By Ismail Mudashir, Clement A. Oloyede, Tijjani Ibrahim & Zahraddeen Y. Shu’aibu
Ahead of the March 11, 2023, governorship election, voters in Katsina State have emphasised the need for clear-cut policies to tackle insecurity, unemployment and local government administration in the state.
Speaking at the Media Trust/CDD town hall meeting for gubernatorial candidates in the state, the voters from various sub-groups also appealed to the candidates to take issues of substance abuse among youths with top priority.
The event, which was chaired by Professor Sani Abubakar Lugga, the fifth Waziri of Katsina, had in attendance the deputy gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Faruk Lawal Jobe; gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Yakubu Lado Danmarke; and the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Imrana Ja’afar Jino.
Others are the deputy governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Dr Rabe Darma; candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Ibrahim Tukur Saude; and deputy governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Ibrahim Suleiman Bakori. The candidates of the Boot Party (BP) and the Accord Party (AP) were also in attendance.
Second Niger Bridge is a reminder of One Nigeria
The event was organised by the Media Trust Group, owners of Daily Trust, Aminiya, Trust TV and Trust Radio, in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD); Vision FM; Farin Wata TV, as well as Katsina City News—an online newspaper.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that various speakers adjudged the event attended by hundreds of voters and other stakeholders as successful and peaceful.
Participants asked the candidates what they would do to revive the local government system to address some of the challenges facing the state.
Responding, all the candidates promised to support the local government autonomy bill, adding that no kobo would be used out of their money.
They said the LGAs, as one of the poverty grounds, would enjoy full autonomy to the extent that jobs would be created among people at the grassroots and women and the vulnerable would also be supported with capital and other means of earning a living.
“It is on our agenda to give local governments their allocations, but we have to form a committee or agency that will check their activities. If you just give them their money without checking them, you may end up generating another poverty which will not be good for the society,” the APC candidate said
During the question and answer session, Dr Imam Umar Nadada of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Katsina State chapter, asked the contestants about their plans for farmers and farming in the state.
In their responses, the contestants explained most of their policies and programmes to include extension services, improved seeds, provision of fertiliser, mechanised and irrigation farming, among other things.
Questions were also asked regarding the place of women in the government of whosoever emerges as the winner in the gubernatorial election.
Hajiya Fatima Kaita, a participant, decried that of the over 28 appointees of the present administration, only two were women.
In their responses, the contestants gave their commitments as regards the place of women in government.
While APC’s Jobe promised to treat women with equity, Lado of PDP said 30 per cent of his appointees would be women. Rabe of NNPP said 70 per cent would be women and youths, and Jino of PRP said the place of women was sacrosanct in his party.
Another question came on what the parties have in store for herders, especially with some policies in other parts of the country banning open grazing, a situation that if not properly addressed could compound the security situation in the North.
On his part, elder statesman, Brigadier General Ahmed Daku (Rtd) advised the contestants to be faithful to their promises if elected and ensure constant monitoring and evaluation of all the projects that they would award while in office.
A leader of visually impaired persons in Katsina State, Sadiq Lawal, urged the candidates to address the challenges facing blind persons in the state.
Earlier in their various opening remarks, each of the candidates laid out their manifestoes on how they would govern the state if given the opportunity.
APC promises to solve insecurity, others
The candidate of the APC, Dr Radda, who was represented by his deputy, Jobe promised to adopt the strategy employed by the present administration to solve the security challenges facing the state.
He said the security challenges had been one of the most worrying problems, hence the need to make it among the top priorities of their administration.
“We will use the same techniques used by this administration, especially the engagement of traditional rulers, in tackling banditry,” he said.
Radda further said other areas they would prioritise included public sector administration reform, education and entrepreneurship and social care to support the underprivileged, orphans and widows.
He added that, “The Health sector will also be improved, facilities, personnel among others.”
We will tackle substance abuse, ensure projects are need-based – PDP
The candidate of the PDP, Senator Danmarke, promised to ensure that in addressing substance abuse, leaders led by example.
He also said his administration would ensure that projects to be executed were based on the priority needs of the people.
We will adopt Islamic governmental system – NNPP
The deputy governorship candidate of NNPP, Dr Darma, said if elected the party would run an Islamic-based system of government.
He said if the system was adopted, the fight against corruption would end in the state as there would be no more corruption.
He also promised to improve revenue generation that would provide more than the federal allocation the state was receiving.
He further said, “Also, as you can see, we lack a good governmental system in Katsina State. So, we will adopt a system in which the federal allocation will be 20 per cent of our IGR.”
We will pay compensation of those killed through insecurity – PRP
The candidate of PRP, Imrana Ja’afar Jino, said his administration would pay compensation for each person killed in the state as a result of insecurity.
He added that they would run a government that would be youth-inclusive as they had a great role to play in running the government.
Other candidates, including SDP’s deputy candidate, Architect Ibrahim Suleiman Bakori; Kabiru Ado of BP; and Ibrahim Saude of ZLP, also reeled out their plans for the state in areas of health, security, employment, education, youth empowerment, among others.
“We can explore one mineral resource, glass sand, that can make the state self-sufficient and not dependent on federal resources; that is what we hope to do,” the ZLP candidate said.
Politicians must fear God – Prof Lugga
The Chairman of the town hall meeting, Prof Lugga, charged the candidates to fear the Almighty God and appealed to them to be mindful of their promises and tell the voters what was reasonable.
He also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to have the fear of God in their activities.
He said, “We gathered the candidates to tell Katsina people what they have for them and for the people to ask them what they are expecting from them.
“We should fear God and promise what we can do, not to just get votes. We should remember that we will explain to God what we said and what we are going to do. God Almighty has given too much emphasis on issues of promise.
“I call on you to tell people what is reasonable and the promises that you can deliver and leave everything to God.”
For the voters, he also asked them to fear God and avoid what was not right, saying, “Only God can give leadership and He has laid down rules for leadership which must be followed. We should vote for the right people.
“INEC should fear God and ensure that they give what people voted for. For the security personnel, they should also fear Allah.”
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