Second term: El-Rufai promises to unite Kaduna people, tasks residents

Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai has enjoined citizens of Kaduna state to put politics aside and work together in the urgent task of improving the lives of the people.

He said the great task is to keep the people safe amidst so much poverty, division.

In his second term inauguration speech after taking his oath of office, Governor El-Rufai said, “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.”

El-Rufai said the government has spent much on internal security operations, supporting 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.

He added, “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 explained.

The governor assured that he would continue to do his utmost to unite the state and rid its communities of strife.

He said, “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.

“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.

“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.

“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 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,” El-Rufai assured.