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President’s Speech: SOKAD Donation 2015

Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora (SOKAD)

                    U.S.A. & CANADA

Email: gurarakaduna@yahoo.com 

Website: https://www.sokadusa.com/

 

 U.S.A. Office

3929 East Meadow Lane

Orange City

OH 44122

USA

Sep 12, 2015

President’s Remarks: Donation of School Supplies to LGEA Primary School Kamuru Ikulu-1, Zangon Kataf LGA and LGEA Primary School, Dura, Jaba LGA, Kaduna State at CaRE-NGO, Sabon-Tasha, Kaduna on 12th September, 2015

 Governor of Kaduna State, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai Represented By Commissioner of Education, Represented by the Director, Sabon-Tasha Zonal Inspectorate, Mr Moh’d, Represented by the Deputy Director, Mr Joshua

The District Head of Dura,HH  Mr Iliya Bako and the Dagachin A/Hausawa

The Head Mistresses of the two schools, Mrs Linda and Mr/Mrs; the SBMC and PTA Chairmen of the LGEA Prim Dura and Kamauru Ikulu I

Members of the Press

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good Morning and welcome to this occasion.

On May 6, 2013, in this facility, our organization donated school supplies worth N158, 000 to Zack- Zawan Primary School, Sanga LGA. In his remarks during the donation ceremony, our Ex-president, Professor Tunga Lergo, relayed our message that the donation was a token, but the beginning of a series of such donations to come. On August 23, 2014, our Treasurer/Financial Secretary, Mallam Ibrahim Maikori, officiated the 2014 donation to two selected primary schools: LGEA Primary School, Kurdan, Zangon Kataf LGA, and UNICEF Model Primary School, Kurmin Kwara, Daddu, Jaba LGA.

Today, SOKAD is pleased to honor two more selected primary schools with school supplies, worth N380,000.00 to  LGEA Primary School Kamuru Ikulu-1, Zangon Kataf LGA and LGEA Primary School, Dura, Jaba LGA, Kaduna State

SOKAD is an organization of indigenes of Southern Kaduna in diaspora in its 6th year of formation, and is still in a take-off stage.  For now, it has two autonomous chapters: one in Canada and the other in the United States of America. The 2013, 2014, and 2015 donations are by the USA chapter. We are committed to the education of our people and hope to play an active role in that regard.

We are grateful that the school officials of the two primary schools are here to receive the donation:  On behalf of SOKAD-U.S.A., I thank them for coming and for their leadership in educating our young men and women.

SOKAD is graciously grateful to Professor Bala and Joy Dogo of CARE NGO for providing the logistic and the labor that made this donation possible. It’s been a pleasure partnering with you. The Lord will reward you for your humanitarian work to the poor and needy. Keep up the good work!

Above all, may I personally thank all members of SOKAD, USA chapter, for their donation of money and time; and last, but not the least, my colleagues in the Executive Committee – Dr. Freeman Kamuru, Secretary General; Mr. Ibrahim Maikori, Treasurer/Financial Secretary, for their sacrifices for our Southern Kaduna people.

And, in conclusion, SOKAD is grateful that the Governor was able to make out time to come. Thank you sir. We understand you have just assumed office. We understand you have issues ahead of you to address including security, education, health etc. We pray for successful implementation of the educational programs for all students in Kaduna state. We thank you for coming. Thanks to all other dignitaries present.  Also, thanks to the media persons that are present to cover this ceremony. Special thanks to Mr. Sam Aruwan and his team. (Mention others that are there.)

To everyone present here today, Thank you and May God bless you.

