My vision for Jigawa state (11)

Mustapha Sule Lamido

Today, I will begin by urging our dear people to go and collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in various local government offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Those who have not registered should also spare their time to do so immediately. INEC has extended voter’s registration effective from June 30, 2022. I call on all my fellow Jigawa citizens to use this opportunity to register. As at today, there are about 20 million uncollected PVCs in Nigeria. Between June and December, 2021 alone, there were 33,183 unclaimed PVCs in Jigawa state. Register to vote, it is your right. Collect your PVC and use it to change the future of our state and country.

Moving forward, I want to make two things clear; first, my vision is not close-ended, meaning that it is flexible enough to accommodate your demands and observations. Therefore, you can always share them with me and my team so that we can see how to incorporate them into the vision. After all, the vision doesn’t belong to me alone, it is for all Jigawans. Second, I will continue to make wider consultations with all the people I aspire to serve because I don’t have the monopoly of all the solutions. This means, I am not aspiring to rule Jigawa but to govern it through your inspiration and encouragement.

To achieve our vision for Jigawa state, we will need national and international partnerships. As such, I have already started working with our PDP presidential candidate, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar. I have intimated him on the need to give special attention to Jigawa state if he becomes president. I have already started making efforts to understand the dynamics of establishing partnerships with international organisations for a working and beneficial relationship with Jigawa state and its people.

From public reactions, I understand many people are questioning our ability to implement this vision. Some mischief makers even reported that we claim to make Jigawa work without federal allocations once elected. This is not true, we are not magicians. What we are saying is that we have developed short- and long-term plans to take Jigawa to greater heights. The execution of those plans would depend on so many factors including the level of support and cooperation we get from the people. We cannot do it alone.

Jigawa is currently ranked the third poorest state in Nigeria with a poverty level of 87.2%. This is a negative narrative that we must together strive very hard to change. With a projected 2022 population of 6,842,307, our state has adequate manpower to turn its fortunes around. If only one million Jigawans can be motivated and supported to generate extra N3,000 weekly from their businesses, that will be N3 billion per week or N12 billion monthly. Compare this with our federal allocation for the month of July, 2021, which was only N5.6 billion. Together, we can do it.

Already, we have our team of experts that are gathering data from the 27 local government areas on current successes and challenges of the state. The data gathering will be intensified if we win the elections. Immediately after swearing-in, which gives us access to privileged government information, we will have a comprehensive assessment of Jigawa state’s of affairs. Once we do that, we will share the necessary information with the public and release a timeline within weeks. All these will determine the speed with which we can implement our vision. As I said earlier, it’s not going to be magic, neither is it going to be a one-day job.

The next step is to assemble patriotic, dedicated and competent team that will get down to work immediately. Already, I have a competent deputy governorship candidate, Dr. Babandi Ibrahim Gumel, who is a technocrat. Together, we have been identifying and penning down competent people that will potentially work for our administration. We are not concerned about prominence or popularity of such people, but their commitment and competence. We will have a periodic evaluation mechanism of all appointees and anybody who is not able to deliver will have to give way for better people to come in. Nobody will be indispensable if Jigawa is not his priority.

To think that unity is not achievable in Jigawa state is too pessimistic. Once we put in place a strong and trust-worthy government that is just and fair to all, unity of purpose will be achieved. Unifying a people doesn’t mean abolishing all their differences or completely diluting their diversities, it means motivating and persuading them to work for their common development, irrespective of such differences. We also have specific policies under review to make this a reality which we cannot make public now for obvious reasons. We shall revamp local governance by ensuring a dynamic, functional and independent local government system. Ministries and public institutions will be repositioned to cut waste, increase efficiency and serve only the people and not selfish interests.

I understand the concerns of some patriotic citizens who have doubts over my experience. I have three things to say on this. First, working in the civil service or holding many government positions is not the only yardstick for competence. Leadership is not all about administration, a good administrator can still be a bad leader. Second, we have seen many people in Nigeria who have been in administration and have held government positions for several years but still failed woefully in governance. In fact, this is almost the norm. At about my age, the late governor of old Kano state Muhammad Abubakar Rimi was already on his way to becoming one of the greatest governors in Nigeria’s history. So, what are we talking about? Third, the position of governor is not a one man’s job, the office is run, supported and checkmated by the executive council, civil service, legislators and even the judiciary. It is not an office that one does whatever he wishes or takes and implement decisions unilaterally.

With this, I believe I have concluded the introductory part of my vision. In my next article, I will go directly into the core issues that will turnaround Jigawa state. The first is education, which will be the major priority of my administration. The next is education and more education.

Mustapha is the Jigawa state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for the 2023 general elections.

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