Kaduna Returns To Winning Ways Under Uba Sani

Kaduna Returns To Winning Ways Under Uba Sani

The atmosphere was very convivial even when the interactions were frank, deep and very elevated. It was the inaugural meeting of the North – West Stakeholders of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) hosted and chaired by the Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Uba Sani, in his capacity as the Coordinating Governor of the North-West Zone, reputedly the political hotbed of the country.

The very strategic meeting was attended by key political leaders and decision makers in northern Nigeria, notably; the National Chairman of the APC, Dr. Umar Ganduje; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, Governors of States in the North-West of the country, Ministers, former Governors, Presidential aides, National and State Assembly members, several other party stakeholders drawn from the North-West Zone. The meeting which held at the Yar’Adua Conference Hall of the iconic Murtala Square, Kaduna, took a critical look at the state of the party in the North – West, activated its internal dispute resolution mechanism to resolve pending issues, and charted the pathway to a more formidable zonal structure that will ensure victory for the APC in future elections. 

 

Even more important, this crucial meeting afforded political leaders and stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the North-west, the opportunity to introspect about the first one year of the APC administration under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu. Upon robust deliberations, the northern political leaders commended the President for tackling Nigeria’s numerous challenges “with courage and uncommon commitment.” The leaders at the meeting, resolved to continue to support President Tinubu’s administration to address current and emerging challenges.The position of the North-West leaders was contained in a communique issued on Sunday, May 19, and read by the host, Governor Uba Sani.

 

 The Communique said in part: “In view of Mr. President’s undiluted support and assistance to the North-west, stakeholders called for continued support for President Tinubu’s administration as he strives to steady the ship of the Nigerian state; the meeting commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his steadfast commitment to the fulfilment of his campaign promises to the Nigerian people; the meeting noted the decisive steps so far taken by the president in tackling Nigeria’s multitude of security and developmental challenges, and the far-reaching reforms he has initiated to reflate the economy and combat soaring inflation; the meeting observed that Mr. President’s Development Agenda has positively impacted the North-West Zone, especially in the areas of human capital development, agriculture, education, poverty alleviation, and infrastructural development.” 

Governor Uba Sani was in April this year, inaugurated by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Dr. Umar Ganduje as the Coordinating Governor of the North-West. According to the party Chairman, Gov. Uba Sani’s duties largely entail: the  coordination of the Governors of the North – West to always identify with, and participate more in the activities of the party; to initiate periodic interface between the Governors of the North – West Zone and the leadership of the party; liaise with the party on prompt processes for genuine reconciliation of aggrieved party members in the North – West Zone; mobilize Governors of the North – West Zone to effectively and physically participate in party activities within and outside the Zone; consult with Governors of the North – West Zone on issues that will further enhance the progress and unity of the party within the zone; and assist the party on Resource Mobilization within the North-West Zone.

 

In an era of positive disruptions, Senator Uba Sani is rapidly earning his strips as a master of the game in the nation’s political ecosystem. Beyond the strong political undertone of the North-West Stakeholders’ meeting, it was not lost on most discerning persons at the gathering that Kaduna State under the leadership Uba Sani has, in just one year, fully regained its place as the leading light of northern Nigeria in practically all facets. In fact, Kaduna is back!

 

Kaduna was once revered, even deified as the all-powerful capital of northern Nigeria; home to northern political, military, religious and business leaders whose words were unwritten codes by which Nigeria was governed. Kaduna was prodigious and was intensely coveted by all persons of northern extraction.  But over time, Kaduna’s power, allure and claim to the leadership of northern Nigeria ebbed considerably due to several factors. Most notable and far-reaching being the speedy rise of ‘neighbouring’ Abuja, the Federal Capital of Nigeria; recurring ethno-religious crises in the state; the decline of the local economy which led to the erosion of the middle class and the rise in the number of the urban poor; and of course, the outright shutting out of rural communities from the mainstream of governance and administration by successive state governments leading to the congestion of the urban centres, especially Kaduna city and Zaria. 

 

Infrastructures in Kaduna city became overstretched and began decaying. In their hundreds, thousands of out-of-school children began roaming the streets of the city, becoming prime targets for mischievous persons who easily lured them into such ant-social vices as robbery, banditry and other forms of criminality. Insecurity completely robbed the once prosperous state of its shine. Kaduna urgently needed help.

 

Senator Uba Sani assumed office on May 29, 2023 as the Governor of the State, very conscious of the challenges and boldly assured the citizens that he was poised to fix Kaduna and restore the dignity and honour of the State as the power house of northern Nigeria. In the last one year, Senator Uba Sani who has a firm grasp of the issues, has tenaciously been walking the talk.  

