Governor Nasir El-Rufai superintends over Kaduna, considered the political capital of Northern Nigeria.
PREMIUM TIMES reviews the successes and achievements of the governor in the outgoing year, 2016.
1. Zaria Water works – Over a million population of Zaria residents will soon have running water in their homes.
Governor El-Rufai has made the Zaria water project his pet project and promised residents potable water will flow in taps in Zaria. Contractors have since returned to the site, about 30 years after it was abandoned. Residents say if completed, the water project could be Mr. El-Rufai’s greatest success as Kaduna governor.
2. Budget 2017: For the second successive year, Mr. El-Rufai is the first Nigerian governor to sign the 2017 budget after early submission to the state’s lawmakers, and early passage.
The state also employs the services of Budgit, a technology driven civic group, to help visualise and publicise details of Kaduna State’s finances, a type of transparency uncommon with many state governments.
3. School Feeding Programme – The Kaduna government was able to take thousands of children off the streets and back to schools with the free feeding programme and free books in public primary schools. The El-Rufai administration received lots of commendations from parents and residents for the initiative.
However the program was suspended for review later in the year leading to some of the children leaving the classrooms.
Also, over 400 primary school blocks were renovated and furnished with desk and chairs while boreholes and functional toilets were constructed in schools.
4. Employment: Recruitment of over 3000 state task force (KASTELEA) and over 2000 science teachers in the state. In 2016, Mr. El-Rufai also finalised the recruitment of over 5000 young graduates into the state civil service.
5. Construction of Ahmadu Bello way: One achievement being witnessed by Kaduna residents in 2016 is the expansion of the popular Ahmadu Bello way.
The construction work is ongoing and the government is getting commendations from commuters and residents. Although the road contract was awarded by the past administration of Ramalan Yero towards the end of his tenure, work mainly began under Mr. El-Rufai
6. Shiite Crisis: Perhaps nothing illustrates the failure of the Kaduna State government than its handling of the Shiite crisis. Although the state government is not responsible for the killing of over 300 Shiite members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, by soldiers, its handling of events after the December 2015 violence has been criticised by observers. The state government has since controversially labelled the IMN an “insurgent group” and banned its activities.
The leader of the IMN, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, remains in federal detention without trial for one year.
7. Southern Kaduna crisis: Another major blight to Mr. El-Rufai’s administration is his handling of the Southern Kaduna crisis. Despite the various peace initiatives of the state government, people, mainly local residents, are still being killed in that part of the state. The Christmas Day killing in Goska community despite a 24-hour curfew imposed on the area by the state government has since been condemned by Nigerians.
The governor escaped a mob action during one of his visits to Kafanchan as residents accused him of not doing enough to protect them.
8. Staff Verification: In an effort by the state government to remove ghost workers from the state civil service, some real workers reportedly lost their jobs. Some primary school teachers who served for many years were reportedly affected by the verification exercise.
9. Activities of ‘Yan Shara – The state government is yet to bring an end to the activities of dangerous groups known as ‘Yan Shara’ across the state.
Attacks by Yan Shara on residents have occurred in various parts of the state including Kawo, Badarawa, Unguwan Dosa and parts of Unguwan Rimi, all in the state capital.
10. Slow Pace of Work – While some state governors, also inaugurated in 2015, commissioned projects in 2016, Governor El-Rufai is yet to conclude any major project in Kaduna. Apart from the Ahmadu Bello way which is witnessing massive attention, residents say other construction projects appear to be moving slowly.