Radda and echoes of a sound stewardship

In January 2023, in an article titled, ‘Dikko Radda on my radar’, I buttressed the point that “Katsina state has been ravaged by the worst of the banditry that has befallen the North-west”. Then, Dr. Radda, gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had suffered terrible experiences with bandits and kidnappers. One of his brothers was killed by bandits and the other was rescued after a huge ransom was paid to the kidnappers to save his dear life. 

I had imagined that “Dr. Dikko Radda’s unique experience has carved him stronger and built him as a more formidable character for the struggle that lies ahead of him, in the race for the number one seat of Katsina state”. In another piece titled ‘Dikko Radda on my radar’, written after the 2023 elections, I reiterated the fact that his laurels were unmatched, his educational qualifications as well as his job/career experience were unrivaled. 

In essence, I waxed, Katsina needs Dikko, once again. Radda hit the ground running after winning the elections as he put together a panel of experts to review his strategic policy document. These experts include Prof. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, the Director-general, Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training, CEDDERT, at Zangon Shanu, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, Kaduna state.

Today, in a third piece, one to have a cursory look at Radda’s 100 days in office and what has manifested so far from the rich policy document, I am glad by the revelation that security, as the top-most priority in Katsina state, is adequately being serviced and policed. Governor Radda has done three major things to consolidate on his plans for keeping Katsina safe. 1. He created a Ministry of Internal Security after research visits to the National Institute for Security Studies and the Defence Headquarters in Abuja. During the visit, he had security based meetings with the service chiefs. 2. The offshoot of all these is the Watch Bill, which when signed into law, will enable the government to form an over 2500 youths strong Security Corps. 

Major General Junaid Bindawa, a former GOC, has been given the mandate to go ahead with recruitment, training and deployment. In the same breath, the governor convened several security meetings with traditional rulers, village heads, religious leaders and other major stakeholders along with all the heads of the security agencies in the state, with a view to having synergy between them, so as to collectively combat banditry and kidnapping. The two major ills have become the ‘ruwan dare’ in Katsina, affecting everyone, ravaging and destroying many communities in the state. 

3. Governor Radda has invested N7 billion for the purchase of security equipment, vehicles and other paraphernalia needed to firmly tackle the security challenges in the state. Radda is leading security exploits in Katsina state, as they chase bandits and criminals into their hideouts and enclaves, promising to no longer wait for bandits to attack communities. He has waged a war that will take the battle to the bandits’ backyards, where they have been hibernating in various nooks and crannies of the state. For Katsina state, security is number one and it is just apt that the state’s number one security officer is a ‘wounded lion’, out on a mission to devour the enemy, and thereby be healed of his wounds. 

Aside security, education is also one of the core agenda points of the Radda administration. And it is getting the desired and deserved attention from the state government. For starters, the Education Ministry has been split into two: the Ministry of Basic & Secondary Education, and the Ministry for Higher & Technical and Vocational Education. This is a very purposeful approach in concentrating on the ‘eye sore’ situation of basic education in the North, while another ministry oversees the development of core vocational skills as the new key to sustainable development and prosperity. This is from the realisation that government cannot employ all the graduands from educational institutions, and the determination to support the entrepreneurial skill sets of Katsina state’s youths, with a view to enabling self-employment and vast economic growth. 

Basic education has already received a boost of N2.7 billion investment in the construction of 75 new primary and secondary schools. Another N1.5 billion has been disbursed to 15 Mega Secondary Schools for renovation and completion. 7000 school teachers are on schedule for employment; qualified teachers, I must add, as they are to be recruited based on evaluation tests and specialised examinations. On the other hand, the Higher and Technical/Vocational Education Ministry has gone ahead to approve the Government Technical College Funtua as take-off site for the Federal University of Health Sciences Katsina. 

Over 2000 years ago, the Roman poet Virgil coined the saying, “Health is wealth” and Governor Radda is, of course, not oblivious of this wisdom. His Health Needs Assessment Committee has already submitted its report and its recommendations are already being implemented. In collaboration with UNICEF, WHO and GAVI, 198 motorcycles were distributed to routine immunisation workers and focal ward persons. The Future Doctors programme has also identified 34 Katsina state’s students who are to benefit from a special scholarship. Another 546 medical students, home and abroad, have received a whopping N112 million as allowances. The Radda administration is planning to build 361 fully functional primary health care centres across the state, delivering at least a 100 within the first term. The administration is also working on the extension of the Accelerated Nutrition Results in Nigeria, ANRIN, for another three years. 

On agriculture, just as Mr. President has made food security his top priority, Governor Radda has gone far in what can be termed as his forte. With an MSc in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, after his B-Tech in Agricultural Economics and Extension Studies, no wonder his first official tour was of the famous Agricultural Extension School Kafinsoli, and that of Tambu in Daura local government area. Dr. Radda has shown preparedness in boosting the agricultural output of Katsina state, by reviving and developing the two foremost agricultural schools in the state. Already, the 59 hectares Songhai Food Production Centre, located in Mairuwa, Faskari, is being brought up to speed to shore up the state’s deficit in agricultural output.

Katsina state is in for a ride, and Katsina as the state with the highest number of educated indigenes in the North did not get it wrong. Radda is covering every sector of the state’s once vibrant and enviable agricultural Industry as well as its esteemed educational legend that have been eroded by poor governance and, lately, insecurity. Should he sustain the current momentum and remain focused on the three most critical sectors of security, education and agriculture, Katsina state would emerge as not only the ‘dakin kara’, but ‘dakin arziki’. After all, there is no real ‘kara’ without abun kara. Once again, I congratulate Katsinawa on their silent revolution to greatness. I pray Radda succeeds. His success will be synonymous with a new generation of leadership that utilises its energy, education and experience. 

Tahir is Talban Bauchi