Proposal for the Development of Kaduna State submitted by Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora, U. S. A. (SOKAD-U. S. A.), to His Excellency, Governor Yero, July 23, 2013.
Education is a very important transforming force and is the foundation of modern society. We are concerned that the provision of educational services and institutions is unevenly distributed in favor of urban areas and the northern part of the state. The day secondary school system has become a convenient claim to illustrate that rural areas and the southern part of the state are receiving secondary education, when in reality it is merely a myth. Many of the day schools are nothing more than glorified primary schools. Many of the graduates of these schools can barely read or write and cannot further their education beyond these schools because of their rudimentary services. There is a need for educational justice in the state and a comprehensive re-examination of its education services. We therefore make the following suggestions:
- Refocusing on, prioritizing, and rethinking of primary and secondary education as the foundation of education.
- It is troubling to see how mosques have been built in our public schools and are in full public view, while churches, even those that existed before government took over schools, have either been demolished or walled off from public view. Reducing religious differences and discrimination in education and educational institutions should be your top priority.
- Updating and equipping the existing educational institutions with information and digital technology and access to the Internet.
- Incentivizing and motivating teachers.
- Each of the three zones in the state should have at least one magnet boarding secondary school for our best students.
- There should be active cooperation between civil societies and credible non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the provision of educational services.
- While we applaud the progress made at the Kafanchan campus of Kaduna State University, an accelerated effort should be made to make it fully functional as soon as possible.
- A task force should be set up to consider returning schools the state took over from private owners back to private hands.
Agriculture and Rural Development
Farming is still a subsistence economy and predominantly family and rural based. It is the essence of family and the rural economy. Unfortunately, the rural population is aging and the younger generation is uninterested in farming. This has contributed to the disturbing rural-urban drift the state has been experiencing. The government’s policies should be geared toward creating an environment for an enduring sustainable rural agricultural and development. We suggest the following:
- The government should have a comprehensive program to encourage family and rural farming for food production, raw material for agro-allied industries, and less emphasis on large-scale agriculture.
- Local governments (LGs), or groups of LGs and/or community organizations, should be involved in creating centers for agriculture. These should be resource and educational centers for both traditional and modern agricultural practices, fishery, beekeeping, and livestock production, and places where famers can borrow farming equipment.
- Each LG or group of LGs should create a farm cooperative to reduce the influence of middlemen and give each famer a fair return for his/her efforts.
- One of the most important functions of LG councils should be to promote rural agriculture and to grant loans to farmers.
- Encourage private agro-allied industries where farmers can sell raw material.
- The state enjoys a fairly good network of roads, but there are some parts of our rural areas still lacking in this regard. Consideration should be directed toward those areas lacking in feeder roads.
- The revamping of the railway system should continue to be a top priority of the state government.
- Because of overgrazing and overuse of artificial fertilizers, the state is gradually being depleted of its natural ecosystem and resources. The rivers, creeks, and streams are dying rapidly because of sedimentation and the soil losing its nutrients. Something should be done about it. Most importantly, water reservoirs should be constructed and the rivers, creeks, and streams dredged. Serious grassroots forestation campaigns of tree planting should be embarked upon. This should not be done through contract awards to large organizations, but through the state, local governments, and NGOs providing seedlings to communities and families to plant.
We applaud the tree planting efforts of the state in villages and the efforts to provide drinking water. However, it is saddened that most of the drilled wells are not functioning and some have been abandoned; and some of the bridges constructed over rivers, creeks, streams are nothing but glorified culverts. All contracts for wells and bridges should be audited because we suspect that a massive scam and fraud is involved.
One most effective and cheap means for providing water - better than drilling wells- in Southern Kaduna, is to dredgethe springs,rivers, streams, and creeks, many of which are dead or dying. It will not only provide drinking water but also means for aquatic farming and irrigation.
