KATSINA State Governor, Aminu Masari’s determination to change the focus and fortunes of the state and its people for the better has again been highlighted by the recent unveiling of advanced arrangements for the “Katsina State Economic and Investment Summit 2016” scheduled for May 9, 2016. Repeatedly and mischievously, the displaced political opponents of Governor Masari holed up in the PDP have tried to distract him with propaganda-powered attacks on the credibility of his administration. While they spoil for some local wrangling, as a decoy from the EFCC and state probes-related travails of their sponsor, Governor Masari has not yielded any ground in his relentless pursuit of accelerated socio-economic development through innovative initiatives.
Given the onerous responsibility of delivering good governance that Governor Masari bears, it is simply myopic for him to dissipate needed attention on political chicanery. Not with the serious challenges of sustainable discharge of statutory obligations to civil servants he inherited from past profligacy. Not with the huge infrastructure decay and shortfall that was neglected for eight years. Not with the deplorable status of health delivery and access to qualitative basic education, among other formidable obstacles towards meeting the legitimate expectations of the people of Katsina State. Keeping his focus fixed on actualising the Change charter that earned him the popular mandate of the masses and implementing policies that clearly signal a decisive departure from the decadent paralysis of the past anchor the Masari administration’s commitment to meaningful development and demonstrable progress of Katsina State.
One of the cardinal concerns of Governor Masari is the economic liberation of the state from the decades of over-dependence on federal funding adopted as a policy by his predecessors’ pathetic lack of foresight. In the deceptive confidence of regular naira and dollar handouts from the Federation Account, former governors of Katsina State paid scant regard to securing the viability of the economy of the state. Even when the bulk of the federal funding got frittered away on parasitic recurrent expenditure while capital expenditure got token allocations sufficient only for leaving a laughable legacy of abandoned projects, Masari’s extravagant predecessors could not shake-off their utopian preoccupation with handouts.
All that is, however, set to change with the Masari administration’s latest innovative initiative for launching the state into a new progressive era of self-dependence for sustainable economic viability in the form of the forthcoming economic and investment summit aptly focused on ‘‘Unlocking Investment Potentials for Sustainable Development.” It represents the first good foot forward in the quest for better times in Katsina State by opening up the state and reaching out to the world beyond for prospective partners, who will supplement government’s investment in the future of the state. This initiative stands a good chance of succeeding because it is hinged on the undisputable heritage of natural resources and vantage geographical position with which Katsina State is enviably endowed and of which local and international investors are desirous.
Specifically, Katsina State is the commercial terminus and interface with the West and North African sub-regions on two important economic corridors in the country- the Lagos-Kano-Jibia corridor (LAKAJI) and the K2M or Kano-Katsina-Maradi corridor. LAKAJI commences from Lagos and passes through 10 states before terminating in the border town of Jibia where the Nigerian border with Niger meets, while K2M was earmarked basically to capture the dynamic economic factors associated with food security, movement of goods and services, movement of capital and promotion of long existing trade activities of the region. This has been recognised and patronised for long as a national economic zone connected to many West African regional markets.
The advantageous position of Katsina State in relation to these two economic corridors stems from its capacity as the hub of the multifarious socio-economic activities and transactions that they have been recognised for. This is quite apart from the state’s endowment of vast expanses of fertile lands suitable for a range of agrarian endeavours as well as valuable natural resources. Any purposeful and concerted initiative that sets out to facilitate resuscitation and expansion of the explored and other potentially-profitable dimensions of the commercial, agricultural, export-import commodities, transportation as well as solid mineral resources and opportunities of these corridor-areas, such as the forthcoming 2016 Katsina State Economic and Investment Summit is a “sure banker” venture.
Although it takes more than hosting a summit to realise set objectives, with the Katsina State Economic and Investment 2016 Summit also comes the characteristic zealous commitment that Governor Masari has thus far been widely associated with in his first year in office, not to mention unwavering focus on the way forward in all critical aspects of the state’s affairs. The fact that he could come up with this promising proposal so early in his tenure underscores the foresight that guides his planning in the sense that he is clearly determined to actualise the Change charter with tangible accomplishments before the end of his outstanding first term.
It is most significant also that the catchment areas identified in the comprehensive range of economic endeavours, which the 2016 summit is dedicated to explore and develop will inevitably integrate the vast majority of the peasant population of the state by direct and indirect participation and support into the drive for more profitable involvement in economic activities on a most sustainable platform of internal resource development. This will substantially transform the lives of the people across the state, which, until now, purported to be “thriving” on borrowed time from the ever dwindling federation account that is now evidently in end times.
- Sani wrote in from Kofar Kaura Layout, Katsina; Phones: +2348033206567 and +2348178469541: Twitter: @agajumadugba