Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has expressed hope that there will be peace and rapid development in the state and Nigeria in general in 2017.
The Governor, in his New Year message to Nigerians, expressed optimism that peace and harmony would prevail in the land while stating that those propagating violence and division in the country would be put to shame.
Stating that his administration was able to make tangible progress in implementing its governance agenda in 2016, Governor El-Rufai gave the auurance that much would be done to better the lives of the people in the New Year.
“Much has been done, but much more remains to accomplish. Through it all, we have confronted our difficulties with the same decisiveness that has produced results across sectors.
“We have imposed discipline on the finances of our state, increased IGR and ensured that we pass our budget well before a new calendar year.
“We demonstrated our credentials as a state that is open for business.
“The quality of attendance and participation at the Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADInvest), held in April 2016, testified that the private sector recognises our commitment to promoting investments and job-creation.
“The Olam and Vicampro investments in the agricultural sector are some of the concrete outcomes of this investment drive.
“In each of our five priority areas, we made advances in the interest of our people. After the first phase of school rehabilitation, we decided that the needs of today and the medium-term require that we embark of a comprehensive reconstruction of schools, and this is captured in the 2017 Budget.
“Our partner, GE Healthcare, has launched the biggest ever refit of hospitals in Kaduna State. This scheme is equipping 255 primary health centres and 23 general hospitals with facilities to improve maternal and infant care, and to offer safer surgery.
“Our infrastructure upgrade programme is delivering better township roads, including the dualisation of major roads. The long-delayed Zaria Water project is nearing completion.
“In 2016, we delivered affordable fertilizer for our farmers without entangling the government in subsidy. Our government also upheld its decision not to spend public funds on pilgrimage.
“The policy and legal architecture to support a new approach to governance was completed. Legislation for a new tax code, public finance management and procurement have been passed and new agencies created to manage a new electronic land registry, and to manage all government facilities,” Governors El-rufai stated.
While assuring all the people of Kaduna State that his administration would continue to do its best to uphold security and to promote peace and harmony across the state, he called on the citizens to ensure that they march into 2017 together by upholding harmony and a common humanity and jointly pursuing those policies and programmes that can best enhance the progress and peace of the state.
“Let us resist the urge to demonise the other or attribute the worst to people whose religion or language differs from ours.
“That duty also imposes on us an obligation to vigorously uphold the rule of law, punish hate speech and incitement,” he warned.
The Governor regretted that amidst his successes, the state has experienced security challenges in parts of southern Kaduna.
“We regret and condemn the loss of lives and property, and the disruption of social order that have been sadly witnessed in those areas.
“We welcome the assistance of the Federal Government in deploying additional security assets to the area. Through all these, we have been guided by the immensity of our oath of office, rather than the media headlines.
“The human toll that our compatriots in southern Kaduna have been seized upon as an occasion for much irresponsible commentary and intense efforts to fan division.”