In Kaduna State, the people of the state have it on their finger tips what Governor Nasir el-Rufai said he would do for them as part of his priority list for the state. Can he meet the high expectations of the people as he promised? BASHIR BELLO examines this question vis-à-vis the socio-economic reality in the state.
An average Kaduna resident believes that the state had never had things so rough in recent years and that it requires an iron hand to rescue the state from its lost glory. Many will tell you that after the administration of the then Governor Ahmed Makarfi, the state has not had any governor of his caliber. Structures erected by his administration are still very much visible in the state compared to that of his successor, Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo and late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, may be partly because they had brief tenures.
Though late Governor Yakowa was seen to be toeing the footpath of Makarfi in terms of bringing dividends of democracy and rapid development to the state, the cold hands of death cut short his good plans and intentions for the state. Though his successor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, on assumption of office promised continuity from where his late principal stopped, observers said he failed to fulfill his promises thereby given way for the too many expectations that await the incoming government.
However, the expectation of residents of Kaduna could be seen in the areas are many, especially in the areas of infrastructural development and resuscitation of moribund industries among others. What the people of the state expect the incoming government to come and do include Abandon road projects.
State of road projects in the state has continued to generate mix feelings. While there are accusations that the government of the day had abandoned projects inherited from past administration, the government at any given opportunity denied that it has not abandon any project in the state. A government source was recently quoted saying “The administration has completed 14 out of the 31 roads awarded by late Patrick Yakowa. Roads project going on in Kaduna are not just the one awarded by late Yakowa. There are roads awarded by Makarfi, Namadi which some parts are still on. So it is not just about the 31 roads by late Yakowa”, it stated adding that “Government has also awarded additional roads which forms parts of the roads”. However, the people of the state expect the incoming administration to ensure completion of such projects.
One of the challenges being faced by the people of Kaduna is water scarcity. The Zaria Water Project seems like an endless project, which Governor el-Rufai has promised to tackle. Past governments made efforts to complete the project but all failed to achieved any meaningful result. Before now, the Zaria water works has been conceptualised to provide 50million liters of water daily. but with the Galma Dam carried out by President Goodluck Jonathan, the dam is to provide water for Zaria works; provide 150million liters daily, not just to address the problem of water in Zaria but to also address the water problem in 8 communities of Soba, Giwa, Sabon Gari, Makarfi, Kubau, Ikara and other local governments.
About 2.5million people are going to benefit from the Zaria Water Works. The 150million liters will have the water being processed through a booster station from Zaria water works and will go through the pipes and stored in reservoirs that will reserve this water in these communities. Though the incoming government has already vowed to break the jinx and make water available to Zaria town and environs.
“I stand here to tell you nothing but the truth and I will say it for all to know. By the special grace of God we will complete Zaria Water Project that has been going on endlessly. We keep on hearing billions upon billions being spent without an end. You asked for my candid position regarding the water project, and I told you that our APC government will complete the project and bring water to our people without any abracadabra. We will not say what we will not do. There will be no more story and deceit if God and the good people of Kaduna state give us the mandate to run affairs of our state. We will make it real by the grace of God,” Malam Nasir el-Rufai promised.
Will el-Rufai fulfill his promise of completing the huge project?
The re is a lot of work to be done in education sector. Rehabilitation of both primary and secondary schools education in the state are fundamental. Parents in the state hardly want to take their children to public schools because they are in bad condition. Interestingly, the incoming administration has not only promised to rehabilitate schools, but has also said that it will introduce free basic education in the state for a period of nine years.
Another multibillion naira project with high expectations is the New Millennium City project lying redundant in the state. A lot of Kaduna residents believe that if it is completed, it will expand and open up the state for rapid development thereby creating jobs. There is also the Kaduna Master Plan. Of course, the governor has commenced demolition of illegal buildings to restructure the city to its original plan.
Revival of textile industries is, perhaps, the most anticipated project the el-Rufai administration is expected to facilitate their resuscitation. The el-Rufaui government has sworn to also fix it and many indigenes of the state like Muhammed Salisu, a business man, cannt wait for the return of textile industries in the state.
“We will deeply appreciate if the governor can do as he said. It is one area we have been praying to God for before he won his election”, he said. Textile companies in Kaduna are currently comatose, a situation that has rendered thousands of people jobless. This is so because of the high number of jobs the textile industries have created in the past and that aside the quality of goods produced from the industries.
According to Muhammed Hassan, an APC supporter, “what I want el-Rufai to accomplish is the “Ikara Tomatoes Factory. It is one factory that needs government attention to place the state and country on the list of countries that export tomatoes. The expectation is that government should put the storage facilities in this factory in order to reduce waste and encourage exportation to other countries”, he said.
For Bitrus Adamu, a civil servant, he wants the Ginger Factory in Kachia should be one of the top priorities. “It is important that the present government should consider reviving the factory, because it is one of the important factories we have in the state”, he said. “The sight of the ginger company in Kachia is a sorry state. And it is a known fact that Kaduna has the best ginger in the world. And the hard working people of Kachia are into ginger farming. Some of the investors will come and they want you to give them in give away price”, Adamu said. An attempt was made from the Makarfi’s administration to privatise such companies but it did not work. Adamu thus suggested that government should partner with the private investor through Public Private Partnership, PPP.
As the present administration makes effort to handle the challenges from textile, education, health, agriculture and human resource development one after the other, it is hoped that it will be able to meet the yearning of the people.