Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina State has said that the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the presidential level and in many states in the country should be seen as the will of God.
He made the observation yesterday during an interactive session with a panel of interviewers at the maiden edition of The Sun Outstanding Performance Exit Award, which was held in Lagos.
Shema, who was the recipient of the award, said that despite the loss of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, the country should be grateful to God for the peace it enjoys.
According to him, “Those who lost the elections should be grateful that the country is at peace. Such things happen and it is not strange at all because Nigeria is a growing democracy. In the just-concluded election in the United Kingdom, the country witnessed the Conservatives winning most of the seats in the UK Parliament. In the United States of America, it is the same thing. The Presidency of the United States usually changes between the Democrats and the Republicans.
“I am a PDP governor, but the APC won the governorship in my state, and I take responsibility for all that happened in my party at the state level and my efforts during the election. However, the important thing to note is that nobody can take responsibility for the will of God”.
Responding to the question on why he chose not to contest for a Senate seat like some of his colleagues, Shema said, “I didn’t go to the Senate because already my people had given me the opportunity of governing them for eight years. I see that as a rare opportunity. I didn’t see it as necessary and I felt it was important to pave the way for somebody else to go. When I leave government, I would go and rest for a while with my family, then come back to the political scene”.
Highlighting some of his achievements in his eight years in office, the governor said he owed everything to God and the people of Katsina.
“Everything I did in the state, I did it with the fear of God, so I do not believe that there is anything that I would have done differently. God guided us to do all we did and I hope that the incoming government would even do better. I am proud of the achievements in the education sector in my state. When I became governor, we introduced free education at the primary and secondary school levels. And we ensured that we pay the fees for all the students at the senior secondary final level.
“We have not failed in the areas of salaries. In Katsina State, we do not owe salaries. All government workers are paid before the month ends and there is no outstanding salary till date. We get four billion naira as monthly allocation and we generate one billion naira as Internally Generated Revenue. How we were able to succeed is that we manage our resources prudently. I have been a student of business administration and I understand financial management. Our first approach when I got into government was to ensure that every year, we allocated 70 percent of our budget for capital expenditure and 30 percent for recurrent expenditure. We minimize wastage in government by ensuring that quality jobs are done. We did not borrow a dime, the government is not owing any contractor and there is no abandoned project in the state. This system of governance has proven to be very effective and it can be replicated in all the states in the country. What it takes to achieve this is determination and sincerity.
“The peace and security of a state is very important and in Katsina we engage all stakeholders to ensure that there is no breach of security. We adapted the process of proactive policing. One of the strategies we adopted is the support of security agencies in the provision of their needs. We have a working relationship with them which enables us see things first hand. We have our own share of challenges, but they are usually brought under control in due time”.