By Usama Dandare
For close to about two decade since the return of democracy in 1999, there has been an increasing distress about the socioeconomic condition of Nigeria and the level of mismanagement on the part governance at both the federal, states and local governments level but one particular state of interest that’s generating lots of criticism and attention is Kaduna state – being it the headquarter and center of the northern region.
Kaduna state has witnessed different kinds of leaders each with an individual style of leadership but at the end, they all proven to be reckless, corrupt, inept, incompetent, insensitive, irresponsible and less concern to the yearnings and aspirations of the electorate. All the previous regimes so to say have appeared to be ill-founded and undemocratic while those in the corridors of power were seemingly bereft of ideas, they woefully failed to rescue the state out of misery and untold hardship.
A lots of people in the state have since adrift hope of a better future while those giving them (leaders) benefit of doubt were left seethed with rage, thus forcing vast number of the people migrate to other states in search of opportunities and to live a better life.
Weak and unfocused leadership is inevitably responsible for the backwardness of Kaduna state in recent history. Ill-founded administration on the other hand is absolutely the major determinant of unsuccessful leadership and most specifically determinant of a state’s failure rating in the midst of others. This prompted several debates and arguments on how the menace of irresponsible leadership – that has stagnanted the growth and progress of Kaduna state – can be brought to a halt, the general opinion was that for Kaduna to attain speedy progress: there’s perhaps the need for focused and patriotic people of integrity in leadership positions.
Historically, Kaduna state is blessed with numerous resources and abundant talents, including professionals whom had in one way or the other excelled in all aspects of human and social development both at home and abroad, stake-holders therefore unanimously agreed that the only possible way for Kaduna to be rank higher is by having into leadership positions persons of integrity not of doubtful character, people who are civil, conscientious and trustworthy individuals of substance that will work tirelessly for the progress of the state without any personal interest: there’s the need for a reliable, dependable, altruistic, focused, hard-working, result-oriented people and those that are very much unlikely to yield to influences for evil or bad practices to lead the state forward.
In a nutshell, Kaduna state has been dangerously polluted by weak leadership in all areas of developmental indexes and what one can only notice on arrival is the open presence of nurtured corruption, ethnic jingoism, political jobbery and impunity while the authorities look powerless to handle or halt the unwanted escalation of such ugly conducts. Indeed, what Kaduna needs is a meaningful government that can bring about positive development and re-insert confidence into the people at all level of governance irrespective of tribe, age, religion or gender.
The once proudest people of Kaduna state – having been fed up with devilish leadership, and so desperately in search of a positive change to their worsening socioeconomic condition – joined their counterparts across the nation on April 11, 2015, to elect a new leadership that will pilot the affairs of their state at least for the next four years and indeed, history was made; the power of the thumb has undoubtedly brought the long awaited change to Kaduna state following a spectacular decisions by the electorate to put aside their differences and collectively fight against our common enemies, so as to free themselves from the burden of confused and unfocused leadership, they overwhelmingly casted and guarded their ballots until their votes counted. They wisely voted into power a tested and trusted democrat who distinguished in all aspects of human and social capacity, an intelligent, reliable, dedicative, patriotic and an honest man of substance who always set his heart for Kaduna state first before anything else. He’s no other than the smartest and perhaps the all-time most performing minister throughout Nigeria’s history of ministerial office holders, in the person of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
‘Mai Rusau’ – as nicknamed by his mammoth supporters – is a rare leader of one in a kind and a selflessly committed servant of God and humanity who has devoted his all to the service and prosperity of Nigeria and going by our recent political history, El-Rufai is absolutely a beacon to rely on.
Ambitious people like him are very few and difficult to find in Nigerian and indeed, African politics as a whole. Hate him or not, you cannot dispute the fact that he is truly a symbol of absolute honesty, modesty and patriotism, whom at this critical moment in time became the best possible option if only if we want Kaduna state to elude the possibility of a total shutdown after spending about 16 years in hibernation mode.
