Nasir El-Rufai At 60: On The Mission To Fully Restore Kaduna’s Glory, By Olalekan Paul

The bravery to imagine and the will to get things done has been the motivating force behind Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State. No wonder we can see his giant strides in infrastructure, health, security, economy, education, and human development.

On May 29, 2015, El-Rufai was sworn in as the 22nd governor of Kaduna State, since then, he has been the centrepiece that connects governance with the people first by announcing a pay cut and donating 50 percent of his salary and allowance in a time of austerity which was witnessed by all.

Conscious of his campaign promises to the good people of Kaduna State, Governor El-Rufai has persistently pushed barriers and ushered in well-articulated economic and programmes geared towards setting the state on the path of development.  This include working with team of young and vibrant committed people to put necessary structures in place and implement policies necessary for the smooth running of governmental operations which in turn benefit lives and consolidate on the atmosphere for economic development generally.

The sustainable impact of El-Rufai polices can be largely seen in the following sectors:

INFRASTRUCTURE

Infrastructure is the backbone upon which every economy thrives as it creates the environment needed for the economic activities to bloom. Early in his administration, Governor El-Rufai contracted Bain and Company to review all inherited and ongoing capital projects in the state with a view to developing a prioritization mechanism for future ventures. Among its truly shocking findings was the fact that N87.5 billion existed in outstanding contractual obligations. To set things right, Governor El-Rufai embarked on an urbanization agenda by committing N108 billion of its 2016 budget to capital expenditure and in 2017, committed another N130 billion into infrastructure. Contractors have now returned to abandoned sites and delivered on many road projects in the state.

In its apt response to traffic gridlock in the State capital, the administration of El-Rufai implemented measures which include dualization of strategic roads, repairs to dilapidated roads and the introduction of a bus rapid transport (BRT). The BRT now has an exclusive lane such that it can operate even at times when traffic is the most congested.

Of recent is the commissioning of Sokoto Road which left many marvelled with the beautiful design and easy accessibility. More so, on Friday February 14, the state government launched a thirty-two year infrastructure development plan in its relentless efforts to make the state business friendly, and an investment hub for investors.

HEALTH

Upon assumption of office, Governor El-Rufai has upgraded 255 primary health centres, 23 rural hospitals, and various general hospitals with support from Dangote, alongside Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The state government has also strengthened the public healthcare system by recruiting more than 500 midwives to improve its institutional capacity as well as ensure safer pregnancies and reduce maternal mortality. Dialysis continues to be subsidised for the benefit of citizens dealing with renal challenges. Routine immunisation of infants remains ongoing, ante-natal and post-natal treatment for pregnant women and children below five years of age is free in public hospitals.

SECURITY

Nasir El-Rufai is not relenting in his commitment to protect lives and properties of the citizens of Kaduna State. In 2019, the state government doled out 85 vehicles to security agencies in the state as part of measures to tackle rising cases of banditry and kidnappings. The state government has also acquired and put at the disposal of the security agencies, a technology that can assist the state to fight against insecurity. Accordingly, is the establishment of the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs to focus and coordinate the state’s efforts and cooperate with the security agencies. Peace has returned to all troubled areas while residents and visitors are now conducting their businesses in a safe and calm environment.

EDUCATION

Remarkably, Governor El-Rufai’s administration is keen on providing education for everyone especially the girl-child. In his first term, he announced free, compulsory universal basic education for every child in the state. The State Government in its pursuit to see that every child gets basic education and tackle truancy, launched “Edu-Marshalls” to arrest and forcefully take any Child found on the street Hawking during School hour.

The state government also tighten its policy on education by redeploying school teachers to rural areas and supported them with incentives. This has clearly improved the quality of learning across the state.

The El-Rufai administration, in its 2020 Budget, committed N42 billion to education. The state government has embarked on several interventions which includes investments in improving infrastructures, improving quality of the teachers. So far, the state government has recruited 25, 000 qualified teachers and renovated about 700 schools. These renovations are complete with the provision of solar-powered bore holes and cubicle toilet blocks. The aim is to expand class sizes to the extent that they cater for school enrollment rates which have soared from about 1 million pupils in 2015 to over 1.8 million currently.

