By Comrade Abdullahi AliyuJari
By Comrade Home of heritage and hospitality, the remote North Western state of Katsina was born 26 years ago from the defunct North central comprising now Katsina and Kaduna States. Katsina, the home to over 6 million people (2006 census) was the fourth most populated state in Nigeria. With Katsina been its Capital, the state have 34 local government councils, thus the second in the federation after Kano.
Katsina houses Hausa and Fulani, peacfully and cohabiting together. Islam is the dominant faith of the State then followed by traditional pagans in about 3 local governments. Over 96 percent of the population of the state are muslims and indigenous of the state. Katsina and Daura Emirates constitute the modern day Katsina. Katsina Emirate is having 28 local government councils, while Daura is having only 6. The two Emirates are among the oldest existing Hausa States which can be dated back to 1 thousand years ago. Colonel Abdullahi Sarki Muktar was the first Governor of Katsina State after the creation of the State by President Babangida in September 1987. Then followed by col. Achelono and col. Madawaki. Sa’idu Barda was the first indigenous Governor of the State.
After the return of Democracy in 1999, the state was blessed with Governor Yar’adua as its leader. Yar’adua, a humble gentle lecturer from a noble family. Son to a one time Minister and bother to a Deputy President, Yar’adua is undoubtedly the best Governor the state has ever witnessed. He set the face for the rapid and unprecedented level of development of the State. His pragmatic approach to rural development is his greatest legacy. He created the Rural water supply and sanitation agency (RUWASA), Local electrification and empowerment project (LEEMP) and a lot other projects. He set the morality of politics in the state. Politics of “show me what you got”.
Not politics of giving money, slander or “stomach infrastructure”. Youth restiveness was never tolerated under his administration. Katsina been the state with the highest population of youths ( 2006 census), youths development, education and empowerment took the center stage during his tenure. He utilizes the state resources well. We never know anything like loan during his tenure, that is why even now Gov. Shema never secure any loan or credit for the state. Yar’adua later became the president of Nigeria and Katsina had a first hand dividend of Democracy and good governance. There after Gov. Shema succeeded Yar’adua and we sow the ripe of continuity.
Governor shema extended to where yar”adua stopped. On going projects were completed before new ones where started. The completion of Ummaru Musa Yar’adua Airport and University is a case study of the beauty of continuity. So was the dualized Katsina township roads. Most of the political actors continue with Shema as they saw him as the continuity of Yar’adua without much power struggle.
Katsina is a blessed state. Katsina is one of the most literate states of the Federation. With the youth craft centers established by the Government, the issue of poverty will soon be addressed. The unity of the people of the state is outstanding. Their welcoming attitude is like no other. Their tolerance and peaceful nature is a dream for every other state.
Like everything that exists, Katsina has many challenges that it is facing. Among the many challenges is the menace of Kauraye (area boys) that are cultivating terror in the state. Though the government is doing something about it, but still that remains a challenge the government should concentrate on. The area boys are trying to create a family within the state, just like in the US in the 60s, area boys are forcing people to stay indoors immediately after 9 pm. Their presence is really felt on our economic and social setting as a lot of lawful businesses like accomoran (okada) flourishes in the night.
Poverty and employment are yet another challenge driving the state backward. With the highest number of youth across the federation, Katsina state and the federal government should help Katsina state establish more youth craft centers that will provide more jobs to the youths which will in turn take them away from hooliganism, political thuggery among other menace. This is because, poverty and unemployment is directly proportional to hooliganism and violence provided government remains dormant.
Among other challenges the state is facing is the situation of politics in the state. It is now 14 years since the return of democracy, but still the political actors are not matured and for the people. The ruling party crisis is not a news development for the State. The major opposition party is redundant and dormant except during elections. They do not challenge the ruling party. They only want to win seat under the shadow of their popular national leader. With elections just 5 months away, up to now no tangible aspirant is out on both the 2 major parties in the State. Is high time elders in the state intervene and select salable candidates from both the 2 major parties among which the people will chose one.
Still some element in what they called “Katsina South and North are still agitating for Creation of Karaduwa and Bayajidda States respectively. I respect their view and feelings, but it is also my opinion that creating more and more states in Nigeria is counter-productive. Because the issue of statism, and indigene rights will continue to divide us.
If they want power, then they should compete for it. It can never be simple given to them. Their complaint is always Katsina central is housing every state and federal establishment, they always talk about Hassan Usman polytechnic, Ummaru Musa Yaradua University ( state) , federal university Dustinma, Isa kaita college of Education, Federal College of Education, National Open University, Katsina still rolling mills, katsinaNeem seed factor etc. Well it is true that they are all in Katsina central including many others. But they should understand that Katsina central virtually contains half the population of the state. About 15 out of 34 local government councils are in Katsina central. They should aspire more and work harder, patience and hard work will surely quench their grievances one day. On the overall, Katsina is fast developing. Its development can be said to supersede its challenge. With prayers and fear of God, Allah will surely continue to bless the State and the people of the state.
Comrade Abdulbaqi AliyuJari wrote in from Katsina.