May 29, 2015, came as a surprise to many during his inauguration ceremony when the newly sworn governor of Kaduna state and his deputy lay their own comfort on the altar of the common good by announcing their spectacular decision to take a 50% pay cut in their salaries and allowances, in recognition of the difficult financial challenges facing the state and as part of their efforts to improve the state’s fiscal situation and their readiness to lead by example. I wasn’t surprised in anyway likewise everyone familiar with Mallam won’t be surprised either, whomever knows him will testify that he has no interest for material gain when it comes to serving the people and has always led by example, he’s only passionate about how he can turn Kaduna state/Nigeria around on to the path of greatness and cares nothing about self enrichment.
His antecedents during his stay as the Director General of The Bureau of Public Enterprises to his days as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory are there to speak for him: he led such a disciplined and well-organized administration throughout his career both in the public and private sector and it’s only if we want to be hypocritical that we will doubt El-Rufai’s ability to positively turn things around as he has always did. Going through his academic record of excellence starting from the prestigious Barewa College Zaria, Ahmadu Bello University to Harvard University and his track-records of service both in public and private sector, you must concur with the palpability that Mallam cannot and can never be comparable with all previous governors who had ruled Kaduna state except by looks, he’s completely incomparable with all of them when it comes to competence, ability to deliver, integrity, trust and selfless patriotism. I am of the confidence that under El-Rufai, the interest of the common man would be place above any other interest and Kaduna would be serve rather than some selected power mongers in the name of statesmen or political godfathers.
With El-Rufai, the long embarrassing structural, social and economic condition in Kaduna state has been endangered and will possible be extinct in a matter of soon. It’s shameful that once a great state – the pride of northern Nigeria – could not boast of a regular supply of clean drinking water despite billions of Naira that have been spent on the same problem in the last 15 years not to mention of a standard education or healthcare delivery. The most disgraceful of all is the dilapidated road networks in the state which cannot be compared to anything short of a death trap – despite the state was onetime governed by an architecture few years back – and one must wonder where all the huge funds budgeted for such purposes went to if at all they haven’t grown wings and flew away.
Notwithstanding, below are the “five point agenda highlighted by the government of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai” that will guide the regime and provide both magnitude and direction to where the government is heading to and the best possible way to arrive at the desired destination at a particular point in time:
* Investment in education, healthcare and social welfare.
* Fostering security of lives and properties.
* Responsive public service with zero tolerance for corruption.
* Rebuilding and expansion of decaying infrastructure.
* Promotion of agriculture and food security and reform of land administration.
Above are roadmap which the El-Rufai administration will follow in delivering democratic dividends to the people of Kaduna state based on the yearning and aspirations of the electorates without any segregation. These five agendas are what the masses should lookout for and judge El-Rufai’s performance at the expiration of his first tenure come 2019, they equally reserved the right of refusing to re-elect him (if at all he will seek re-election which i very much casted doubts on) if at the end he fails to deliver on these agendas. Because i am 100% sure that with El-Rufai’s sincerity of purpose, hardworking, dedication and the team of patriotic professionals that will constitutes his cabinet, Kaduna would definitely be rescued out of coma and indeed, will attain a state of rapid structural and economic growth.
Though the ignoramus had severally argued that El-Rufai cannot record an excellent performance similar to what he did while serving as FCT minister, because Kaduna is not Abuja taking into account its ethnic and religious differences, but those familiar with his leadership abilities and qualities had always shown faith and confidence that Mallam is up to the task and will surely deliver. He will deliver, no two ways about that and with the bright political future ahead – you can call me a prophet of doom if you like – but I can see Mallam majestically relocating from Kashim House to Aso Rock Villa if not in 2019, then 2023.
Finally, I am optimistic that Mallam will put smiles in the faces of all and sundry as he does whenever and wherever he’s called upon to lead and amidst huge tales of challenges, he always succeeds where others failed.
Ride on Mallam, you are indeed the right man for the job at the right time, though a little bit late but nevertheless, it’s better to be late than never.