Plans are also ongoing to move Kaduna State University from the current site to its permanent site along Zaria road; the ongoing construction of six science secondary schools is almost completed, with the transforming of 16 secondary schools into boarding schools.

TRANSPORTATION

In transportation, visible infrastructure abound in this critical area such as roads and bridges, including ongoing and completed projects as well as ongoing construction of modern bus stops in the state capital and many other communities.

ECONOMY

As at 2014, most industries in Kaduna State had closed shop; a state of nine million people was now referred to as a ‘civil service state’ and became a mockery of its own.

However, that has changed!

The administration of ElRufai has brought about a turn-around in the economic activities of the state. Business activities have now returned to the city of Kaduna and other major towns. Coming in from Abuja, one can’t help but notice the large Olam Poultry and Feed Mill, a 350-million dollar investment – the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa located in Chikun Local Government Area. Olam’s neighborhood has also just been announced as the home of the new Dangote Peugeot plant.

Going through Kakuri, one will also be confronted by the new 200 million dollars Mahindra Tractor Assembly Plant with a capacity of 3,000 tractors per year.

The administration of El-Rufai is also positively impacting the lives of farmers in the state. The State, in collaboration with the World Bank, has trained over 10,000 farmers on boosting agricultural production.

Across the street from Mahindra is Blue Camel Energy, a renewable energy production plant and training academy. More importantly is KADSTEP, a state-sponsored entrepreneurship programme run by Kaduna Business School, had graduated over 3,000 young businessmen and women hungry for opportunities.

The administration of El-Rufai is also positively impacting the lives of farmers in the state. The State, in collaboration with the World Bank, has trained over 10,000 farmers on boosting agricultural production.

In partnership with the World Bank, Kaduna State would soon launch, ‘Click-On-Kaduna’ – a digital jobs platform with ambition of creating Nigeria’s Silicon Valley.

With the above highlight on El-Rufai’s achievements, it can be boldly said that Governor El-Rufai value system is enshrined in human capital development. This is a man who has shown exemplary leadership and not on gender or ethnicity. With this belief, he is walking the talk on his campaign promises. Governor El-Rufai is about empowering the right people to deliver and make things happen in their respective offices.

Governor El-Rufai is setting the pace in the definition of true leadership by establishing policies that are masses oriented and beneficial to the general public. When the shoves come to push, El-Rufai, I can say is a hardworking and committed political leader.

Happy 60th Birthday Malam!

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Resign Now, El-Rufai Tells CJN Onnoghen

The Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai has urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen to step down from office.

El-Rufai, who made his views known on a Channels Television Programme, “Sunrise”, said:  ”All the arguments being made that the allegations against the CJN should first go to the National Judicial Council (NJC) are wrong.

“I presented a paper at the Bisi Akande Colloquium on restructuring. I believe that we should look at our federation. Constitutional restructuring is one thing, restructuring our minds to be objective about what is right is another.

“I am extremely sad about this Chief Justice matter; if I am the Chief Justice, and write and say, ‘yes I have these bank accounts but I did not declare them’, I will not even allow the CCB to file charges, I will resign there and then to protect the institution.

“The admission that I did not declare my assets, that infraction alone, is enough for him to step down and protect the institution. All these court orders and lawyers are not helping the judiciary or the legal practice and are not helping Nigeria.”

The governor said it was not obligatory for the President to know about the prosecution of any Nigerian, including the CJN.

He said: “Why should the President know about the prosecution of anyone? Let us please stop personalising institutions. Won’t you be worried if the President is worried about prosecution? Institutions should be allowed to function.

“I am the governor of Kaduna State. The constitution requires that I declare my assets before being sworn in. Also, the constitution states this specifically, in plain language. This is not law; we don’t need law to tell us this.

“I don’t have to know if the Attorney-General of Kaduna State goes and murder or rape someone, and the police arrest him; I don’t need to know. They should charge him to court. Institutions should be allowed to work, and we should stand up to protect the integrity of institutions.

