GOVERNOR RADDA’S INDUSTRIALIZATION DRIVE AND REVENUE REVOLUTION IN KATSINA STATE

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By Maiwada Dammallam

Recently the media was awash with accolades celebrating the hitherto seemingly impossible feat of improving the revenue base of Katsina State which Governor Malam Dikko Umar Radda, Ph.D, (CON), accomplished with as much ease as if done with two eyes closed and both hands tied to his back. This is as much celebratory as it’s a lesson in leadership pragmatism, preparedness and habitual devotion to all its tenets and principles. 

To begin, there’s no gainsaying the fact that Governor Radda came into office well prepared to face the daunting challenge of governing a poor state embroiled in crisis. He inherited a state in the heart of a region overburdened by myriads of highly complex and intricately intertwined and seemingly unsolvable socio-economic and political problems each, undoubtedly potent enough to run even a rich and buoyant country aground. 

It’s apparent that from the first day he set his mind to vie for the leadership of Katsina State, he also set in motion a plan to develop a pragmatic policy document that could reform and transform Katsina State into the great state its founding fathers envisaged  — a dream delayed by myriads of reasons from the avoidable and explicable to the unavoidable and inexplicable. To say Governor Radda is not an accidental or incidental governor is to say the least of benefits garnered by Katsina State in the 2023 election season. 2023 election season was as much a bumper harvest as Malam Dikko is well rounded peg in a round hole. 

Governor Radda’s meticulous journey to the coveted seat of the Governor of Katsina State did not start in a day. It started long ago and from the very roots of politics — the office of a Local Government Council Chairman where he honed his skills and learned to properly set his priorities in a manner maximally beneficial to the public. His journey into power is as much a lesson to students of politics in political finesse and adroit leadership maneuvering as it’s far from occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation. Marry this with his absolute and uncompromising belief in the divine will of Allah SWT, his dedication to observe to the fullest this belief and attached instructions, the end result is what’s unfolding in today’s Katsina State. 

Before I digress, the main theme of my piece is the amazing feat achieved by Governor Radda which not only hiked up Katsina State’s IGR by a whooping 227% but with better prospects ahead. In the first quarter of 2024 the state unprecedentedly generated N4.08bn in internal revenue; representing a whooping 227% increase compared to N1.79bn generated under corresponding period last year. This is a clear proof that, not only reforms initiated by Governor Radda in line with and as contained in his “Building Your Future” policy document are not only pragmatic, workable and realizable but a testimony that he’s also a man of his words — a very critical requirement for a good leader. 

So, how did Governor Radda achieve this near magical feat yet without a magic wand to swing and make it happen? First, he remained conscious of the fact that governing Katsina State is a responsibility bestowed on him by Allah SWT to manage the affairs of over 10 million people in as best and equitable manner as could enhance their development within the context of availability and judicious application of resources. He also remain conscious that this a responsibility he will give an account about one day. This made Katsina State the one and only thing on his radar and he minces no words reminding his team the sacrosanctity of his determination to this belief and its implementation.

Done with self-preparation, Governor Radda discarded the archaic order of making appointments to fulfill obligations other than result-oriented. He set to work assembling the very best people with proven track records and clear qualifications to fit into sectoral chapters of his policy document to perform in a productive manner equal to his vision, mission and dedication to both. Even more impressive, he assembled his team without compromising standards yet without discarding or distorting the traditional concept of rewarding supporters and party members. 

Actually, Governor Radda even skillfully enhanced and democratized deeper the process of rewarding political contributions viz a viz selecting political appointments. He discarded the old for a brand new developmental order strictly designed to work for all without fear or favor yet without shortchanging the system or ignoring individual contributions. He did this by requesting each LGA to democratically select and send 2 qualified nominees for his vetting and approval for appointments into political offices. In this manner, not only the very best professionals who could do the job administratively but also, only the very best “grassrooted” party members and supporters with political muscle got FAIRLY rewarded.

In this skillful manner, Governor Radda injected into the system many seasoned, renowned and even revered professionals who could be said to be the magic wands he’s making things happen in Katsina State in as tight a situation and as impossible manner as hiking the IGR of the state by an unprecedented 227% in a short while yet without the poor citizens of the state feeling a pinch. Quite a lesson in balancing leadership responsibility and empathy. To the poor citizens of the state, things are almost just as they are while to the state, new windows for more revenue has been opened which will help take care of the critical needs of the downtrodden. A win-win situation for both the state and the people. 

Rather than waste time lamenting about dearth of funds or waiting for miracle to happen, Governor Radda, coming freshly from SMEDEN, an agency tailored to alleviate poverty and enhance living conditions of the downtrodden, set to work blocking leakages and setting more all-inclusive priorities. First, he activated the State Treasury Single Account to stop avoidable leakages and recently the E-tax billing system that seeks to streamline tax and revenue collections. 

