kaduna Central senatorial zone's Senator-elect, Malam Uba Sani, has said the state heads for better days with the re-election of E-Rufai.
Sani said: "It is indeed reassuring that a people should so overwhelmingly endorse our amiable governor for another four-year tenure and also accept to elect other trusted candidates he recommended for them into various offices at national and state levels"
"Overwhelmed by this general outpouring of support and further repose of confidence in our governor and APC, we assure the people of our renewed dedication to ensuring a better, more greener future for the state and its people.
"This confidence and support shall certainly be reciprocated by the government under Malam el-Rufai who is generally and rightly acknowledged as a honourable man who sticks to his words," the Senator-elect said.