“Saying that the President doesn’t know, I think it is a compliment to the president; it shows that he does not interfere with institutions and doesn’t get involved in it.

“What is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong; I think we should stand up for that, we should seize being ethnic and religious, otherwise this country will not go anywhere.

”The man has admitted that ‘I did not declare my asset, I forgot’. If the matter was simply that the Code of Conduct Bureau has made an allegation and filed charges in the tribunal, I will presume innocence, but I have seen a written statement by the Chief Justice saying that ‘…yes I have these accounts, yes I did not declare them, but I forgot’. Forgetting is not a defence in law.

“The constitution is very clear; if the matter has to do with Code of Conduct of public officers, the only court, the only tribunal vested with the power to consider the violations of that code is the Code of Conduct Tribunal. It can try anyone, including the President.

“The NJC is supposed to take petitions on the professional misconduct of Judges; if a Judge kills or steals, it is not NJC, it is the regular court. You cannot say the NJC is a self-appointed court, a special court that will first have to clear judges before they go to regular court.

”It is saying that Judges have immunity that the constitution has not contemplated. It is only the President and the governors that have immunity in the constitution.

“For me, that is not even the issue, the issue is this, the Code of Conduct for public office requires you to declare your assets – all of us, have you declared your assets? Yes! Have you declared all your assets? No, I have not! The Chief Justice has admitted it; his defence is ‘I have forgotten’, that is not a defence in law.”

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El-rufai Calls For Legislation To Contain Fake News

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to enact legislation that would grant jurisdiction to state judiciaries to handle cases of fake news and hate speeches.

El-rufai, while receiving the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his office noted that the current law in the country only grant the Federal High Courts jurisdiction to handle cases of fake news.

The governor who said he had a personal share of fake news; saying his Wikipedia was altered to change his nationality and was also alleged to have been clone and from Bamako, Mali.

He also cited the negative impact fake news have had on the state in recent times, assuring that the state will spear no effort in bringing to book all those invloved in spreading hate speech in the state, including an Abuja based Pastor and the Lagos based journalist.

The governor stressed that conveyors of fake news should not be allowed to go free as they should be made to bear the consequences of their actions.

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Kaduna Elevates Chikun Chiefdom To First Class Status

Malam Nasir El-Rufai has approved the elevation of HRH Dr. Danjuma Barde, the Esu Chikun (previously known as Sa Gbagyi), to a first-class chief. 

Dr. Barde was appointed Sa Gbagyi on 29th December 2000 and installed on 18th January 2001, as a third-class chiefHe was upgraded to a second-class chief in 2007.

Congratulating the chief on his elevation, Malam Nasir El-Rufai said that “HRH Dr. Barde deserves this exceptional recognition for his role in promoting peace.” The decision to upgrade the Chikun Chiefdom to first-class status follows a recommendation to that effect by the Ministry of Local Government Affairs. The ministry, in a proposal signed by the commissioner Prof. Kabir Mato, noted HRH Dr. Barde’s contribution to peace and his active role as a bridge-builder among the ethnic groups in the chiefdom, a fact the government recently acknowledged in a letter of commendation to the chief.

Prof. Mato also drew attention to the fact that much of HRH Dr. Barde’s chiefdom is within Kaduna metropolis, noting that the chief has been able to promote integration among the diverse population of the chiefdom, which covers the entire Chikun local government area of the state. The ministry therefore recommended that he be elevated, to recognise his efforts, and to encourage people who make peace and harmony a priority.

The name of the chiefdom was recently changed from Gbagyi to Chikun chiefdom to reflect government policy that anchors the authority of traditional leaders on territory, not tribe. This is to ensure that the traditional rulers include and command the allegiance of every group within the territory, rather than just the people with whom the ruler shares a common ethnicity.

HRH Dr. Barde holds degree in Education andhas worked as a teacher and chief education officer. He is also a former member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly.

