By Aliyu Dangida
He is on a mission to restore the beautiful, enchanting and unrivalled glories of Katsina State, which were lost several years ago. For Governor Dikko Umaru Radda, the narrative of Katsina needs to be overhauled, and in no distant time.
Barely six months after he assumed office, Mallam Dikko Radda has left no stone unturned in his avowed quest to rewrite the Katsina story, in a style that is intellectually captivating, eye catching and fantastically mind blowing.
Aside from performing groundbreaking inaugurations of vital capital projects, the Radda administration has equally unveiled programmes and policies aimed at enhancing the living standards and welfare of teeming Katsina masses.
Taking into cognizance the reality that Katsina is richly endowed not only with abundant natural resources, but tremendous human capital.
Dr Radda, in the last three months, led a delegation of top government functionaries of the state government to the United Kingdom, Turkiye Republic, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Cote D’Ivoire, South Korea and the United States of America.
The trips were aimed at forging business partnerships and also woo potential investors to Katsina state. Below are the takeaways from Governor Radda’s official expeditions to the seven aforementioned nations.
1. Enhanced Capacity for Good Governance*
About three months ago, Governor Dikko Radda, together with some of his first-term colleague Governors participated in a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-sponsored retreat for select members of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), in Rwanda.
The retreat was aimed at boosting the capacity of the participating governors in piloting the affairs of their respective states, in a way that will foster good governance and purposeful leadership. It is as certain as daybreak that Governor Radda, in the wake of the retreat, has broadened his horizon on what is expected of any governor steering the affairs of a Nigerian state, especially at a critical juncture Nigeria finds itself.
2. Move to Better Katsina’s Health Sector
In far away Turkiye, Governor Dikko Radda after the Kigali retreat for the NGF members, visited Submed Medical Equipment Factory. At the factory, he discussed partnership with the Turkish firm’s management, aimed at revamping Katsina’s Health sector.
It is apt to assert that the administration of Mallam Radda is working painstakingly to provide better access to higher quality healthcare services and improve health system resilience, towards building the functionality needed to attain universal health coverage.
*3. Getting AFDB’s Support for North West’s Growth*
Leading a delegation of Nigerian governors from states in the North West to the corporate headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in October, Governor Dikko Radda solicited the bank’s intervention for North West’s accelerated development and economic growth, through harnessing the potential of the region’s agricultural and power sectors.
He specifically requested the aid of AfDB to expand irrigation facilities in the region. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of AfDB, in his remarks, said: Our AfDB has agreed to sponsor a regional cooperation desk to support the North Western states as they embark on a regional approach to development”.
*4. Katsina Gets 10 Containers of Medical Supplies, MRIs, Others*
Following Governor Dikko Radda’s visit to the Headquarters of the World Medical Relief (WMR) Incorporation in Detroit, Michigan, United States, Katsina State has now gotten 10 containers of medical supplies and equipment donated by WMR.
The 10 containers of medical supplies worth $10 million will be delivered to the state as from January 2024. While speaking at the WMR’s headquarters, Governor Radda lauded the US organisation for providing support to Katsina under its ‘Partnership for Health Program’.
Responding, President of WMR, Mr. George Samson, disclosed that their organisation is committed to helping Katsina source state-of-the-art MRI equipment and CT Scans, at discount prices, while also offering to install them and train Katsina technicians on proper handling/operation of the equipment, among other pledges.
*5. Katsina Builds Network with all UK Varsities*
Sometime in August, Governor Dikko Radda visited the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge, United Kingdom, to forge an international collaboration with the Institute. The visit was aimed at making Katsina State a Centre of Excellence in healthcare delivery, and a go-to destination for solutions to all kinds of infectious diseases.
It is germane to posit that all United Kingdom (UK) Universities, including the London School of Hygiene, Oxford University, and Cambridge University, among others are partnering with the Sanger Institute to conduct high impact research. Therefore, Katsina’s collaboration with the Wellcome Sanger Institute is like building a network with all UK Universities.
*6. Katsina Offers Natural Resources to Saudi Investors*
Also, Governor Dikko Radda, about three weeks ago, informed a cross section of business moguls and top private sector players in Saudi Arabia that Katsina state is endowed with assorted agricultural and mineral resources, which they can invest in.
He said that there is now an enabling environment for business investments to safely thrive in the State, as the recently-launched Katsina State Community Watch together with personnel of other conventional security agencies have curbed the threats of insecurity in the state.
Governor Radda spoke with journalists on the sideline of the Saudi-Nigeria Roundtable Meeting in Riyadh, held last month. He said: “Katsina State is also endowed with various mineral resources such as Lithium, Gold, Diamond and even Uranium. Your investments in the agricultural and mineral resources’ sectors of our dear State, will no doubt ensure the prosperity of our people. But more importantly, you shall also benefit greatly from your investments.
We, as a sub-national government, assure you that your safety and wellbeing, by the time you come and invest in our dear Katsina, will not be compromised. It is in fact a top priority for us”.
*7. South Korean Agency Develops Framework for Agro Project in Katsina*
Towards accelerating the socio-economic development of Katsina state, Governor Dikko Radda recently held a fruitful bilateral discussion with Seamuel Foundation, a South Korean government organisation. Two Katsina communities namely Makera and Raddawa villages of Matazu and Dutsinma Local Governments have once benefitted from the humanitarian support of the foundation.
The foundation has so far constructed irrigation facilities and introduced modern techniques of farming practice, as well as provision of implements to Katsina farmers. Governor Radda, while speaking with the management of the foundation during an official trip to South Korea, requested for the extra funding and expansion of the project scope to cover many Katsina communities.
In their response, the management of the foundation agreed to continue working in Katsina. They also pledged to jointly develop a framework for the operationalization of the extension, and expansion of the project as requested by Governor Radda.
*8. KOICA Pledges Support for Katsina’s Rural Development*
Similarly, Governor Dikko Radda, penultimate Monday, visited the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for a partnership agreement between KOICA and the Katsina State Government.
Governor Radda was accompanied to KOICA corporate head office, by the acting Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea, Mr. Ferdinand O. Nwonye, where he discussed his experience with KOICA and the time he spent at their facility in 2016, as the Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN.
He requested additional support from KOICA in the area of the provision of small farming implements and small-scale irrigation technologies to Katsina farmers.
During the meeting, Governor Radda also solicited KOICA’s support in the training and development of ICT for the state civil service, as well as the Katsina State Enterprises Development Agency (KASEDA), among others.
Responding, the KOICA management assured Governor Radda that they will work with their country office in Nigeria to support Katsina state.
Kaula Mohammed is the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the Katsina State Governor.