Dr. Likita Aminu, MD, MPH

President, SOKAD

Visit SOKAD’s website: https://www.sokadusa.com/

How we met Kaduna State and what we are doing to change it

By SAMAILA ARUWAN

State of the state broadcast by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, OFR, Governor of Kaduna State, Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Dear good people of Kaduna State,
It has been exactly two months since I took the oath of office as your governor, a position of responsibility that you bestowed on my humble self with your votes.
In my inaugural address, I outlined our vision for Kaduna State and mentioned some of the things our administration will accord priority. Today, I am pleased to state that we have begun to put in place some of the things  we promised to do.
A few days to our inauguration,  we announced the appointment of some key staff of the administration. The deciding factor was not ethnicity or religion, but the education, experience and capacity to get things done for the benefit of the state. We therefore selected and appointed capable and competent Nigerians that we trust to work selflessly for the people of Kaduna State. It may be early days yet, but I can assure you that we are already benefiting from their tremendous wealth of experience in various sectors.
We took seriously the importance of setting the tone of our administration early,  and this is opening windows of opportunity for Kaduna State. Permit me to again express my gratitude at the choice you have made to vote for the APC, and to reassure you that my party, team members and I are totally dedicated to doing the work that you have elected us to do.
However, we must be under no illusion that the task at hand would be an easy one. Without over-flogging the issue, it must be stated that the level of decay we inherited was far worse than we imagined. Immediately we assumed office, we devoted our first week to receiving briefings from the ministries, departments and agencies of the government.
This set the stage for the Transition Committee, which we established a day after we were declared elected in April, to resume work on a final report which has now been completed and submitted. I want to thank all the decent, hardworking men and women that worked round the clock pro bono as members of the Transition Committee to produce the excellent interim and final reports that have guided our government so far.
Thanks to these three months of fact-finding efforts, we now have a clearer picture of the state of affairs we inherited, and it is not a pretty picture. While we will never use the poor condition in which we met the state as an excuse, it is our belief that we owe the people of this state the duty to let them know the reality on the ground.
I will share some of this information with you to enable everyone have a clearer picture of what we met on ground.
How we met Kaduna State
Kaduna State was left prostrate by the last administration. Our first shock after preliminary analysis of the finances indicated that even after combining receipts from the Federation Account and internally generated revenue, the previous government could not settle personnel and overhead costs of the State and Local Governments without monthly borrowing.
In simple terms, the former Kaduna State government and its local governments existed only to pay salaries, and they borrowed monies monthly to keep the governments running. The civil servants and the political appointees – that is, the servants of the 8 million people of Kaduna – were consuming over 100% of the income of the state, leaving nothing for the development of education, healthcare, agriculture, roads, and water supply. We all will agree that there is no family that will accept spending even 90% of its income on the house-help, security man and the cook. Yet that is what the former state government and all the local governments were clearly doing.
The state therefore became highly indebted. The total indebtedness of the State as at 31st May 2015 stood at N74.297bn, comprising N28.840bn in domestic debt, and N45.44bn in foreign debt. The state government alone has unsettled liabilities to contractors, consultants and suppliers of about N25bn and shortfalls in pension contributions of N8.371bn. The extent of bank debts and contractor liabilities of the 23 local governments is still being collated.
These state debts need to be serviced, and the high debt service cost is weighing heavily on the state and adversely affecting capital expenditure flexibility. For instance, the 2015 budget earmarked N10.8bn as the cost of servicing existing debt. We are considering our options for responsibly managing the debt burden we inherited.
Aside from the huge debt, the new administration also inherited cash deficits and poor liquidity. As at 31 May 2015, the Kaduna State Government had only N228,333,371.67 available in the bank as money that the government can actually spend. The previous administration also incurred outstanding liabilities of N370m by May 2015, effectively leaving the state in red as the working capital of slightly over N228m was less than the liability incurred.
In an effort to obscure the deficit they had placed the state in, the previous government resorted to pretending that committed funds were available to be spent. Committed funds are monies that cannot be spent by the government because they are already earmarked as counterpart and reserve funds for specific purposes such as MDGs, SUBEB, Sure-P and pension contributions. These committed funds amounted to about N8.56 billion as at 31 May 2015.
In the past couple of years, at least 80% of state revenues were spent on running the government and satisfying the wants of a few that had been elected or appointed into office. Sometimes, all of the resources, with some extra borrowing, were consumed by this few people in power and those they favored. Little wonder that the former leadership did not advance healthcare, education, agriculture, infrastructure and job creation.
We have taken the time to explain the details of the state’s finances to enable every citizen to get the true picture of what we met on ground. However, we have a duty to tackle the untidy mess that the state finances have been. We have taken steps to curtail our expenditure, and devote more of it to development.
Our immediate response
It was obvious that running Kaduna the old way is a recipe for disaster. One of the steps we took was to cut overheads spending by 60%. I therefore directed the state Accountant General to release only 40% of budgeted overheads as we strive to improve liquidity and prioritize spending for public goods. However, our efforts in this regard are not on the expenditure side alone. As we cut costs, plug leakages and reduce waste, we need to grow our revenues and have more realistic budgeting in the state. We are therefore focusing on strategies to rapidly increase our internally generated revenue.
