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Politics Kaduna: 7 Significant Things That Happened In Governor El-Rufai's One Year In Office


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In Kaduna State, pundits believed that governor El-Rufai’s outing in the last one year has been impressive considering the programmes and policies he initiated to really bring Kaduna back to life. Analysts are of the opinion that, El-Rufai’s government in one year has brought the desire change and that there is hope of restoring Kaduna’s pride again.

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Predictably, the reaction to his one year tenure has varied. While many say he has started on a good note, many also say he has equally raised concerns in many areas due to his style of leadership.

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1. Demolitions:
During the campaign for the governorship election that brought him to office, El-Rufai’s popular nickname was ‘Mai rusau’ which was coined after his antecedents at the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), where as a minister,demolished many illegal structures.After winning the governorship election, it was not clear if the coinage had anything to do with it, but it became clear that the governor was more than eager to replicate what he did in Abuja.One of the first actions by his government was to identify illegal encroachments on properties belonging to government, or meant for schools, and to push for the reclamation of such lands.The three major ones were the Alhudahuda College, in Zaria local government; the land belonging to Rimi College and that of Government College both in Kaduna.It became a big issue because those that acquired the lands were the influential people in the society.

2. Trimming of Ministries: Shortly after taking over, he reduced the number of ministries to 13 and appointed 13 commissioners though the previous government had 24. Later, the governor slashed overheads of top government functionaries by 40 percent, as the governor and his deputy took pay cuts, and later extended the measure to their political appointees. Most of the actions met with feeble resistance.

3. Clash with the Shiites:
In the middle of December, last year, Kaduna witnessed a major crisis with the clash between the Nigeria Army and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites,in which by the government’s admission, 347 persons lost their lives while properties belonging to mainly Shiites members were destroyed.Incidentally, the issue of security has been top most on the agenda of the government to tackle as Kaduna has an unenviable history of crises.State government officials say that was why one of the first things the state government did, was to set up the retired General Martin Luther Agwai’s committee to look into the insecurity situation in Southern Kaduna. The committee has since submitted its report and the processes and recommendations, according to the government, has reduced the intensity and frequency of the killings in the area.Recently, the government also donated 51 motorcycles to the police and other security agencies. This is in continuation of previous support, including 107 vehicles and bullet proof vests.It also launched and executed operations against cattle rustling and criminal gangs in the forest ranges around Birnin-Gwari, in collaboration with neighbouring states, and with the support of the military, the police and the SSS.

4. School Feeding Programme:
One of the projects that attracted interests from the cross the country is the introduction of the School Feeding Programme which aims at providing free feeding in primary schools in the state. This took off amidst skepticisms but was launched and sustained, covering over 1.5 million pupils.Making education a priority, the state government went ahead to rehabilitate schools and provided furniture on a large scale. The government says more than N6 billion has been spent between September 2015 and January 2016 on school upgrade and provision of furniture.The government also abolished the collection of fees and levies in public primary and junior secondary schools and said by doing so it was saving parents the sum of N3 billion every year.

5. Health Sector:
Similarly, many have hailed the governor for his intervention in the health sector. The idea of bringing Primary Health Care under one roof ensured that workers were moved from local government service to state civil service.This, many say, has improved service delivery even as the government is planning to equip the hospitals with labs that can screen even unborn children to determine their genotypes.

6. Religious Preaching Bill:
Governor El-Rufai has equally received heavy bashing due to some of his policies, the most virulent being the bill to regulate religious preaching in the state.The Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), and Council of Ulamas have openly opposed the bill, saying they were not consulted before it was submitted to the House of Assembly.

7: Introduction of Modern Cabs:
The introduction of modern cabs in the state, for has also been hailed. The car hire service scheme was introduced to provide additional option for the people of the state. Two hundred new Peugeot and Kia cars were launched.
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For the people of Kaduna State, the one year of El-Rufai administration has been a year of activities filled with controversies, of work with occasional worries and with hopes accompanied with fears. Indeed many say there have been no dull moments.
 

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