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Yakowa's Kaduna in the last one year

Published by Tribune on Thu, 12 Jul 2012

Hassan Ibrahim, North-West Regional Editor, writes on how the Kaduna State governor, Patrick Yakowa, has fared since May 29, 2011 when he was inaugurated as governor of the state.THE administration of Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa in Kaduna State has, over the past one year, taken steps to ensure that more dividends of democracy reach the doorsteps of the people.Kaduna, the only state in the North, nay Nigeria, that has been home to all categories of people in Nigeria for decades irrespective of tribe or religion, is a place where, on daily basis, there are predominant views on various political issues which make it the hotbed of politics in the nation. Since 1999, however, governance has not been a bed of roses for those who occupy the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House.The People Democratic Party (PDP) has been able to keep its stronghold on the state, in spite of the fact that many, both within and outside the party, have resorted to using guerilla action to discredit succeeding administrations in the state.Between 1999 to 2007, the then administration of Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi committed enormous resources toward transforming urban and rural parts of the state. Although spates of ethno-religious crisis characterised the early part of the Makarfi years in Kaduna, the administration did not relent in its efforts at ensuring peace and development in the state and till date, indigenes of the state who christened the former governor as an 'apostle of rural and urban transformation', remember the period with nostalgia because development reached even remote parts of the state that were initially deliberately forgotten or marginalised.Makarfi, records show, vigorously pioneered the construction of quality roads across the state and general hospitals in all the Senatorial zones which enabled citizens to have easy access to quality healthcare, among others.Makarfi's successor, Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo, tried to build on the achievements he met. Sambo, within that period, constructed an ultra modern office complex at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, befitting of the state's centre of power in modern times. His administration also tried to actualise the bridge to decongest traffic from the southern part of the state capital and had put in place the process of sourcing money from the capital market for the project.Although critics of the administration said a lot on the security outfit, Sambo had put in place codenamed 'Operation Yaki', alleging that politics was being given preference over public safety. The state enjoyed peace during his tenure with little or no major skirmishes or attrition in any part of Kaduna.By a twist of fate, however, the death of President Umaru Musa Yar'adua caused a major shakeup in the power configuration and Namadi Sambo's appointment as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria automatically paved way for the then Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa to become governor. It was a turning point in the history of the state that heralded series of challenges. Yakowa, first Christian and from the minority southern part of Kaduna to occupy the seat of power in the state, has been an active and good administrator in Kaduna since assumption of office. He was secretary of the state government (SSG), deputy governor and executive governor. After winning the PDP primaries, he contested and retained his seat.Governance, therefore, is a familiar terrain to the governor and the interplay of power politics in the state has not been strange to him having been a major player since the military era where he once served as a minister. Yakowa on assumption of office, therefore, did not relent in the task of pushing the state to greater heights.According to the incumbent Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Lawal Samaila, the government of Kaduna State came into a very critical situation, politically, economically and even morally because there was a lot of mutual suspicion among people. Therefore, building bridges, roads and houses was a secondary issue while the primary issue was to secure people's confidence that government could protect them and thereby reduce the unnecessary mutual suspicion among them.Although the first project of the government was ensuring peace and security, it had gone further to ensure that projects that have positive impacts on the lives of the people were executed across the state. For instance, the 4th Kaduna bridge, under the governor's supervision, has become a reality, thus providing an alternative route to motorists and other road users who were previously victims of long hours of delay when coming into Kaduna city from the southern flank.The state Commissioner of Works and Transport, Mr Suleiman Richifa, said that at the moment, there were 20 ongoing road projects across the state which, when completed, would pave way for many people to explore rural parts of the state for farming purposes and to transport their farm products to the markets.He listed, among others, the Ikara-Soba road, a bridge across River Kaduna and a road that starts from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC)'s junction to link Unguwan Rimi through Gobarau road which is being constructed to ease the hardship experienced by people coming from the southern part of the state to Central Kaduna'It's a distance that can be covered within 15 minutes, but people take up to 2 hours on busy days. The governor, in his wisdom and the care he has for the people, conceived the idea of eliminating this hardship. There is also another road from Sabon Tasha through Narayi called Gwari Road to decongest traffic from that end. Another important road under construction will link Hayin Danmani and Rigasa from Nmandi Azikiwe Highway. Feeder roads at a total length of 467 km were also constructed across the state,' he said.According to the state's Commissioner of Economic Planning, Timothy Gandu, all sectors in the state within the period under review have received a boost. He said Kaduna was the third largest state by way of population, with a land size almost equivalent all the states in the South-South or in the South-East, but the tenth in revenue allocation. Kaduna, with 23 local governments, is today wearing a new look.'Many have made Kaduna their home state and therefore, their actual states are more or less their second states'while the indigenes of Kaduna have only their state to deal with.This is an indicator or index of the difficulty in running the state and is a situation that requires attention. You can't pass through almost all the northern states without passing through Kaduna just as you can't pass through almost all the southern states without equally passing through the state; it is a route, a destination that most people pass through and which means there is a heavy load on the state by way of travelling, cultural and religious influence, and the spillover together makes a magma that requires a good government to understand, rule, run, administer and give good governance. You do this all through the difficulties that were highlighted,' he said.Gandu said Kaduna had a fair share of the post election crisis in 2011 and today there is the insecurity of incessant bomb blasts. It was in the face if this insecurity that the government had to provide the dividends of democracy.'While the government was concerned about running a democratic government and ensuring security for all and sundry, it was not that too bothered about explaining what it does to the public because it is already doing what everybody can see. The peace and security in the state that has to be maintained is no mean a feat. For a government that has the 3rd largest population and being the 10th revenue allocation earner, having the number of vehicles, military or joint personnel on the roads, the fueling of these vehicles, the feeding of these people, the upkeep, the logistics is huge and colossal, especially considering the meager resources the state has.'The governor has, therefore, created a committee under his leadership to look at the sources of internally generating revenue for the state because they have asked the question in Kaduna that if the oil revenue ceases, what would happen to them' 'So the state government has gone proactive under the leadership of Yakowa to find sources from within and that must be done with the understanding and consent of the people to improve good governance.
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