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El-Rufai Chooses Hadiza Balarabe As Running Mate

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has announced the selection of Dr. Hadiza Balarabe as his running mate for the 2019 general election. The choice of Dr. Hadiza Balarabe as running mate continues Malam Nasir El-Rufai’s deliberate policy of promoting women.

There are five female commissioners in his 14-person cabinet, a feat not attained even by governors that had much larger cabinets. This is the first time in the history of Kaduna State that a major political party will select a woman as running mate.

The incumbent Deputy Governor, Arc. Barnabas Yusuf Bala, has opted to go to the National Assembly and has since emerged as the APC’s candidate for the southern Kaduna senatorial district.

Dr. Hadiza Balarabe is the current Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency, a position she has held since February 2016. In that role she has overseen the Kaduna State Government’s programme to revitalise and strengthen primary health care as the core of health service delivery in the state. Under her watch, the state is renovating and equipping 255 primary health centres with tools to assist better antenatal services and safer delivery. The agency has also helped expand vaccine coverage to protect children across the state.

Prior to joining the Kaduna State Government, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe was Director of Public Health in the FCT. She studied Medicine at the University of Maiduguri, and graduated in 1988. She was a Senior Registrar at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital before joining the services of the FCT in 2004.

Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, who was born in 1966, is from Sanga local government which is located in the southern Kaduna senatorial district.

Signed

Samuel Aruwan
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor (Media & Publicity)
Friday, 2nd November 2018

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President Buhari Visits Kaduna, Meets Religious Leaders Amidst Crisis

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday visited Kaduna for a meeting with religious and traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the state.

This is following the crisis that led to the killings in some parts of the state, and gruesome murder of the paramount ruler of the Adara, the Agom Adara, Maiwada Galadima, by kidnappers.

The State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, had earlier imposed a 24 hours curfew but reviewed on Sunday to 6.am to 5.pm.

Along with the president are the NSA, DG DSS, IGP, Minister of Finance, Kaduna State Police Commissioner among others who were recieved by the governor

At the venue of the meeting are the Emir of Zazzau, Dr. Shehu Idris, Archbishop of Kaduna Catholic Archdiocese, Most Reverend, Mathew Man-oso Ndagoso and Secretary General of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu.

Among other clerics at the venue are Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop George Jonathan Dodo, founder of the Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria, Pastor Yohanna Y.D. Buru.

 

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Kaduna Crisis: CAN Commends El-Rufai Over Review Of Curfew

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has applauded Kaduna State government over the review of the curfew time in the state.

CAN President, Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, in a statement issued on Sunday, also restated his earlier position that current security chiefs should be replaced.

He also demanded the implementation White Papers on previous ethno-religious uprisings as well as trial of those apprehended for previous killings in Southern Kaduna, and prosecution of those responsible for the unending killings in Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba states.

He suggested that adequate compensations be paid to the bereaved and other victims of the ethno-religious conflicts in the last five years.

“Government should also recover lands and villages illegally occupied by the hoodlums and criminals in the North Central for peace to reign.”

Recall that recent violence broke out in Kaduna State which, so far, had claimed many lives including a paramount ruler, the Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima, and property worth millions of Naira had been destroyed.

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Restructuring: Beyond A Necessity, By Eugene Bright

It is great that most parties have now identified their flag bearers for the 2019 Presidential Election. In that vein, I would love to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, and Alhaji Abubakar Atiku of the People’s Democratic Party as the two major contenders.

The debate is expected to be issue-based, and void of unnecessary propaganda (hopefully) from both camps.
One of such issues is that of #Restructuring which appears to be a major part of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku’s campaign of which, I am of the view, should be addressed.

#Restructuring, as an issue, is not new. Actually, it was a major part of the campaign of the All Progressives Congress back in 2014/15. Atiku was a member of the APC at the time.

After winning the 2015 Presidential Election, the All Progressives Congress did NOT jettison the topic of #Restructuring. Not at all. Rather, the APC went to the drawing board to identify the best way to go about the issue.

