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On a Rescue Mission to Salvage Zamfara State

Engineer-talking

Engineer Ibrahim Shehu Gusau talking

Engineer (Dr) Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, an engineer and fellow of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE, is a man with uncommon passion for grassroots transformation. Filled with milk of human kindness, whose middle name is service to humanity, Engineer (Dr) Gusau worked assiduously at the private and public sectors of the nation’s economy; contributing uniquely to both federal and Zamfara State governments. A man of wisdom, a compassionate and accommodating leader, Engineer Gusau has now offered himself for service as the executive governor of Zamfara State.

Describe him as a round peg in a round hole; you might not be far from it, as he came into politics with a wealth of experience. A former special adviser/commissioner in Zamfara State, Engineer Gusau is currently representing Gusau/Tsafe Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. He is a man of no mean achievement academically and in public service; Engineer Gusau had his doctorate and MBA at Washington International University, United States between 2004 and 2010. Before then he did his M.Sc., in Mobile Communications Engineering, University of Lancaster, United Kingdom, he had already obtained both OND and HND, Electrical Electronics.

He is chairman, House Committee on Information and Communication Technology; member, committees on Communications, Foreign Affairs and Justice.

He ventured into politics with all these experiences but instead of being arrogant, he humbled himself and delved into helping the grassroots. His projects and achievements in Gusau/Tsafe Constituency speak for themselves. A well-travelled personality, Engineer Gusau has used his positions and opportunities to bring out visions and missions for his home state, Zamfara. He has information on the electoral wards in the state at his fingertips. He is no doubt very conversant with the needs of his people and how to meet these needs, therefore Dr. Gusau is on a rescue mission to salvage Zamfara State from the hold of poverty, vestiges of backwardness and stigma of underdevelopment. He has done his homework, and his master plan is based on a programme tagged “Zamfara Shall R.I.S.E Again. His message of hope to the downtrodden in Zamfarawa is a cardinal programme of Rural and Agricultural development, Infrastructural Development, Security, Social Service and Public service, and the Education, Empowerment and Employment”.

When voted as governor, his administration will make massive investment in every area but more in agriculture with a view to tackling unemployment, reducing poverty and promoting export.

The Strategies to adopt include the following:  

  • Establish Zamfara Agricultural Modernisation Master Plan (ZAMMP); to scale up commercial agriculture, in partnership with foreign universities and international agencies.
  • Above targeted at 20 farmers per local government area to generate over 4,000 jobs in the agro-allied industry yearly.
  • Establish mechanised farming settlements (one in each senatorial district) to engage at least 3000 youths yearly.
  • Rehabilitation of existing irrigation schemes for aggressive drive to empower rural farmers for greater food production.
  • Establish Zamfara Agriculture Mall – (a one-stop shop for farmers input including extension service, equipment leasing, credit facilities and others)
  • Increased investment in livestock farming.
  • Establishment of dairy industries.
  • Memorandum of Understanding with foreign companies under the Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, for Commercial Agriculture e.g. UK, Israel, Malaysia and Vietnam.
  • Set up a yields buy-back regime to curb wastage, protect farmers and enhance their earnings.
  • Review/resuscitate/re-organise government-owned agric projects for efficient and optimal performance as channels for job creation.
  • Strengthening agric cooperative societies for purposeful micro-credit.
  • Stimulation of private sector funding.
  • Streamlining access to land for agro-allied purposes.

Conscious plans will be evolved to boost commerce and position the sector as veritable income earner. To achieve this, my administration will:

  • Place premium on the development of artistry vocation and skilled manpower.
  • Provide conductive environment for the development of Small & Medium Enterprises, SMEs, as well as large-scale industries in the state.
  • Introduce Micro-Credit Scheme for SMEs.
  • Initiate the formation of commerce cooperatives as a catalyst to boost employment and income earning.
  • Recreational parks will be established; through public/private partnership, PPP, in Gusau, Zurmi, Bungudu, Anka among others to boost tourism and revenue. This will enable easy access to local credit facilities.
  • Attraction of FDI and promotion of PPP to boost commerce.
  • Empowerment of trained and skilled improved youths, women, men and cooperative societies.
  • Construction of modern markets in urban centres e.g. Shinkafi, Kaura Namoda, Gumi and Mafara.

