I was delighted to be included among notable Nigerians to be awarded the Nigerian National Honours by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022.
The Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) Honour, which I received, is one of the prestigious national awards given by the Nigerian government to recognise and honour Nigerian citizens who have made significant contributions to the development of the country in various fields, such as arts, science, academia, business, and public service. It was also a particularly great feeling to be from Katsina State, as 14 of us from the state were presented various honours at the investiture ceremony.
The state government immediately congratulated all of us, and curiously enough, only one gubernatorial aspirant in the then upcoming elections also congratulated us with a full page in the national dailies. I thanked him for his recognition and congratulations over a text message, and he responded promptly and happily.
The next time I would speak to him, Dr Dikko Umar Radda, had been declared governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in what was a clear triumph of reason and democratic enlightenment in Katsina State.
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Many believed that Dr Radda presents an opportunity for Katsina State to break from a conservative, often slow progress and attain a swifter, if not better, developmental trajectory with fresh leadership to build on Governor Masari’s administration and its predecessors.
I observed with keen interest the career and qualities of the governor-elect, and through candid interactions with him, I realised not only his genuine disposition towards good governance but also his keen desire for a smart, inclusive, and purpose-driven administration in the state.
He would certainly bring a fresher perspective to problem-solving, which often leads to innovative solutions. I have listened to him on a few occasions analyse problems and describe creative ways of addressing the challenges facing the state.
I have always argued that governance, especially in Nigeria, should be predominantly about problem-solving. Excelling at it requires creativity and innovation to look at challenges in different ways and address them by breaking out of established patterns if the need arises. I have no doubt that the capacity to do precisely this type of problem-solving exists within the person of the governor-elect and also among the people he would eventually choose to surround himself with.
Despite debilitating challenges ranging from increased insecurity to an unproductive economy, I am confident that with the right and consistent brainpower, energy levels, and enthusiasm for their work, any governor can confront the challenges head-on and attain solutions of varying degrees of efficacy. The best they can do mostly revolves around inspiring and motivating their colleagues and constituents to work towards common goals and achieve desired outcomes.
Once again, this is a matter in which the governor-elect will certainly excel, having demonstrated his ability for such at various levels of leadership in Nigeria.
You could also tell that, having been a young leader himself, Dr Radda may be more in tune with the needs and aspirations of the younger population in Katsina State. More than ever, the state has an opportunity to represent the voice of the youth and ensure that their concerns and priorities are heard and addressed through him, and I have high hopes that he will not only listen to but also be the voice of the youth of Katsina.
Also, it goes without saying that any governor in this day and age should be more tech-savvy and digitally literate to leverage technology to improve governance, communication, and service delivery in the state. From what I observe, he hopes to run one of the most digitally advanced governments in the federation, which we hope to see.
I am a fervent supporter of reform and growth for not only Katsina State but Nigeria as a whole, and I can only hope that this administration succeeds in delivering on the many promises it has made to the electorate. However, I believe that electing Dr Radda remains an imperative to a tenure of great prosperity for Katsina State. May God grant him and all the Nigerian leaders absolute success.