Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai on completion of his tenure as the Governor of Kaduna State, 29th May 2023
1. I wish to express my gratitude to the people of Kaduna State for the support they have provided me as their governor over the last eight years. I thank them for twice electing me to this office, and for the prayers, advice and counsel they have offered us.
2. At every step of the way during this journey of service, I have been able to count on the support and understanding of the people. In good times and in challenging moments, your support has buoyed us to serve you to the best of our ability. We have had to take difficult decisions, and most of our people have often understood that those steps were taken to uphold the common good. We are immensely grateful to the residents of our state.
3. As we conclude our period of service, I am confident that we have made Kaduna State a better place than we met it. We have made Kaduna State proud as an investment destination, a place of innovation in governance reforms and a state of equal opportunity for all who call it home. Our Kaduna is a state where every resident is a citizen.
4. We have made Kaduna State better prepared to address the challenges of today and tomorrow, and to harness the opportunities that are emerging. We have expanded access to education and health care. We have reformed our public school system to deliver free education for every child until they complete senior secondary school. We have placed primary health care at the heart of our health care delivery strategy. I am proud that we have guaranteed every child in Kaduna State the chance to climb the ladder of social mobility that a decent education and access to affordable health care offer. We have improved the chances of every child surviving infancy. We have reduced the chances that a woman would die from the perils of pregnancy.
5. Our appointments have shown that we value women and youths. We believe that we have a duty to carry every segment of society along in governance. We initiated programmes to empower people, but we have rejected any attempt to create, foster or exploit dependence. We provide for our pensioners; we were the first state to pay the new minimum wage and we wish that we can pay our public servants even better than that.
6. Under our watch, we have digitised the land registry, and laid the foundations for an efficient and fair tax system. We have built a government machinery that asserts the imperative of supporting business. We are changing perceptions and reorienting minds about the proper role of government in promoting social and economic development. We have put the people first as we promised. We have created metropolitan authorities to manage our cities and we have built more markets to expand access to commercial opportunities.
7. I thank the people for supporting the delivery of the urban renewal projects for the benefit of the entire state. Many of our people have borne the inconveniences of construction, including longer commuting times, the removal of some buildings, adjustment of fence lines and other attachments in the public interest. Several have been constructive in their attitude to matters of compensation and in reporting saboteurs. We remain grateful to them all.
8. Our government worked hard to firmly confront the security challenges that emerged. The measures we took ensured that we did not record any statewide crisis over the last eight years. We expanded the security footprint in the state, ensuring that more military bases and police divisions were established. We harnessed soft measures, like creating the Peace Commission, and we created a dedicated Ministry of Internal Security. We foresaw that banditry could mutate into a terrible menace. We galvanised neighbouring states for collaborative action to address the problem right from 2015.
9. In 2017, I requested the Federal Government to designate the emerging banditry as an insurgency and to unleash on them the full weight of the military. Sadly, this was not done until 2022 acting upon the declaration of the Federal High Court. It is a matter for regret that the Federal Government did not appreciate the gravity of the problem until banditry had wreaked so much havoc to the lives, liberty and the livelihoods of so many people. Although coordinated military action began later in 2022, the job remains incomplete. I therefore urge the incoming government to sustain the pressure on the bandits, insurgents and terrorists and make the military action comprehensive and simultaneous across the seven frontline states, six in the Northwest and Niger, that are most impacted.
10. As we complete our tenure, we have not relented in removing as many security threats as we can in order to help clear the deck for the incoming government. We have taken action against groups and individuals that are engaged in acts that are inimical to peace and lawful order in the state. We are removing the properties of identified sponsors of terrorism and those of unlawful societies that have been proscribed in this state. We have insisted on the primacy of law and order, and on asserting the prerogatives of the State in guaranteeing life and liberty. On security, I can say that we did all that is within the powers of a subnational to do, and resisted pressure to negotiate with or pay off the criminals.
11. We are leaving behind a net cash balance in our Treasury Single Account of about N5bn after deductions for the payment of salaries, pensions and dues to the Local Government Councils, and US $2.05m in our Domiciliary Account as of yesterday 28th May 2023. Kaduna State has receivables for reimbursements of infrastructure and security spending from the Federal Government amounting to about N41bn, that will be paid to the state in due course. This does not include the sums due to the State as share of the accumulated stamp duties receipts, estimated at over N100bn, that the incoming government will certainly receive before the end of this year. I am therefore optimistic that the incoming government will in due course be in a position to settle all inherited liabilities, complete ongoing projects and initiate new ones by the Grace of God.
12. We governed under very difficult fiscal circumstances, surviving two recessions, collapses of crude oil prices, the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war. We therefore had to borrow extensively to spend our way out of recession and pursue our ambition to make Kaduna great again.
13. As at the last financial year, Kaduna State has the following liabilities:
i. Domestic debt: N64.54bn
ii. Other Contingent Liabilities: N16.06bn
iii. Foreign debts: US $577.32m
14. We have spent N818.9bn as capital expenditure between 2015 and 2022 in the prosecution of our first and second State Development Plans, attracting nearly US $5bn in foreign and domestic investments that created jobs, improved our tax receipts and laid a solid foundation for the future.
15. I pay tribute to the extraordinary work of our team in the Kaduna State Government. The Deputy Governor, the members of the State House of Assembly, our honourable Judges, Kadis, and magistrates, our commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, Local Government chairmen, special advisers, assistants and other government officials have displayed imagination and demonstrated commitment to help the Kaduna State Government to achieve set objectives, and I applaud them for living up to their oaths of office. Our traditional rulers and religious leaders have been exceptional partners in mobilising the populace to understand our policies and support our efforts. Our partners in civil society have been critical in enabling the government to appreciate the concerns of citizens without a voice.
16. Yesterday, I completed the administrative handover to my worthy successor, Distinguished Senator Uba Sani, and his able Deputy, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe. I call on the people of Kaduna State to support him and his team as he leads the next government. With your votes, you have vested in him the future direction of the state. Let us all pray for him to succeed in the service of the state and its people beyond our hopes and imagination.
17. Several members of our governing team broke down in tears at the valedictory session of the Executive Council, overwhelmed by the reality of saying goodbye. But goodbyes are not necessarily bad. In fact, goodbyes are part of the order of nature. Everything that has a beginning must have an end. One era ends and another begins. New leaders take charge and life continues. That is the cycle of life. Our duty is to keep hope alive and do our best, and leave the rest to Almighty God.
18. On my way to this inauguration, I entered the office of the Governor to leave on his desk a fold with three messages – a print of Desiderata by Max Ehlichmann, published in 1927, and the letter of the Fourth Rightly-Guided Caliph, Sayyidina Ali ibn Abu Talib, to Malik Ashtar when appointed the Governor of Syria over 1,000 years ago. The third is a hand-written note from me with some thoughts as he settles down to continue the leadership journey.
19. My brother and friend, I commiserate with you. You have a huge task ahead but I am confident you will be luckier in the next eight years than I have been in the last eight years. Remember, you cannot do this job alone. Your team, if competent and capable, will focus on delivering results and little else. If you are unlucky enough to choose people you like that have no capacity, they will resort to blaming every other person for failures than the real culprit, which is the team itself. Be careful to watch out for this.
20. May the Almighty continue to protect the people of Kaduna State. May He bless our endeavours and shower on this land peace, progress and prosperity. Farewell, thank you and God bless.