This visionary leader noted that infrastructure is the backbone of every economy. No state or country can experience development with obsolete or non-existent infrastructure, his administration’s conception of infrastructural development therefore include Industrialisation, Road, Health, Housing, Water, Urban Development and Power Project.

INDUSTRIALISATION

  • Revive (through local and/or foreign partnership) the Zamfara Textile Limited, Zamfara Oil Mill Factory and Gusau Sweet Factory.
  • Establishment (through PPP arrangement) of three cotton ginneries – (one in each Senatorial District)
  • Establishment of Industrial Park.
  • Encourage Investors to utilise abundant raw materials into production of finished goods through PPP

ROADS

Though the current administration did its bit in terms rehabilitation of roads, so much still need to be done. While networking with relevant agencies to ensure that federal roads in Zamfara State receive adequate attention from the Federal Government, the administration of Engineer       Gusau will evolve strategies by deploying professionals in government service to be more involved in road management, which will have positive impact on job creation, reduce government expenditure and increase savings.

These strategies will include the following:-

  • Set up quarries in designated locations in the state.
  • Establishment of Zamfara State Road Management Agency (ZAROMA)

TRANSFORMATION

Dr Shehu Gusau’s administration will ensure the provision of a functional transformation system for the people of Zamfara State through:

  • Re-invigoration of the existing Zamfara State Transport Authority
  • Forge functional partnership with local and foreign financial institutions to acquire facilities.

He is set to embark on the following to boost health care delivery:

  • Conduct critical needs assessment of all health institutions with a view to rehabilitating them based on World Health Organisation template.
  • Attract competent health professionals to work in existing health institutions.
  • Ensure bilateral relations with international donor agencies and relevant stakeholders in healthcare delivery.
  • Provision of adequate facilities in existing General Hospital and Health Centres.
  • Improved Budgetary Allocation for Health Sector.
  • Community-ownership of existing Health Centres will be encouraged to enable benefitting communities put LGAs to task over funding and provision for the centres.
  • Partner with National Youth Service Corps such that every year, minimum of one NYSC doctor, One Paramedical Professional-Pharmacist, Optometrist, ENT Doctor, Biochemist and Laboratory Scientist and so on are posted to each of these Health Centres.
  • Boost morale and human capital development of Nurses, Midwives and Health professionals, to avoid losing them to other states.

HOUSING and URBAN RENEWAL

Pragmatic initiative will be rolled out to embark on the rediscovery, reconstructive and rehabilitation of key urban centres. The administration will re-develop the urban areas and provide necessary amenities to make them attractive for habitation and business. This is to ensure that they serve as regional growth poles to stimulate provincial socio-economic growth and mitigate rural-urban drift.

He will consciously identify vibrant urban centres like Gusau, Kaura Namoda, Anka, Mafara, Shinkafi, Gumi and others, and intervene vis-à-vis the co-ordinate provision of infrastructure. The administration will restore all the layouts that have been distorted. All Green Belts and designated public open spaces will be fully restored.

POWER

Realising that power is central to every initiative geared towards industrialisation, economy and development, my administration will seek; through partnership, to establish Independent Power Projects (IPPs) to ensure improved power supply in Zamfar State.

He is set to embark on aggressive Rural Electrification Programme to galvanise development and economic activities in communities.

WATER SUPPLY

The administration of Dr Gusau will pursue the provision of potable water through the following:

  • Rehabilitate existing urban and regional water scheme.
  • Establishment of new water schemes.
  • Conscious collaboration with international organisations.
  • Explore foreign funding for water schemes.
  • Recruitment of young engineers, artisans and other professionals to replace the ageing personnel in Zamfara State Water Corporation.

He is of the conviction that security, social service and public service are very dire to socio-economic transformation of any society. It is his understanding that no meaningful development can be achieved by any government in an atmosphere of violence, arson, thuggery and insecurity.

Realising that the primary purpose of any government is provision of security, the administration will accord security of lives and properties premium attention.

