Gov. Uba Sani’s eventful one year

“There is no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world “. Jacob Law

The measuring of the performance of elected public officials in their initial 100 days in office dates back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States of America. Elected at the height of the Great Depression, in 1933 Roosevelt had a compelling duty to restore hope to a traumatized nation that, not only would it bounce back on its feet, but that the United States would go on to become the most industrialized country on earth.

Since Roosevelt, elected official holders, especially the late President John F. Kennedy also of the United States, have institutionalized what has become a worldwide phenomenon. Elected officials in most democratic nations around the world know that they would render an account to the electorate on their first 100 days and one year anniversary on their stewardship. It has no doubt become a concrete barometer in assessing the opening stretch of an administration’s governing power, or lack of it, and the standard to gauge the directions of administrations, such that any regime that had the bad luck of being written off in its initial 100 days or first anniversary, hardly survived a re-election bid.

While some analysts might consider one year as rather too early to measure the performance of an administration, considering that it is a four-year marathon instead of a sprint, the fact remains that, like the childhood shows the man or the morning shows the day, so does the first 100 days and anniversary show the regime’s capacity, or the lack of it.

One advantage of scoring the administration on the first anniversary, which cannot be overlooked, is that it puts elected office holders on their toes, knowing that the people would assess them at this point in time. It equally offers the administration the opportunity of not only reporting to the people its achievements and challenges, but of resetting its goals and directions from critical appraisals.

Governor Uba Sani has undoubtedly placed his hands firmly on the plough, going by the solid accomplishments he has recorded so far. Frankly speaking, while the governor might not have accomplished all that he promised during his animated campaign in his first anniversary he has certainly laid the solid foundation. But it is doubtful if he can accomplish everything he wants for to do for the state in the lifetime of his administration, or even in his entire lifetime on earth. The most important thing is that Governor Sani has put his hands on the plough and is plowing with zeal and honesty, not looking back. He fully understands that he has no option but to write his name in gold, the same way he did as a senator. Though a first termer at the National Assembly in 2019, he performed so well, coming up with several consequential legislations that were signed into law.

Senator Uba Sani, in his first anniversary as governor of Kaduna, state capital of the old Northern Region, left no one in doubt about the focal directions of his administration (SUSTAIN AGENDA). In Nigerian parlance, the governor hit the ground running. And like old wine, he has only been getting better. Indeed, he was adequately prepared for the task of governing the famed home of the Kaduna Mafia and has, despite some teething challenges, given a credible account of himself.

Governor Uba Sani’s first action in office was an Executive Order on financial inclusiveness to address the callous exclusion of about 2.1 million poor, underserved and vulnerable citizens of Kaduna state from financial services, which denied them access to state and Federal Social Intervention Programmes. The Executive Order was important because, for Governor Sani, while no society can afford to meet all the material wealth needs of its people, it must at least strive to provide them the environment to achieve their dreams. After all, material wealth without wellbeing is equal to social poverty. Financial inclusion is key ingredient of poverty eradication. So far, about one million poor and previously unbanked citizens have been included in the financial services sector.

The Executive Order in question clearly showed the pro-people character of Uba Sani’s administration. Either as an activist, in the trenches alongside the late Chief Gani Fawehenmi (SAN), fighting to enthrone democracy; as a Senator or now as a governor, the interest of the people has always been central to his politics.

In assessing the one year of Governor Sani, it would be helpful to pay attention to the following areas: peaceful coexistence, security, rural transformation, job creation, and his zero tolerance for corruption.

The importance of peaceful coexistence, which is about living together in harmony and about an empathetic and understanding community, cannot be overstated. It is an essential condition for sustainable development. In the last one year. Governor Sani has implemented policies that promoted economic and social development by active promotion of dialogue and reconciliation. He has engaged in several townhall meetings were he spoke directly to the people, explaining to them in simple terms how he intended to solve the challenges confronting the state.

Listening actively as the people freely poured out their minds has further strengthened his resolve to be fair to all segments of the state. In return, he has been showered with so much love, especially by the Christians. At the 2023 Christmas Carol, organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the governor was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for him because he identified with the celebrations.

On security Gov. Sani has always been proactive. The Kaduna Central Senatorial District, which he had the honour of representing at the National Assembly, was worst affected by the activities of terrorists. As Senator of the Federal Republic, the governor showed more than a passing interest in the security challenges that bedeviled his dear state, culminating in his sponsorship of four consequential bills for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to allow for the establishment of state police, to enhance the security of lives and property of Nigerians.

Without doubt, the efforts of the government to secure the people, their property, livelihoods and communities would be enhanced by the introduction of community police. The federal government has an obligation to support the creation of state police and coordinate the training of prospective men and officers.