Health is the foundation for all social and economic activities. A healthy population is a productive population, and a productive population is a happy population. The importance of health cannot therefore be overemphasized. Kaduna state’s healthcare system, like all states in the country, is grounded on Western orthodox medical practice, where the emphasis is on the biomedical model, a legacy of our colonial experience. Thus, the provision of health services is based largely on treatment and cure and less on education and prevention. We observed that the distribution of healthcare services has favored the urban population at the expense of the rural and has tended to be placed specifically on three levels of primary, secondary and tertiary health institutions for rural, mixed population, and urban elite respectively. Also, in terms of infrastructural distribution of healthcare, the rural areas (which are the majority) are being neglected to satisfy the urban areas—where the urban elite, the educated, the rich, and government functionaries reside. We have also observed the lack of equitable distribution of health services along zonal divides. There is a need therefore for justice in healthcare services for both the rural-urban and north-south divide and for health services to be free or affordable. We suggest the following:
- A redistribution of healthcare services and institutions to benefit all.
- A focus on preventive medical practice and education. For this reason, the priority should be, in ascending order:
- Primary health structures. Hence, rural health centers, which are inarguably the first points of call for the sick and injured persons, should be equipped and staffed or created. Rural health centers or clinics undertake mild healthcare cases, such as treatment for malaria, fever, cold, and health emergencies, among others. They are especially important for milder health problems and health education. Each village should have one, equipped with basic medicine and health equipment, and staffed with at least a nurse and nursing aides.
- Secondary health institutions. These are the comprehensive health centers. There should be one in every LG, staffed with at least a physician, a pharmacist, nurses, and nursing aides.
- Tertiary health institutions, which receive more than half of the health funding. These are the larger hospitals/teaching hospitals. There should be one in each of the three zones, equipped and staffed as befitting of modern hospitals.
- The government should embark on a sustainable and enduring public healthcare education program to educate citizens on basic health issues, their etiology, prevention, and cure. This should be done in partnership with credible NGOs. Much of this health education should be one of the functions of the primary and secondary tiers of the state healthcare system.
- Considering that majority of the population is poor, healthcare service and drug prescriptions should be free or affordable for those utilizing local and state health services.
The rate of unemployment among university graduates is very high and troubling, and Nigerians have developed a culture of dependency upon the government for jobs. It is embedded in the concept of the civil servant, a colonial legacy. Few of our youths go to school with the intention of working for any employer other than the government. This must change. We suggest:
- The development of a functioning private sector in close partnership with the state and local governments:
- Encouraging the establishment of medium, small, and family or traditional businesses through business grants and micro loans. Such businesses, more than the modern large companies, have been the source of sustenance for the majority of families in the state, especially in urban areas.
- Similar to operation Feed the Nation in the early 1970s, the state should embark on Operation Graduate Employment tackling youth employment and training and encouraging university graduates to become business entrepreneurs. It will support youth employment programs that aim to engage youths actively in productive employment, especially in small businesses, rather than waiting for government employment.
- Reducing government regulations, official corruption in establishing and operating small and medium businesses; and protecting businesses, especially rural farmers from price fluctuations and manipulation by middlemen.
- The current system of tax generation and tax collection should be made easier. There is much revenue to collect from businesses in the state, but because people are not educated in the system, especially income assessment, in combination with the corruption in the system, a large amount of revenue is lost.
- The state should set up a committee to examine the existing government-owned industries in the state with a view toward determining their viability and continuing government expenditure.
- Most of the state and federal governments’ industries are located in Zaria and Kaduna. Future location of industries—foreign or indigenous, state or federal—should be located outside these two cites.
- More efforts for future industries should be agro-allied so as to be fed from the raw material of ginger, sugar cane, and fruits produced by rural farmers
- Much as we believe that the state should attract foreign investments, we sincerely believe that more attention should be placed on indigenous medium, small, and family businesses as the proximate and long-term solutions to the state’s economic and unemployment problems. To attract foreign businesses to the state, the government should create a corruption-free business environment, be vigilant of businesses that are there to be exploitative, be certain that the state is not used as a dumping ground for defective products, and be sure that indigenes of the state are trained to participate in the knowledge of the foreign business.
