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Kaduna 2019: Is Sani-Sidi warming up to be governor?

As the race to Kaduna State Government House gathers momentum, the former Director-General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammad Sani-Sidi, has thrown his hat in the ring. The people of Kaduna deserve a quintessential public administrator as Sidi. He is a disaster management guru; a politician with heart flowing with milk of human kindness. He has turned a political gladiator and unarguably the man to beat by any candidate produced by any of the political parties in the next year’s governorship election.

The aspirant, whom many have described as an accomplished administrator, has indicated interest to slug it out under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. He is confident, just as everyone that keenly follow the political developments in Kaduna are without doubt that Sani-Sidi is the only man with an enviable profile that can unseat the ruling party in the state. He is an uncommon achiever who has been tested and trusted. Delegates at the party’s primary election cannot but to give him a nod to fly the party’s flag. He is a strong advocate of people-oriented governance. He sees and believes that any public service without putting the people at the centre is a misplaced priority. His exemplary lifestyle is his unique selling point and easily sells him to the people.

No wonder the clamour for Sani-Sidi to become their governor became a daily song in the lips of the people of Kaduna until he finally succumbed. This is not unconnected with his intimidating profile and the robust relationship with the common man on the street. In him, there appears new hope and a breath of fresh air for the state.

He is qualified to occupy the number one political seat in Kaduna, judging from his political antecedent and vast experience in public. As at the time he was appointed as NEMA’s DG, he was a member of the Kaduna State Executive Council where he served variously as the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources; Works and Transport as well as Culture and Tourism. During same period, he was also assigned at various times to supervise the ministries of Health and Finance.

His leadership qualities, especially in the area of disaster mitigation and management, began to manifest while he was in the state cabinet.

Thus, he was credited with the successful demolition of unhealthy and defective structures that were hazardous to the people of Kaduna State and was also responsible for the prompt and timely interventions of the state government in curtailing the spread of contagious diseases at a time.

He at various time, he chaired the committees on decongestion of Kaduna metropolis; removal of carcasses in public places; decongestion of the federal highways, particularly Tafa and Mararaban Jos; and the cleaning and clearing of garbage in Zaria.

Prior to his appointment into the Kaduna State cabinet, he served as Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance between 2003 to 2007, having been a senior manager in the then National Electric Power Authority (NEPA).

While he held sway NEMA’s boss for seven years, his charisma, team spirit, intellect, humility and transparency endeared him the more to his co-subordinates. His landmark, uncommon achievements and record had since set a new and uncomfortable standard for his predecessors.

Through his position and selfless leadership at NEMA, he redefined stewardship and kept the agency’s vision and mission alive. Some of his progress included expanding the coverage of NEMA through its zonal operation offices. The initiative enhanced its timely response to sudden onset emergencies throughout the country. Above all, the move took disaster management to the people after all disasters like politics are all local.

During his stay at NEMA, the wide ranging and sustained accolades showered on the agency by the people was indeed a testimony to the level of confidence placed on him. He was able to galvanize NEMA in partnership with its stakeholders to develop a national contingency plan to guide timely response to any sudden onset emergency in the country. The NEMA helmsman was applauded near and far for the feat. The stride brought a speedy transformation in disaster management.

Sani-Sidi elevated the agency from mere coordination of its stakeholders, but also involves them in its capacity building programmes, especially manpower development and the simulation of various disaster scenarios to test their level of preparedness, identify gaps and improve on their response plans.

Through a purposeful leadership, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, sustained the training of members of staff of the agency and the conduct of various simulation exercises to test the preparedness and response capacity of NEMA and its stakeholders and recorded unprecedented industrial harmony. It is simply stating the obvious that NEMA became the face of the Federal Government and the trailblazer of disaster management and resilience not only in Nigeria but in West African sub region.

He has the potential to revolutionize the socio-economic fortunes of the state. While many human and natural resources remain untapped in Kaduna, Sani-Sidi has plainly made known his blueprint to swiftly swing into action to change the narrative. And the residents of the state have reposed their confidence in the public servant and declared him as capable of placing Kaduna once again on the roadmap to economic boom.

His achievements while served as the Director-General of NEMA are too numerous to recollect all. It can’t be forgotten so soon how Sidi, on behalf of the Federal Government helped in supporting the country’s sister West African countries such as The Gambia to establish their own National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) through the exchange of information, trained personnel and capacity building. His international relations prowess also puts him ahead of others aspirants in the Kaduna gubernatorial race. He knows how to project the image and potentials of the state to the international communities and attract direct investments to Kaduna.

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