Governor El-rufai accept the mandate to promote equal opportunity

Address by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, accepting his nomination as the governorship candidate of the APC for the 2019 elections; Kaduna, 30th September 2018

1. It is with delight and humility that I stand before you today to accept the nomination as our party’s candidate for the governorship of Kaduna State in the 2019 elections.

2. With gratitude to Almighty Allah, I accept this nomination as your vote of confidence to continue the work of delivering progressive outcomes for our people. I view your acceptance of my candidature as a mandate not to relent in promoting equality of opportunity. And I welcome it as your call to vigorously continue the path outlined in the Restoration Programme where we committed to create for ordinary people platforms for human capital development.

3. I wish to thank our party members and leaders for this vote of confidence. We have travelled far together in the service of our people, but the journey is still long. Since July 2013, we have worked together with many of you here to build the Kaduna APC as a new party that is committed to improving the life chances of our people.

4. Along the way we have encountered people who viewed the party as nothing more than a vehicle for their petty political and financial ambitions. Such persons discarded party spirit and abandoned any pretence to party loyalty once they were elected. Some others saw the APC as the cover for giving their businesses unfair access to public coffers. Many have since returned to the platform that best projects that pure pursuit of self-interest.

5. But the core of our party has withstood and fought off these attempts to undermine the party. Kaduna APC members deserve credit for working for the party’s victory in 2015. And they deserve every commendation for not viewing the APC’s victory as reason to continue business as usual. Much better than some of our entitled elite, ordinary members of our party, like ordinary members of the public, understand that our party’s purpose must be to restore governance as a means of empowering people, devoting public resources to building human capital, expanding access to Education and Health, building Infrastructure and attracting investments to create jobs for our youths.

6. For standing firm and enabling our party to remain firmly tethered to its founding principles, I salute the leaders and members of the Kaduna APC. Because of your steadfastness, the APC government of Kaduna State has begun the difficult task of reversing the legacy of neglect of Education, Health and Infrastructure in Kaduna State. With your support, this government has spent record levels of capital investment, unprecedented in the history of the state, to provide decent public services.

7. One of the first things we discovered in our first week in office in June 2015 is that at least 50% of our school pupils sit on floors because of the lack of chairs and desks. We found that many of the 4200 public primary schools had no roof, windows, doors, water and toilets. Many needed additional classrooms, while others required totally new buildings. We inherited a state where right within our state capital there are schools we feel guilty that previous governments thought they should send our children to. In Rigasa, we met a school with over 22,000 pupils. How, in God’s name, was that allowed to happen? Some of the people under whose watch this neglect happened still have the audacity and effrontery to boast that they are leaders, but our people know better!

8. Our government is fixing these problems. We have made basic education truly free, saving parents at least N3bn every year. To encourage more girls to complete secondary education, we recently announced a free education policy in senior secondary schools for all girls. We have provided free school uniforms, initiated a school feeding programme and empowered School-based Management Committees to improve community involvement in managing schools. Students in boarding secondary schools have had their meals improved. We are doing pilot test of the efficacy of computer tablets in delivering superior learning outcomes in our secondary schools. For this purpose, we have deployed 15,000 tablets to the participating schools.

9. We have renovated more than 1000 primary and secondary schools. We have built multi-storey school blocks and additional primary schools to address the school congestion in Rigasa and other locations. Across the state, new school buildings are emerging using precast concrete panels to accelerate completion.

10. We are also addressing the problem of teacher quality. Out of the 95,000 applicants that applied for teaching jobs, we have in two phases now recruited over 25,000 new teachers for our primary schools. Even with this fresh recruitment, we would not be able to immediately attain our target teacher to pupil ratio of 1:40. In the meantime, we are redistributing teachers across the state to ensure an equitable 1:50 teacher to pupil ratio in all our primary schools. What we inherited was a needless and unjust concentration of teachers in urban schools to the detriment of our rural schools and their pupils.

11. Our programme to bring quality health care closer to our people is progressing. We have completed the renovation and expansion of 140 primary health centres, out of our target of 255 – that is one in each Ward. We expect 82 more to be completed in the next few months. GE-Medical has started deployment of equipment to some PHCs.

12. Our partnership with GE also includes a package to enable rural hospitals at Local Government Headquarters to take referrals from the PHCs. Under this primary care referral component, 23 hospitals (secondary health facilities) are receiving interventions. This government has with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation procured 144 cold-chain equipment to improve our capacity to store vaccines and medicines, thereby improving the protection of our children against vaccine-preventable diseases, among others. And we have trained biomedical engineers to operate and maintain the new equipment. Doctors have also been trained on the use of equipment supplied to the hospitals by GE-Medical.

13. This commitment to improving health outcomes for our people is reflected in the recruitment of over 1200 healthcare personnel to strengthen service delivery. The State Primary Health Care Development Agency will soon be recruiting over 3000 more personnel for our primary health centres.

14. In 2015, we inherited a stalled Zaria Water Project. The only component of the project that was to be financed solely by the Kaduna State Government was the 150MLD Water Treatment Plant. But the contractors had stopped work on the plant due to huge debts they were being owed. We brought them back to site, settled the debt over time and were able to commission the Water Treatment Plant in May 2017. The construction of transmission pipes and storage is nearing completion, and last mile distribution connections and installation of water meters to bring water to homes in Zaria and its environs are going on.

15. Our determined efforts are bringing investments back to our state. The Olam project is not just about the jobs created directly and the high-quality feed the company is producing. Olam has gone into the community, reviving small and medium-scale poultry farms and working with our farmers to rear chicks up to point-of-lay when they are sold off to poultry farmers across Nigeria. With Olam’s support, your prayers and the special Grace of God, Kaduna will become a poultry hub to serve not just Northern Nigeria but the entire West Africa sub-region.

16. Not less than 2500 graduates have benefitted from our innovative graduate Entrepreneurship Training (KADSTEP) initiative. Many artisans are getting trained in construction skills at the Artisans Training (KADAT) programmes. The training of youths to undertake electrical and electronic installations including repairs of computer and mobile phones is starting KADEEA affiliated to our Kaduna State University. We are about to finalize and commence the Kaduna State Women Empowerment Programme (KADSWEP) that will initially lend N200 million annually to women entrepreneurs to expand micro-enterprises and start new businesses. Our government is leaving no one behind.

17. With your support, we will stay true to our governance purpose. Our purpose in government is to promote equality of opportunity, to give every child the prospect of surviving pregnancy and infancy, with sound health, to absorb decent education and develop the skills to make the best of life. It is to ensure that pregnancy is not a death sentence for our women, and that our people have access to better life chances. It is to secure for our young people employment opportunities in a vibrant economy, regulated by a competent and meritocratic public service. It is about giving everyone – the poor as well as the privileged - a fair and equal chance in the race of life! It is about being for the people and seeking to empower them, not creating and exploiting dependency.

18. Our governance agenda is about Putting People First and Making their Lives Better. I appeal to all of us to work together to win the next election, and continue to work for our people.

19. Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I wholeheartedly accept this nomination by the members of the Kaduna APC with all humility and sense of responsibility to continue and sustain the work we started nearly four years ago. On my part, I promise to live up to your expectations and do my utmost to never let you down.

20. Thank you and God Bless. God Bless the All Progressives Congress. God Bless Kaduna State. God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

About Dunio Mabushi


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