The core thinking of Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State resembles, in both content and scope, the policy objective of a lot of past great leaders. His orientation, as a politician, is such that indicates a huge capacity and readiness for the implementation of the kind of governance agenda that guarantees effective consolidation of available gains and acceleration of on-going development process.
It is clear that that the pronouncements he repeatedly made during campaigns about his fantastic plan for the people of Kaduna State in terms of social welfare, economic empowerment and rural transformation are now being speedily backed with real actions. In almost one fell swoop, he came up with laudable initiatives that are geared towards the maximization of opportunities for the under-privileged persons in the state.
By signing the first Executive Order for Financial Inclusion which is meant to bring about the extension of financial services to those who are currently not beneficiaries, announcing the establishment of a Trust Fund for the poor to which he has vowed to continuously contribute 50 percent of his salary and most recently assenting to seven bills, all of which are for the improvement of people’s well-being, the governor has demonstrated more than enough determination to make tremendous impact in the state.
Obviously, Kaduna State Government under Senator Uba Sani is, just like the current Government in China under Xi Jinping has already done, striving to make at least ‘moderate prosperity’ a reality in the state. The kind of approach that has been adopted is practically similar to the effort of the Chinese government which, as stated in the volume three of the book—The Governance of China—was geared towards “building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.”
The target beneficiaries of the Financial Inclusion Order are, at the first instance, not less than one million vulnerable, underserved and poor people of the state. Those are people who have no access to the services being provided by banks and all other financial institutions as a result of which they have become poverty-stricken whose woes continuously worsen.
After he, at the swearing-in of new commissioners on 27th July 2023, expressed displeasure over the unfavorable living condition of majority of the people of the state who, according to him, “are excluded from financial services and by extension access to opportunities from State and Federal Governments”, the governor explained that the main goal of his administration is the integration of the “poor, underserved and vulnerable in Kaduna State into the financial eco-system, so that they can benefit from the State and Federal Governments social investment programmes , as well as donor agencies’ interventions”. The details of the plan have shown that arrangement by which the target beneficiaries shall be encouraged and assisted to secure bank accounts, as a fulfillment of the condition for accessing the available financial opportunities, is being perfected.
It is strictly for the same purpose of mitigating the harsh effects of the prevailing economic realities in the country that the idea of the Trust Fund was conceived. As the process for the design of its framework has already been initiated, it is fully and genuinely believed that the Trust Fund will cater for the real needs of the deserving people in the state.
Governor Uba Sani’s pro-poor approach became a lot clearer and potentially more impactful when he recently signed six bills into law, all of which have a direct bearing on the people’s welfare and the economy of the state. At least three of the laws seek to, in various ways, empower the underprivileged persons through the enhancement of their individual and collective welfare, safety and security.
Specifically, the law on ‘Tech-enabled Start-ups’ is meant to serve as an effective legal instrument for the smooth harmonization of the strategies of both public and private sectors for job creation, improvement of production and trade promotion in the same way that the other law on Social Security Scheme provides for the quick institutionalization of Social Investment Programme for the purpose of poverty reduction. Issues about public safety are adequately captured in the provisions of the law on public health, while the law on the creation of Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council as well as the law on investment promotion are there to serve as facilitators of the establishment of tech-based businesses and injection of capital into the economy of the state by private investors.
Unarguably, a foundation upon which the government at all levels and the private sector can easily carry out their activities for the economic development of the state has been laid by the new administration under Senator Uba Sani. This is, in fact, a source of satisfaction and pride for the people of Kaduna State and all other Nigerians.
Gimi Writes from Kaduna