After months of painstaking assessment, the All Progressives Congress constituted the True Federalism Committee (@NGRTrueFed) headed by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. The committee consisted of 23 members, some of whom have recently moved to other parties… https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/239907-apc-inaugurates-el-rufai-led-23-member-committee-true-federalism.html

The True Federalism Committee got down to work and identified 12 major points that make up the general concept of #Restructuring, as defined by Nigerians from different walks of life.

What followed next was a Call for Memoranda from the general public, based on the 12 classifications, with a 13th option for any other issue anyone might relate to #Restructuring…

Following the Call for Memoranda was a series of Zonal Public Consultations across the country, covering all the geo-political zones. These consultations were structured to receive feedback from elders, women, the youth & CSOs.

The Public Consultations weren’t restricted to within the shores of Nigeria alone as the @APCUKingdom collaborated among themselves to host one for Nigerians in the UK…

While the consultations moved from zone to zone within Nigeria, some of us can still remember Alhaji Abubakar Atiku’s comments regarding the input from the North East zone, with particular reference to Gov. M.A. Abubakar’s contribution…

The seriousness of the consultations on #Restructuring (True Federalism) led to the invitation of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to discuss the issue at Chatham House back in September, 2017…

The True Federalism Committee were working closely with the leadership of the National Assembly at the time, hoping for immediate and rapid deliberations as soon as the consultations were done, and the report sent to #NASS.
Back then, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and Sen. Bukola Saraki were (assumed to) still be members of the All Progressives Congress

At the end of the consultations, the Mallam Nasir El-Rufai-led @NGRTrueFed made the report of their findings public, and actually organized a public presentation for that.

For an extensive read on the report submitted by the True Federalism Committee, kindly click here to download a copy: https://www.proshareng.com/report/%20Elections%20/Summary-of-Findings-by-APC-True-Federalism-Committee/10931

With the amount of work put in by this All Progressives Congress administration regarding the issue of #Restructuring, I believe what Nigerians should know that we are beyond the conversation stage. Rather, focus should be on why National Assembly has never deliberated on it.

It is my hope now that Sen. Bukola Saraki is done with his games & gallivanting, he will reconvene the National Assembly, and get to deliberating on the tons of issues begging for their attention. Issues that would truly help to #GrowNigeria. Issues like the report on #Restructuring

While I also hope that Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and his people will put an end to bringing it up like it is something new. It isn’t, and the All Progressives Congress have already worked on it. We can move on to the issue of #Corruption whenever he is in the mood.

Thank you.

Eugene Bright C

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2019 Senate: Give Us Uba Sani Or Lose Votes, Kaduna APC Warns Buhari

Supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State have warned President Muhammadu Buhari that they would not vote for him in 2019, if he fails to intervene and end impunity being perpetrated by the National Chairman of the party.

Thousands of angry APC members expressed this while protesting the ‘sole ticket’ handed to Senator representing Kaduna Central, Senator Shehu Sani at the party’s state secretariat on Tuesday night.

Speaking on their behalf, Saidu Idris Dibis, an aspirant for the Kaduna State Assembly, Kawo Constituency, said that the decision taken to illegally disqualify other candidates to pave way for Senator Shehu Sani was unjust and would not be tolerated.

He said that President Buhari should intervene and make the National Working Committee of the party and its national chairman rescind the decision.

The aspirant said that members and supporters of the party thronged the secretariat to protest the impunity and pave way for a democratic process.

The protesters decried disqualification of Malam Uba Sani, whom they said was disqualified for no just cause thronged the party’s state Secretariat.

The angry supporters have at the moment, blocked the Ali Akilu road, a major Highway.

The protesters, from all age groups were chanting ‘Oshiomhole must go, clear Uba Sani’ and other inscriptions on their placards like ‘No automatic ticket’.

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El-Rufai, Ganduje, Win APC Primaries

Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai has emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the APC in the next year’s election.

Declaring the result, the committee chairman of the elections, Mr Matthew Iduoriyekemwen said governor Elrufai had contested unopposed and scored 2447 votes while 33 votes were invalid.

3,782 delegates across the 23 local governments areas participated in the election.

