The 2023 gubernatorial elections and subsequent emergence of Dr. Umar Dikko Radda as the Katsina Governor-elect in the last Saturday gubernatorial elections was devoid of rancour and political violence that characterized elections in other states.
Apart from competence, sound education and proven records of achievements in public service, Dr. Radda’s victory was influenced by his appeal to youths population who yearned for better governance and his wide acceptability among the people of the state especially the elites who believe the young and promising politician can provide visionary and purposeful leadership that will return the state to its preeminent status as the most peaceful and hospitable state in the North West geo-political zone.
His election is indeed a bold relief for the teeming unemployed youths in the state who have been agitating for better living conditions, opportunities and a brighter future. Also, the good people of the state who had suffered untold hardship in the hands of kidnappers, bandits and sundry criminal elements in more than a decade would like to see their state return to peace and security and even development as the home of peace and hospitality.
It is gratifying to note that Radda will be bringing to the table his wealth of experience as a technocrat and as a consummate politician who had held various public offices at different times.
Given his pedigree, the new Governor-elect who is no stranger to the development challenges of the agrarian state, will quickly settle down to work. Picking members of his cabinet will not be a herculean task either as he is already at home with the state’s technocrats, bureaucrats and the business class just as he is chummy with the religious and traditional institutions. His cognate experience as a one-time local council chairman and former chief of staff to the governor will stand him in good stead in working with the state legislature which is already dominated by his party, the APC.
With painstaking efforts, the state can embark on massive irrigation development in all parts of the state to arrest youth restiveness, rural-urban migration and improve the socio-economic leaving conditions of the populace. Already, the state is host to various irrigation infrastructure projects in Jibia Dam, Sabke Dam, Ajiwa Dam, Dutsin Ma Dam, Gwaigwaye Dam and lots of small earth dams under the auspices of the Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority. Besides irrigation, these water bodies can also be used for fisheries, livestock development and hydropower generation. As the largest employer of labour, agriculture plays a catalytic role in commerce and industrialization providing raw materials for industries and creating jobs through the multiplier effect.
The state is also endowed with tourism potentials such as the famous Gobarau minaret and City Walls in Katsina, the Kusugu Well in Daura, Durbi Ta kusheyi in Mani, Kogo Cave in Faskari, the Dajin Rugu Forest Reserve and colourful festivals such as the annual Durbar in Katsina and Sallar Gani in Daura. The state government can improve on these cultural monuments and festivals to attract tourists to the states which enjoy relative peace and tranquility.
Just like any other state in the country, Katsina also has huge deposits of solid minerals such as kaolin, Limestone, Gem stones and others in commercial quantities which can be harnessed through value addition and the provision of legal and regulatory framework.
What the incoming administration needs to do quickly is to take advantage of these dams to develop massive irrigation infrastructure for the production of cash and food crops all year round. The resuscitation of the Gusau-Zaria Railway line and the construction of new rail linking Katsina with Maradi in Niger Republic is a further boost to the development drive of the state as it would provide haulage services for the transportation of people and farm produce to industrial and population centres.
Being host to several industries which include Funtua textile limited, Funtua oil crushing company, Funtua ginnery, Northern diaries limited, Funtua bottling company, Jargaba oil mill company, Integrated flour Mills, Funtua Burnt Brickworks limited, Dalema Modern bakery limited, Fertilizer Blending Plant, Katsina Steel Rolling Mill, and the establishment of an inland container port in Funtua will further accelerate rapid industrialisation and create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths not only in the state but the entire sub-region.
With the location of the dry port in Funtua, what remains now is for the state government to support the project by establishing an industrial park in close proximity equipped with state of the art infrastructure.
Since successive administrations have made giant strides in infrastructure development and capacity building in the state, and given the dwindling fortunes of the monthly allocation, it is right and proper for the in-coming administration to embrace economic diversification especially in agriculture, tourism and solid minerals to generate employment and create wealth for the teeming masses of the state.
Ibrahim Mohammed, Bello Anache Road, Funtua, Katsina State email: [email protected]