El-Rufai: How Well Is He Making Kaduna Great Again?

Share this story.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufa'i
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufa’i

By Ayuba Ahmad
Before his advent, the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) was virtually an unknown government institution in spite of its strategic relevance. With Malam Nasiru El-Rufai at the helm, BPE became a household name in the country. There is no gainsaying the fact that El-Rufa’i has become a reference point in the assessment or performance rating of ministers of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) before and after his tenure. By no means a giant in his physical stature, yet he is fondly called “Nasiru Giant”, an alias given to him by his peers way back in his primary school days. Such seems to the nature of the man that, he would always stand out in the crowd.
For divergent reasons, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai governorship of Kaduna state will be a compelling subject of scrutiny by multiple interest groups within and outside the state. For certain, there will be those that are on the lookout for missteps for possible conversion into huge political capital in future political contests to the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House or even in a wider arena, as it is in the calculations and permutation, call it fear or, apprehension, of not a few political gladiators.
On the other hand, anxious to feel the manifestation of their lofty expectations from one with a famed track records of getting it right in his preceding endeavours, are the larger segments of the state electorate that gave him a landslide victory at the polls. Relatedly, there is also the groups of non-partisan elites, who, out of sheer concern for the deplorable condition of the state, had mounted the pressure that finally convinced the otherwise “accidental politician” to throw his hat into the ring. This latter group will have more than a passing interest in the pulse, thrust and progress of the administration.
Very aptly, the battle cry of his campaign was: “To make Kaduna Great Again”. The picture depicted in the minds of stakeholders in the Kaduna project was that of El-Rufai’s replay of his magic wand that rescued Abuja from becoming, like Lagos, a capital city of slums and anarchy. The electorate would not have of course, expected that Kaduna could turned into an Abuja in terms of its infrastructural and architectural grandeur. It was however widely believed that El-Rufai would not only halt the dwindling fortunes of the state but would also embark on a policy of restoring the almost ruined ascetics of the state capital which in the years gone by was renowned and adored as one of the only two planned cities in the country.
Alas, like President Muhammadu Buhari and the other state governors with a genuine mission, determination and clear-sighted vision in political leadership, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai came on the scene when the nation’s economy is at unprecedented low ebb. No thanks to the downward trend in the fortunes of oil in the international market, the nation’s foremost article of trade at the global arena, a bad situation aggravated by the ruination of the preceding years of the locusts; the sixteen years of the mindless kleptomania, debauchery and visionless reign of the PDP. With El-Rufai in particular and the APC governments at the federal and state levels in general, a fair assessment must therefore, be in the context of how best they have been managing a bad situation.
At his inauguration lecture, El-Rufai, certainly not unconscious of the arduous task before him yet declared that he was embarked on a mission of “Building a Rome with one Naira”. Call it a mission impossible or an over-simplification of the nitty-gritty that results in the beauty and magnificence of the city of Rome. Of course, intelligent understanding of that remark would be that El-Rufai simply made use of a metaphor that implies prudent utilisation of available meagre resources for optimal results. Therefore, how far has he gone in scooping what can be scooped for the reconstruction of the state that had been very unfortunate in terms of its preceding political leadership?
Early in the day, Nasiru El-Rufai left no one in doubt that the educational sector would be placed on the front burner of his agenda. In a clear attempt to create the needed conducive atmosphere for learning – serenity and security of educational institutions – the administration set out on the demolition of illegal structures within the premises and on the parameter walls of public schools and colleges. In keeping with his campaign promise, parents of wards in primary and secondary schools have since been relieved of the burdens of tuitions fees, books and uniforms.
That is just as the government has since begun its promised program of feeding pupils in public primary schools. While the government has kick-started an aggressive programme of renovation of classrooms and dormitories, it has also embarked on a massive employment of adequate and qualified teachers with emphasis on those that will engaged teaching of science subjects. Making do with what little is available, building a Rome with a Kobo as it is, the feats already recorded are no doubt phenomenal landmarks bound to impact on the state educational fortunes, now and far into the future.
A window into El-Rufai’s vision on infrastructural development is provided by the on-going myriad of roads construction and rehabilitation in several neighbourhoods of Kaduna metropolis and other cities across the state. Given the obvious paucity of funds available to the government at the moment, the unspoken message is that things will get better as the economy improves. Then, people may begin to see the emergence of fly-over bridges, expansion of major artery roads and super highways among the pictures painted of what should be expected of El-Rufai’s governorship.
Even before then, Kaduna city is being given a strong touch of that phenomenon in the novel rail transportation project planned to span over 30 kilometres stretch from the east to the west ends of the city. According to the governor, the ambitious project, first of its kind in the country, will be funded, in large part, with the N10 billion bailout from the Federal Government. Talk of prudence in resource management and the wisdom of the metaphor of “building Rome with one naira”.
Apart from the barrage of infrastructure deficit bequeathed to the new administration, El-Rufai also inherited multiple crises of insecurity. There were, for instance, the years of endemic incidents of violent communal conflicts with ethnic and sectarian colorations. While they lasted, scores of lives were lost, many more people were either maimed for life or forced to flee their ancestral homes. The altercations also had the attendant result of dislocation or even permanent termination of age-long economic and social activities.
By a combination of the strategies of bolstered physical security measures and the promotion of genuine reconciliation between community leaders of the feuding groups, relative but palpable serenity is now returning in the affected localities.
The same goes for the scourge of cattle rustling that is almost today, a thing of the past in the south and central zones. The forests of Birnin Gwari, Saminaka, Jere and elsewhere in the state are no longer safe havens for cattle rustlers due to the invasion and routing by a highly equipped, motivated and enlarged security agents. El-Rufai administration has further announced plans to confront the menace of cattle rustling through a unique scientific measure of chips that make stolen cattle trackable. So far, hundreds of heads of stolen cattle have been recovered, given back to their owners, with many of the rustlers arrested.
On employment opportunities to absorb the army of youths that roam the streets, El-Rufai’s administration has no doubt, recorded remarkable milestones till date. For direct employment, the government has on its scorecard, the recruitment of over 2,000 science teachers as well as, the 150,000 graduates and non-graduates trained and absorbed into the newly established Kaduna State Traffic and Environmental Laws Enforcement Agency (KASTELEA). Vast indirect employment avenues have also been opened to the several hundreds of skilled and unskilled youth involved in the government schemes of massive production of school furniture, free school uniforms and the feeding of pupils in all public primary schools. Surely, things can only get better by the time the El-Rufai Administration actualises its declared vision of establishing relevant industries to harness the vast agriculture resources for which the state is abundantly endowed.
Malam Ayuba Ahmad, a public policy analyst, wrote in from Kaduna

Share this story.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.