His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
State Banquet Organized by the Katsina State Government in Honour of Mr. President
Thursday, March 13, 2014
1. Let me begin by expressing my sincere gratitude to the Almighty God for the opportunity to be with you, the good people of Katsina State today. I want to specially thank His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Shema, the Emir of Katsina, other members of the Katsina Emirate, the youths, leaders of thought and the people of this great state for receiving me most warmly whenever I visit, and for their continued support for me and our government.
2. Before I go further I will like to extend my heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Katsina State, especially the families that lost loved ones in the dastardly attacks yesterday on innocent villagers in Faskari and Sabuwa local government areas. We totally condemn the attacks which were carried out by unidentified gunmen.
3. I have ordered our security agencies and Armed Forces to take all necessary action to apprehend them including combing the Rugu Forest thoroughly to permanently rid it of the terrorists and armed criminals who have been launching deadly attacks on surrounding states from there. I have also ordered the National Emergency Management Agency to take immediate action to deliver medical aid and relief materials to the affected communities.
4. My visits to Katsina are always a kind of homecoming. As you all know, without the role played by your great son of blessed memory, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in my political career, I would probably still be in Yenagoa as Governor of Bayelsa state.
5. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have been President of Nigeria today. He was a very good boss. He was honest, forthright, and patriotic. He had a great vision for Nigeria and set out to do things in a different and original manner. We all take consolation in the fact that he gave his best during the short period that he served our country.
6. If he were here today, I have no doubts that he would be impressed with the visible transformation that is taking place throughout the length and breadth of this state. Governor Shema and his able team deserve commendation not only for initiating new projects, but also for ensuring the completion of all the projects initiated by our late beloved President Umaru Yar’Adua who by providence was his, and also my own predecessor in office.
7. Since our arrival this morning, we have gone round parts of the state to inspect and commission projects; and the projects that I have seen, are quite inspiring and highly commendable. They confirm what well-meaning indigenes of the State have often told me about the government’s commitment to improving the welfare of the people.
8. Let me use this unique opportunity to specially commend Governor Ibrahim Shema, for the outstanding work that he is doing. He has shown with his commitment, that what matters most in governance are the people, not politics. By justifying the trust that the people have reposed in him, he has also made the Peoples Democratic Party, our great party which he once served as Deputy National Chairman, very proud indeed.
9. Your efforts are even more appreciated considering the limited resources available to the state, and the challenges of recurrent and capital expenditure. To have completed these people-oriented projects without recourse to bank loans or other forms of indebtedness is a good demonstration of your prudent management of resources and I urge other states of the Federation to emulate this effort.
10. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the projects and developments we are witnessing today are possible when a government of vision and purpose is in office and this is what we stand for in the PDP.
11. By all standards, the PDP remains the only political organization in the country that is truly national, and capable of rising above narrow interests for the good of the nation.
12. The PDP will continue to redefine and renew itself, even as it maintains its position as the flagship of Nigerian politics, the umbrella for national unity and the party to beat in any election.
13. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased that the PDP in Katsina state, since its founding in 1998, has been strong, united, organised and focused. I thank Governor Shema and members of his administration, party elders, party officials and our teeming supporters in Katsina for this achievement.
14. I would also like to thank everyone in the party in Katsina for sustaining a harmonious relationship with the administration and providing a suitable environment for sustainable progress. What the state needs most is peace and with peace, definitely, there will be progress, and by working together, and supporting the administration, more achievements will be recorded.
15. I am truly delighted to note that the projects that we are here to inspect and commission are just a few of the many being executed by the State Government. Earlier today, it was my privilege and honour to commission a beautiful and well-built Katsina Metropolitan Ring Road which will serve as the pivot around which economic and social activities revolve in this fast growing capital city.
16. In addition, it will reduce traffic pressure on the internal urban roads in the Katsina Metropolis. I also visited the Youth Craft Village, a very brilliant initiative to keep our young people engaged and to instil in them early enough, a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
17. I also visited the world-class Karkanda stadium, and the Rimi Wind Mill project which when completed, will boost power supply and by implication, Katsina state’s socio-economic development. Given what I saw and was told by the contractors, I believe that in the nearest future, some of our international matches will be played at the Karkanda stadium. A few hours ago, I also commissioned the new Government House project, where we are right now.
18. I was also pleased to learn that the Shema administration has been investing heavily in the education sector with over 600 young indigenes of this state, currently undergoing studies abroad in various professional disciplines with full scholarship.
19. These inspiring projects and initiatives appropriately complement the efforts and determination of our administration to make life easier for our people, and are consistent with our Transformation Agenda.
20. Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as part of our Transformation Agenda, our administration is pursuing several Federal development initiatives in Katsina state.
21. I am delighted to note that Katsina State is an important beneficiary of our nationwide road construction and rehabilitation drive. In Katsina, our administration has already completed the following roads:
a. The Jibia – Kaura Namoda Road with a length of 97.10Km and the 97-Kilometre Katsina-Daura Road at the total cost of N11 billion.
b. The Funtua-Dayi – Yashi-Charanchi Junction of 166 Kilometres at the total cost of N5.6bilion.
