Putting People First: we stand firmly with ordinary people – Gov el-Rufai
Second Inauguration Address by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, delivered at Murtala Mohammed Square, Kaduna, on Wednesday, 29th May 2019
My fellow citizens of Kaduna State,
1. I address you today with humility and gratitude to Almighty God who has made this day possible. I salute you all for the peaceful conduct of the 2019 general elections in our state. With your votes, you have granted President Muhammadu Buhari and me the privilege of a second-term in office.
2. I am grateful for this mandate, and will discharge it responsibly. Please be assured that our Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, and I will work tirelessly in the service of all the people of Kaduna State.
3. Permit me to use this opportunity to place on record my sincere appreciation for the service that His Excellency, Architect Barnabas Yusuf Bala, has rendered to our state. As Deputy Governor, he was a committed partner as we worked tirelessly to make this state better. As he leaves the office of Deputy Governor today, I wish him and his family the very best. I am certain that we will continue to enjoy the privilege of his wise counsel and support.
4. 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.
5. This government has spent much on internal security operations, supporting the security agencies with equipment, vehicles and other logistics and funding. The huge resources that are expended on these internal security operations and containing conflict can be better directed towards improving lives in peaceful communities. We have also established the Kaduna State Peace Commission, chaired by Reverend Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion Worldwide and former Arch-bishop of Kaduna. Beyond boots on the ground, the most sustainable guarantee of peace is the willingness of communities to live in harmony.
6. Fellow citizens, ladies and gentlemen, 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.
7. As stated in our acceptance speech after the election, 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. To strive for peace in our time.
8. 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.
9. We began to reverse the legacy of neglect we inherited in education, starting the onerous task of upgrading the over 4200 public primary schools in the state. We are supplying school furniture to end the inherited embarrassment of pupils sitting on bare floors.
10. 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.
11. 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 emphasize 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. Please take advantage of this.
12. During our first term, we successfully completed the long-delayed Zaria Water project. We shall continue to build, expand and maintain infrastructure to promote the well-being of our people, enhance commercial activities and attract investors. While we have done well to attract over $400m of investments, we need to bring more businesses to create jobs and expand our revenue base. Our endowments in agriculture can benefit from locating more processing activity and agribusiness in our state.
13. In 2018, the World Bank ranked Kaduna State as NUMBER ONE state in Nigeria in its of Ease of Doing Business rankings. We shall continue to uphold a positive climate for investors. Investment creates jobs. Jobs put food on every table. We will continue to focus on creating an environment in which people can take care of themselves and their families.
14. We did our utmost in the first-term to leave no one behind, designing programmes for children, young adults and senior citizens. These programmes will be strengthened to provide skills for the young, and support for the vulnerable. We have demonstrated that we believe that the answer to poverty is to enable people to achieve economic independence. Our approach has been to empower people with the tools to make the most of themselves.
15. This government considers it vital to create a social safety net to ensure that the poorest are not left behind. We will also embark on social housing projects as a means of achieving mass home ownership and promoting social integration. The provision of recreational and leisure facilities across the state will also receive our sustained attention.
16. We would continue to reduce waste, combat fraud and cut costs in government. Our first inaugural address committed us to shrinking the size of government. We achieved this by reducing the ministries by more than a quarter, from 19 we inherited to 14, appointing fewer commissioners and significantly reducing the number of permanent secretaries. We shall be announcing further changes in the structure of government to improve efficiency and better serve you.
17. The fruits of our efforts to reform grassroots administration, by strengthening the local government system, has become manifest with better project delivery by the local councils. We have rescued the local government councils from bankruptcy and bloated payrolls. The elected chairmen of these now financially-healthier councils are now better equipped to deliver public goods at the grassroots.
18. I wish to thank all the people who worked with us in the first-term. Not all of them will be around for the second-term, but we are grateful for their contributions, and for their dedication and many sacrifices on behalf of our state.
19. 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.
20. With your support and prayers, we will not waiver in supporting ordinary people to attain their aspirations. We will continue 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!
Thank you all for listening.
God bless this beautiful state of ours.
And God bless our beloved country.