Security is the foundation of everything else. Without it, our pursuit of a better life through education, agriculture, social policies, and business is difficult, if not impossible. The aftermath of the April, 2011 presidential election revealed that Kaduna State is still a hotbed of religious and ethnic intolerance and violence. We are greatly saddened by what happened; and is happening: the bombings in Kaduna and Zaria, the killings and maiming of people in Kaura, Jema’a, Jaba, Zangon Kataf, and other Local Government areas in southern Kaduna, is troubling and in human. This recent development in the state showed the urgent need to protect lives and property and to find an enduring solution to the killing the state has experienced since the 1980s.
We appreciate what the state government is doing to protect everyone, but there is a lot to be done We applaud the government for Operation Yaki, which has reduced the incidents of kidnapping and armed robbery in the state, but much more needs to be done with regard to interreligious and inter-ethnic relations. The Fulani herders, whom had lived in harmony with farmers in southern Kaduna for generations, have become politicized, indoctrinated, and infiltrated by evil forces peddling religion and ethnic hegemony. As a result, the Fulani have dropped the sick and pick up the gun as traditional weapon of herding, and are killing and meaning the farmers they once symbiotically interacted with. The next security problem that the state faces is not so much Boko haram, but the Fulani herders who have morphed into a destructive force more lethal than Boko Haram.
We applaud the state for supporting the 2002 Kaduna Peace Declaration by Christian and Muslim clerics, which kept the state free of religious violence until April 2011. We suggest that this declaration be annually reaffirmed and renewed by a state conference of stakeholders.
It was gladdened that the government of your predecessor set up a Peace and Reconciliation Committee to, among other things, bring about reconciliation and coexistence. We, in the diaspora, made submission to the committee (see attachment A). We hope that the recommendations of the committee are adhered to and implemented.
We also applaud the state for setting up a Commission of Inquiry on the April 2011 crisis. In any time such commission is set up, it should consist of people of integrity, who transcend religious and ethnic categories. Recommendations emanating from these commissions should be fair, and seen to be fair. The perpetrators of any carnage should be identified and punished. But in doing so, justice demands that we see the difference between those who initiated the crisis and those who merely protected themselves. When the state fails to protect its citizens, it is only human for citizens to protect themselves. All commissions of inquiry into crises should be aware of that.
As part of safeguarding lives and property, we suggest that the government embark on an effort to rid the state of the stash of non-traditional weapons that has proliferated in the state. We also suggest that a comprehensive program be embarked upon to deport foreigners who are being used to create trouble in the state.
Creation of a Gurara State
One of the ultimate achievements of your governorship should be the realization of a new State. Fortunately, both the northern and southern parts of the start are in agreement that Kaduna state should be split in two. A cardinal reality of our nation’s development is to reach the grassroots, and one way to reach the grassroots is state creation. It is foolhardy for any politician not to support state creation for their people. Your government and party should support the splitting of Kaduna State in two, in words and in deeds. We, in the diaspora, and Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), have made submissions for the creation of a Gurara State. We implore you, on behalf of the people, to make this a top priority and devote funds and human capital toward the realization of a Gurara State. Members of both chambers of the National Assembly have concluded a listening tour of States and Local Governments on the amendment of our constitution during which time advocates for state creation were heard. Your government should work with our legislators who represent the state for the actualization of the new State
When Governor Yakowa, your predecessor, passed, and you took over, we did welcome and congratulate you (see attachment B), and when you appointed Ambassador Bajoga Nuhu as your Deputy, we did not hesitate to welcome and congratulate you on the appointment (see attachment B). The reality in Kaduna State is that Southern Kaduna is marginalized. Things have improved for that part of the State, but we are still a long way to go. Much as we don’t expect you to skew development in favor of one part of the state, we expect a balancing and equitability of development. Such is the essence of social justice.
July 23, 2013
Dr. Likita Aminu, President
Dr. Freeman Kamuru, Secretary General
Mr. Ibrahim Maikori, Treasurer/Financial Secretary
Contact: Dr. Freeman Kamuru