Kaduna Rebirth Network, a youth group who are politically active and participatory, has engaged in an evaluation of Gov. el-rufai administration after two years. 11th April 2015, saw the emergence to power of Governor Nasir Ahmed Elrufai, who convincingly won the Kaduna state gubernatorial election and defeated the incumbent former Governor Muhktar Ramalan Yero.
Governor Nasir Elrufai rolled out his manifestoes and plan for Kaduna state, which was encapsulated in the phrase ‘Make Kaduna Great Again’ in making Kaduna great again the Governor promise to give priorities in five cardinal areas, which include; to invest in education, healthcare and social welfare to ensure Kaduna residents are healthy, productive and competitive, foster the security of lives and property throughout Kaduna state by targeting the roots and symptoms of intolerance and communal violence, institute a good governance system that is founded on a competent and responsive public service with zero tolerance for corruption, maintain rebuild and expand our decaying infrastructure particularly our water supply, electricity growth that will create jobs, promote agriculture and food security , reform of land administration as a basis for wealth creation and capital formation, while preserving good enhancing environmental management.
Halfway through the four-year term, the jury (KADREN) is out to evaluate the performance record of the Gov. El-rufai led administration. While the administration and its supporters insist that it has done creditably, many of its opponents score its performance very low. As is normal with such controversies, the truth often lies somewhere in-between. The writing of this mid-term evaluation by members of the Kaduna Rebirth Network (KADREN), is informed by the desire to unravel the truth from a non-partisan and as much as is possible an objective perspective. We honestly believe that no time is better to carry out this evaluation than during this administrations mid-term.
In an assessment of this nature, polemics are inevitable, opposing views and contrary opinions and perspective are bound to arise, which all this are welcome, it is our hope that this little effort will stimulate a state base debate and a sober reflection on the past and present in order to avail the Gov. El-rufai led administration the necessary state consensus and platform on the basis of which the nation can be taken to greater heights, as we critically evaluate key sector to know how well or bad has the journey been in the last two years.
Education; perhaps education is the first priority in the administration agenda for the state. Education remains the bedrock of development in every society and remains crucial in nation building, governor elrufai had on 1st October 2015 declared a ‘state of emergency’ was to bring overhaul the decay in the education sector, this informed the decision of the state government to increase its budgetary allocation for the education sector which had N29.9 Billion Naira in the 2016 fiscal year, making primary education free, basic, and compulsory primary education, accompanied with free books and uniforms, renvations of selected urban public schools, introduction of the Free School Feeding Program which a whooping sum of N10billion Naira has been so far spent. This initiative have so far yielded success, leadung to an unprecedented increase in the enrolment of pupils into public schools in the state.
KADREN have observed that in spite of the state emergency declared on the education sector the government have not met the demands of the teachers, as salaries are been delayed, no teachers training and workshops for capacity building, non-procurement of teaching equipment and teaching aids for teachers, renovation of selected urban schools, neglecting those in the rural areas, the government is yet to produce an acceptable modus operandi on how the sate scholarship will be paid to student at tertiary institution, the government has unjustly shut-down some tertiary institutions citing its reason on insecurity, which is reasonable, but confusing it is when secondary and primary schools within the same crisis prone areas are left opened and functional. On the school feeding program KADREN are of the view that in as much as this policy was a cardinal campaign promises of the APC, we feel the time is not ripe for it implementation here Kaduna state, if N10 Billion that was spent on feeding student was channelled into the provision of infrastructure in our public schools would have been more profitable.
It is important to note however, that on the whole, there is no quick-fix in education, and initiatives take relatively a long time to mature and for their impact to be felt. The government should not be quick in implementing half-baked policies, for earning cheap political points rather they should engage in policies that will be long-lasting and result oriented.
Security; as cited in the Nigerian constitution, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’, any government who therefore fails to meet the security and welfare of its people has no business being in government. Kaduna state, have in last two years recorded an unending acts of terror and bloodletting, thanks to the operations of arm banditry, herdsmen/farmers clash seems to go on unabated in Southern parts of the state which have led to loss of lives and properties worth millions of naira, cattle rustling , kidnapping and armed robbery. Thou the state government in alliance with the federal government and other affected states have taken proactive measures to address the menace, KADREN feels Gov. El-rufai administration must come up with fresh ideas about how to defuse the situation and build mutual confidence across ethnic, religious and communal boundaries while at the same time ensuring security of life and property for all citizens, injustice has been the cause of crisis in the world and justice is the solution to this crisis; the state government must therefore take deliberate measures to assure Kaduna citizens that their fears are unfounded.
