To reminisce on the fact that previous elections and appointments to offices have prepared Governor Dikko Umar Radda of Katsina state for the greater task ahead would be saying the obvious.
In past times, Radda has distinguished himself in his capacity as chairman of Charanchi local government in Katsina state, then as the director general Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), also as national welfare secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and later as chief of staff to former governor Bello-Masari before occupying the driver’s seat as governor of Katsina state.
All the roads the governor had plied before now have no doubt prepared him for leadership. Thankfully too, before Masari left, he also bequeathed a culture of quality leadership buoyed in selfless service to the new helmsman.
To start with, Harvey Firestone Sr. an American businessman and the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber saying that “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership” aptly captured Radda’s starting point in Katsina.
By reeling out plans and consolidating headlong in arresting spate of insecurity occasioned by terrorism, banditry, crimes and other hydra-headed monsters in the state; the governor has no doubt started on a sound footing and has, like the adage says, hit the ground running.
It would interest one to know that Katsina has always been a place to be. Known for its hospitality and industry the people of the state from the ancient Malumfashi town to Funtua, a learning citadel to Kankia, Dutsin-ma where old NYSC orientation camp was domiciled, Mani, Mashi, the very serene and well-landscaped Katsina capital city, Baure, Daura, home of our former President Muhammadu Buhari and the seat of the popular and historical well to Mai Adua, the Sheep and Goat market which usher one out of the very beautiful emirate to the border town of Kongolam, back to Sandamu, Babanmutum, Fago and Rijiyar Tsamiya, a sleepy and agrarian community to the bustling Jibya, another border town, Katsina state and its people are known to be peaceful, industrious and religious.
Banditry, terrorism and all manners of crime is therefore strange to them and was like a taboo to even hear such stories when some of us lived there during our national service year as corps members. Not once did we witness or hear such.
Some of us even went as far as Damagaram in Niger Republic as a way of exploring our immediate neighbouring country and was warmly received by the people there too. Unfortunately, the story has changed today.
Now that the murderous activity of bandits and terrorists in the state is yet to subside, a new ‘Sheriff’ called Radda has risen and has swung into action with avowed determination to carry on from where the former governor stopped.
Beforehand, the ugly development made the new governor say a few months ago at a forum that: “We will never negotiate with terrorists and bandits, no matter what they do, the government will never pay terrorists to release victims abducted.
He divulged that within the shortest time possible, the onslaught against terrorists would be tackled.
Keen followers of happenings in the once upon a peaceful state where yours sincerely ate at will sweet “kose”, Hausa name for akara or fried cake and drank “Fura de nunu” with the inhabitants and corp member about twenty year ago would agree with me that the protracted menace of banditry and insecurity in some Katsina communities and along its border fringes has indeed gotten to a head.
Consequent upon the development, concerned citizens and Nigerians hailed the initiatives of the new governor, when he mooted the idea of recruiting 500 hunters and vigilantes, 250 each from Katsina and Daura Emirates, to protect the communities from bandit attacks.
According to the governor, the hunters and vigilantes would be stationed permanently in the communities to protect people and their property.
Apart from earmarking over ₦7 billion to procure Armoured Personnel Carriers, 65 Hilux vehicles, 700 motorcycles, and other security equipment to enhance security operations in the state, Radda have also partnered with the UNDP to establish a climate peace hope and preventive facilities with a pilot project in Jibia to help reverse the trend.
Further to that, Radda was also quoted as saying: “The issue of insecurity is of paramount importance to my administration. We created the ministry of internal security, and also Katsina State Community Watch Corps to deal with the insecurity challenges.
“We have recruited and trained 1,500 community watch officers from the eight frontline local government areas to empower our people to defend themselves.
“I enacted a security challenge containment order and set-up an advisory committee on security in the state,” the governor said.
Other than security issues, the governor as a way of enhancing sectoral growth in all facets has also focused and made significant progress in the area of agriculture, health, education and infrastructural development in the State.
He said: “I am pleased to announce that we have provided ₦2.2 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of 361 primary schools in the state.
“We have launched and mobilised contractors for the construction of 75 secondary schools under the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) project in the state.”
“To improve primary healthcare delivery in the state, two dialysis centers were commissioned to increase dialysis beds from two to 16 and 16 additional dialysis machines are on the way.
“We have also provided 198 motorcycles to improve immunization in partnership with UNICEF.
“Our investment in healthcare will focus on efficient and affordable healthcare for the people at the primary healthcare centres.”
“In the agriculture sector, Radda noted that the government had finalised a new extension service programme and increased the number of extension workers from 72 to 600.
Technology service providers according to the governor have also been contracted to come up with the best solution and operating model for financial management in the state.
He said: “I signed an executive order to implement the Treasury Single Account (TSA) for transparency, and we have finalised a plan to build a technology platform that will best serve the needs of the people in tax management, budget planning and expenditure tracking,”
On palliatives to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal, Radda hinted that the government had purchased 40 buses to provide affordable public transportation across the state.
Fifteen of the buses were dedicated to offer services within Katsina while the remaining 25 have been deployed for inter and intra-state services.
The government had also purchased rice and maize worth over ₦3 billion which were shared as palliative to vulnerable people in the state.
More importantly, the administration has in the last 100 days also engaged in public service reform, development of a new Katsina Master Plan, establishment of a power plant and some cost efficiency measures to drive changes in the state.
A stitch in time as they say saves nine. With this new stride, Radda appears set for the task ahead and it may be save to say that all menace which has not only drawback the state economically and socially may have reached their dead end and with Radda in the driver seat, there seems to be a sigh of renewed hope to end all plagues once and for all.
At this juncture, I will leave the governor with the word; “Earn your leadership every day.” a famous quote made by former NBA basketball player, Michael Jordan.
This I presume will best suit Governor Dikko Umar Radda, the new face of governance in Nigeria as he carves his own niche.
Osasona, anipr, ffps, mnuj, a journalist, columnist and PR consultant, writes from Abuja.