By Emeka Mamah
Kaduna — Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Patrick Yakowa, has formally declared his intention to contest the 2011 governorship race.
He became governor from his position of deputy governor last May following the elevation of the then Governor Mohammed Namadi Sambo to the position of Vice President of the country.
Yakowa made his aspiration known yesterday at a rally at the Kaduna Township Stadium. The ceremony attracted a number of his supporters from the 23 local government areas of the state and also the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State Chief John Michael Abdul.
Yakowa said: “I wish to formally intimate you publicly of my desire to present myself as a candidate for Governor of Kaduna State, together with Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero as my running mate, under the aegis of our great party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in the next elections.”
“I have been on the corridors long enough to understand the issues at stake. I have been a passenger as well as a co- driver and finally a driver of this vehicle to know the nooks and bends on the road.
“I believe that I know the quality of the vehicle, the needs of the passengers and the destination. This is why I am calling on you to come with me so that we can travel this road together.
“If given the chance in 2011, I promise to rededicate myself to serve you. I intend to observe good faith and justice towards all, cultivate peace and harmony with everybody irrespective of religious or ethnic background.
I have had enough time since I took over power to understand the strengths and the challenges of our state.
“I now appreciate what our resources are and how we can judiciously use them for the greatest good of the greatest number of our citizens.
“I am convinced that we must be deliberate in providing for the needs of our people. I am convinced that we can and we must design the architecture of governance that ensures that we build a society that focuses on the welfare of the weakest members of our society.”
“After careful reflections, I have come to appreciate the fact that we must place our local government councils at the centre of our development project.
“We are determined to embark on the required infrastructural development to enable us transform Kaduna State so that once again, we can make it take its rightful place as a mini Nigeria.
“I commend my predecessors for all they have already done in the area of peace and security, infrastructural development, particularly road network, education, health and poverty alleviation. By doing this, we hope to put the past behind us.
“We intend to make Kaduna metropolis a modern city again. It is my wish that we shall do everything within our power to make Kaduna State a destination of choice for businessmen and women.
“We hope to explore the possibilities of ensuring that together with the Federal Government and other investors, we breathe life back to our Textile factories and other industries.
“We are determined to take advantage of the great human resource base that we have, the entrepreneurial spirit of our businessmen and women and our proximity to the Federal Capital, Abuja.
“We shall do everything within our powers to protect all businesses while ensuring people go about their legitimate businesses without threat or fear.
“We shall make agriculture a major pillar of our policy. A government that cannot feed its citizens will have to contend with a restless citizenry and will suffer a credibility deficit.
“We shall encourage our farmers and also remove all the obstacles that stand in the way of big, medium, small and even subsistence scale farming.
“Based on that, we intend to initiate a mechanism that will ensure adequate, timely and prompt delivery of farm inputs through a collaborative effort with the private sector. It is also our desire to ensure that inputs and subsidies reach all deserving farmers at the right time.
“In addition to enhancing the development of irrigation scheme, our world_bank financed fadama 3 would continue to receive full support.
“We will introduce a special programme that would provide farmers with tractors and other implements at a highly subsidized rate.
“We are currently talking with some banks that would collaborate with the state on this project.
“I call on investors to join hands with us so that we can give Agriculture the pride of place that it deserves in our state.
“I am no stranger to poverty. My hope is to convince, especially the youth of the need to work hard and appreciate the fact that there are no short cuts to success. The fact that I am your Governor today means that the opportunities are there for all.
“I promise you that I will continue to treat this mandate to serve you as a sacred trust from God. Power by itself can be destructive unless it is put to the service of God and humanity.
“I therefore wish to restate that I am presenting myself to you today with all sense of responsibility and humility. In doing this, I am prepared to play this game by the rules and discipline of our great party.
“Finally, my dear friends, as our country celebrates its 50th anniversary, let us give thanks and glory to God. Let us kneel in adoration and praise to God that He has kept our country together despite our many difficulties, including a civil war.
“May God grant peace to our founding fathers and eternal rest to those of them who have gone before us. The thoughts of their sacrifices must drive us forward to seek excellence.”