Uba Sani’s SUSTAIN AGENDA is a step in the right direction toward a safer and more secure Kaduna State. This explains the recruitment of over 7,000 personnel into the Kaduna State Vigilance Service (KADVS), the establishment of several military formations, the distribution of 500 operational vehicles and 500 motorcycles to security agencies, and the establishment of the Kaduna State Security Trust Fund as a means of collaborating with corporate organisations, the business community, industrialists, professional groups, individuals and all critical stakeholders towards enhancing material and logistic support for the security forces. It is an option borne out of the fact that the state government can not go it alone, hence the establishment of the fund, and more importantly, the determination of Governor Sani to tackle headlong the security challenges facing his state.

Long before his swearing in, Senator Uba Sani had consistently stressed that the overall transformation of the rural areas was at the center of the critical developmental objectives he would be implementing. This was reflected in his very first “Budget of Rural Transformation for Inclusive Development”, which has the key objectives of “transformation of the rural areas for an inclusive development and the reversion of the negative development indices of Kaduna State; to creatively and innovatively address the challenges of poverty and youth unemployment, women and youth empowerment.”

So far, the vigorous implementation of the programme has led to the construction of 50 roads totaling 639.5 kilometers across the three senatorial districts of the state. This is in line with the governor’s articulated commitment to enhancing the socio-economic framework in rural areas by the construction of road and drainage networks across rural local government headquarters, complemented by solar-powered street lighting to prolong economic and social activities into the evening hours, as well as enhancing security.

Though Gov. Sani’s focus is rural transformation, the urban areas have not been left out. Recently, he awarded the contract for the reconstruction of the dilapidated 1.4 kilometers Water Intake road from the Patrick Yakowa way to Maigero junction and for the 3.15km Maigero-Narayi junction and the 6-kilometer Rafin Guza to Kukumaki, which would link the permanent site of the state university.

Governor Sani hasn’t fared badly in the area of job creation. The $20 Million Lithium Processing Plant in Kangimi, a joint venture between the Kaduna State Government and Ming Xin Mineral Separation Nigeria Ltd,with an impressive initial capacity of 1,500 metric tonnes per day was recently commissioned. Ming Xin intends to go into tile-production using by-products from the lithium processing. This project has created over 3,000 jobs, while an additional 500 jobs are expected when the second phase comes into effect.

The construction of Technical and Vocational Skills Acquisition Cities in Rigachikun, Soba, and Samaru Kataf, in the state’s three senatorial districts would transform Kaduna State into an IT hub, creating business opportunities and employment prospects while positioning the state as a leading knowledge based economy in Nigeria. Once fully operational, the centers will train hundreds of trainees in Oil & Gas,Welding and Fabrication, Articulated Vehicle Driving, Automobile Gas Conversion etc and providing them with international certifications.

Considering the preeminent position of the state in agriculture, Governor Uba Sani has made significant investments in the provision of agricultural inputs and equipment to over 40,000 smallholder farmers under its “Tallafin Noma:A Koma Gona” (Get Back to Farm) programme . The objective is to boost agricultural and economic development of the people. This explains the construction of rural roads for ease of transportation of produce to markets.

Another area that the governor has made significant statement is his zero tolerance for corruption. Governor Sani has adjusted to the economic situation by adopting the necessary fiscal discipline which will help the state weather its adverse economic storm. Governor Sani’s resolute decision to fight corruption and institute accountability in the state, has not come as a surprise to keen observers of his political career. Right from his civil society days, through the Senate and to his election as governor, Governor Sani has, in words and deeds, demonstrated deep aversion to corruption in all its ramifications. Many observers see Uba Sani’s perpetual campaign against dishonesty practices in public space as a natural course of an activist, because corruption undermines good governance,human rights and the rule of law.

Governor Uba Sani’s strategy of tackling corruption proactively derives from the sage that prevention is better than cure. This approach will definitely go a long way in reducing corruption. He has equally showed that he has the political will to tackle dishonesty dealings among public officials beyond reiterating his zero-tolerance for abuses in the Ministries, Departments, Agencies and state-owned institutions.

In just one year in office, Uba Sani has taken very decisive actions in line with his continued determination to fight the scourge of corruption in Kaduna state. The swift actions he took over some infractions by the Kaduna State University (KASU) and the Kaduna State Traffic Law Enforcement Authority (KASTLEA) demonstrated his zero tolerance for corruption.

Governor Uba Sani has without any iota of doubt given a credible account of himself. And if the morning indeed shows the day, the seven years ahead can only bring more dividends of good governance to the people of our debt state!

Ado writes from Kaduna