Governor El-Rufai said in a speech that he accepted the mandate to promote equal opportunity in the state

“With gratitude to Almighty Allah, I accept this nomination as your vote of confidence to continue the work of delivering progressive outcomes for our people. I view your acceptance of my candidature as a mandate not to relent in promoting equality of opportunity, he said.

In related development, Kano state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje also emerged APC candidate in his state with a total votes of 2,740,847.

The Chief Returning Officer for the election, Mr Pius Odudu announced the result at the state party secretariat, after collating results from the 44 local governments, where direct primaries system was employed.

Expressing his satisfaction with the election result, governor Ganduje commended the peaceful conduct of the election and party members for exhibiting total solidarity for his second term bid.

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Three Years Of Delivering Change In Kaduna State: The Journey So Far, By Halilu Zaria

The Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai led government in Kaduna State has spent the last three years delivering its campaign promises to the people of the state. The past three years witnessed the implementation of statewide reforms, ensuring accountability in the state’s finances through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) that yielded almost 25 billion Naira of funds kept at 470 accounts at various commercial banks.
The administration also introduced zero-based budgeting as a result of which an unprecedented level of capital spending was achieved. The government spent more than 60 Billion Naira in the 2016 and 2017 budgets on roads, schools, water and hospital projects.
Having spent 16 years in power, the PDP left the state’s public schools (4250 primary schools) in bad shape. Children sat on the floor, as the then government failed to provide classroom furniture to address this despite the huge sums of money that accrued to the state. Also, there were cases of overcrowding in public schools in Rigasa, it was revealed that about 400 students were crammed into a 14 feet by 16 feet primary school classroom at Shawai Primary School, and this same school and similar others had about 20,000 to 30,000 pupils. Aside overcrowding, most of these schools had two or three toilets serving thousands of students. These were amongst the rot the El-Rufai led administration inherited from previous PDP led government.
Upon assumption, Governor El-Rufai declared a state of emergency in the education sector. Despite the decline in oil price which fell to as low as 28 Dollars per barrel, renovation of schools and supply of equipment and furniture were actualized in public schools across the state. The state government is also constructing new blocks of 50 classrooms in overcrowded schools in Rigasa and other parts of the state and the project would be completed in June.
Manpower challenge is also being tackled with the recent laying off of unqualified teachers whose deficiencies led to the decline in education standard in the state. Qualified hands have been employed to tackle this problem. Additional 2280 science teachers were employed to tackle the dearth of such teachers in the state-owned secondary schools.
The government awarded more than 1293 contracts across the state to develop human capital through investments in Schools and Hospitals, to strengthen infrastructure through more township and feeder roads, rural electrification and improved access to water amongst others. In Zone I comprising of 8 Local Government Areas, about 396 projects are ongoing with some already completed. Zone 2 which has 7 Local Government Areas has 559 ongoing projects, while Zone 3 with 8 Local Governments has 228 ongoing projects. The government has touched virtually all nooks and crannies of the state and has effectively utilized public funds towards providing dividends of democracy to many rather than empowering a few.
The administration also inherited an over-bloated Local Government system as a result of which less than 8 of the 23 Local Government Areas could pay salaries without the State Government’s support. The situation was so bad to the extent that funds had to be sourced from financially-stable Local Governments to pay salaries of insolvent ones. The Government tackled this challenge by reducing the excess personnel burden of the Local Governments Councils as a result of which they are now financially stable to meet their personnel needs. The Local Governments are now able to pay their personnel monthly salaries and still have more funds left to run the Councils and embark on projects. Local Governments in Kaduna State are now free from many years of distress courtesy of the bold step taken by the El-Rufai led administration.
The administration also took over a state where private companies that had potentials of creating employment opportunities had folded up. To address this, the Kaduna Investment Promotion Authority (KADIPA) was set up with the mandate of attracting investments into the state. The impact of the agency is already being felt as various companies have already set up their investments in the state thus enhancing its economy and reducing unemployment.
The government has also ensured a level playing ground for all political parties in the state. This was demonstrated in the recently concluded Local Government Elections which was adjudged to be the freest and fairest Local Government Election conducted from 1999 to Date. The Electronic Voting Machine was used and this is first in its kind. The results were accepted by all political parties that participated in the non-violent and most peaceful election.
The new face of administration in Kaduna state has also given room for citizens to participate in governance. This is made possible through regular Town Hall Meetings and open governance. The present administration also holds yearly Budget Town Hall Meetings to avail citizens the opportunity to make their input on the yearly budgets before it is presented to the State House of Assembly for consideration and passage.
Indeed, so much has changed in the last three years and it is hoped that Kaduna State would join the league of developed states if Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai is given another mandate to govern the state.
Halilu Hassan wrote from Zaria E. MAIL haliluhassan@yahoo.com
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Kaduna LG Polls: We Have Won A Referendum On Our Programmes, Says El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai has congratulated residents of the state following the peaceful and orderly conduct of the local government elections across the state which held last Saturday.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Governor and made available to newsmen.

