Today marked one year of APC’s government in Katsina State . While a lot of people in Katsina State are singing Governor Masari’s praises and celebrating the APC government’s one-year achievements in Katsina State it seems to set some tongues wagging over the claimed achievements of the one year old government. The question is, are there any achievements of the government? The opposition party and some people would say “no”, of course. It is natural. Although facts speak for themselves, what are reasons against some people’s better judgment? This is the question that arouses my curiosity. But let us reserve judgment and examine some facts first before we go ahead to deduce.
Let us re-visit the year. Following April elections in 2015, PDP suffered a crushing defeat while we witnessed the resounding victory of APC’s Candidate in Katsina State gubernatorial election, His Excellency Alh Aminu Bello Masari. After all the problems, the difficulties and the socio-economic pain afflicted on people of Katsina State over the years due to the poor policies of the previous administration , in the aftermath Masari became the new governor of Katsina State on 29th May.
Shortly after assumption of power, some impatient people started to take it out on the new government with some kind of criticism. They expected quick results from the new administration to cure the ills of the state overnight. The volume of the criticism then was becoming high as the opposition party continued to fuel it to the detriment of the new government, yet the quality of the criticism was very low as most of the criticisms directed against the new government were unscientific and some people were misled or manipulated by the opposition party. The criticism was clearly subjective , and sometimes prejudiced, because they refused to accept the fact that the whole country was suffering from economic melt-down in the aftermath of PDP government, and the Federal Government had inherited almost empty treasury which brought some setbacks in executing projects both at state and Federal Government level due to short of funds . Similarly, there was a lot of mess to clean up by the new government which required a great deal of time. The situation was too bad that about 27 states including Katsina could not even pay salary to civil servants due to the unfortunate economic crisis the country was experiencing. People were unhappy with the unexpected happenings as Nigeria began to fall on hard times. Their minds became clouded with sadness, soon there was a cloud on the horizon. It was a bitter pill to swallow, some people started taking out their frustration on the new state governments. And there was double standard, some people endured the hardship without any complain at federal level, they just grinned and bore it because it was Buhari. But they brazenly took out their pain on their new state governors. In Katsina State, some people accused Governor Masari for allegedly dragging his heel over fulfilling change promises. One could only think that they were taking out their frustration on the new governor if it was not prejudice clouding their minds or they were not in tune with the happenings.
Moreover, with the decline of value of Nigeria’s naira in favour of the skyrocketing dollar and the global fall of oil price , the crude oil which Nigeria has heavily relied on, has been the major source of country’s revenue. It was another problem bringing major setback of the new governments. It is a common knowledge that governments cannot execute their projects with short of funds. Thus it would naturally bring some setbacks or rather delay the promises of CHANGE until governments are able to come up with new plans to source income or diversify the economy in face of the economic challenges. After all, it was not beyond the wit of Governor Masari who came up with his new plans to diversify the economy of his state.
Although Masari’s government has been doing its best, some people seem to be bigoted and they continued to agitate until lately when we see some of them relenting and their faces light up as the governor starts to win their hearts and minds, especially during Katsina State Economic and Investment Summit held this month . They commend the governor and recognize his efforts as they realize how they mistakenly underestimated him. However, some continue to be obstinate; they even try to belittle the achievements of the governor. One can only assume that this kind people are misinformed, manipulated or used by the opposition party or some corrupt politicians to belittle the tireless efforts of the new administration and provoke a storm of criticism against it. The corrupt politicians spread made-up stories to discredit the administration so that they will redeem themselves and people can forget about their misdeeds. It is also the same crafty tactic they use to divert attention from being probed. They think that when they set so many traps for the governor, he would find it difficult to bother them with some investigations while he is busy trying to put out criticism or protest – it is a plan to get away with their misdeeds.