We are conscious of the fact that as things stand today, Kaduna State relies on federal allocation to be able to pay salaries. The state simply does not collect enough internally-generated revenue (IGR). In the last five years, IGR has been able to finance only about 15% of the budget. We are committed to improving IGR, and thus reduce our dependence on federal allocations. The committee we set up to review our tax system in the state, led by the former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, is about to complete its work. We shall promptly act on its recommendations to improve revenue generation and collection.
We have also decided to make the budget conform to the state’s financial reality. Over the years, the Kaduna budget became a process to justify spending, not a mechanism to achieve results, structure economic development and improve social cohesion. Even with that, less than 40% of the budget has been implemented since 2008. Actual capital spending stood at just 26% in 2013. In the same year, health sector implementation was just 14% of planned expenditure, while that for town, urban and regional development was just 1%.
When a budget is so disconnected from reality, and the same unrealistic figures are increased every year, development cannot be realized. We will henceforth rigorously match realistic expenditures to sustainable revenues. Therefore budgeting in Kaduna State will henceforth be based on the zero-based budgeting system. This means that every expenditure item will have to be justified both in terms of its necessity, cost and availability of funds vis-à-vis other competing needs before it can be included in the state budget. There is no reason to legislate N200bn as annual budget when the realistic revenue and expenditure capacity is less than N100bn.
As we noted during the campaign, our schools and hospitals are in poor shapes. We are outraged that about 50% of our primary school pupils sit on bare floors, often in facilities that lack water, toilets, windows or even roofs. Many schools do not have enough teachers, and a lot of the teachers themselves need further training to enable them truly educate our children. Our healthcare system is similarly challenged by capacity failures and shortage of tools and equipment that are often mitigated by dedicated personnel. As governor, I have had cause to take a child to a public hospital at 5am where I saw a doctor on call along with other busy health workers, but the pharmacy had no drugs.
What we have done so far
The work of change that you have charged us to do requires a commitment to sacrifice, cooperation and hard work by all. So far, we have started taking the necessary decisions to set a new direction for the state and make the government an enabler of development rather than a guzzler of revenues.
We have made clear our intention to devote a larger chunk of the state’s resources to providing public services. We have signaled that a government elected by majority vote should serve the majority.
Governance:
• Cost-cutting: We have reduced ministries to 13, from 19. This has enabled us to reduce the number of permanent secretaries to 18, from the previous 35. As stated earlier, we have slashed overheads by 60% across board as we seek to do more with less. Our deputy governor and I have tried to set an example by taking a 50% cut in our salaries and allowances. Your government has also decided to save the monies hitherto spent on feeding, gifts and pilgrimage. In 2014, over 2,000 pilgrims were sponsored to the Hajj by the Kaduna State Government and the 23 local government areas. Out of the 810 Christian pilgrims, 800 were sponsored by the same governments. All these cost the governments nearly N1.5 billion in just one year. Our state simply cannot afford this expense any longer.
• Biometric verification: Our government has concluded the first phase of the biometric verification of its employees. We again condole the families of our workers who were victims of the bomb blast at the Dogarawa secretariat of the Sabon-Gari local government council. I pay tribute to the civil servants for their understanding and commitment to the success of the verification project. It is in the interest of every responsible citizen to eliminate ghost workers from the state’s payroll. We have saved nearly N120 million so far, and are reviewing the figures from the exercise, and we will apply the lessons learnt in subsequent phases. We are determined to weed out ghost workers from the state and local government payrolls and we will introduce additional measures in the coming weeks to apprehend and prosecute those involved in this fraud.
• Tax Reforms: We are studying the options to improve our internally generated revenue and reduce our dependence on federal allocations. Our deputy governor and I are committed to not drawing our full pay until our IGR exceeds federation account allocations for at least three consecutive months.
• Transparency: Your government has decided to domesticate the Freedom of Information Act in Kaduna State. We have forwarded the bill to the House of Assembly for passage. We have also signed up to Open Budget, a web-based tool that enables you to track what we are doing with your money.
Health:
• Kaduna State has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with General Electric Healthcare to modernise our primary health centres and public hospitals. Both parties have committed to identifying the specific needs of the centres and hospitals, so that modern equipment can be installed to improve the diagnosis and management of patients.
• We shall sharpen our focus on primary healthcare by full implementation of Primary Healthcare Under One Roof (PHCUOR). We have therefore sent this framework as our first Executive Bill to the State House of Assembly. This focus includes a project to fully equip at least one primary health care centre in each of the 255 wards in the state, and at least one general hospital in each of the three senatorial districts. In addition to providing better facilities, we would be recruiting more doctors, nurses, midwives and technologists for our improved hospitals.
• We have signed the 2015 Kaduna State-UNICEF 2015 work-plan. The state government is ready with its counterpart funding for the agreed initiatives in healthcare, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, water, sanitation and child protection.
• We have installed two dialysis machines and have repaired three dialysis equipment at Barau Dikko Hospital. We hope to take delivery of four other dialysis machines to be installed at our general hospitals in Kafanchan and Zaria within weeks. Arrangements are being made to purchase consumables for the next 12 months so that dialysis will be affordable to Kaduna citizens needing it.
