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Katsina’s Changing Narrative

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Four years after, Aminu Bello Masari-led administration roll out drums to celebrate the first series of its strides across Katsina State, inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari. ANDY ASEMOTA writes on the issue.

President Muhammadu Buhari and many from various segments of the society from Wednesday, August 16, to Thursday, August 17, 2019, attested to the giant strides of Governor Aminu Bello Masari in the last four years.

The official commissioning of three out of over 100 road development projects executed by the Masari government is significant in many ways. His feat is historic, giving the need for infrastructural development, particularly roads, across the nooks and crannies within the state and across to neighboring states.

Katsina state has experienced a series of giants leaps with deeply-felt positive impacts since Masari rode to a glorious outing in 2015, despite the wailing of his traducers, who had failed to rate Masari’s government by the content of its services delivery.

As the success or otherwise of the Masari administration has been decided at the last governorship election, the kudos it received from President Buhari should put a pause to few tongues wagging.

Applauding the progress in Katsina under Masari administration, Daura-born President Buhari said the accomplishments in the last four years show the governor is taking good care of the people of his state.

“Thank you, Governor Masari, for taking care of the people of my constituency,” he said, while commissioning the re-designed and re-constructed Fago-Katsayal-Karasarawa-Jirdede-Koza road during his private visit to the state.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the road, covering over 38km and linking four local government areas was first constructed by the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) which was headed by President Buhari and was extended to Dangwara, Jirdede and Koza towns.

Apart from the benefit of increasing mobility that would enable the predominantly farming population to optimally utilize the koza dam, the road serves as a vital option from, Kano, Jigawa and Yobe States to the famous Maiadua International Market.

The President also commissioned another 16km road that links 20 agrarian communities of Kwanar Sabke, Sabke, Kokutu, Makangara, Haukan Zama, Nareje, Madoma, Nasarawa, Magamiyo, Dan’ Aunai, Kwama Dila, Gurje, Magale, Sabon Garin Kogon, Burtu, Dado, Minawa, Sabashi, Dutsawa, Nafasa and Dutsi.

Similarly, President Buhari commissioned 32km Shinkafi – Yandaki – Gafiya Abdallawa – Dankaba Road which cost the state government N3.4bn.

While commending Governor Masari for this feat, the president described the governor’s foresight in making the roads motorable throughout the year as a step in the right direction.

“This is in consonance with the change agenda and philosophy of this administration. We all know that the economy of Katsina state is agrarian and our wealth is in farming and livestock rearing and hence the need to open up all its roads through all communities,” he said.

President Buhari noted that the roads would help the benefiting communities to easily transport their agricultural produce to market, gain access to health facilities and schools and unlock the commercial opportunities within and outside the state.

He appealed to the state government not to relent in ensuring that rural communities in need of infrastructural development are given the attention they desire.

The President, who postulated that the roads would be a catalyst for rapid socio-economic transformation of the affected rural communities as the nations begin the journey to the next level, assured the federal government’s resolve in seeing to Nigeria’s march to greatness.

Governor Masari has recorded very laudable strides in road development. The governor has succeeded in completing his inherited road projects, constructed 46 new roads and rehabilitated 47 existing

ones with 44 others at various stages of completion including one rural feeder’s road in each of the 34 Local government areas.

The performance of the current administration in the sector shows that it has been very much mindful of the need for road infrastructure development across the state, to efficiently and effectively facilitate smooth movement of people, goods and services on trade and commence not only within the state but across to other neighboring states.

Without being immodest, the economy of the state and the wellbeing of the people are finally better than in the previous administration.

Masari’s government came to power in 2015 with a Restoration Agenda, which was a product of thorough research and wider consultation that guided the conception, formulation and implementation of its policies and projects.

Essentially, it laid emphasis on revitalizing the educational sector and agriculture, improving the quality and access to healthcare delivery; provision and improvement of infrastructural facilities including roads and water supply; ensuring security of lives and property and the economic empowerment of the teeming population.

