KADUNA STATE: THE FAILURES OF A GOVERNOR
Ibraheem A. Waziri
On the 17th of July 2013 the executive governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, attended a session from the numerous sessions of the annual Ramadan Tafsir (Qur’anic exegeses) at the Sultan Bello Mosque Kaduna. As the anchor of the session, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gummi put it, the governor went at the right time they were discussing Muslim/Christian relationship in Nigeria; at the right time when the issues of insecurity in Kaduna State was being discussed. He then, after praising the governor for his abilities with words in crowds, called on him to use the opportunity and tell the well attended session a word about the general insecurities in the state; the persistent road blocks that littered the city roads which are usually accompanied with harassment by security agents to traffickers and pedestrians. I was listening to the proceedings over the internet. The governor declined to speak, choosing to do so at a later time in future should he attend the Tafsir session again. That was the end of it all. He never went back till the season closed with the completion of Ramadan 29 days. Probably he meant he would not talk to the session until next season. That is next year when he attends a session with them again. Probably he meant the place was not the right place to speak about the subject matter at all. But even at that, we have not heard him speaking about the same subject matter as promised at any other occasion.
Why did I choose the isolated incident above? Because the replicated silence of the governor in speech and action over the period of almost ten months from his swearing-in to date is in the least troubling. Especially when we take to account the fact that this is an era of extra performing governors in the North. From Kano to Sokoto, Katsina to Gombe the stories are pleasing to the ears. But what is wrong with Kaduna State we don’t know. The governor has not communicated to people in explicit terms the unique direction his government is taking in terms of vision and development. Yes there were launchings of fertilizer subsidy to farmers. There were the contracts for roads rehabilitations. But the check is on visions new projects and projections. He is most unlike some of his predecessors who started with well rounded visions even if they were not too impressive and could not achieve a lot at the end by our subjective judgements. Makarfi had his priorities in rural development. Namadi had his priorities in his five point agenda that he faithfully tried to follow.
Granted that Yero often say he would follow the footsteps of his boss and predecessor, late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. But Yakowa only flagged up projects of which none is being commissioned as accomplished after three years later. This in truth is discomforting to some of us. We are aware of the complex nature of politics and political survival in Kaduna State but we also have a cause to remember that each passing day of our lives is an opportunity given to us by the almighty to discharge an item of our responsibilities and try to extend in good works, that we may be able to court successfully more bounties and grace from God.
One other significant observation is in the choice of personal and official advisers by the governor. I say this while hoping I may not be misunderstood. The governor now is a public property and what informs people opinion of him largely depends on who people see him relating with always. It is a sign of hope and good progress if it is observed that among the people being seen daily with the governor as personal friends are fair professionals and intelligent thinkers. This is the tradition and often the practice. For the taste in the sound of a drum is generally deduced from the material it is seen to be made. Another question is what message is he sending by keeping the set of advisers with official status that were mostly appointed by his predecessor?
I have on the December 24, 2012 after the formal swearing in of the governor, had course to have written an essay that was widely published and circulated. It aimed at shielding him from distractive tendencies of those times and reminding him of the extent of his responsibilities. In the essay I made reference to what I know of him, history and ancestry. Deep inside me I was and is still hoping that Yero being from Zaria City – permit my cultural prejudice and complacency please – where I come from, and imbued with no less good values than I am, will stand tall in the political and administrative history of the state as a distinguished giant. I had since then resolved to follow the progress of his activities with keen interest. But the signs we are seeing now are not too encouraging. People often fall back to us for fair analysis of the progress being made and we have been telling them, as our intuition serves us, that the governor needs time to consolidate on his previous experiences and move on with the speed of light. But it is beginning to appear we are wrong and we wish he can step forward and prove us not.