Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Kaduna State governor, Nasir El Rufai, has said that his administration will be people- centred, even as he added that he would take decisions that might not go down well with some people in the general interest of the state.
In his inaugural address shortly after being sworn in, Governor El Rufai who was flanked by his deputy, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, apologised to the people of the state for what he said was the difficult decisions that he would take in his second term.
The governor who advocated for peace in his 25-minute speech, enjoined everybody living in Kaduna State to live in peace with one another, saying that there could be no development without peace.
“The challenges confronting us are numerous and they are hard. But if we do our job well, we will solve them, with your help, support and prayers. We will continue to take very difficult, and sometime painful decisions. We ask your understanding and forgiveness in advance.
“With your support and prayers, we will not waiver in supporting ordinary people to attain their aspirations. We will continue with our tradition of cooperation with the other arms of government in the service of our people. We will devote every energy and talent in putting people first and making Kaduna great again!” he said.
The governor said despite the choices made by the people of the state during the elections, time for electioneering was over and his government would treat all Kaduna people as one.
“Ours is the government of everyone who lives in Kaduna State. I call on every resident of Kaduna State to join hands with us in the hard tasks that lie ahead. Back in March 2019, we all made our democratic choices, and freely expressed our preferences. Whatever our partisan affiliations – and however we might have voted – we are all compatriots and fellow citizens. It is time to put politics aside and work together in the urgent task of improving the lives of all our people, and keeping them safe. Amidst so much poverty, division is an unaffordable luxury.
Governor El Rufai called on Kaduna citizens to join hands with government to promote equality in the state.
“let us unite in a common endeavour to make ours a state of peace and concord, working to promote equality of opportunity for every resident. Let us cherish our diversity while embracing equal citizenship, the rule of law, and respect for the lives and livelihoods of all who call Kaduna State home,” he said.
He paid glowing tributes to his former deputy, Bala Bantex, saying he put in his best in the service of the state.
The governor said he would work to sustain the progress his government had made in the last four years in the areas of education, health security and others.
“We will continue to do our utmost to unite our state and rid our communities of strife. The pain of loss is unbearable, and it has been felt too frequently by too many of our fellow citizens. We must replace the legacy of division and violence with one of peaceful, collective endeavour in progressive undertakings. We should not maroon ourselves on the desert islands of identity politics, or neglect the obligations of our common humanity. Strife is not our destiny, and neither is division preordained. Let us come together in the ever-more urgent task of human progress, to educate every child to create jobs, to care for the sick, to protect life and property, to comfort the afflicted and to strive for peace in our time.
“We pledge to continue the vigorous implementation of our governance agenda of putting people first. During our first term, we signalled and then demonstrated that we stand firmly with ordinary people. We put the needs of ordinary people at the centre of governance. In education and health, we have shown a commitment with investments to expand the access of ordinary people to these public goods.
“Aside from fixing the learning environment, we took bold steps to improve teaching standards. We made basic education truly free and have made education free and compulsory for girls up to the end of senior secondary school. We will continue to fix existing schools and build new classrooms where necessary, and support our teachers to deliver decent public education.
“In the health sector, the focus on strengthening and expanding primary care will continue. It is the best way to reduce maternal and infant mortality, and bring basic care closer to the people. Our commitment to universal health coverage will continue. “Therefore, we shall accelerate the implementation of the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme as a priority programme. We will complete the supply chain transformation programme in the health sector that has improved the availability and reduced prices of drugs in our health facilities; we will also emphasise routine immunisation to reduce the impact of vaccine-preventable diseases on our children.
“I am pleased to announce that just yesterday, our State Executive Council approved six-months maternity leave for our female public servants. This encourages the healthy development of infants through prolonged breastfeeding, among other benefits. Mothers in our state are also reminded that children up to the age of five get free, regular medical check-ups in public hospitals,” he said.