It is on record that since its assumption of office, the Masari government has constructed five new Secondary schools, rehabilitated and upgraded 42 others including 1,792 primary school classrooms.

Going further, the administration has rehabilitated, remodeled and upgraded no fewer than eight general hospitals and constructed specialist eye centre besides construction of five irrigation schemes and 16 irrigations dams as well as rehabilitating and upgrading of 101 electricity projects across the state.

The accomplishments of the government cannot capture in this column however in the area of road transport, the Masari administration has among other initiatives procured 25 new buses comprising 10 coaster buses and 15 Toyota Hiace buses for the state-owned transport agency while commercial bus operators in the state received 100 Sharon Volkswagen buses on interest-free loan basis.

Aligning with president Buhari on the commitment of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to take the country to greater heights, Masari assured that the state government would always pursue people-focused development projects.

This assurance did not come as a surprise to majority of constituencies, individuals and civil society organizations in the

state that had been particularly worried that some knocks received by the Masari administration primarily from the opposition fold, did not in any way reflect the reality on ground.

No sooner than the President rounded off his visit to the state with the formal commissioning of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) 60 bed reference hospital in Daura, as a grand icing on the cake than the state PDP chairman, Salisu Yusuf Majigiri, threw brickbats at the present APC-led government.

Majigiri berated APC for celebrating over the inauguration of three road projects by President Buhari when the former PDP-led government in the state inaugurated several roads without fanfare.

Majigiri also criticized the ruling party over the level of insecurity in the state, saying the present state administration is not ready for governance, considering the fact that it is yet to appoint its cabinet and Chief of Staff since it was returned for a second term in office on May 29, this year.

“I thought by having the privilege of hosting the President, who coincidentally comes from the state, he will leverage on that to embark on multi-sectoral projects in education, health, power, youth empowerment, agriculture and so on, to build multi-billion naira projects that touch on a cross section of our people,” he said.

In the past, the Masari administration would not lash back at him but simply view his aspersions as a call to greater service delivery to the people of the state. This time around, the government fired back, dismissing the concerns of the opposition party as no issue at all.

Director General, Media Affairs, of Governor Masari, Abdul Labaran Malumfashi, declared that the projects commissioned by President Buhari were only a tip of the ice berg compared to the ones he would inaugurate later during a state visit to Katsina.

Recall that the President was in Daura on Sallah holidays when Governor Masari seized the opportunity to prevail on him to inaugurate three of the projects lined up to be commissioned during Buhari’s official visit to the state.

The spokesman of the governor waved aside the bickering of Katsina PDP leaders, that Masari was not ready to constitute his executive council, arguing that the government is on course, notwithstanding the commissioners and special advisers are yet to be appointed.

For those in this line of thought, the cynicisms of the opposition party is a mere smokescreen to divert the attention of the state that has focused on rebuilding and re-inventing the state.

“Ordinarily, the private visit of the President should not in any way warrant the unnecessary attacks, vituperations and insults from PDP,” Musa Shamsudeen, a political observer in Katsina told LEADERSHIP Sunday as he cautioned politicians against politics of pettiness and denigration.

Pundits however noted that while critics of the present administration may not relent regardless of how laudable the achievements of Masari are, but the government will continue to give a good account of itself and fulfill the yearnings and aspirations of different constituencies, localities, individuals and groups in the state.

To the observers, Masari’s victory in this year’s election is to say the least, an endorsement of the APC leadership by the teeming populace of the state to meet their common aspiration to march to greatness and fly Katsina’s flag higher.

Feedbacks from different segments of the society, acknowledges positive impacts from the re-designing governance and projects by Masari-led restoration government.

The governor has even shown leadership in the security situation in Katsina and North West geo-political zone. This feat has been recognized by governors in the zone, who elected him as chairman of their security committee.

Despite the reluctance of Governor Masari to blow his trumpet as die-hard critics of his administration continually run down the programmes of the governor, the discerning people of the state know that Katsina’s narrative is changing.

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