According to El-Rufai, the use of electronic voting in the state heralded a new chapter in the country, with the government determined to respect the outcome.

His words: “At considerable cost, the Kaduna State Government invested in Electronic Voting Machines to promote electoral integrity and transparency. It appeared the logical next step following the game-changing introduction of the smart card reader by INEC for the 2015 elections. But these costs are actually savings since the machines can be used for several elections, while avoiding the cost of printing secure ballot papers.”

El-Rufai noted that despite apprehension by some political experts, his administration had never doubted that our people will embrace electronic voting. “Voters have acknowledged the successful operation of the Electronic Voting Machine, with its user-friendly interface and quick voting process,” he added.

The statement partly reads: “The people of Kaduna State can congratulate themselves that they have, in practice, conclusively made the argument for the country as a whole to fully automate the voting process. Following the successful performance of the machines, Kaduna State is prepared to make its Electronic Voting Machines available to any state government that wishes to embrace electronic voting, on terms to be agreed .

“These local government elections have demonstrated that the APC government of Kaduna State, which you mandated us to lead in 2015, stands resolutely for free and fair elections. We have placed the credibility and integrity of the electoral process above the discredited practice of previous governments that sought to win every contested seat, and by all means.

“Almost three years after we took office, we faced local elections with absolute commitment to fairness, and a willingness to accept the outcome.

“We accepted the challenge to put our record of service after almost three years in office to the test. In fact, the local government elections were construed as a referendum on the performance of our government. Tales were being told by an entitled, but frustrated, elite that our people would punish us at the polls for taking consequential decisions in favour of ordinary people. The people have spoken, and their views resoundingly denounce the selfish claims of political merchants.

“As governor, the man on whose table the buck stops, I, along with our Deputy Governor, gladly led our team to campaign in all the senatorial districts and local governments of the state.

“During our campaigns, we showcased how we were making life better in each ward and local government, complete with a list of projects we have initiated in our quest to promote equality of opportunity.

“We thank our people for demonstrating with their votes that they recognise our efforts to empower them, to educate their children properly, to secure better healthcare for them and to return their priorities to the heart of government.

“Our party has won a great victory. We salute those who voted for us. We did not win every local government, although we campaigned hard to do well everywhere. And having worked hard to make our case to the people, we respect the views of those who chose differently!

“We have restored democracy at the local level. We have reformed the local government system, enabling them to deliver services at the grassroots and for the bankrupt ones to move to solvency

“And we hope that the newly elected officials will run these councils in an inspiring, new way. The elected chairmen and councillors, of any party, assume a sacred obligation to deliver for the people, to move closer to realising the goal for which they were established.

“Democratic governance at the local level must have a substantive, real impact in the lives of people.

“I thank the security agencies for providing a safe canopy for our people to joyfully exercise their democratic preferences.

“However, we have sadly noted that those political forces that do not want free and fair elections tried to sabotage the process. We will investigate and prosecute those indicted. Also, legal action will be taken against individuals and institutions that announced false results. In a state that suffered painful post-election violence in 20111, we cannot condone such recklessness or neglect to undertake vigorous prosecution.”

 

 

 

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