Katsina State: Where Good Governance Counters Propaganda By Bature Sani Malumfashi

Katsina State: Where Good Governance Counters Propaganda By Bature Sani Malumfashi
January 22 12:20 2016

If you want to have a reality check on the veracity of widespread reports of the Shema Administration’s under-performance in Katsina State look no further than the list of some of the on-going projects undertaken by Governor Masari in fulfillment of his campaign pledges: Settlement of pension and gratuity, rehabilitation and expansion of the three referral hospitals, rehabilitation and expansion of primary and secondary schools, rehabilitation of all the 15 Basic Apprentice Training Centres (BATC), revival of the three moribund Farm Training Centres and rehabilitation of the water works.

One appalling fact emerging from this list of work in progress in Katsina State is prolonged neglect of critical development institutions of government to the pitiful point of dilapidation, decay and ultimately denial of their benefits to the masses. Revival, rehabilitation and expansion projects such as these were top priorities pledged during the electioneering campaigns by Governor Masari because Governor Shema chose to embark on new self-promoting grandiose projects of lesser relevance to the pressing development needs of the people of Katsina State. This is a callous betrayal of the trust reposed in leaders by their people whose interest should always be uppermost in the hearts and minds of those who repeatedly assured them of this in campaigns and eventually swore on oath to do no less when the people dutifully fulfilled their part of the bargain with votes.

Once he was sitting pretty on the coveted seat of governor, Shehu Shema got so carried away by the paraphernalia of ostentatious governance that he forgot the campaign chorus of “servant governor” and was instead obsessed with an imaginary legacy of “achievement” that would turn him into the “one man show” builder of Katsina State. In that euphoria, former governor Shema conveniently ignored the existence of the state before his coming and along with that also the various contributions of his predecessors in office. He paid little or no attention to the principle of continuity that is crucial for progressive development and good governance as well as meeting the ever-increasing needs of the people. No wonder existing institutions and infrastructure were left to decay and collapse and many meaningful policies and projects of previous administrations abandoned during the Shema era.

In a radical, selfless and progressive departure from such myopic bad governance, Governor Aminu Masari as a seasoned and versatile public servant and political leader had decried the Shema-style personalization of public service and discontinuity of meaningful development during his down-to-earth campaigns and promised to jettison the practice as governor. While pursuing many innovative policies and programmes of his own, Governor Masari has also accorded commensurate attention to reversing the neglect of important state institutions and infrastructure put in place by previous administrations and striving to serve the people for decades.

Among ongoing projects to ensure continuity of government and maximize the benefits from existing institutions and infrastructure include rehabilitation and expansion of 15 primary and secondary schools each in Katsina, Daura and Funtua Senatorial Zones. It is expected that by the end of 2016, 40% of primary and secondary schools would have been fully rehabilitated, thereby expanding the frontiers of foundation education in the state.

The Masari Administration is also rehabilitating water works in Ajiwa, Funtua, Dutsinma and Malumfashi in addition to rehabilitation and expansion of the three referral hospitals in Katsina, Daura and Funtua towns respectively and embarked on massive purchase and distribution of drugs to health facilities in the state. . All 15 Basic Apprentice Training Centres (BATC) in the state are undergoing rehabilitation while the three moribund Farm Training Centres in the stat are being revived.

At another level, the Masari Administration has set a record in budgeting for education in the history of Katsina State with a hefty N22 billion or 20% of this year’s N111.2 billion budget going to the education sector. It has also picked up the piles of pensioners outstanding pension and gratuity payments amounting to N11.1billion at state and local government levels whereby so far, over 1400 pensioners have received their entitlements. Governor Masari is also taking bold measures towards checkmating the activities of criminals, notably cattle rustlers while commencing unprecedented clearance of refuse in all the urban areas of the state.

If only ex-governor Shema and his cheerleaders would climb off their propaganda horse that has been galloping garrulously long after the election race has been convincingly won by Governor Masari and the majority of Katsina State voters and join the progressive strides spearheaded by the Masari Administration, they might shake-off the dishonor of constituting political nuisance and economic saboteurs. Purposeful leadership anchored on people-oriented good governance principles will always outshine the dimming details of a faded past that no sane Katsina State indigene wants to remember. Masari is it!

Malumfashi can be reached at No. 51, Daura Street, Kofar Kaura, Layout, Katsina.