By Kasim Sulaiman Abdullahi
Let me use this medium to congratulate His Excellency Alh. A. A. Yari on his landslide victory at the just concluded governorship election in Zamfara State. I hope and pray that your second term benefits the state in an even more positive way.
With elections contested, won and lost, the next stage is for the elected government and newly selected cabinet officials to settle for the business of delivering good governance to the teaming population of the state. In this regard, I would like to advice His Excellency on three major issues and which are:
As the saying goes “an educated nation is a wealthy nation”, the importance attached to education in every nation cannot be over emphasized. However, it is not encouraging, and rather disturbing the way and manner your administration is handling this very important sector in the state which is unacceptable by every standard and tenet of good governance. Perhaps I should remind you that the state government is yet to pay the 2014 Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) fees and that of the current session i.e. 2015. If your administration can spend more than N3 Billion Naira for its campaign for re-election and more than N1 Billion Naira as Ramadan feeding each year, I cannot understand why it refused to pay N250 Million to WAEC and NECO for the state’s candidates. Where the state government has decided not to pay SSCE fee henceforth, it should advise the parents of such student so that they brace up for the challenge of paying for their
It is only God that knows the number of Zamfara State indigenes that were denied the opportunity to further their education in various higher institutions of learning within and outside the state due to the lack of befitting priority given to education by your administration.
It is disheartening to also know that since the inception of your administration, the state has not paid the stipend it pays as scholarships to Zamafara State indigenes studying at various institutions in the country. Worst still, those that were on the state government scholarship abroad prior to coming of your administration have stopped receiving their bursaries thereby leaving them at the mercy of their families to cater for them. Some whose families can’t afford, have since abandoned their respective programmes and have unfortunately returned home all due to your administration’s negligence! In addition to the above, your administration has not, meritoriously, sponsored indigenes of the state on scholarships abroad save those whose relations were close to corridors of power.
Therefore, I wish to humbly advise that your administration accord this very important sector the necessary attention it deserves in order to save it from imminent collapse in this new dispensation. Moreover, imbibing and implementing a robust education policy would in return allow your government to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
Your Excellency, I wish to respectfully advice that you should, as a matter of urgency, give Human Capital Development your utmost attention. In this regard, I would like to specifically refer your attention to the accomplishment of your brother and colleague, the outgoing Governor of Kano State and Senator-Elect Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. Kindly study and borrow the blueprint from Kano State; because it is a public knowledge that Governor Kwankwaso has expended a lot of energy and resources in this regard and has so far spent close to N25 Billion Naira on human capital development. More than ten thousand Kano State indigenes have so far benefited from this gesture from the Kano State Government. There is now hardly any area of human endeavor be it medical, aviation, maritime, agriculture, administration, engineering, law to mention but a few that you will go without having at least three Kano State indigenes as beneficiaries.
I am not unmindful of the fact that the two states can’t be compared when it comes to Internal Revenue Generation. Nonetheless, I expect your Excellency’s administration to at least study this gesture with a view to replicating the same in Zamfara State bearing in mind the available resources at its disposal.
Your Excellency is aware of the grumble going on in the state with regard to the dismal performance of your administration especially as it relates to the state civil servants. I still can’t understand why your administration is unable to pay the N18,000.00 minimum wage years after its coming into being. If your administration can’t afford it, nothing stops your administration from inviting the various labour unions in the state to negotiate an agreeable amount to both parties. Going forward, an agreement could be reached with the labour unions that when the state economy and revenue income improves, both the state and the labour unions would meet and adjust the minimum wage accordingly.
Another worrisome situation in this regard is the failure of your administration to effect the payment of annual increments and promotions into the individual’s state civil servants salaries concerned. You may wish to check and confirm the various complaints going round in the civil service; for instance some civil servants have three promotions in a row but still receiving his/her previous salary before all the three promotions! How then do you expect to get the best output from such disgruntled civil service?
I am aware of your administration’s effort to engage 1400 graduates by absorbing them into the various cadres available in the state civil service. However, unfortunately, such good gesture could not materialize and possibly continue as no individual would agree to work efficiently and effectively under such brutal working condition. As it is now, based on records, no salary has been paid to the teaming youth for more than one year after receipt of appointment letters, documentation and resumption on duty!
Going forward, your administration must look into this and come up with a robust welfare package on the state workforce so as to re-position the state civil service for a good work output. Adoption of strategies like construction of mass housing for allocation to civil servants on owner occupier basis, car and furniture loans will in no small measure uplift the living standard of the civil servants as well as boosting their morale and motivation for a greater output.
Your Excellency, it is my utmost hope that your administration looks into these critical areas as discussed above and give each point raised the utmost attention it deserves. I, on my humble part, will invite like minds, who are professionals in their own fields, to liaise with me, as part of my well-intended and selfless contribution to the development of Zamfara State, for the purpose of coming up with a comprehensive and robust blueprint that will be submitted to Your Excellency for the betterment and upliftment of our dear state to an enviable position among its peers.