Former governor of Kaduna state, Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, has said that the security structure he put in place against crisis was dismantled, otherwise the state wouldn’t be in the trouble it finds itself today.
Makarfi said Kaduna being an enlightened and metropolitan society is easy to govern, saying that good governance is the panacea to all types of crises bedeviling the country.
He also described Nigeria as a funny country where merit is sacrificed at the altar of mediocrity.
Makarfi, who stated these when he fielded questions from the Editorial Board of Blueprint yesterday, said leaders should focus more on the development of institutions and infrastructure that would provide employment for artisans and other unemployed Nigerians.
According to him, “Many groups are working for peace in Kaduna but I don’t formally belong to any group. However, I am ready to answer a call to any group that invites me. The division of Kaduna along Muslim-Christian line is a phenomenon not peculiar to Kaduna alone. Jerusalem is also like that. It only happens in the metropolis, but not all over Kaduna state. However, it could be overcome. The division is not caused by religion alone but by economic and other issues.”
He said that the common man is not conversant with confusing economic growth terms like a rise or fall in gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP), but they can only be convinced of government’s concern for them if they see concrete development like good roads, clean drinking water, quality education, affordable housing and so forth.
He said, “The cost of governance is high. The issue should be looked at holistically. Legislators have made sacrifices by cutting down their allowances by 50 percent. Any way we can cut cost of governance is okay by me.”
On the controversial national minimum wage, he contended that it was done lazily, saying, “It is too centralized. It should be segmented where the federal, state and local governments pay their workers according to their financial capabilities. Shell Petroleum and any other private factory, for instance, do not have the same financial power to pay uniform amount.”
On security in the northern parts of the country, Makarfi said he was able to curb tension in Kaduna because he was conversant with the problems having been a commissioner for years under the Ja’afaru Isa regime.
According to him, “I have the solution to Kaduna crises, but I take my time because I don’t want a situation where I become a conflicting authority with the chief executive officer of the state.”
He said as an unbiased arbiter, even body language could suggest that one side is right or wrong, adding that if peace plan worked in Niger Delta, why won’t it work in the North. He stressed that for Niger Delta alone, N75 billion was spent in one year and therefore said that using force in conflicts undermines peace process.