From the onset, Governor Uba Sani was determined to deploy indelible and sustainable solutions to mitigate and eventually curb the hydra-headed problem of insecurity in the state. His preferred option turned out to be a deft combination of kinetic and non-kinetic solutions to stem a seemingly intractable problem. “What are the factors that have bred insecurity and banditry in Kaduna and other States in the North-West? Hopelessness, lack of education and lack of economic prosperity. Over 85 percent of the people in the North-West are either not educated or are financially excluded,” Senator Uba Sani said a few weeks after he was sworn-in as Governor. “No matter how much we talk and try to bring about peace, safety and security, if we don’t look at the area of good governance, we will never put to an end the problem of insecurity in Northern Nigeria in particular,” the Governor posited. “In the North-West, there is so much poverty; and if we don’t address the poverty by opening up our rural areas, supporting our farmers and increasing productivity, we will not address the problem of insecurity,” he added.

The Governor lamented the huge number of out-of-school children in the North-western parts of the country, especially in Kaduna State. “In Kaduna State, we have over 600,000 out-of-school children. This is unacceptable and we, in fact, view the situation as a ticking time bomb.”

WAFU

With his job clearly cut out for him, Governor Uba Sani went to work pretty quick and the results of his efforts became instantly evident: Following an enhanced collaboration between the Kaduna State Government and the leadership of the nation’s Armed and Security Forces, the Kaduna – Abuja express way, once notorious for the nefarious activities of bandits and kidnappers, received a deserved respite and travellers, in their numbers, are now plying the road regularly without fear or anxiety. The rail service between Abuja and Kaduna which was momentarily halted after a heinous attack that led to the abduction of several passengers, resumed in earnest. Even more important, previously traumatized farmers began returning to their abandoned farms.  

Senator Uba Sani was the first State Governor, among his contemporaries, to visit and personally take his internal security masterplan to the NSA, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chiefs of Army, Naval and Air staff respectively. The Governor’s concerted efforts did not go to waste as the leadership of the Armed Forces saw reasons with him and accepted to set up more Forward Operation Bases in Kaduna State. 

In the same regard, Governor Uba Sani, got traditional, community and religious leaders across the local government areas of the State involved in tackling security issues. At regular security meetings with these leaders, Governor Sani kept all stakeholders properly informed about the direction of his government and what the leadership of the nation’s Armed Forces and other security agencies required of them. The Governor, being a keen listener, customarily used the opportunity of the security meetings to take contributions from the traditional and community leaders on how best their communities can be secured. These meetings are paying off handsomely as security has now truly become ‘everyone’s business’ in Kaduna State. 

Beyond the huge logistics support for the Armed Forces, the Police and other security agencies, Governor Uba Sani has since rejuvenated the Kaduna State’s Vigilante Service (KADVS). He beefed up the Service with 7,000 able-bodied persons who were trained by the Nigeria Police Force and he has also procured assorted security assets for the rebooted Service. The screening and recruitment of personnel into the KADVS were done in collaboration with critical stakeholders, notably local government chairmen, traditional and religious leaders. Other than complementing the efforts of the Armed Forces and other security agencies, Governor Sani said he was additionally motivated to recalibrate KADVS to become a job provider for a number of the teeming population of able-bodied young adults in the state. More like killing two birds with a stone.

To enhance the much-needed funding for the several security initiatives his administration is undertaking, Gov. Uba Sani signed into law, the Kaduna State Security Trust Fund Bill that empowers the administration to set up a Trust Fund to provide financial support to the efforts being made towards degrading incidences of banditry, abductions and other criminal activities. The new law repealed Kaduna State’s Security Trust Fund Law No. 22, of 2018. This law setting up the Trust Fund made adequate provision for the private sector to play a prominent role in the management of the Fund in collaboration with critical stakeholders in the security sector. 

Governor Uba Sani is a staunch believer in the decentralization of policing in Nigeria. The Governor’s long-running advocacy to alter Nigeria’s constitution to enable states to establish and run their respective police force or service, as is the case in most developing and developed countries of the world, is well documented. It is on record that as a vibrant lawmaker in the nation’s 9th Senate, Senator Uba Sani sponsored series of bills seeking the alteration of the constitution to accommodate State Police and State Police Service Commissions. Indeed, these Bills scaled the requisite hurdles in the Senate and were referred to the 9th National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendment. Their enactments into law suffered mainly due to the apparent lack of national consensus or political will at the time, to have the 36 states of the federation establish their respective police outfits. Governor Uba Sani remains at the forefront of renewed quest to have states own and run their police force or service.