To compliment these innovative policies and enhance financial sanity and control, he also established Katsina Stare Bureau of Public Procurement alongside Katsina State Anti-Corruption Commission. This is done to enhance public confidence while generating the needed support for the kind of revolutionary development envisaged and captured in Governor Radda’s “Building Your Future” policy document. 

And this will explain the boldness of Governor Radda which climaxed with the unprecedented employment of over 7000 teachers in a single swoop thereby significantly increasing the wage bill of the state — something many observers back then thought was reckless and unsustainable given the poor revenue base of the state but which pragmatism and sustainability is being made obvious by the revolutionary ideas introduced by Governor Radda which are beginning to germinate and yield fruits today. “Hausawa na cewa idan ka ji makaho yace ayi wasan jifa, to ya taka dutse” — (Loosely translated: A blind man seeking for stone-throwing contest must have stepped on a stone). 

Improving Katsina State’s IGR by 227% in as poor a state as Katsina and in just as tight, insecure and unpredictable atmosphere as we are experiencing today, is a job only for the thoroughbred. Unquestionably, Governor Radda is a thoroughbred; a certified tactician. His display of commitment and capacity is not sector sensitive. His footprints are as visible in human development as they are in capital development. If he’s not busy employing fresh 7000 hands in the education sector, he’s busy elsewhere establishing a Community Watch Corp with 2000 or thereabout fresh hands in the security sector. He’s revolutionizing Katsina State by either rehabilitating or providing the needed infrastructures for maximum functionality of the economy.  Dams, roads, schools, hospitals, waterworks and waterways, name it and Governor Radda is somewhere in Katsina State fixing it. 

Also, to say Governor Radda is a man with a vision on a mission is to say the least of lucks Katsina State bumped into in recent times. He’s the personification of the time tested template of putting round pegs in round holes. Take for instance his inkling that for any central government to impact the nation, revolutionary ideas of industrialization must be adopted to fully unlock Nigeria’s potentials hence, his early head start to key into the forecast by preparing Katsina State to key into any foreseeable program in that direction. 

It couldn’t be a coincidence or a mere guesswork that just as the federal government has announced signing a $3.5 billion agreement with Afreximbank to enhance the textile industry and promote the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles, among other initiatives as announced by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, Katsina State has achieved significant mileage in preparing ground to benefit from the multi-trillion Naira initiative thanks to foresight of  Governor Radda and the dedication of the team of experts he lined up to shepherd Katsina State’s industrialization revolution. These are young men and women with the intellectual agility, administrative sophistication, versatility and experience to rotate with modernity and make things happen. 

The sophistication of Governor Radda’s team is such that could key into and score maximum benefit from the newly signed $3.5bn Bahamas agreement between the FG and Afreximbank which includes Industrialization Financing Facility tailored to accelerate Nigeria’s journey to becoming a fully industrialized nation. State-Wide Investment Vehicles/Projects tailored to attract more investments to our states while fostering regional development. In addition, the agreement also includes Global Country Guarantee which intention to boost investor confidence in Nigeria by providing guarantees for investments.

Of more significance and importance to Katsina State is the aspect of the agreement which is aimed at Revamping the Textile and Apparel Industry. This is in partnership with Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms, aiming to create up to $3.3 billion in project capital expenditure and generate jobs for our youth. Of similar significance to Katsina State is the aspect of the agreement which could support the diversification drive of Governor Radda — Developing the CNG Value-Chain: Enhancing our automotive and transport sectors with a focus on sustainability.

According to the elated Director-General of the Katsina State Enterprises Development Agency (KASEDA), A’isha Aminu Abdullahi Malumfashi, the Bahamas agreement couldn’t come at a better time as Katsina State is about to Launch an INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CENTER which is going to focus on 3 main areas: 1) Textiles and Garments, 2) Leather goods, 3) Agricultural products and packaging.

Just as elated is the 30-year old Economic Adviser of Governor Radda, Economist Khalil Nura Khalil, who averred that the agreement also signified the partnership between the ministry, Arise IIP (Integrated Industrial Platform) and Afreximbank to revamp the cotton, apparel and textile value chain in Nigeria.” 3 states including Katsina State were chosen. 

Actually, Arise IIP have already met with Governor Radda in Lagos and visited the Hon. Commissioner of Agriculture, Prof. Ahmed Muhammad Bakori, in katsina where he facilitated their data gathering exercise. Project to be integrated into the Cotton MoU for CTG (Cotton/Textile/Garment) revival. Talk about early birds eating the fattest grasshoppers. Katsina State is well positioned to benefit from this project thanks to the foresight, sophistication, agility, dedication, commitment and know-how of Governor Radda and his team. Round pegs in round holes couldn’t make better sense nor could they attract more benefits. Arise IIP is to begin operations in Katsina by 2025 in shaa Allah. 

Maiwada Dammallam is the Director-General (Media) to the Governor.

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