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Rebuilding Kebi Economy After Floods


Rebuilding Kebi Economy After Floods.

By Martins Uba Nwamadi

In the last few months, Kebbi State has been confronted with tragic natural disasters that nearly brought about a near hopelessness to the people who hitherto were united and supportive of the Government of Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.

The flood that ravaged about 15 out of the 21 Local Government Areas was so devastating and mind boggling that economists have not even quantified the extent of damage this disaster caused on the economy.

While some pundits claim that it could take the state government a whopping N5 trillion to commence rebuilding the economy, others opine that a combined team of quantity surveyors from the UN and World Bank will need to go extra mile to get exact amount it will take to repair the damage caused by the floods.

But it cannot be contested that many households lost their farmlands, ancestral homes submerged, rice or maize processing mills destroyed. Also supply chain agricultural industries that feed the processing mills were affected in the milieu.

National and state assets like schools, hospitals, bridges, prisons, telecommunication masts were all submerged. And most importantly the flood disaster could trigger youth restlessness thereby aggravating the insecurity in the region, if government failed to offer quick shocks that could alleviate the ticking bomb.

The fulcrum of any government is to ensure that the welfare of its citizens are achieved. The social contract of any government with a human face is that the needs of the citizens must be satisfied at least to an extent that a large percentage of the population could breathe new life.

Senator Abubakar Bagudu is one governor who is always driven by the desire to create value while identifying with the people at the hour of need. After a duty tour of the 15 Local Government Areas ravaged by flood, Senator Bagudu with his team began conversations, town hall meetings, consultations with all stakeholders in the state on how to reset and rebuild the economy of the State.

First, the government had to work on the psyche of the people assuring them to keep hope alive. This is so because their hopes, morale were shalttered, they became despondent, devastated and weary looking for consolation. In one of his engagements, he pointed out that most advanced economies witness more natural disasters than the Kebbi flood but their determination to conquer motivates them to greater height. He assured Kebbians that a holistic approach to reduce the effects of the disaster is in the offing.

Secondly, the State Government introduced a new socio-economic policy, a sustainable economic growth plan that will see the state extricate itself from the monthly Abuja handout to self sustaining economy.

This new template which is home grown is strengthened by the numerous fiscal policies, social, policies that will raise educational, health, provision of stimulus pacts that will stimulate economic growth, attract investors, building blocks that will make the state a haven for the citizens and the business community.

The new economic policy system will afford every kebbian an opportunity to not only beskilled, own a farm, indulge in one trade or the other but must contribute something to the state.

The policy is a shared prosperity formula. According to the Executive Governor, the changes unfolding in Kebbi State is a vision his team put in place to rediscover the state after the floods and global COVID-19 pandemic. It is a take away.

As part of the review system, we discovered that a literate society represents the greatest force for a positive change in our society. Education is the pivot that transforms the society and thereby creating wealth. We had to rehabilitate several dilapidated school structures, build new ones.

Education prepares the future which to a certain extent involves training our young but productive and talented youths to lead in the development process. This is why we had to modernize and create new schools that will nurture talents, support special skills while creating initiatives that will be supported by government.

We had to restructure our curriculum to fit into this new policy. Infactour schools are now talent hunt, the governor stated.

Furthermore, the team also discovered that our health infrastructure is not too adequate for the blooming population. Our findings after the national flood disaster revealed that life expectancy has increased while reduction of infant mortality is on the increase.

We must therefore redouble our health care facilities. The government commenced rehabilitation of all health institutions submerged by flood and rebuilding of roads and bridges leading to the local governments so as to improve health care access to the citizenry. The state also inaugurated a steering committee on Primary Health Care (PHC).

This is to pave the way for the ongoing MOU between USAID and Kebbi State Government in providing affordable health care needs to the people.

In the critical area of agriculture given that Kebbi State is the rice hub of the country, Bagudu government held a stake holder engagement with farmers, traditional rulers / district heads, created cluster farm hold segments while providing seedlings, chemicals, pest control measures and several other palliatives to stimulate farmers back to farmland. It is hoped that by this dry farming season coupled with the assistance the government is extending to local farmers especially in flood ravaged areas and the determination to forget the past, the future yield will boost the economy to rebound.

The state government has gone further to recreate life in Kebbi state. The government believes that a happy, healthy, content society needs also a civic life, where entertainment and culture make life meaningful. In this vein, in October the state government recorded a milestone in youth development.

The State Government, Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and FIFA signed an agreement to construct a whopping 1.2 million dollar FIFA Mini Stadium in Birnin Kebbi, the State Capital. This mini stadium when completed can accommodate up to 15000 spectators.

Bagudu believes that sports is an important tool of development. Youths and talented youths for that matter in the state must be fished out for mentoring to enable them actualize their potentials locally, nationally and internationally. Grass roots football and sports development must be accorded its rightful position as it could contain social vices in the society, this is our goal, Bagudu noted.

As part of rebuilding the state, Bagudu administration in collaboration with African Nations Development Programme (ANDP) has begun construction of 5000 housing units spread among major towns in the state.

Read Also: INEC In Bauchi Charges IPAC To Improve Performance

In conclusion, we should commend Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Executive Governor of Kebbi State and his team for thinking out of the box in resetting, rejiggingand constructing a new template that has started stimulating the economic growth of Kebbi state after the floods.

One thing the global COVID – 19 pandemic has taught world leaders and Nigerian leaders is that of thinking out of the box, be creative while applying the new technologies to get things going.

The impact of Kebbis new economic era is huge and worthy of emulation. It is not out of place to recommend this template to APC or PDP Governors Peer Review Mechanism to adopt. Apart from its home grown features, the speed, openness and traction with which it turned the economy around and the living standards of Kebbians stands it out.

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