To achieve this task, the following strategies will be considered:

  • Establishment of a Security Trust Fund (in partnership with corporate bodies, individuals and other stakeholders)
  • Formation of Joint Security Task Force.
  • Collaborate with the Nigerian Immigration Service to effectively police the borders.
  • Strengthening existing vigilante groups by establishing Neighbourhood Brigade.
  • Renewed and improved intelligence gathering and surveillance through modern technology.
  • Re-organise and strength Hisbah.
  • Collaborate and support traditional rulers to have enhanced roles in maintaining peace, order and security in their respective domains.
  • Facilitate training and re-training of security personnel by local and international organisations.
  • Explore collaboration and Bilateral Agreement with foreign agencies and countries.

Engineer Gusau’s administration will ensure that the glory of public service is restored, because it embodies the arteries and nerves of any government. Hence, public servants must be properly motivated deliver programmes as enunciated and espoused by government.

To achieve this, he will seek to:

  • Improve workers’ welfare.
  • Prompt and actual payment of salaries, allowances, pension and gratuities.
  • Regular promotion of civil servants.
  • Regular training/human capital development.
  • Morale-boosting incentives like vehicle loans/housing/medicals among others.
  • Establish an ICT-driven public service.

Education is the surest platform and channel to transform the people from poverty and chaos to dignity and self-sufficiency.

The approach of Engineer Gusau’s administration will be a mixture of bottom-up and up-bottom, which will ensure that he laid solid foundation of an educationally sound successor-generation.

Aside from the usual renovation/rehabilitation of schools, payment of exams fees/bursaries and provision of textbooks/learning aids, the administration will embark on the following:

  • Improved quality of primary and secondary education through regular training, re-training and on-the-job support for teachers.
  • Improved curriculum to encompass Western and Islamic Education.
  • Partnership with NTI, ESPIN, UBEC, Action Aid and others. Facility and Human Capital Development.
  • Improved funding for education sector.
  • Establishment of three special vocational training centres (one in each Senatorial District).
  • Establishment of three women training/development centres (one in each Senatorial District) to enable married women complete their secondary school education.
  • Introduce boarding facilities in more secondary schools.
  • Establish Zamfara Schools Free Transportation Scheme for pupils in primary and secondary schools.
  • Recruitment of quality staff from within Zamfara State and outside.
  • Regular promotion and prompt payment of salaries, allowances, pension and gratuities.
  • Special focus and regulatory oversight on standards of private schools.

The administration shall accord necessary and prompt action to massive employment generation.

Apart from employment opportunities that will be created through the other components (enumerated earlier), of Zamfara Shall “R.I.S.E.” Again, Theme of Engineer Gusau’s Agenda promised to do the following:

  • Effective linkages with local and foreign NGOs/CBOs/FBOs to properly harness individual’s resources/abilities for economic empowerment.
  • Emphasise on vocational skill development e.g. ICT, Welding Electrical/Electronic repairs and others.
  • Provide soft loans/start-up capital for graduates of vocational skill development.
  • Training scheme for youths to provide specialised manpower to boost economic activities.
  • Establish Zamfara Voluntary Service Scheme. Participants to be paid stipends by government and private sector organisations who need their services; thus contributing to the growth and development of the state’s economy.

Engagement in the meaningful sporting activities and entertainment will be one of the avenues by which my administration will keep many of our youths off the streets, discover new talents who will hoist the flag of our dear state in national and international stages, and entrench sports in the socio-economic life in Zamfara State. Through sports, we would be able to groom and grow teams in soccer and other sports, which will bring glory and good fortune to our beloved states.

To achieve this, the following will be carried out:

  • Construction of (through partnership) 5,000 to 10,000-capacity seater multi-purpose stadia in the three Senatorial Districts.
  • Collaboration with indigenous corporate organisations to develop sports.
  • Bilateral relationship with international agencies geared towards sports development.
  • Recruitment and training of coaches/personnel in different sporting events.
  • Introduction of Annual Zamfara LGs Sport Championship.
  • Introduction of Annual Zamfara Secondary Schools Competition.
  • Introduction of Annual Zamfara Governor’s Cup Football Competition.

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