Security:
• Collaborative Security operations: Security forces are now executing the comprehensive security plans agreed by the governors of Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi and Niger States to address the serious security challenges in the forest ranges of Kamuku and Kuyambana that stride our respective States. The security operations have commenced, and several camps of the criminal gangs have been destroyed and thousands of stolen cattle recovered. We are grateful to the Federal Government for deploying its security assets in the ongoing operations to make our six states safer and more secure.
• Agwai Peace Committee: A fact-finding and community engagement committee, chaired by the respected General Martin Luther Agwai, is working to identify the causes of conflict and insecurity in Southern Kaduna and thereafter recommend ways of tackling the problem. The committee has been in active engagement and tours round the Kaduna South senatorial district and we are confident that it will make far-reaching recommendations to bring peaceful coexistence back to our state as a whole. The committee will submit its report early in August by God’s Grace.
• Demilitarisation: Your government has made efforts to boost the confidence levels of citizens and encouraging increased vigilance, without reliance on roadblocks. More public roles are being undertaken by the civil police as we encourage our security forces to deepen their access to proactive intelligence.
• Traditional Rulers’ Network: We are empowering our traditional institutions to restore their security and intelligence networks that served our communities so well in the past. A high-powered committee chaired by the Amir of Birnin Gwari is working round the clock to assist the government in this effort.
Job creation
• Shopping Mall: We have signed an agreement with UAC Property Development Company (UPDC) to build a shopping mall in Kaduna. The mall is scheduled for commissioning by December 2016. A number of other investors have also indicated interest in building additional malls and 5-star hotels which would create jobs and make Kaduna a centre for domestic tourism, and an outstanding venue for national and international conferences and other events.
• Kaduna Cabs: We have initiated a scheme to revive taxi services in our major urban centres, starting with 200 branded, air-conditioned cabs in Kaduna. Prospective owner-drivers are expected to deposit about 10% of the discounted price of the vehicles and pay the balance in installments over a period of four years. Hundreds of our youths have now been short-listed for training with a view to empowering them as owner-drivers in due course.
Local Government Reforms
• We have appointed interim management committees for all the 23 local government councils in our state. As we pledged during the campaign, we have announced that the state government will not touch a kobo of local government money. Rather, when federal allocations for the local governments arrive in the joint account, we will add 10% of the state’s IGR to it and give it to the local government councils. We expect that this financial autonomy will be used to accelerate development at the grassroots.
• Therefore local government councils must also cut costs and take concrete steps to reverse the monthly deficit of N700m that they jointly incur. We will insist that every local government must live within its means. We have stopped the practice of using funds from largely rural local governments to subsidize the salary bills of urban local councils that tend to be overstaffed. Local government councils will not be allowed to spend more than 50% of their revenues on recurrent expenses, and they have been guided on the capital projects that their communities expect.
Land Recovery
• Public institutions: Your government has demonstrated its resolve to protect the integrity of the land on which public institutions such as schools and hospitals are sited. We are reversing the impunity that led important personalities to conclude that they could take school or hospital land for private purposes.
• Government is therefore recovering such lands to preserve the security of such institutions, and safeguard their ability to expand, which are the reasons they were allotted such size of the land in the first place. Appropriate notices have been issued to people who have built on such plots. We thank the public for the widespread support they are giving to these recovery moves.
Infrastructure
• Zaria Water Project: We have briefed and secured the support of our lenders and development partners for accelerated completion of this project by early 2018. We are negotiating a sustainable payment plan to clear the contractor arrears. We are also working on plans for a Kaduna Water Expansion Project, as well as the rehabilitation of other small town water schemes across the state.
• Rural and community development: Under the leadership of our Deputy Governor, we shall be mainstreaming the Pampaida Millennium Village as a viable model across our rural communities. It will have components to improve education, healthcare, rural roads and the farming activities that engage most of our rural residents.
• Textile Revival: We have the support of Mr. President to work on policies and schemes that will revive this sector as viable and sustainable employer of labour. We are collaborating with the Federal Government, current and potential textile investors, and the states of Zamfara, Katsina and Kano on a package that stimulates the value-chain from cotton farming to textiles production and garmenting.
What we intend to do
Based on our manifesto and campaign pledges, your government will be implementing the following measures to improve the welfare of our people:
• Land Reform: Your government will assist land owners to have security and be able to unlock the wealth in their land by formalising and registering their titles. We will computerize all the land records  and implement the Kaduna Geographic Information System starting with Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan metropolitan areas. This is to  ensure that our people get Certificates of Occupancy for all their plots of land and improve security of their landholdings.
• Urban Development: At the moment, the three major cities in Kaduna State – Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan are no more than glorified local government headquarters. This administration is developing a master-plan to transform these cities into modern urban centres with every conceivable facility like improved transportation, traffic management, leisure and shopping facilities, recreational and neighborhood centres. This process will involve the creation of thousands of jobs in several sectors.
