Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Yero said on Monday that if elected in the 2015 February governorship election, he would embark on what he described as ‘radical reforms’ in the state.
Yero, who was sworn-in as governor in December 2012 following the death of Governor Patrick Yakowa in a helicopter crash, noted that he was reluctant to embark on some of the reforms so as not to be misconstrued as seeking cheap popularity ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
The governor made the remark during the opening ceremony of the 2014 edition of the Press Week and Chairman’s Roundtable of the Kaduna State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, at the Arewa House, Kaduna, the state capital, on Monday.
Explaining the rationale behind the ban on commercial motorcyclists, also known as okada in the state early this year, Mr. Yero said though the decision was a tough and painful one, the state had begun to reap the benefits.
He said that the ban had reduced insecurity substantially in the state.
The governor said, “When I banned commercial motorcycles in the state, some people even sent me threat messages and questioned why I must do that and some even gave me an ultimatum to reverse the decision.
“But we need to take hard and painful decisions to effect changes in Kaduna State but certainly not in an election year, the ban of okada, though painful, but it has helped to reduce insecurity substantially.
“If I am elected in 2015, we will change Kaduna positively; we know the problems, challenges and we will address them accordingly, with the political will, we will do our best”.
Yero used the occasion to plead with media practitioners to be objective in their reportage and focus less on issues that were capable of dividing the country or heat up the polity.
“Journalists can make or mar any elections but I appeal passionately that your reports should be positive so that there will be peaceful elections devoid of violence”, he said.
Delivering his keynote lecture at the event, human rights activist, Festus Okoye, said the forthcoming election in the country was not about Nigeria alone but the international community, who he noted are interested in the outcome of the polls.
Okoye said, “The election that will take place in 2015 will not be an election about Nigeria alone, it is not going to be an election about the West African sub-region alone, it will be an election that the entire international community is interested in.
“If you look around, you see European Union election experts going round, sampling opinions and perceptions relating to the elections.
“So, at the national, regional and international levels, the 2015 election is generating a lot of interest.
“I believe we have a unique opportunity to use the 2015 elections to make a point that we have arrived as a democratic nation that has the capacity and the capability to conduct free, fair and transparent and peaceful election. It presents us with that particular opportunity.
“The 2015 election also presents us with the opportunity to elect genuine leaders whose mandate will be able to give hope to our people. These are some of the opportunities that the 2015 elections will present to us. However, there is also what I call key vulnerabilities relating to the 2015 elections”.
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