Idris Kemmas writes that Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna state has embarked on viable plans and projects aimed at taking the state to greater heights.
On May 29, 2023, Kaduna State like many other states in the Nigerian federation witnessed a change of guard as a new governor took the oath of office and assumed the mantle of leadership.
That man is Senator Uba Sani, a highly charismatic politician who was the chairman of the Senate committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions in the ninth national assembly.
A man of strong convictions and simple mien, Sani is the political protege of Kaduna strong man, his predecessor, Mallam Nasir El – Rufai, who he shares certain characteristics with- a factor that no doubt contributed partly to his being chosen as the successor to El- rufai’s school of thought.
Sani assumed office at a time when his mentor had done extraordinary work of setting a solid foundation for the emergence of a modern and forward looking Kaduna state. These strides can be seen in the areas of security, education, infrastructure, human empowerment, public service reform and economic transformation.
Under the past administration, Kaduna grappled and circumvented many of the crises that besieged it with new and innovative policies, from KADInvest to the establishment of new military bases in Kaduna south to the controversial teachers test. And Uba Sani’s Kaduna can be said to be the consolidation and extension of the progressive strides of a towering politician and a giant of national repute.
Kaduna State has long been reckoned as one of the biggest and greatest states in Nigeria, being the capital of the defunct northern region and home to the largest number of tertiary institutions in the country, including the famous National Defense Academy, thus earning the appellation, center of learning. But despite its potential, it has not always realised the conceivable possibilities which was lost to extremities of religion on the one hand and greed of the elites on the other.
Thus, it is on this foundation bequeathed by the Mallam that his one time special adviser on politics and his very close associate has decided to erect his seven-point agenda, which includes safety and security, infrastructural upgrade, strengthening of institutions, enhancing trade and investment, human capital development and citizens engagement.
Governor Sani has promised to carry every citizen and section of the state along, regardless of religious, ethnic or political differences.
According to him: “Our vision is to make Kaduna the Leading Economic Hub in the North. We want to create a business cluster that will drive competition in the Northern Region. Kaduna State is rich in natural and human resources.
“It is the gateway to many parts of Nigeria. It is a transportation hub. The immediate past government worked assiduously to upgrade the infrastructure in the state. We are determined to build on that legacy to fast-track the economic development of the state”
Central to his economic vision, is human capital development and infrastructural transformation. After assuming the mantle, Sani like his predecessor, promised to make education of children and those pursuing tertiary education a top priority, and making it accessible and affordable.
El-Rufai had done remarkable well in education, particularly for the state owned tertiary institutions and school feeding programme for primary school students and the primary school teachers test and retraining scheme.
While primary and secondary education in public school will continue to be free, Sani announced the review and reduction of the school fees payable in state-owned tertiary institutions.
In essence, the directive affected institutions like, Kaduna State University (KASU), Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, College of Education, Gidan Waya, Shehu Idris College of Health Sciences & Technology, Makarfi and Kaduna State College of Nursing.
Recently, the governor launched the construction of 62 new Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) and Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) in the state, in addition to the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), a project funded by the World Bank in all the 23 local government areas in the state.
Health, like education, is undoubtedly essential to the administration’s human development and human empowerment endeavor. To make health services available to rural and other communities that are hard to access, the administration launched five medical mobile trucks that are fitted with cutting-edge health technologies.
According to Governor Sanni, the mobile medical trucks would improve healthcare services and the survival and well-being of the populace. This is in addition to the distribution of medical supplies to 290 Primary Healthcare Centers in an effort to increase efficiency.
He explained that the effect of the initiative would go beyond the provision of medical equipment and lead to the training and retraining of healthcare personnel and the creation of environment that foster professional competence.
In addition, the governor gave his approval for the Association of Resident Doctors employed by the Kaduna State Ministry of Health to fully adopt the 2014 Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS). In order to fill the personnel shortage discovered in 2017, he authorised the continuation of the recruitment of 89 more medical doctors.
To alleviate poverty in the state, particularly in light of the fuel subsidy removal, Sani announced the distribution of palliatives to 1,050,000 people, making 210,000 vulnerable households in the state.
He said: “We have agreed and decided collectively, with the support of all the unions, to buy 43,000 bags of 50kg rice at N1.935 million. The balance of N65 million will be used to support the logistics of PWDs, the widows and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) that live in the camps in Kaduna.”
Similarly, Sani went on to sign an executive order for financial inclusion in the state to address the exclusion of about 2.1 million poor, underserved and vulnerable citizens in the rural areas from financial services in Kaduna State and to ensure that they benefit from both the State and Federal Government’s Social Intervention Programmes.
In addition to these, the governor also inaugurated the Women and Children Shelter, located at Katuru Road in Kaduna metropolis to provide accommodation and other services to victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and other abuses.
The administration has also commenced a public – private sector partnership to provide housing assistance to 500,000 of the state’s impoverished and vulnerable residents.
Under the Qatari-owned Sanabil Project, the Economic City project will be developed in collaboration with Qatar Construction Company.
Also, the empowerment initiatives from the Qatar Charity that will help the underprivileged and vulnerable in Kaduna State include scholarships for orphans and vulnerable children, distribution of sewing and welding equipment, irrigation pumping equipment, salon kits, and drilling hundreds of boreholes throughout the state’s 23 local government councils.
Sani has also announced the construction of 32 roads in Kaduna State which will cover 406 kilometres so as to bring about easier movement in the state, such as the 25-kilometer Rigachikun-Tami-Birnin-Yero rural road, the 21.7 kilometre Anchau-Gadas-Palla road, among others.
The Governor has also revealed plans to resuscitate the locomotive train from Zaria to Kaduna in a bid to make for more affordable means of transportation.
His words: “We shall make efforts to resuscitate the Locomotive Train from Zaria to Kaduna, and from Sabon Tasha to Kafanchan. The aim is to provide citizens with affordable means of transportation. To this end, the General Manager, Kaduna Line has been mandated to seek partnership with the Nigeria Railway Corporation through the Federal Ministry of Transport”
To combat intermittent insecurity in Kaduna state, the administration of Sani is building on the legacy that the immediate past administration had established.
However, to prevent any reoccurrence of crippling insecurity the new government decided to take pre-emptive action using natives of the various local governments through the Kaduna state vigilante service. The administration of Uba Sani recruited 7,000 personnel into the State Vigilante Service (KADVS) in order to make up for the lack of personnel needed to combat the threat of banditry and other criminal activities in Kaduna State. The number of employees working for the Service increased from 2,000 to 9,000 as a result of this recruitment.
The Governor had during his visit to service chiefs of the nation’s armed forces upon his assumption of office, assured them of Kaduna State’s complete assistance in the battle against bandits and criminals.
Said he: “My administration shall work very closely with the nation’s military and other security agencies in our collective efforts to rid the State of bandits and criminals. We are even prepared to fund some of their operations in our state within the little resources available to us.”
-Kemmas writes from Zaria.