• Clean Kaduna: We are starting a campaign to keep Kaduna State clean. This entails public enlightenment as well as enforcement measures and an improved system of public waste management.
• Education: We are committed to make our public schools safe environments for learning by commencing the comprehensive repairs of schools, and the provision of furniture, water, toilets and other facilities. We shall also be training our teachers to remedy the skills gaps revealed by the teacher audit. Your government will be recruiting more teachers in the core subjects of Mathematics, English, the Sciences and information technology. These are the steps that will inject quality into our pledge to provide free education up to junior secondary level.
• School Feeding: We have taken a firm decision to vastly improve the feeding of students in our boarding schools, starting from this  September. We will start with boarding secondary schools for which we have requested the State House of Assembly to approve a virement of N1 billion.
• Pensioners: It is unacceptable that retired people should face pension headaches after a lifetime of work. We shall take steps to resolve this matter, ensure that pensions are properly-funded and pass an updated law to make pensions a sustainable undertaking by committing the state to an improved contributory pension scheme consistent with Pensions Reform Act 2014.
• Physically-challenged persons and the destitute: We have a responsibility to every section of our society, including the physically-challenged. Our duty is to train every willing person to acquire the skills that can help them be productively engaged. We neither believe that destitution is a profession nor will we condemn anyone to the misery of begging. Rather all our rehabilitation centres will be retooled to impart viable skills and we shall have a microcredit scheme to assist people to start-up their small businesses after undergoing training. We have had to effect some emergency measures to take beggars and hawkers off the streets in response to the recent security issues, but we shall abide by the commitments we made during the campaign. We have this week named a Special Assistant on Persons with Disability to drive this component of our agenda.
• Township Roads and Street Lights: neighborhood and township roads in our major urban centres are being earmarked for upgrading to the extent we can within this rainy season. More extensive work will begin as soon as the rains are over in all the local government headquarters in the state. We consider it intolerable that Kaduna has become a city of darkness. We shall provide street lights, brighten up our city and thereby help deter crime.
• Transport: our multilayer transport architecture will be executed over the next four years by God’s Grace. That includes preparations, studies and projects to put in place:
o the new Cabs scheme and expanding the project to Zaria and Kafanchan,
o a BRT system for mass transit starting with Kaduna metropolitan area,
o a major project to establish Kaduna-Zaria rapid transit system between Shika, Samaru and Zaria through and within the Kaduna Metropolis and up to the Refinery, and
o new bus and truck terminals in Kaduna, Tafa, Mararaban Jos, Kafanchan and Zaria.
• Direct Youth Employment: Our drive to recruit 50 youths per ward in the next four years to work in some government agencies – as traffic, environmental and sanitary inspectors will commence this year with about 10 persons per ward. We have reconstituted the board and leadership of KASTELEA to enable this process to start soon. These job openings are being advertised soon.
Dear people of Kaduna State, we ask for your support and understanding as we do the work that you elected us to do. There is so much to do, with fewer resources. We are working to do things that improve public welfare and that empower people to make the best use of their talents. We do not regard poverty as something to be exploited. Rather we understand that governance imposes on us a duty to tackle poverty, fight its causes and empower the citizens to rise above the ravages of circumstances.
We are irrevocably committed to a leaner, less expensive government, with well-motivated civil servants, teachers and health care workers. We need an efficient public service to be able to deliver public goods, and we shall get it. As we make political appointments to help drive our development agenda, we are seeking people who have capacity to do the job in a way that benefits all of society rather than the appointee or the patrons of the appointees. Good governance requires that we select the best persons to serve the public. The notion that public offices are meant to be distributed without attention to quality has seen the elevation of unsuitable persons into such positions, with disastrous consequences for our state and our country.
We have sent the signals that change really means placing the needs of the people as our priority. Not for us surrender to vested interests and their desire to preserve their privileges at the expense of our people. Those that used to corner fertilizers, grains and other items or infect our civil service with ghost workers or inflate and abandon contracts will certainly be unhappy. But we shall not be distracted from our priorities to deliver public services to our people.
At the end of our tenure, you will judge whether we did our best for peace and security, whether we built and repaired the schools and hospitals we promised, whether we recruited and trained more teachers, whether we got more doctors and nurses into our hospitals, whether we promoted jobs and skills for our youths.
My fellow citizens of Kaduna State, we were not elected to pander to the desires of a minority. We were elected by majority vote to serve the many, and so shall we. We will continue to interact with you, the citizens of this state through our monthly town hall meetings, and weekly briefings by Commissioners and heads of each Ministry, Department and Agency on their respective activities and results achieved in the service of our people.
We have made some difficult choices, and shall make even more in the future. But all our decisions are geared towards improving our state.  We will listen and make adjustments if we err, but we will never shy way from taking painful decisions today that secure the future of our children tomorrow. Hope was invested in us to perform. And we will not deliver despair. We shall remain worthy of that hope in your service.
God bless Kaduna State. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