What are Governor Masari’s achievements of one year in office? You might probably be eager asking yourself this question if you want to know better of his efforts since when you have started reading this article. Here we go, despite the economic challenges facing the country; Governor Masari was able to meet the challenges. Before PDP government vacated office of Katsina State , whether deliberate or not they had left a fertile ground for so many problems to grow, such as the stolen public funds, almost emptied treasury, delayed promotions of civil servants for donkey years and unpaid arrears and pension, the issue of cattle rustling, massive youth unemployment, dead enterprise culture and so many other challenges of the human development sector that the new government must face. But within one year in office, the new governor has risen to the challenges. He has proved himself beyond words that he is committed, hardworking and man of his word. His heart goes out to the condition of people of Katsina state. Someone said “promises are like babies – easy to make but hard to deliver”, he was able delivered some of his most important promises and this is not where he stops I believe, he has 3 more years ahead to fulfill his other promises. Among many of his achievements, the followings stand out as some of his great achievements:
* Great measures to diversify Katsina State’s economy for employment generation, and to bring more prosperity to people of the state. This will address the issue of youth unemployment as well as other issues of the human development sector. Governor Masari’s efforts in Katsina State Investment and Economic Summit held recently could account for that.
* Continued promotions of civil servants that was delayed in the previous administration, some civil servants especially teachers had been working for 6 years without any promotion in the previous administration. The new government has also settled unpaid arrears of many civil servants and pension. * Dealt with the serious problem of cattle rustling that had been posing a serious threat to the people of Katsina State , especially southern part of Katsina state, causing waste of precious lives , rape and destruction of lives and properties between farmers and Fulani herdsmen. The new government has dealt with the problem and restored peace, security and stability in the state and
* returned the stolen cattle to their genuine owners. Over 11,989 animals were recovered and about 9,221 were returned to their rightful owners.
* Great measures to reform the educational system and restoring infrastructure in Schools.
* Restoration of Water supply to Daura and Malumfashi and plans have reached advanced stage to complete the project of supplying water to Katsina from Zobe Dam through Kafin Soli, Kankia and Charanci. This will also provide water for 8 Local Government Areas.
* Rehabilitating and remodeling the three General Hospitals in Katsina, Daura and Funtua, and spending N128m to employ doctors and other Health workers to address the issue of health care.
* Distributed fertilizers to farmers.
* Distributed electricity transformers within the state for more provision of power.
* Setting up different committees to investigate the activities of the departments and agencies during the former administration, to name but a few.
With all due respect, I don’t think it is fair for anyone to measure Masari’s one year old administration against some states with enterprise culture or Shema’s administration that lasted 8 years. It is an undeniable fact that Katsina was one of the worst states in terms of human development issues , due to the fact that Katsina was not like other enterprise cultures such as Kano and Kaduna. Katsina had little entrepreneurial spirit and people, particularly public servants and youths, relied heavily on the government that did little then. In a nut shell, the previous administration did very little to address the issue of socio-economic life of people of Katsina state, and in light of this, one can understand that , this nagging pain of socio-economic problems that people of Katsina State had been going through , other states did not experience it like the state. So Masari’s administration is addressing this issue through its great measures for diversification of the economy. This requires a great deal of time to address the issue of dispirited enterprise culture, youth unemployment, and other socio-economic problems.
To be fair and just, one cannot deny the fact that the previous administration did a lot on infrastructure, but if you ask me, it is better to first help people economically before turning to buildings and roads, and these expensive and sometimes inflated road projects are crafty ways to get more personal benefits to some leaders that prioritize them and award the contracts sometimes.
Furthermore, Governor Masari is not being economical with the truth. Unlike other deceptive and crafty politicians who only pay lip-service and tell people what they want to hear and delight their ears with empty promises, Masari chooses to deal with complete honesty and transparency by telling people of Katsina State the facts on the ground since when he became the governor. He was courageous enough to tell the naked truth about the ill condition of the inherited government, all the problems and difficulties that new government was going through and made it very clear that despite the intimidating problems slowing the promised changes he will not go back on his promises. More specifically, on several occasions, the Governor told the good people of Katsina state that the state needs to investigate and restore the stolen public funds from the previous administration. These funds, if returned, are by far enough to put an end to a lot of socio-economic problems.
Finally, in my humble opinion, when one wants to level criticism at the new administration they should be objective in doing so, so that the government will feel it and accept it. And Instead of wishing ill or speaking ill about our leaders, we should pray for them and the nation at large for our own good. Because we are the reflection of our leaders, if we are ugly they are ugly too and if they are beautiful so are we. Allah raya Jihar Katsina.