However, Governor Uba Sani’s dogged resolve to radically degrade insecurity in Kaduna State was tested, albeit most dastardly, by daredevil bandits who on March 7, 2024, abducted a number of school children from the LEA Primary and Secondary School in Kuriga community, in Chikun Local Government Area of the State.

For the 16 days that the children were in captivity, Governor Uba Sani, with the full and ceaseless support of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, worked very closely with the highest levels of the nation’s military, police and other security agencies to rescue and safely return the abducted persons to their respective homes. 

 

“In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Most Merciful, I wish to announce that our Kuriga school children have been released. Our special appreciation goes to our dear President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for prioritising the safety and security of Nigerians and, particularly, ensuring that the abducted Kuriga school children are released unharmed,” a relieved Governor Uba Sani announced in the early hours of Sunday 24th of March and added that the 137 abducted Kuriga school children were released unharmed. The jubilation in Kaduna and across Nigeria, was rapturous. Good triumphed over evil. The people’s hope in government, especially in President Bola Tinubu and Governor Uba Sani as well as the nation’s security forces were rekindled, once again.

 

Interestingly, the unfortunate abduction incident at the Kuriga community school sparked off an infrastructural revolution of sorts in Kaduna State. The incident afforded Governor Uba Sani a fuller view of the dilapidated state of most of the public schools in Kaduna State and he instantly launched a massive rehabilitation, reconstruction and construction of schools across the 23 local government areas of the state. With his sights also set on drastically reducing the number of out-of-school children in the state, Governor Sani’s first year in office has seen a focused allocation of resources towards a series of strategic actions in the education and human capacity building sectors. These actions include: the construction of over 2,326 new classrooms – providing space for over 98,040 pupils; provision of over 30,742 two-seater desks, accommodating 61,484 pupils, to promote learning in a comfortable and respectful environment; installation of hygienic toilets and hand pumps for clean drinking water in schools; renovation of 707 classrooms; distribution of over 34,000 pieces of furniture for both pupils and teachers and the reduction of tuition fees across all state-operated higher education institutions. Similarly, Governor Uba Sani’s administration has in the last one year established a number of schools of basic education across the state. He has also approved the establishment of another campus(annex) of the Kaduna State College of Education Gidan Waya in Hunkuyi, Kudan LGA to expand access to tertiary education.

 

To safeguard the schools from the nefarious incursions of bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements, the Kaduna State Government has designed and is currently implementing a unique Safe School Programme aimed at strengthening safety and security in primary and secondary schools across the state, through collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force. Critical components of the Programme include the massive fencing of public schools; merging of schools deemed to be prone to the activities of bandits with much safer schools; establishment of Security and Safety Response Committees with membership drawn from schools and communities; Deployment of Kaduna Vigilance Service (KADVS) to schools; Provision of emergency line to schools; Security Awareness Training for School Managers, teaching and non-teaching staff and School Based Management Committee members; Construction of Muster Points in schools; training on identification of Early Warning Signs and the construction of Watch Towers in schools.

 

Equally noteworthy is the fact that under Governor Uba Sani, the Kaduna State Government is partnering with Google to train 5000 women & girls in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and entrepreneurial application of digital technologies in efforts to promote digital inclusion & leverage technology for economic growth. Even then, the Governor has approved the release of N205m for merit & need-based scholarship disbursement to university students.

 

Governor Uba Sani’s administration is primed to bring sustainable development to every nook and cranny of Kaduna State. He has however prioritized the opening-up of rural and underserved areas of the State. “The central policy thrust of our administration is rural transformation. We are committed to revitalizing our rural economies through massive infrastructural development,” Governor Uba Sani said.

 

Pursuant to this goal, In September 2023, Governor Uba Sani flagged off the 21.7-kilometer road, linking Anchau and Gadas-Palla Road in Kubau and Ikara local governments. The road was conceptualized and designed to address the transportation challenges of 32 communities. A month later, the governor flagged off the construction of a 10.2-kilometre feeder road, stretching from Dan Makwarwa to Hunkuyi. Late last year, in December to be precise, Governor Uba Sani flagged off roads, drainages and culvert construction across the eight local governments in Southern Kaduna. The projects are spread across Jaba, Zangon Kataf, Kagarko, Sanga, Kaura, Kauru, Kachia and Jema’a local governments.