SOKAD Congratulates Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and Kaduna State on Election Victory.

SOKAD Congratulates Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and Kaduna State on Election Victory.

Written by Southern Kaduna Diaspora (SOKAD)

PRESS RELEASE

(Columbus, Ohio, USA, April 18, 2015). The Southern Kaduna in Diaspora (SOKAD) is happy and excited with the outcome of the Gubernatorial and State legislative elections in Kaduna State. The relatively peaceful conduct and outcome of the elections is commendable. We, however, regret the few incidences of violence that led to the loss of lives in Saminaka.

By all accounts, the conduct of the election was largely free and fair. SOKAD congratulates the Governor-Elect, Mallam El-Rufai and his party (APC), and all those elected to the Kaduna State House of Assembly, for the victories in the election on April 11, 2015.

We also wish to congratulate the Kaduna State electorate who spoke clearly and loudly through the ballot box.  Our prayers and advice for a peaceful and successful election were answered.

To Mallam El-Rufai, Kaduna State people have entrusted you with the governance of their State. Your campaign promises contributed to your victory. We hope they will be kept. We pray that God will give you the wisdom and courage needed to be the transformational leader that the State has waited for.  As the Governor of Kaduna State, we ask that you work hard towards protecting and safeguarding the rights of minorities who have been largely disregarded or ignored in much of the modern history of that part of Nigeria. We are confident in your “can do” attitude, and trust that you will make Kaduna State secure, and great, again.

We thank Governor Yero for his service, and, in particular, for his magnanimity in defeat.  For putting love of the State and country over self by conceding defeat in a peaceful manner, he followed in the footsteps of President Goodluck that defeat- sometimes- is, in effect, victory of self. We hope this will be a precedence for all our Nigerian politicians.

As we approach the inaugurations and beginning of the new administration, we pray and hope that God will guide the Governor-elect and his party in all policies and decisions as they affect the people. We urge that the security situation, among other concerns, be addressed as a matter of urgency.

May the next four years be good and productive years for our State!

Signed:

Aminu Likita, MD, MPH (President)

Freeman Kamuru, PhD, MD (Secretary General)

Ibrahim A. Maikori, M.Ed (Financial Secretary

April 18, 2015

 

PRESS RELEASE: The 2015 Presidential Election: A Mandate and a Legacy.

The 2015 Presidential Election: A Mandate and a Legacy.

Written by Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora (SOKAD)

gurarakaduna@yahoo.com

PRESS RELEASE

(Columbus, Ohio, USA, April 2015). It is with great pleasure and joy that we are writing to commend the Federal Government of Nigeria and our Nigerian people,  for the success of the recently concluded Presidential election, and elections to the National Assembly.  We have closely followed event before, during and after the voting with keen interest.  By all accounts, the conduct of the election was largely free and fair.

We wish to congratulate the President-Elect, Major General Muhammadu  Buhari (Rtd),  for his victory.  Majority of Nigerians have entrusted him with their votes with the hope that he will fulfil his promises to them made during the campaigns.  We pray that God will give him the wisdom and courage needed to be the transformational leader that the country has been waiting for.  As the President of all Nigerians, we hope that he would work hard to protect and safeguard the rights of minorities who have been largely disregarded or ignored in much of the modern history of our beloved country.

We thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his service, and in particular for his magnanimity in defeat.  For putting love of country over self, he has elevated the standard of democracy in Nigeria and aligned himself with the few champions of democracy in Africa, such as the late Nelson Mandela who eschewed bitterness and placed the love of country above everything, even as he guided South Africa from the precipice of explosive racial crisis to a stable democracy.

Above all, the Nigerian people should be proud of the strides that they have collectively made towards attaining political maturity.  Using the ballot box to express dissatisfaction with a government widely seen as inept, especially on matters of National security, is what a well-informed, sophisticated, and mature electorate does.  This should serve as a reminder to the incoming administration that in four years, Nigerians will return to the ballot box, again, to pass a verdict on their stewardship.