22. Apart from the completion of these roads, the Federal Government has also awarded the contract for the dualisation of the first phase of the Kano-Katsina road to terminate at Yankamaye, the border village between Kano and Katsina States.
23. The construction of another 10 Kilometres road from Kankara to Gurbi, with a long span bridge, which will provide a short-cut from Southern Katsina State to neighbouring Zamfara State, has also been contracted.
24. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me use this occasion to assure the people of Katsina State that the contract for the 2nd phase of the dualisation of the Katsina-Kano Road from Yankamaye to Katsina Metropolis will soon be awarded.
25. Other major infrastructure projects are also earmarked for the State. While visiting the Emir of Katsina today, I pointed out that the construction of the Kano-Katsina rail line is within our projections, indeed the Federal Government is in the process of awarding the contract for the commencement of work in this regard. The Federal Ministry of Transport has also initiated discussions with the Katsina state government for the construction of a dry port in Daura.
26. We are also doing a lot in agriculture. As I pointed out at the palace of His Majesty, the Emir of Katsina, we are intervening in the agriculture sector, not as a rural development programme, but as a business with emphasis on growth across the value-chains.
27. Here in Katsina State, in 2013, 210,000 farmers benefited from the Federal Government Growth Enhancement Scheme, in partnership with the Katsina State Government.
28. As part of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, I launched the dry season farm support programme, to increase our food production and stimulate job creation for the youth. In 2013, over 3,300 rice farmers from Katsina State benefited from the dry season rice farming support of the federal government, with free seeds and subsidized fertilizers. The impact was dramatic, as Katsina state rice farmers produced a record 13,000 MT of paddy rice, which added an estimated One Billion Naira to the local economy, and created over 6,000 jobs.
29. Katsina State is the largest producer of cotton in Nigeria. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is supporting the revival of cotton production in partnership with the Katsina State government. Over 65,000 cotton farmers in Katsina state received improved cotton seeds and fertilizers. Four ginneries in Katsina State were revived with financial support of the Federal Government.
30. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has completed a number of critical market infrastructure to improve the access of farmers to markets in Katsina State. This includes the following:
– One Silo of 25,000MT capacity completed in Dutsin Ma, which is now ready for commissioning.
– Two warehouses of 2,000MT each completed in Daura and Dutsin Ma respectively.
– Four One-stop shops in Ajiwa, Mai Adua, and Tafoki
– One Agro-industrial Estate and three mechanization centres completed in Katsina City.
31. In order to boost the educational development of the Northern region, the Federal Government established 10 universities in the North in the last three years. Of these five are in the North West, one of which is the Federal University, Dutsin Ma in Katsina State, which has since taken off. Additionally, the Federal Government has also built a number of almajiri schools in the state, in partnership with the state government as has been duly acknowledged by the Governor.
32. We are also completing the Sabke irrigation project, and the Jibya irrigation scheme, both in Katsina state.
33. As I end this address, let me say that, while it is satisfying to inspect on-going development sites and commission completed projects, I have also come home primarily to reach out to our people and say a very big thank you for the many months and years of support for me and our administration.
34. Katsina state is the home of many distinguished Nigerians who have made their mark on the national and international stage. I will start with one of the most prominent and successful families, not just in Nigeria and Africa but also all over the world. I am talking about the Yar’Adua family.
35. Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua was the Minister for Lagos Affairs during the First Republic. He was known for his modesty and vision. Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, his son, was Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, and history continues to honour him as a progressive soldier who died while fighting for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria.
36. He is not alive to enjoy the fruits of his labour today, but he would be satisfied wherever he is that Nigerians are building on the foundation he helped to lay, with our country now enjoying 15 years of uninterrupted democratic government.
37. I will also like to pay tribute to another great Yar’Adua. You all know who I am talking about. Yes, my boss, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a most distinguished Nigerian. Whatever I have attained politically today, God used him as a big instrument in helping me.
38. I am not leaving out General Usman Katsina, one of Nigeria’s finest officers who served our country well. In the arts, one of the most successful musicians in Nigerian history, Alhaji Mamman Shata, was from Katsina State.
39. There are others too numerous for me to mention but I will attempt to pay tribute to a few including former Military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, first Chief Justice from Northern Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Bello, Inspector Generals of Police, M.D. Yusuf and Ibrahim Coomasie, First Director General of the National Security Organization, Amb. Mohammed Lawal Rafindadi, Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Zakari Ibrahim, Presidents of the Court of Appeal – Justice Mamman Nasir, and Justice Umaru Abdullahi, first Chartered Accountant from the North, late Hamza Zayyad and a distinguished historian, Dr Yusuf Bala Usman.
40. In closing, I must acknowledge the meaningful contributions that Katsina State indigenes, in various positions in the Federal Service, Federal Boards and Commissions, are making to national integration and national development, some of them working directly with me. I appreciate their diligent service to our motherland.
41. Tonight is special for me, my brothers and sisters. Katsina is a place where my heart is and I want to assure you that I will continue to work with you all to improve the quality of life of our people.
42. Your Excellency, Governor Ibrahim Shema and good people of Katsina state, yours is a truly beautiful state. I assure you of our continued support.
43. “Na go de so sai.”
44. I wish you all a very great evening.