 

Similarly, on December 31, 2023, Senator Uba Sani performed another groundbreaking event, for an 18-kilometre road construction, linking Sanga local government to Jemaá Area Council. The road, from Gwantu, through Kiban, is projected to provide forward and backward linkages to farmers and markets, and reduce post-harvest losses, cost of transportation and travel time. The Governor also flagged of a 35-kilometre road from Gadan Gayan, through Gwaraji to Kujama Junction, linking Igabi and Chikun local governments, in Kaduna Central senatorial districts. 

 

Indeed, the Governor is deploying massive road network to interconnect the state. A good example of such huge investment is the 327 kilometers road linking College Road to Mashigi, stretching down to the Eastern Bypass. The road is designed to cut across Igabi, Kaduna North and Chikun Local Government Areas. The Governor flagging off of the construction of this road on the 16th of March. Over 827 kilometers of roads are currently under construction in the state. 

 

“We are ramping up our Infrastructural Development Drive. Our Rural Transformation Programme is being executed concurrently with upgrade of infrastructure in the urban areas. The new investments flowing into Kaduna State are being supported by infrastructure upgrades. We are determined to make Kaduna State a safe and secure business hub in the North and a choice destination for investors. We are putting Kaduna State on a sure path towards actualizing its God-given potentials,” Governor Uba Sani said.

Speaking of inflow of investments, Governor Uba Sani has exceedingly excelled on this score. An example is the proactive collaboration between the Kaduna State Government and the Kuwait Fund. The Fund is currently supporting Kaduna State with $28million to return several out-of-school children back to school.

Also, under aegis of the Qatar Sanabil Project, Qatar Charity has also commenced the construction of 500,000 housing units for less privileged residents of Kaduna State. The Mega Economic City project was officially inaugurated by Governor Uba Sani and Qatar’s Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Ali Bin Ghanem Al-Hajri in Kaduna in August 2023.  

Essentially, the project aims to improve the living conditions of underprivileged families in the state. Aside from the construction of the housing units, Qatar Charity is undertaking an array of interventions and empowerment programmes for the less privileged across Kaduna State. These programmes, many of which have commenced, include scholarships for orphans and children of the poor, distribution of sewing machines, welding machines, irrigation pumping machines, salon kits, and drilling of hundreds of boreholes across the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State.

 

Beyond the very strong ties between Kaduna State and the humanitarian organization, Qatar Charity, during a two-day visit to Qatar alongside President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in March this year, Gov Uba Sani secured firm commitments from a number of industrial and business concerns to invest in Kaduna. Most remarkable of the lot is the world-famous Qatar’s CGK Global, a waste management company, which agreed and indeed announced its resolve to establish a state-of-the-art hydrogen plant in Kaduna State, with a total investment of $350 million. 

 

The Governor stressed the importance of the trip: “We held fruitful meetings with investors in the areas of solid minerals, agriculture, energy, and infrastructure development. CGK Global, a waste management company with capacity to generate hydrogen and electricity, wants to set up a plant in Kaduna with the possible injection of $350 million,” Sani said and added that Abu Dhabi-based companies Masdar and Taqa have also shown interests in partnering with Kaduna State for power and gas infrastructure. 

 

Governor Uba Sani’s sustained efforts at attracting investments has also been bearing fruits in the mining sector with the completion of a gigantic new Lithium Processing Plant in Kaduna, a partnership between the Kaduna State Government and Ming Xin Mineral Separation Nigeria Ltd. The facility has initial capacity of 1500 metric tonnes per day. The completed processing plant is Phase 1 of the project. The capacity of the plant will be doubled in the Phase 2 of the project.

 

On Monday, May 13, 2024, Governor Uba Sani performed the groundbreaking for the construction of the $50 Million Soya Bean Oil Refining Plant by Sunagrow International Oil Ltd at Kutungare, Igabi LG of Kaduna State. When completed, the $50m Soya Bean Oil Refining Plant will have a production capacity of 500,000 litres per day.

 

The Kaduna State Governor has equally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hebei Province of the People’s Republic of China for exchanges and cooperation in various forms in the fields of economy, trade, solid minerals, science and technology, energy, transportation, agriculture and infrastructure to promote common prosperity and development.  According to the Governor while inviting investors to the state, “there is a steadfast guarantee that your investments in Kaduna State will be nurtured by a robust policy framework and unwavering support”.

