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New governors in North West need to come together

Dr Umaru Dikko Radda, the Katsina State governor-elect, during a recent one-on-one interview with Trust TV, called for a new approach to tackling the persistent…

Dr Umaru Dikko Radda, the Katsina State governor-elect, during a recent one-on-one interview with Trust TV, called for a new approach to tackling the persistent security challenges in the North West of the country. He opined that the incoming governors of the zone should bring in new ideas and zeal to the table since they are all first time governors. This is the only zone which has no returning governor among the six geo-political zones.

This is not only a brilliant idea by the governor-elect, but a no-brainer in the battle to salvage the most populated, least developed and ‘multi-dimensionally’ poor zone in the country. Indeed, if you travel through most of the rural communities and local government areas of the region, the theme of hunger, insecurity, unfunded and insufficient health centres, uncompleted and dilapidated classroom blocks litter the towns and rural communities. The zone has experienced a vicissitude of fortunes within the last decade. Not that many did not see this coming.

Moreover, uncultivated, abandoned and poorly cultivated but fertile farmlands can be seen as one travels through on road networks infested with potholes, shoulder drop-offs and rain patches, making the seven states different merely by imaginary boundaries, but not so much on ground and in the predicaments being faced.

From Zuru town in Kebbi State to Anka in Zamfara State, down to Faskari or Jibia in Katsina State, there is palpable apprehension of bandit attacks which directly affects farming and activities in periodic markets across these states. This also affects the villages in Isa and Sabon-Birni local government areas of Sokoto State, the same way the terrorists have pillaged Sabon-Birni and Giwa towns in Kaduna State.

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A very big step in the right direction is for the seen fresh incoming governors to constitute a never-before-seen union for the development and protection of their states. This should not be akin to the politically-styled regional governors’ forums that we are used to seeing. The focus should be on the most glaring challenges affecting the region; fighting insecurity, reducing poverty through the stimulation of agriculture in industrial scales, educational development and improvement of health services and infrastructure.

The possibilities of progress are unlimited if the seven governors are to quickly develop a united and binding policy thrust, especially with the exigency of the insecurity bedevilling no fewer than six of the seven states of the region. An agreement should be signed by the governors and the support of the executive and all relevant agencies to make the agreement a success be signed. The idea is to have uniformity in progress, in the same way there is uniformity in underdevelopment.

It goes without saying that most of the millions of people affected by the negative developmental indices in the region are chained together and hence cannot care less where help comes from, if it comes. Kazaure town is closer to Kano and Katsina states than it is close to most of the local government areas in Jigawa State. Same can be said about Faskari town, which is closer to Gusau, Zamfara State, than Katsina State. I could go on but you get the point. So, which geographical boundaries, then?

In truth, time will not be on the incoming governors’ side. INEC, the nation’s electoral umpire, is getting more innovative at every election cycle, just as we have seen with the effectiveness of card readers and the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System in the just concluded elections. The will of the people is getting increasingly harder to suppress. 2027 will be another year for consequences of performance or failure. The progress of our region should come in geometric progression, such that it requires a united, selfless, non-partisan and patriotic resolve. It is by these commitments that our incoming governors can make ‘4 plus 4’ possible. Certainly not through toothless gatherings that are headlined by handshakes and photo ops, which look more like Hollywood red-carpet events than serious solution-oriented gatherings.


Aliyu Sulaiman Hadejia, a freelance writer and banker, wrote from Katsina

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