As we approach the Gubernatorial elections, and elections to  the  state Houses of Assembly, SOKAD pray and hope that the outcome would also be a success, as it was in the Presidential and national elections.  Political parties and their candidates must educate and instruct their supporters to conduct themselves properly and to avoid any activities or actions that would undermine public peace and order.

May God Bless Nigeria and all her peoples.

SOKAD

Signed:

Aminu Likita, MD, MPH, President Freeman Kamuru, PhD, MD, Secretary General Ibrahim A. Maikori, M.Ed, Financial Secretary

 

SOKAD Urges Southern Kaduna Voters to Go and Vote on February 14 & 28. 

 

SOKAD Urges Southern Kaduna Voters to Go and Vote on February 14 & 28.

Written by Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora ( SOKAD)

gurarakaduna@yahoo.com

COLUMBUS, OHIO (February 7, 2015). The Southern Kaduna People in the Diaspora are very keenly following the political campaigns leading to the upcoming 2015 elections. We are praying and hoping that the election will go smoothly.  More importantly, we call on all the people of Southern Kaduna who are eligible voters to come out and vote on the Election Day. It is civic duty of every eligible voter from Southern Kaduna to vote.  Your voices must be heard loud and clear.  No individual, organization, or institution should take you for granted. You have power in your vote. Use it. Don’t waste it.  Here are some points to bear in mind as you go to vote:

Review each candidate’s credentials very well. The candidate’s education, skills, experiences and maturity on how each had performed before; most importantly, his campaign promises for Southern Kaduna.

Can the candidate be trusted? Is the candidate a person of integrity? Can he be trusted to keep his campaign promises? What if the Person losses? How will he handle the situation? Will he let hell loose or will he concede defeat, peacefully.

Consider the utterances and the behaviors of the candidates in the past. Are they in line with his claims now? Or will history betray his conduct and utterances now?

Consider the two parties and their candidates.

PDP: This is the ruling party. Gov. Yero should be judged on his performance in last few years. What efforts has he made in the distribution of services and infrastructure including appointments, to reduce the imbalance between Southern Kaduna and the rest of the state? Does he merit being given some more time to finish the work he has begun? Or has he failed and therefore is expected to fail again.  Can he pull his weight to deliver on the promises he makes.

APC. What will El-Rufai bring to the table for Southern Kaduna? Does he have the cloud to bring the changes we are seeking? The provision of Federal educational institutions, Federal Hospital, Agricultural facilities and social infrastructures are some of the issues to look out for. What has El-Rufai done in the past that shows he is a candidate who can deliver? Yes, El-Rufai may be new to govern Kaduna state (if elected). Can he pull his weight to deliver on the promises he makes.

On security, who will do better? Our people are being killed and survivors are systematically displaced. Our lands are seized by force. Has the incumbent, Gov. Yero done enough? Will he do better if given another chance? Or should he be replaced by someone who will start afresh and tackle the issue headlong?

Who will do better in tackling the problem of bribery and corruption, the threat of Fulani mercenary attackers and the atrocities perpetrated by Boko Haram? Gov. Yero or El-Rufai. By the time you read up to this point (this current line) you should have decided who to vote for.

We call on all Nigerians in general, and Southern Kaduna people in particular, to respect the voice of the people in this election period. We ask that governments (local, state, federal) ensure that the election is peaceful. Adequate security must be provided at all polling stations. The election must not be rigged. We urge all citizens to shun violence and embrace peace and reconciliation.  We also ask that whoever wins should be congratulated. Whoever losses should concede defeat peacefully and gracefully.

We call on all eligible voters in Southern Kaduna to go out and vote and not be afraid. Exercising this civic duty will yield great dividend. Therefore, cast your vote on Election Days, February 14, and 28. Remember that you will reap the fruit of your action whether you vote or you don’t. Whatever your choices are on February 14, & 28, we, your sons and daughters in Diaspora, will accept them.

May the best candidates win! And may the Almighty God make the elections free, fair, and peaceful!

Signed:

Aminu Likita, MD, MPH, President Freeman Kamuru, PhD, MD, Secretary General Ibrahim A. Maikori, M.Ed, Financial Secretary

February 7, 2015

 

 

Southern Kaduna Diaspora Making the Case for Indicting Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State, Nigeria, for Crimes Against Humanity.

By Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora (SOKAD), U.S.A. & Canada

Atlanta- Georgia ( March 3, 2014) :  On February 6, 2014,  the Southern Kaduna Indigenes Progressive Forum ( SKIPFo) declared its intention to take the Governor of Kaduna State, Governor Yero, to the International Criminal Court ( ICC) for crimes of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the peoples of Southern Kaduna.  On behalf of Southern Kaduna in Diaspora (SOKAD), we wish to officially declare our support for what the group intends to do. It is about time the ethnic cleansing agenda in Southern Kaduna was brought to global awareness and justice. While the devilish atrocities of Boko Haram in the North East of Nigeria has attracted international focus, the gradual cleansing of the peoples in the middle belt of Nigeria, and of Southern Kaduna in particular, is barely given a passing mention, and yet, it is older than Boko Haram, and is  as vicious as Boko Haram’s murders. Both the Federal and state governments have done little to solve the problem. If a group can’t get justice at home, in a globalized world, it is proper to seek justice internationally.

For a long time, the peace loving people of southern Kaduna State have pleaded, in vain, with  the Kaduna State government, through several of its administrations, to stop the wanton killings and maiming of  the  peoples of southern Kaduna by the nomadic Fulani pastoralists. After careful examination of the logistics, the strategy and execution of the killings, SOKAD has come to the conclusion that it is quite clear that it is a coordinated plan to cleanse the indigenous peoples of southern Kaduna from their ancestral lands to pave the way for both the nomads and their sponsors to occupy. We have lived with the nomadic pastoralists for decades until now, when there is a systematic and coordinated push by northern Fulani Muslims to extend their domination southward. The people of that part of the state did not state the war, they are victims of it, and are simply defending themselves.

The current state administration is both complacent and party to the  genocide and ethnic cleansing and Southern Kaduna in the Diaspora is in full agreement with those, especially SKIPFo, who seek to take Governor Yero to the International Crime Court.

It will not be the first time that a state governor has been taken to the ICC. Governor Jang of Plateau State was taken to the court in 2009 by the Hausa-Muslims settlers of Plateau for genocide, ethnic cleansing and killings. He was forced to defend himself and his government. He was exonerated because it turned out to be a case of barawo da sauri maraba.  We would like for Governor Yero to have his own turn to defend himself and why the Kaduna State government is allowing the pogrom and ethnic cleansing of ethnic minorities of his state to persist for so long.

In its press release, SKIPFo catalogued the atrocities by the ethnic cleansers on the peoples of Southern Kaduna, even though it was a  partial list, the atrocities  are too many and gruesome to recount here. There is no person of conscience reading about the atrocities, will not agree that Kaduna State government is complacent. There is no legitimate government- democratically elected or not- administrating  a state where a section of  its citizens is systematical, gradually, but surely being slaughtered like animals for years, and   has not even as much arrested the perpetrators, has not compensated the victims, and offers  no protection, can claim not to be complacent.

SOKAD and others have always argued that the Hausa Fulani nomads are always the initiators of any crisis in Kaduna State, and that other ethnic groups either defend or retaliate, but the state government has always denied this claim.  We know that the southern Kaduna peoples are peace loving agrarian people, who are welcoming to all Nigerians; and we have always cited the incidents in other Middle belt states, and the Boko Haram siege in the north-east, to support our claim.

We take this opportunity to sympathize with, and pray for, the people of Benue state who were raided by 700 Fulani nomads on February 17, 2014; more so, with the Tor Tiv and his family, for the defilement of his Palace. Our prayers and sympathy also go to the people of Bauchi and Adamawa States for all the pains and sufferings they have had in the hands of Boko Haram, especially the recent devilish acts on school children.  We wish to assure the victims of such hellish acts that the acts are the work of the devil, and that your God is a true and powerful God, who does not need the hands of mortal beings to kill for Him: He is capable and loving.

It is on this note that on behalf of southern Kaduna diaspora, join this brave group- SKIPF0- in taking Governor Yero to ICC, and call on other organizations in the state and beyond to join with them to make a case for the indictment of the Governor of Kaduna.  SOKAD wants to go further and include in the indictment, the Kaduna State commissioner of police, and all the legislators (National and State).  Our Representatives have failed us. Though our southern Kaduna legislators can be indicted through the ballot box, it is proper to have them as co- defendants in this case.

We thank SKIPFo for taking this initiative and bold step and pledge our cooperation and support. The lives, identity, and destiny of the Southern Kaduna peoples are at stake.

Signed:

Dr. LikitaAminu (President, SOKAD-USA)

Dr. Freeman Kamuru (Secretary General, SOKAD-USA)

Mr. Ibrahim Maikori (Treasurer/Financial Secretary, SOKAD-USA)