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Governor Shema and his ardent critics

Since his assumption of office as governor of Katsina State, Barrister Shema has performed creditably well to the extent that the Central Bank of Nigeria…

Since his assumption of office as governor of Katsina State, Barrister Shema has performed creditably well to the extent that the Central Bank of Nigeria gave him an award for the best state in implementation of Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) in year 2008. The state won the African Independent Television (AIT) award for the fastest growing state capital in Nigeria.
It also bagged the Universal Basic Education Commission’s (UBEC) award for the best performing state in the implementation of UBE projects, with a cash reward of N700 million. All these are just a tip of the iceberg among the numerous awards and honour received by Governor Shema-led administration for institutionalizing good governance and promoting best practices in public administration.
Shema is one governor who does not believe in subterfuge aimed at deceiving the public and creating a false impression where there is none. His own doctrine of good governance is all about talking less and doing more, while allowing the volume of achievements in virtually all areas of governance to speak for him. Today, the testimony of his achievements is the people of the state who benefitted immensely from the projects.
At the cost of almost a billion naira, over 10,000 families across the state have benefitted from the Katsina State government Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme, aimed at providing cash support to poor households on the condition that those households enrolled and supported their children’s education. Similarly, to support the almajiri education, Governor Shema has built over 70 Allo Model Schools across the 34 local government areas in the state, with total students’ population of 17,091. In this Allo model schools, everything is free for the pupils, including feeding and school uniforms. This contributed greatly to the upsurge in the school’s enrolment figure.
To support girl-child education, apart from abolishing of all school fees, establishment of 34 girls primary schools, one in each 34 local government area of the state, the government also ensure provision of buses to girls across the state.
Within the seven year administration of Governor Shema, over 200 secondary schools were built across the state. Similarly, over 2000 housing units were built across the state. In the past seven years, no child going to public school in the state paid school fees. Primary and secondary  education is free and any child writing WAEC and NECO or SSCE  examination does not pay the fees; the state government pays for it 100 per cent.
Also, over 700 students have been sent abroad for foreign studies in critical areas of need in the state. They specialize in areas like Pharmacy, Medicine, Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Marine Engineering, Physiotherapy, Dentistry and Geology. It is on record that the state government has paid upfront to the universities the entire course fees for five years for these students – the duration of which the study will last. This gesture, in no small measure allows these students to concentrate, solely on their studies.
The government pays stipends to these students, pay for their accommodation, gives them books’ allowance. From this programme, there is no local government in Katsina State today that does not have a medical doctor, a pharmacist, marine engineer, environmental engineer, physiotherapist, and radiologist that were sponsored for foreign study by the state government.
The state government has built 361 clinics in 361 wards in the state, in collaboration with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 80 primary health centers were built. Governor Shema’s administration has built 250 bed orthopaedic hospital, which is being regarded as one of the best in West Africa.
For the Nigerian economy to get out of the woods, public accountability and transparency should serve as the hallmark of governance. The government needs to execute people-oriented projects without string of politics attached to them. This is what Governor Shema has done successfully.
Anyone who has monitored Nigeria’s political arena closely will not only discover that Governor Shema’s brand of politics is premised on a high sense of responsibility. He has also distinguished himself in terms of prudent management of scarce resources.  It is to his credit that since his entrance into politics and up till date, he has never uttered any abusive word or foul language against his critics and opponents, even in the face of unwarranted provocations.
Muktar Bello wrote from WTC Road in Katsina, Katsina State.

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