Masari : Moving Katsina Towards Sustainable Development

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Aminu Masari

Francis Sardauna writes that the 8-point pledge unveiled by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State for his second term would enable him consolidate on the achievements of the last four years

The restoration roadmap and the direction taken by Governor Masari on assumption of office in 2015 made him to uphold the principles of rule of law, accountability, inclusive governance and prudence in managing the resources for the development of Katsina State.

The governor’s ability to institute a culture of merit in appointments of public office holders made his administration to shun misuse of public resources. His administration in the last four years has been driving by values of good governance.

The performance of the Restoration government in education, health, agriculture, environment, water, youth and women empowerment, power and infrastructure after four years of daunting struggle sums up the audacious rebirth of Katsina from the snares of misgovernance and financial embezzlement.

The decision to prioritize these sectors, according to the ‘One million votes governor’ was anchored on the firm belief that education, health, and agriculture really hold the key to the restoration government.

To consolidate on the tremendous achievements of his last four years, Masari shortly after taking oath of office (May 29, 2019) for the second term unveiled what he termed as 8-point pledge.

He said: “In spite of outstanding challenges, we remain poised to forge ahead with our determination to take Katsina State to the next level. We have resolved to continue to explore all avenues, engage with all critical stakeholders, and work with the private sector to ensure the consolidation of the gains of the past four years.

“This administration would continue to expand opportunities for private sector participation in boosting our economy in order to create more jobs and close the existing social inequality gap among our people. Specifically, I would like to solemnly pledge to you, on this day, our commitment to the following critical 8-point pledge;

“Increasing investment in agriculture, sustaining investment in agriculture, consolidating the gains of the health sector, increasing investment in water, wider political inclusion and youths engagement, entrenching good governance, political accountability and transparency, promoting greater public-private collaboration and bequeathing secure and prosperous Katsina state”.

As part of mwasures to move the state to the next level, the governor intend to construct and equip 100 additional primary and 50 secondary schools in  underserved and needed communities across the state to cater for the growing number of eligible school going children that are roaming the streets.

He also vowed to recruit and train 1,000 teachers for both primary and secondary schools, particularly for science subjects and procure 350,000 sets of pupils desks as well as instructional materials for primary schools across the 34 local government areas of the state.

In its quest to revamp the girl-child education, the administration is determined to establish girls boarding schools with befitting state of the art facilities to complement the already established ones in Kankia, Katsina, Dutsinma and Kafur local governments.

Taking into cognizance the importance of teaching methodology in education, the Masari-led government would also conduct training and retraining of 5,000 teachers on teaching methods. It will as well construct 68 additional literacy classes and employ 340 additional literacy facilitators in the state.

Determine to eradicate the challenge of manpower bedevilling the health sector in the state, the administration is poised to employ 1,000 doctors, 500 nurses, midwives and other medical personnel, and install functional operating Theatres for surgeries in General hospitals and Maternal and Child Care Health Centres across the state.

Accordingly, the Restoration government would establish another college of Nursing and Midwifery in the state in order to centralize the processes of procurement, storage, distribution and regulation of drugs equipment for enhanced operational accountability and monitoring of the end-users.

On agriculture, governor Masari who has given the sector ultimate consideration in the past four years, is set to commence the sales of fertilizers, seeds, irrigation pumps, farm chemicals and other farming inputs to 250,000 farmers at subsidized rate to boost food production.

According to Masari, “We share the conviction that our long-term security and prosperity as a people depend solely on how much we invest to develop our agricultural sector. We are of the belief that agriculture has the potential and the capacity not just to lift our people from poverty, but to also help strengthen our IGR”.

He further reiterated his administration readiness to complete the construction of 34 veterinary clinics across the 34 LGAs of the state, and liaise with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its Anchor Borrowers programme to provide agricultural inputs to 50,000 eligible farmers.

Sequel to this, the governor in his 8-point pledge is willing to complete the demarcation of farmer/pastoral routes in the state in synergy with neighbouring states and Niger Republic. The administration will also facilitate the installation of 34 renewable energy based farm power remedies for rural farm and agro-allied enterprises in the state.

The governor, in his doggedness to make the teeming unemployed youths and women to be self-reliant, said he would train 15,000 of them on different skills acquisition and establish 1,500 sustainable Cooperate Societies and resuscitate 500 dormant ones.

Similarly, no fewer than 3,000 persons living with disabilities will be empowered by the administration with relevant skills. While  500,000 youths would be sponsored to access the N-power programme to make them self-dependent.

Provision of potable water would also remain a top priority of Masari’s second term, as he reaffirmed during his inaugural speech that: “Consolidating on the existing gains and building upon them to ensure that more communities have access to potable water remain my ultimate area of prioritization”.

Another area which would form part of the Masari new 8-point pledge is the issue of greater collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Masari added: “My dream I must admit at this juncture is to see a Katsina State that is secured from all manner of security threats; a Katsina State that is financially buoyant; and a Katsina State with a happy and prosperous populace.

“With my team, we hope to bequeath a Katsina State where the wellbeing of our people will not be measured by the presence of the rich, but by the absence of the poor amongst us”.   He stated that his dream to revamp the state was not an impossible one “But its realization would depend solely on how sincere and dedicated we work in the next four years and beyond”.

To tackle the quagmires recorded in his first tenure, which political analysts believed were occasioned by some of his appointees, the governor buttressed: “I am assuring you that the hands that will be invited to join in ensuring this success are capable, dependable, reliable, competent, and trustworthy.

“We will ensure that we appoint persons of proven integrity that will add great value to our agenda for security and development.

This is the only way to ensure the consolidation of our restoration gains and to guarantee quick results as we move to the next level.”