Opinion: RE: Three Years of Masari Administration: How APC Government Failed Katsina State – By Sadiya Usman
On May 29th, 2018, Nigeria celebrated her junior’ democracy day. It was a day governments – Federal, States and Local (where available) reeled out what they termed achievements’. These achievements are variously named. Katsina state like all other states presented its achievements, termed modest, on May 28, 2018. This modest-achievement-scorecard is available on https://katgovmedia.com, a website owned by Katsina Media and Publicity.
According to the website it is owned by the media office of Katsina State Government (not the ministry of information) and headed by Ibrahim Mu’azzam Abdullahi. The website aims to create “…. a robust public awareness of the activities and projects of Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, the Executive Governor of Katsina State, in his attempt to restore the state to its past glory and bring development to the good people of Katsina State”. To achieve their aim, “Katsina Media and Publicity casts a panoramic spotlight at, and keeps track of, major projects, events and affairs of Katsina State government whether finished or on-going with the aim of making them a public knowledge, using both conventional and new media, particularly by paying special attention to important details that are often underreported or even neglected”.
Because this website was created, managed and operated by the Katsina state government, its content must be reliable and dependable for anyone looking for information on Katsina State. Importantly, the website presents the best information the state can offer for internal and external consumption. Therefore, the three years modest achievements presented by the APC peoples oriented government headed by political captain’ (whatever that means) on the website is an accurate representation of the administration three-year scorecard.
From the content of the scorecard posted by no other person than the DG of the media office, the government is a monumental failure of the highest magnitude. In the last three years, it is on record that the state government collected, borrowed, was offered as debt relief and as charity over NGN460bn. On average these receipts represent NGN153bn per year. These collections made the highest ever three-years-average collection by any government in the state since the return of democracy in 1999. Unfortunately, the government failed in its write-up to indicate what it did with a significant amount of money collected.
These modest achievements turn out to be the albatross that show the APC government is a total failure. I list some of the important achievements and my opinion of them in the following paragraphs.
- On security, the government claimed that operation sharan daji has succeeded in stopping incessant killings of hundreds of people’ which the author says as against the ugly trend prior to 2016′ and that people can sleep with their eyes closed. What the post did not say was that the operation consumes a large amount of money and is widely believed to be a placebo as several million offered to the bandits were used by them to procure more weapons. The bandits used the monies to get sophisticated guns and other equipment to launch attacks on the innocent people. The operation might have stopped cattle rustling, but definitely, it brought a new dimension to criminality, human-rustling’. People are now the targets of the bandits. They kidnap at will. Human-kidnapping industry is now a multi-billion Naira industry. Thanks to the APC administration which provided the bandits with the seed money to sophisticate their trade at the expense of the people they govern.
- On education, the APC government indicates that it met dilapidating academic environment, lack of competent and capable teachers and poor teaching aids …’. According to the government, it then began restoration’. APC government restoration, as indicated in the write-up, involves renovation of over 300 primary schools, building 400 classes, renovation of 1000 classes and 300 stores/offices. Additional restoration achievements include construction of 70 toilets, creating’ 183 annex primary schools and upgrade of 2 primary schools to storey building and 15,162 metal desks and chairs were provided for pupils. The site also mentions the S-power initiative and the expenditure of NGN662m for furniture and equipment. This sector more than any other has exposed the APC government as dumb and deaf. The sector scorecard is full of contradictions and misinformation. For example, while the report indicates over 300 primary schools were renovated in the same sentence, it is stated that over 1000 classes were renovated. These modest achievements were an indication that the government is not even aware of what it is saying. How can one renovate school without renovating classes? Or are the 1000 classes within the 300 schools? If the earlier is what is obtained, that is 300 schools were renovated, then how many classes were included in those schools? If the latter is true, then it means 0nly three classes were renovated in the 300 schools. The confusion continued all through the report. While it was stated that NGN662m was spent in the provision of furniture and teaching aids, it was also said that more than 15,000 desks and chairs for pupils, close to 900 furniture for teachers and close to 4,000 pieces of plastic tables and chairs were….’ provided for nursery schools. Are all those teaching aids and furniture procured with the stated sum? Further to all of these if the government can only present the above as its scorecard in the education sector in 3 years, then Katsina state is in more trouble than we think. Concerning teachers and even though the state government described the teachers as incompetent and not capable, nothing in the report shows that something was done to reverse the situation. Indeed, we are aware of a BBC interview in November 2017 where the governor promised teachers’ training throughout this year 2018, half-way, as at the time of writing this piece in June 2018, to the end of the year not a single teacher was given any training. As part of its achievements, the state governments mentioned N-power (a federal government programme). Although this government is not new to project conversion, it is the height of failure to convert Federal government programme as belonging to state government. We are also aware of conversion of some UNICEF projects and programmes as state government owned. The report mentions that there were 82,346 Katsina state students in tertiary institutions and the sum of NGN1,045,446,740bn was paid to these students as study assistance for 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 sessions’. This payment translates to NGN17 (seventeen Naira) to each student every day. Even prisoners in Nigeria gets over NGN400 as feeding per person per day!!!!!!!!!!!