 

For the first time in a long while, farmers in Kaduna State are gearing up for bountiful harvests this year. Aside the fact that the state government in conjunction with security agencies are making it safer for them to return to their farms, Governor Uba Sani’s administration has been distributing farm inputs and agro-processing machines to thousands of beneficiaries across the state under the Tallafin Noma (A Koma Gona) scheme. The beneficiaries received quality seeds, ⁠bags of NPK and urea fertilizers, ⁠agrochemicals, power tillers, vegetable grinders, and knapsack sprayers with PPE.

 

Following the efforts of Governor Uba Sani in advocating for support for farmers affected by the Ginger Blight disease outbreak in the Southern parts of Kaduna, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to allocate N1.6 billion to the affected farmers with the aim of minimizing future losses and maintaining the vital role ginger production plays in Nigeria’s food security and overall GDP contribution. The Ginger Blight Epidemic Control Taskforce Support Initiative was launched in Kaduna State. The initiative is aimed at repositioning Nigeria’s Ginger status and bringing massive economic prosperity not only to Kaduna State but Nigeria as a whole. The recovery component is being implemented through the National Agricultural Development Fund (NADFUND).

 

But it is not just farmers that are smiling in Kaduna State under the leadership of Governor Uba Sani. In their numbers, citizens and residents of the state benefitted from the two tranches of palliatives distribution in the State.  In an audacious move that took many by surprise, Senator Uba Sani on Monday 18 March 2024, flagged off the distribution of the second batch of palliatives worth over N11.4 billion. The highest such intervention in one fell swoop, at least in recent times, by any state government in Nigeria.

 

Since assuming office, the Governor has revved up health delivery, nudging up allocation of 15% of the state budget to healthcare. In the last one year, the administration has distributed assortment of state-of-the-art medical equipment to the 290 upgraded Primary Healthcare Centers across the State and operationalized ultra-modern Mobile Medical Trucks to provide integrated health services to remote and underserved communities. 

 

The Governor has also Commissioned a Women and Children Centre for vulnerable Women & Children to facilitate access to a range of services including medical, legal, psychosocial, and counselling support.

 

As Governor Uba Sani rejuvenates Kaduna, it is not entirely surprising that in the last one year, he has enjoyed a very cordial working relationship with the State’s House of Assembly. So far, the Governor has signed 5 Bills passed by the House into Law. These include: Development of Tech Enabled Startups & other related matters; The Repeal of Kaduna Investment and Promotion Agency (KADIPA) Law 2015 and the enactment of KADIPA Law 2023; Amendment of Fines and Penalties Provisions Law and Provision of Public Health & other related matters.

 

The Governor of Kaduna State is one of the few Governors in the country that enjoy very chummy relationship with the workforce in the state. The truth is that Labour leaders in Kaduna State actually regard Senator Uba Sani, who is a seasoned human rights and pro-democracy activist, as one of their own. They fondly call him ‘Comrade Governor’ and readily attest that he regularly consults and takes useful advice from them. 

 

Governor Uba Sani has in the last one year also enjoyed huge support from religious leaders in the state. The leadership of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have repeatedly confirmed this fact. For a state that was once notorious for divisive politics and ethno-religious crises, Kaduna State has since turned over a new leaf under Governor Uba Sani. Though a devout Muslim, Senator Uba Sani enjoys huge support and following from the large Christian population in the state. During Christmas festivities last year, Governor Uba Sani received huge applause when he attended Kaduna Unity Christmas Carol organised by the Kaduna State chapter of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN). The event was held at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), English Service, Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna city.

 

Addressing the congregation, Governor Sani said that his government will develop every part of Kaduna State, without giving ethnic or religious consideration to siting of development projects. “One of the most important agenda of our government is to ensure that we carry our people along. Human capital development is the most important thing.  I try to make it clear to the people of Kaduna State that we are not concerned with any religious or ethnic differences. We are one family and we are going to work together without segregation or discrimination,” Gov. Uba Sani told the congregation.

 

It must however be mentioned that Governor Uba Sani has achieved this much in his first year in office in spite of the huge debt burden he inherited. The debt burden – though scorching and almost debilitating, is not slowing down Governor Uba Sani’s avowed commitment to return Kaduna to winning ways. No wonder the Governor signed the Kaduna Mutual Accountability Framework (KaMAF) between the Kaduna State Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The Kaduna Mutual Accountability Framework (KaMAF) aims to improve coordination between the Donor Community and Kaduna State, and support the delivery of the Kaduna State Development Plan 2021 – 2025.

 

Mansur Abdulkarim resides in Kawo, Kaduna

 

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