ONE of Nigeria’s prominent traditional rulers, the Ooni of Ile Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has urged the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, to redouble his efforts to attract investment to his state.
‘Your Excellency, my friend and brother, you know you have greater tasks as the governor of Kaduna State in this part of the country to see through the development of northern Nigeria,’ the monarch told the governor during the third edition of the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADInvest), held in Kaduna recently.
‘Don’t forget the historical and economic place of Kaduna State in the politics of northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large as the centre for development and economic hub of this region.
‘If you get the economic policies right and address the plights of your people aggressively in your avowed disposition, then others will take a cue from you. If you fail, these yearly summits would not alone be consigned to the dustbin of jamboree of history, but would also embolden your counterparts to fritter away the chances to structure modern Nigeria’, the Ife monarch said.
Admonishing participants not to allow political differences affect the state, the Ooni said, ‘I want to appeal to all the leaders to put politics aside in the interest of the state. Look at the future of this state and don’t let us miss this opportunity.’
The former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete agrees with the Ooni of Ife’s assertion that Kaduna State can only achieve her economic potential when political actors prioritise the plights of their people who elected them into office.
The Ooni’s remarks reflected the thoughts of a an academic at the Federal Polytechnic, Kaduna who believes that nothing good can come of out Governor Nasir El-Rufai KADInvest economic summits.
The professor, who chose anonymity said, ‘This is the third time Governor Nasir El-Rufai is hosting investors across the globe in this state with the aim of either revitalising comatose industries or building new ones.
‘The gains so far in the last three years cannot be commensurate with government’s efforts and financial commitment wasted towards the building of a new Kaduna for the good of all.’ The professor expressed reservations that the summits will revive industries and arrest dismal employment deficits in the state. He however admitted that there is a genuine effort by the government to do things differently.
But Suleiman Yusuf, founder/CEO of Blue Camel Energy Limited thinks otherwise. Yusuf said Governor Nasir El-Rufai has demonstrated exemplary leadership and commitment to the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Charter, which has now designated Kaduna as an attractive investment destination.
‘On January 11, 2017, driven by the interest to increase Nigeria’s local content share in renewable energy development, I wrote a letter to the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to make a request for a piece of land to build a solar assembly plant in Kaduna State.
‘24 hours after our proposal was acknowledged by the Governor’s office, it was swiftly followed by an invitation by the KADIPA (Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency) to give more details about our business plans.
‘Within one month, I was shown this land where we are seated here today, and eight months later, we had this entire facility operational and ready for commissioning with C of O and all relevant approvals granted.
‘This project that is being commissioned today has the capacity to assemble over 10,000 units of different solar products in a year and train over 3,000 youths in different renewable energy and entrepreneurship skills, courtesy of the KADInvest economic summit initiative of Governor El-Rufai,’ Suleiman said.
Suleiman’s optimism resonates with Umma Aboki, the Executive Director of KADIPA, who insisted that KADInvest is reviving the industrial sector after the long neglect by successive governments that led to the collapse of textile industries, automobile industries, car assembly plants, and other manufacturing companies in the state.
Governor El-Rufai says no amount of opposition to his economic policies, which he says align with the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plans (ERGP), will deter his commitment to the mandate of fixing the problems he inherited as governor.
The Governor said the provision of solar energy is investment for the future, aimed at providing every home, school and health facility with 24 hours of electricity at a very low cost.
‘We are elected on a platform of change and we will make Kaduna great again and improve quality of lives of the good citizenry and we shall not relent in fulfilling that promise.
‘Kaduna state is committed to creating conditions that facilitate the investments that will create jobs, improve IGR and provide the resources to develop the state.
‘In our immediate history, it’s pretty difficult to communicate with your loved ones. You have to travel long distances to have access to telephones. Today, technology has changed all that. That’s what we hoped to achieve with the solar power investment in Kaduna State where the mighty and the not so mighty will enjoy 24 hours electricity,’ he said.
The governor also believes strongly that investing in job creating ventures will curb restiveness among the youth and other social vices.
Many believe that Governor El-Rufai is delivering on that social contract with his people to create jobs and arrest the economic drift that has been plaguing the state. Among them is the Managing Director of Mahindra Tractor Assembly Plant at Kakuri Industrial Layout.
Speaking at the recent commissioning of the plant, the Managing Director, Springfield Agrid Limited, Tarun Das said, ‘about 6,000 tractors will be produced per annum. The plant includes a working capital of $20,000 million and will employ about 200 people.’ The plant is expected to boost agriculture and create thousands of jobs for youths.
Even Governor El-Rufai critics acknowledge his commitment to fulfilling his electoral promises on investment. One of such promises is to build luxury 200-room Kaduna Hilton Hotel, located on Waff Road.
The wish of most Kaduna people — ultimately is that the governor does not lose focus or play politics — by failing to identify with the young people and abandon his promise to empower the youths by allowing them to unleash their potential.