- According to the report, Agriculture as the mainstay of the economy of Katsina state achieved the greatest milestone’ in the journey of the restoration agenda. Laughingly, the report indicates that there was movement from crude agriculture to technology agriculture. This statement was a slap on the face of every Katsina, state indigene. First, Katsina state farmers are in a sorry situation when they experience less and less mechanization. They were initially introduced to the use of animal-drawn and letter machine-drawn implements during the 16 years of PDP administration. The previous administrations also introduced and sustained irrigation-fed agriculture in the state. Pesticides and other chemicals were available at the click of fingers. Veterinary and other services were at their best with doctors and other service personnel showing dedications as they had all they needed to do their works. Suddenly, in just three years the government is reporting construction, upgrading and rehabilitation of imaginary’ dams and irrigation schemes, no location was mentioned no names were given. All Katsina states dams have names (such as Are, Jibia, Sabke, Mairuwa, Ajiwa, Zobe , etc.), we may need to know which of them was rehabilitated and what was done as rehabilitation work. The government also indicates that 94,360 metric tons of both NPK and Urea were supplied for 2015, 2016 and 2017…’ farming seasons or on average about 31,000 metric tons for both rain-fed and irrigation agriculture. For those of us who are practicing farmers and others interested in agriculture, it is well known that 31,000 metric ton is a one-half requirement for rain-fed agriculture only. In addition to the scarcity of the commodity, the cost per bag is beyond the ordinary farmers. From NGN1,600 in the previous administration to close to NGN7,000 now an increase of about 600%. In forestation programmes, the report states tree seedlings production and tree planting without saying where the trees are planted and how much the government used on such programmes. Even the anchor-borrower programme, which is a Federal government programme was converted to state government achievements in agriculture.
- Besides education, the sector that made this government’s failure more glaring is the health sector. The almost 13 internet-pages report had only one paragraph to report the scorecard in the health sector. The report indicates that the government had remodeled and upgraded eight governments hospitals in Katsina, Daura, Funtua, Kankiya, Jibia, Musawa, Malumfashi, and Baure. For three good years only renovation and upgrade’. We knew that renovation work is taking place in those hospitals and it has been on for three years but not an upgrade. If I may ask upgrade to what? You met these hospitals as general hospitals, they are still general hospitals and not teaching hospitals or Specialists hospitals, so what upgrade? These hospitals did not receive single new equipment or machinery, nor were specialized doctors recruited for them. Upgrade to what? We knew that contracts were awarded for beautification’ of those places but nothing for the benefit of Katsina state indigenes except the contractors’ (some of them, we learn, are indigenes). People should remember that this is the sector whose commissioner was at the Senate to dependent government’s position to borrow USD110m from IDB. Where is our money?!!!
