Katsinan Radda: Beyond 100 days and matters arising

Katsinan Radda: Beyond 100 days and matters arising

Aspiring to a leadership position is one thing, being at the top is another; they are simply two different scenarios. In the aspiration stage, dreams and fantasies permeate the thought process and produce both workable and seemingly unworkable ideas, making decisions and reasons for action quite difficult. Once one reaches the leadership position, reality brings stresses, challenges, painful choices, and controversial decisions and actions from which problem-solving mechanisms emerge.

This puts a new leader in a difficult situation: having to meet the demands and expectations of diverse groups of people. The people are diverse. From those who have secretly opposed the leader’s goals to those who have helped him achieve them, they will flood him with a sea of demands that may be impossible to meet. Without strategic thinking, this problematic situation can prevent the leader from achieving his or her desired goal of serving the people. 

From a strategic perspective, a leader must identify the tasks and those who could take on those tasks. A leader must beware of political paternalism that results in putting a round peg in a square hole, because the job can never get done that way. Therefore, a leader must recruit talents from within and outside the political arena to build a high-performing team. He must gather the best minds and assemble a team to accomplish the task before him – good governance, integrity and accountability as embodied in the true democratic ethos.

In this regard, the less than 200 days that Dr. Dikko Umar Radda has spent as governor of Katsina state is on my radar as a stakeholder keenly interested in addressing the challenges, rapid progress and development of Katsina state. Radda, the fourth civilian governor under the current political leadership, inherited a basket of problems and challenges as if they came out of Pandora’s box. At his inauguration, Dr. Radda pledged to the good people of Katsina state that they would not regret putting their trust in him.

This is in keeping with my promise to commemorate the 100 days of Governor Radda, in my column of Thursday, April 13, 2023, titled “Sitting on a goldmine: The gigantic agricultural potential of Katsina state and issues arising.” However, in a developing country like Nigeria, 100 days is a milestone by which visions, programmes and promises manifest themselves and by which public opinion can be gauged as an assessment of the journey ahead. 

The period is too short and passes without the electorate perceiving it as a milestone, especially in the current situation where the population is groaning under economic hardship and a life-threatening security situation. For their part, leaders are hardly working to make 100 days a worthwhile milestone that can unfold their policies and course to serve their constituencies. This article is therefore a bird’s eye view of Katsina state under Radda and probably a frog’s eye view.

The priority area of the Radda administration with visible and tangible impact is his effort to secure the lives and property of the people of Katsina. As enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, it is the duty of government to maintain law and order and protect life and property, which became the cornerstones of the Radda administration. 

Radda inherited a catastrophic security problem that engulfed almost the entire state, cutting off the socioeconomic net with far-reaching consequences. Banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, highway robbery, psychological trauma, arson, outrageous ransom payments, torture, heartbreak and other forms of human torture were the order of the day when Radda took over from Governor Aminu Masari.

Radda created an additional security unit to fight the killers. This unit was to take the fight to the lion’s den and eliminate all bandits wherever they are in the state. And that there would be no form of negotiation. The fight against banditry must be won or we would die for the fight to rid the state of this social menace, he said. He promised adequate and general compensation for the families of victims among the security forces who pay the highest price or become incapacitated in the performance of their duty to provide security for the residents of Katsina state.

Dr. Radda recruited 1,466 able bodied youths and trained them as Community Watch Corps (CWC) to fight the menace of terrorism and banditry that has almost ruined socio-economic life in the state. He procured working tools for the CWC including 70 patrol vehicles, 700 motorcycles and 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to effectively assist security personnel in ensuring security in the state. 

Radda inaugurated the security force on October 10, 2023, in the presence of former President Muhammadu Buhari and some state governors – including Dauda Lawal of Zamfara state, Ahmad Aliyu of Sokoto state, Nasir Idris of Kebbi state, Abba Kabir Kano state, Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state and Umar Namadi Jigawa state were among dignitaries at the event.

Hitherto, these miscreants who indulged in these high-level atrocities and human torture, the bandits and their informants were being treated with kid’s gloves, if not being pampered through dubious granting amnesty, which was oiling the illicit business, thereby enticing new entrants as a striving and prosperous business. 

How do you negotiate to grant an amnesty to unremorseful and bloodthirsty criminals with murderous tantrums? Such outlaw nonentities had access to the seat of power in front of the klieg camera, thereby insulting the psyche of all people with good conscience. Still, there was no respite to criminal activities; instead, it escalated criminality in the state as if the pampering was nurturing such vicious instinct. 

The losses to insecurity in Katsina state in the last five years were incalculable as there was accurate data on the losses to the economy, human lives, human capital, health, education, creation of orphans, widows, and widowers, violent separation of families/loved ones, losses of houses and other valuables.

Gun-wielding terrorists who take delight in killing sprees deserve no mercy, peace, or freedom, which they deny innocent people with impunity. No right to life or liberty they should face the full wrath of the law as enshrined in our law books. Beasts must be crushed and brought to justice, while the government’s support should be channeled to the victims of banditry and terrorism. Assess the economic loss of lives, livelihood, and properties for compensation, not blaming the victims and rewarding the culprits. 

In my opinion, Radda’s current approach to addressing security seems honest and transparent, with a predictable outcome that may end the menace in the future. All discerning minds should offer him prayers and support to win the war.

Yes, Radda needs our prayers and support as he seems to be swimming in a sea infested by crocodiles that camouflage in the skin of harmless tilapia. Security matters have always been complex and sometimes ambiguous. 

However, Radda’s tenacious effort to squarely deal with the security challenges gives me confidence that a huge success is at the corner. Therefore, I expect this noble security initiative to receive the loudest applause and support to make it a model for others to emulate. Thus, my unique appeal goes to the neighbouring governors to key into Radda’s initiative and resolve for a collective, coordinated, and complementary action against the twin monster of banditry and terrorism that bedevils the North-west. What other areas are receiving Radda’s attention? What are the pitfalls and way forward? To be continued next week

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