On Tuesday, January 17, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Kaduna State officially kicked off his campaign to seek the support and votes of the people of the state to succeed our amiable Governor Nasir El-Rufai, whose eight-year tenure will, by the grace of God, end on May 28, 2023. So, On May 29, 2023, by the grace of God also, Senator Sani will take the oath of office and begin to unveil his programme to sustain our state.
I am happy with what is happening in Kaduna APC at the moment because the support that Uba Sani has received, and continues to receive across the state, shows that APC is going into the governorship election as one happy family.
I am from the Zangon-Kataf council area of Kaduna and have lived in the state since 2000. This means that I experienced the governments of Ahmed Makarfi, Namadi Sambo, Patrick Yakowa, and Muktar Ramallan Yero before El-Rufai came in 2015. If the truth must be said, El-Rufai advanced the frontiers of good governance in Kaduna State. He took our state a notch higher. Many of our people are proud that he governed our state very well irrespective of the hard and difficult decisions he had to make. And I believe that is why many of us are very happy that he engineered the selection process that produced Sen. Uba Sani. There is a Bantu proverb that says whatever a snake births, must be long.
This is why most progressively-minded people in Kaduna have fully embraced Sen. Sani and his seven-point agenda which he creatively called “SUSTAIN.” Sustain is an acronym of Sen. Sani’s good governance programme and it represents his vision for Kaduna. Sustain stands for: S- safety and security; U- upgrade of infrastructure; S- strengthening institutions; T- trade and investment; A- agriculture; I- investment in human capital and, N- nurturing citizens engagement. Apart from Sen. Sani, no other candidate in the Kaduna governorship race has been able to enunciate a practical and workable agenda that captures the essence of sustainable leadership for the progressive growth of our state like Uba has done. This is why the flag-off of his campaign was as electrifying as it was promising.
In promising to sustain the safety and security of Kaduna State, Sani says that the foundations laid by El-Rufai had led to an improvement in the security index of Kaduna State. This includes strategic engagement with the federal government for deploying more troops to the state while also working with the traditional institution to build peace initiatives that create the framework for a better understanding and appreciation of the social and religious differences of the people and work to turn them into positive values for the good and progress of the state. Developing and building on achievements made in this regard, would translate to making Kaduna safer for everyone. This is a very important ingredient for investment inflow, job creation, and infrastructure development.
In upgrading infrastructure, Sani promises to “consolidate and continue the unprecedented infrastructure upgrade programme of the 2015-2023 APC government, to enhance public welfare and accelerate economic growth”. The implication of this is that Uba Sani is prepared to “prioritise the implementation of long-term Kaduna State Infrastructure Master plan (KADIMP) and the revised Kaduna Master plan” as well as “complete the master plans for Kafanchan and Zaria to guide the future development of the cities, and to work with local government councils to cascade planned development.” It also means that he will “promote accelerated rural development by extending infrastructure development to all local government areas, with the goal of supporting rural communities to achieve rapid economic growth and development”, while also ensuring the “implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as a cost-effective, affordable and sustainable mass transit system” while also “expanding power supply from hydro, thermal and renewable sources” to serve the people of Kaduna.
Uba Sani also promised to invest in sustainable environmental infrastructure such as water supply, sewage, and solid waste management, and adequate infrastructure for job creation and also, harness and develop water resources by building more dams where needed, to increase the state’s capacity for irrigation; construct medium- to low-cost housing estates that will facilitate the rent-to-own scheme for citizens of the state as well as develop the public-private partnership in housing development and also collaborate with neighbouring states and the federal government to continually improve the quality of link roads.
In strengthening institutions, Uba Sani said that his government will focus on achieving “a public service system with qualified and motivated staff, efficient in promoting good governance and delivering exceptional public service for citizen welfare and socio-economic growth”. Sen. Sani believes that to sustain growth and development there is a need for the support of dedicated public service machinery, with skilled personnel who are committed to the public good. While promising to strengthen the existing relationship between the three arms of government for effective service delivery, Sani says “we will maintain the strong emphasis on training as the mechanism for continuous improvement in capacity, productivity, and efficiency in the Kaduna State public service.”
He also promised that his government “will continue to be driven by the state fiscal, transparency, accountability and sustainability model”, and also, “sustain prompt payment of salaries, pensions and other terminal benefits for the state workforce.”
Sen. Sani’s vision on trade and investment seeks to turn Kaduna State into a dominant hub for investment and commerce in Nigeria by strategically “sustaining the conditions for economic dynamism through investments, vibrant commercial activities, skills development, and job creation.” He promises to sustain the enviable status of Kaduna State as a foremost investment destination in Nigeria, attract investments across more sectors, create jobs, and promote the transfer technology through vigorous investment promotion, expanding support for agriculture, accelerating the establishment of light manufacturing firms, giving priority attention to mining, and making Kaduna an information technology hub. These, Sani promises to achieve through improving on the ease of doing business policies and practices that have given the state its business-friendly reputation; initiating more public-private partnerships to catalyse priority investments as well as retain the business-friendly tax administration system as well as promote micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as a means of growing entrepreneurship and reducing unemployment in Kaduna.
In agriculture, Sen. Sani promises “a well-developed, productive system of innovative and technologically driven agriculture, able to serve food needs and service the industrial sector”, and also to work very hard to ensure food security by encouraging investment in food production and processing, and manufacturing of agricultural implements in Kaduna State.
Articulating his plans for human capital development, Sen Sani said “the Kaduna APC is devoted to building and empowering people for development and prosperity. We believe that people are the resource that creates, develops, or transforms all the resources that make civilised existence possible. It is well-educated and healthy persons that have the skills to exercise initiative and the vigour for the hard work that is required to build a strong society and a prosperous economy. A progressive commitment to the promotion of equal opportunity for all persons has been a key governance feature in Kaduna State since 2015. This has manifested in a steady commitment to expand access to Education and Health, two key sectors which together have consistently taken the largest chunk of budgetary allocations.”
For this reason, he intends to expand access to education and health through massive funding, improve school infrastructure, improved teacher welfare and training, and improved skills development for the people of Kaduna. On health, Sani also promised that “under our watch, the public health system in Kaduna State will consolidate and strengthen ongoing programmes to improve health outcomes: reduce maternal and child mortality, expand access to vaccines and medications, ramp up enrolment in contributory health insurance and thereby sustain care for pregnant women and children in public hospitals, support senior citizens with subsidised care, expand awareness of chronic conditions and empower citizens to take proactive steps to avoid them and to embrace disciplined action to manage them when they happen, and finally, sustain allocation of 15 per cent or more of the annual state budget to health.”
On nurturing citizen’s engagement, our governor-in-waiting looks forwards to an “effective engagement with communities for equity, responsiveness, collaboration, and accountability”. And he promised that “we will continue to build, strengthen and nurture a beneficial relationship between government and communities.”
The summary of my understanding of Sen. Uba Sani’s mission in Kaduna is that he is coming to the government prepared and armed with detailed knowledge of what ought to be done. With me him, Kaduna is in safe hands.
Damah lives in Kaduna