El-Rufai The Visionary: Tribute To An Epitome of Courage and Character, Abdulhaleem Ringim

The annals of Kaduna bear witness to its profound greatness and unparalleled influence in the political and economic history of Northern Nigeria and the nation as a whole. However, as we cast our gaze back in recent history up to the year 2014, just prior to Malam el-Rufai assuming office, uncertainty loomed large, and the future of the state appeared devoid of inspiration. This was the Kaduna that el-Rufai inherited.

Yet, unlike many of us who wavered in doubt, el-Rufai arrived with the mindset of a visionary, one who possesses an astute appreciation for Kaduna’s rich historical tapestry and a vivid depiction of a future he meticulously painted into a clear vision.

The state found itself in the throes of crisis — a situation that may be likened to that which Winston Churchill described as when “the balance quivers, and the proportions are veiled in mist” — necessitating a departure from the stagnant waters of gradualism and managerial governance. It called for leadership of a transformative nature, steeped in vision and revolution. And in timely fashion, Malam el-Rufai answered the clarion call, assuming the role of Kaduna’s modern-day builder.

Malam el-Rufai stands apart, distinguished by his unwavering loyalty to his values. As he embarked upon the daunting task of rebuilding Kaduna State and positioning it as a bastion of excellence and a beacon of subnational development, his most prominent attributes were his unparalleled courage and an indomitable character. His unwavering courage allowed him to navigate complex situations and make unconventional choices that defied the status quo.

While such choices, made within the confines of limited time, resources, and opposition, have often been labeled as anti-people and unpopular, they have consistently proven to be advantageous for the state’s pursuit of economic viability, developmental transformation, and sustainability. These decisions have frequently elicited populist political reactions which in most cases have invariably succumbed to the triumph of their outcomes.

Malam’s courage finds reinforcement in the unparalleled strength and unwavering nature of his character that propel him to stand resolute in his decisions and policy stances, pursuing them to their very limits, even when the certainty of success remains uncertain during implementation. Unless a consensus of data and undeniable evidence disproves the viability and positive trajectory of such stances, driven by his unwavering values and intellectual acumen, Malam el-Rufai remains undeterred.

Rebuilding Kaduna State stands as his life’s work, and in his pursuit, he kindled a self-sufficient legion of public servants. Drawn from the ranks of productive young individuals, women, and experienced technocrats, this formidable force was trained, supported, and shielded to deliver unparalleled public service to the people of Kaduna State. The dynamism and remarkable excellence displayed by this team, whose achievements remain unparalleled and record-breaking, are a testament to Malam’s inherent leadership qualities and the vitality of his visionary and transformative inclinations.

As a parting gift, Malam bestowed upon us a successor whose hunger for success and the development of Kaduna State reverberates palpably. The assurance of a seamless transition was further solidified through recalibrating the state’s political landscape, employing both strategy and force to conform to a stable political coalition that champions long-term development over short-term unsustainable gains, mitigating the risks of consistent and intermittent transitional crisis management.

As a result, Kaduna State has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis across various sectors over the past eight years. This comprehensive development drive encompassed legislative, policy, and institutional reforms, as well as human capital development and social investment. The primary objective of the Kaduna State Government (KDSG) under his watch was to establish a sustainable, diversified, and inclusive knowledge-based economy capable of independent reliance on internal revenue generation in the near future, ensuring development across all sectors.

To realize this visionary agenda, the state government aligned all interventions with a comprehensive development master plan, which was translated into periodic State Development Plans (SDP) that provided a robust framework for sustainable economic growth and social progress. The implementation of this development agenda has been methodical, with a steadfast focus on ensuring that the people of Kaduna are the ultimate beneficiaries.

The initial phase involved wide-ranging reforms, including amendments to legislations and policies, designed to facilitate holistic development and establish frameworks for the execution of the state government’s transformative agenda. Subsequently, institutional and infrastructural reforms were set in motion, resulting in profound overhauls in the operations of government institutions. These reforms prioritized efficiency, accountability, and the establishment of world-class social enterprises, all while upholding the convenience of the populace and catering to the interests of businesses and investors.

As a result of these far-reaching reforms, Kaduna State has emerged as the premier destination for conducting business in Nigeria, attracting substantial investments and elevating its global standing in terms of ease of doing business. The state’s revitalized tax administration laws and the influx of investments have led to an unprecedented surge in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), which is being efficiently channeled toward improving social welfare through infrastructural development, as well as investments in healthcare, education, and human capital development.

The influx of investments has created a multitude of job opportunities for skilled individuals and opened avenues for upskilling the previously unskilled population through knowledge transfer, skill development programs, and technology initiatives introduced by a diverse range of investors. Furthermore, the state government has implemented a robust social protection system that utilizes social policies to create a comprehensive database for the impoverished and vulnerable, ensuring access to essential social protection measures such as education, affordable healthcare, and income security. These concerted efforts aim to achieve financial inclusion, reduce economic inequality, and foster economic harmony within the state.

Now, as democracy dictates and the transient nature of power demands, Malam el-Rufai must gracefully bow and step aside. Although it fills us with a sense of inexplicable sorrow to bid him farewell, we find solace in the fact that his legacies are firmly entrenched and self-sustaining. Moreover, he has bequeathed us with a successor in Malam Uba Sani, who harbors a palpable hunger for success and the continued development of Kaduna State.

May the divine guiding light of Allah forever illuminate Malam el-Rufai’s path as he embarks on this new chapter. May he transcend boundaries and become a global exemplar of greatness and excellence, by the grace and will of Allah. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to him for his unwavering leadership, his visionary outlook, his extraordinary courage and character, his unwavering determination and sense of direction and personally, for giving me a mentor in Hafiz Bayero. Kaduna State stands transfigured, an embodiment of excellence and a formidable force to be reckoned with courtesy of @⁨Gov Nasiru El Rufai⁩.

Abdulhaleem Ishaq Ringim is a political and public affairs analyst. He writes from Zaria and can be reached via haleemabdul1999@gmail.com.

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