Governance; Gov. El-rufai in his acceptance speech on April 18th 2016, said ‘we are committed to fostering a secure, peaceful environment that gives confidence to all the residents of the state to make the most of their talents. We will uphold the rule of law and the equality of concern for all citizens. We intend to work with all communities in Kaduna without fear or favour. We are all equal partners and stakeholders in this state, there will be no discrimination in Kaduna on the basis of gender, ethnicity or religion. Two years into his administration Kaduna indigenes doubt his commitment to the unity of Kaduna state, as some parts of the state carry the perception of marginalization, bitterness and are side-lined from the scheme of things, through high-placed appointment in the political and bureaucratic establishment favouring a particular zone at the detriment of others, and how the government have been incautious in handling sectarian and communal clashes across the country.
Infrastructure; we recognize the tremendous efforts made by the government in the last two years, given the sorry state into which our state infrastructure had fallen in the past years. What has been done so far is clearly not enough to turn the situation around. The admin should therefore, continue to pursue with vigour its programmes infrastructure and development in the coming two years, which should be equally spread across board to benefit every zone and local government in the state, the centralization of developmental stride in the northern parts of the state as against the southern part should be checked and corrected.
Agriculture; the aim of the administration in the agricultural sector are the promotion of agriculture and attainment of food security, the overall aim is to ensure that agriculture contribute to the economy growth of the state and to ensure that many youths who are unemployed are engaged in the agricultural production process. In achieving this loans were supposed to be provided, accompanied with mechanized farming tools, and availability of fertilizers at a cheap and subsidized rate, but unfortunately these measures have, so far, not been implemented.
KADREN has observed the passion and zeal of the Gov. El-rufai led government in revamping the economy of the state which I commendable, but nation’s economy’s cannot be revamp in workshops, summits and talk shows, words must be marched with actionable policies and plans, the economy transformation process must go beyond paper works to visible and practical approach, which should be visible to all. Governor El-rufai drive for employment and engagement of unemployed Kaduna youth has been commendable as the newly created Kaduna State Traffic and Environmental Law Enforcement Agency (KASTELEA) have provided 2500 jobs to Kaduna citizens, thou KADREN frowns as the Governor’s plan to downsize the civil service work force, especially at the local government level. The jury KADREN, also feel that the role which the traditional council have played in the peace building process and crisis management in Kaduna state is commendable, but the issue of the plan to sack some district heads is not acceptable and will discredit the administration drive to building peace and harmonious coexistence in a religious and ethnically diverse state like Kaduna. The Gov. El-rufai led administration have been soaked deep in controversies, leading to unending court cases and judicial orders, arrest and harassment of opposition and media men, with little or no attention paid to dishing out good governance.
Following the mid-term evaluation of the Gov. El-rufai led administration, philosophical orientation and strategic commitment arises our candid view that there is need for a programmatic review, which must inform the choices and priorities to be pursued in the remaining two years of the administration’s tenure. Such a programmatic review must include : more infrastructural development and rehabilitation through building of new roads, schools, hospitals and basic social, more improved and efficient education system, strengthening state unity and reconciliation of worrying factions in the state, building a more robust economy through a citizen based economy empowerment and cooperation, a more responsive and representative government to meet the yearnings and aspiration of the people of Kaduna state.
The above assessment of Gov. El-rufai led administration in the last two years is a register of low performance and it demonstrated a low desire and commitment towards improvement. It would amount to a travesty of the truth to say that administration has delivered on all promises , but may well be on the way to doing so, if the state government refocuses and sharpen its strategies and remain committed to meeting the expectation of it citizens.
Kaduna Rebirth Network, wishes Kaduna residents and Nigerians at large a happy democracy day, hoping that the next two years we will be filled with commitment, good governance and purposeful leadership,
Comrade Jim Gami Makama
Comrade George Benjamin.
Mr. Jesse T David.