- Infrastructural Development is the cornerstone of the government programme. The report dedicated two pages to state achievements made in infrastructure. The report indicates that more than 443 km of road were completed or as the report wants us to believe constructed. The confusion here is the use of the word constructed. The governor in his November 2017 BBC Hausa service interview indicated that the state government met over 300 km of the road started by the previous administration and were completed by the APC-administration. It is important for the government to let us know and understand what it built (started and completed) and what it just completed. However, as the confusion rages on, it can safely be said (from governors November interview and the 3-years government scorecard) the government only constructed 130 km of roads in 3 years. On average of 43 km per year or 3.5km per month. These are laughable achievements. Haba, 3.5km road constructed in a month.
- In the area of housing, the report indicates that the state government constructed hundreds of affordable imaginary housing units to the benefit of Katsinawa (sorry Daurawa) through a public-private partnership … to ameliorate the one million housing deficit’ in the state. We are unaware of a single housing project embarked by the state government in the last three years. What we know is that there was a foundation laying ceremony for 300 units of housing in Katsina, the state capital in 2015. It has, however, remain foundation laying nothing more. We are also aware of the numerous housing projects completed by the previous government. We know the Goriba, Sardauna, Barhin, Makera, Fatima Shema housing estates in Katsina. These estates housed over 3,500 housing units. We also know the Katsina State estate in Abuja, the Federal Capital, with over 300 housing units. In addition to these estates, the last administration constructed over 5000 affordable housing units in the 34 local governments of the state. All these happened within 16 years of PDP government. This shows that in the 16 years as the government, the PDP delivered on average 550 housing units per year, while the APC administration delivered zero housing units in three years.
- In the area of rural electrification, the report indicates that 182 rural communities benefited and some urban repairs including the provision of transformers were made. From the report, 60 communities were on average linked to the national grid in the last three years. Before this brief write-up, we tried to confirm the assertion and could not get anything reliable from the agency responsible. We wish to state that from the data we have not more than 50 communities benefitted from the electrification programmes of the government in the last three years. We also know that the major electrification project of the government was the Katsina city street light-project.
- Probably the third sector that made Katsina state government a total failure is the social welfare sector, particularly, youth empowerment. On youth empowerment, the primary item listed on the website was training and empowerment of 100 youths across the 34 local government areas of the state. These youths were trained for paint production and assisted with NGN50,000 training material. So in three good years, the government was only able to train 100 young people and given NGN5,000,000. On average 33 youths were trained, and NGN1,700,000 was given to the trained youths. In contrast, for the eight years of the last administration, each local government was made to train 100 youths and provided them with take-off fund every three months. This empowerment translates to 13,600 youths every year. For three years the former government was able to train more than 50,000, that is, 500 times more than what the current government trains. We are, however, not done with youth training and empowerment during the last government. There were scholarships/bursaries awarded to more than 1000 students who studied medical courses outside Nigeria. There were also other training done within the country that in all more than 60,000 youths got empowerment in three years. Then, the government was meant for the people, not a failure such as this APC government.
Further to the above, the APC government stopped payment of SSCE and NECO examinations fees. To them, awards and ceremonies were more critical. Recently, the state PDP chairman in a speech mentioned that in about two years, the state government organized more than 38 Buki’ spending more than NGN3bn in the process. No one from the government dispute the information. It was also believed that they traverse the world in convoy of 15 people or more over 25 times in 3 years. The PDP chairman also estimates that more than NGN5bn was spent. This information was not disputed by them.
In the area of water supply, during campaigns, the government was up and hill with information of water supply in major Katsina cities. The APC assured that their candidate was a water supply expert and lack of water will be a thing of the past. We are still waiting for that to happen.
Finally, we ask the government a question, what in the world happened to the dry-inland port that was started during the administration of President Yaradua. It was initially located in Funtua. Now it is moved to Kaduna. We understand it was due to APC governments negligence that a chance to have more than 1000 jobs slip out of our hands.
From the preceding paragraphs, many questions need answers. Is this government of lies by liars for the innocent? Is this government for people with a vengeance having the chance to fulfill their dreams of being called leaders? Or is the government only after crippling the state while looting our commonwealth? So many questions. No answers.
Wrote By: Sadiya Usman;
Chairlady, Katsina State PDP Women for Power.