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TaTa: The Man of The Moment - TELL Magazine

TaTa: The Man of The Moment


Alhaji Umar Tsauri, Tata acknowledges his supporters at a rally

“It is with all sense of humility, modesty and respect that I wish to notify you, as one of the leading lights of Katsina State, of my intention to contest for the office of the Executive Governor of Katsina State under the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming 2015 governorship elections”

With these words, Alhaji Umar Abdullahi Tsauri (TaTa), a man of many parts set the ball rolling in his quest to serve the people of Katsina State as their governor come 2015 in Katsina State, a home of many firsts, a state with records of men of integrity, who played prominent roles in the process of nation-building. In view of the historical antecedents of Katsina State, the governorship race in this state is not a child’s play or for the faint-hearted, it is an issue exclusively reserved for people with passion for good governance, people who can identify with the masses, who have vision and are selfless.

Grinding machines distributed by Tata

Grinding machines distributed by Tata

It is therefore no surprise to see a man of destiny, a man with passion for the common people, a man with uncommon vision for the socio-economic transformation of Katsina State. This Democrat and lover of the grassroots, did not stray into politics, neither did he get the desires for the governorship race out of the blues. His indispensable leadership qualities are not hidden – humility, dedication, patriotism, honesty, confidence, sense of humour, commitment, intuition, creativity, positive attitude and ability to inspire – are just a few that stand him out. He was inspired out of a sincere heart and ultimate desire to serve humanity. To show his seriousness and commitment to the cause of Katsina people, he drafted policy papers on all sectors and put all his plans, vision and mission for development all electoral constituencies in Katsina State. Some of the sectors are education, health, water resources, agriculture, security and public sector.


After a detailed study of the Education sector in Katsina State particularly and Nigeria in general, Alhaji Tsauri (TaTa) posited that education is the pillar upon which every other thing rests. It is the basis for the development of any society. Tata said he, will build on what have been so far achieved in that field. First, as governor, he will introduce a new salary package for primary and secondary school teachers in Katsina State, which will be competitive enough to attract the best hands to schools in the state. He also promised to abolish casualisation and embark on massive recruitment of qualified personnel to teach in primary and secondary schools. In his words: “If a graduate can teach in our private nursery schools, I see no reason why a graduate cannot teach in our public primary schools! I will provide adequate furniture and teaching materials in our empty classrooms and expand existing structures to accommodate our ever-expanding population”. This he said he will do, not through contracts but using our redundant manpower and material in the various works department of our 34 local governments. “I will ensure compulsory standard for all teachers teaching in our primary schools”, he posited. “The idea is to uplift their personality and show that there is reward here on earth for teachers. I will introduce a voluntary severance package that pays immediate 100 per cent gratuity to those willing to take advantage of the scheme and follow it up with a one-year full salary as a bonus”, Alhaji Tsauri explained.

Knowing the importance of science and technology, he plans to build and equip the laboratories and refurbish school libraries. TaTa said he will provide standby power generators in the boarding schools and provide necessary maintenance fund pending when we are able to have uninterrupted power supply in the state. “I will abolish multiple principals in one school and ensure that we have a uniform standard for reward and punishment. I will provide free JAMB to our qualified students and ensure that registration for those that gained admission into tertiary institutions is paid for by my government”.

In his effort to promote academic excellence, Alhaji Tsauri said ‘”I will review our scholarship system to reflect contemporary reality and pay a salary of N5,000 monthly to our students in their second year for those with 75 per cent in their exams and continue to pay them that if the standard is maintained till graduation”. He promises to offer automatic employment to anybody with Second Class upper and follow it up with a gift of a car and overseas scholarship for anybody with First Class. He also assures that he will pay every indigene of Katsina State the sum of N20,000 when called up for NYSC if it is in the southern part of Nigeria and N10,000 for those posted to the North. He continued: “I will build hostels in Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Kastina, UMYUK, and contribute same to Islamic University. I will revitalise BATC schools across the state to provide middle-class manpower for our planned industrial revolution. I will build a college of agriculture in Mairuwa to accommodate our planned agricultural revolution. I will establish simple mobile training schools for almajiri education and subsidise the feeding cost of our almajiri in our various makarantun allo. I hope to achieve these and many more as a governor! So help me God, amen!”


Alhaji Tsauri knows that ‘health is wealth’ and to have a healthy Katsina we must first have a happy Katsina. How can a happy Katsina be achieved? He stated that, “this can only be done by improving the economic condition of my people under a more secure environment. Health is better achieved with prosperity and to me that is how best to fight high blood pressure and stroke. These are diseases I have added among the deadly diseases that maim and kill my people. We are going to establish independent clinics in all the general hospitals in the state for the treatment of BP, Diabetes, Pile and Sickle Cell Anaemia. These diseases are so prevalent in the state that every household in Katsina State almost has a victim. I will equip the clinics with state-of-the-art equipment, drugs and personnel.’’ He said further, that he will provide modern physiotherapy equipment and trained personnel in general hospitals in Katsina, Daura, Funtua and Dutsinma. He also promised to target massive recruitment of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, radio-diagnosis staff, opticians/optometrists, prosthetics and medical engineers. “I target to have one doctor per every 5000 people which is far above the WHO standard of 1-8000. This I hope to achieve by encouraging our students to pursue Medicine at government expense in our universities both within and outside the country. I will establish a Faculty of Medicine at UMYUK and upgrade Katsina General Hospital to serve as the teaching hospital for the university. I will establish a college of medicine in Malumfashi in liaison with UMYUK and Ahmad Bello University, Zaria, ABU. I will establish in Daura and Dutsen Reme another Maternal and Children Hospital similar to Turai Yar’Adua Hospital in Katsina.

Alhaji Tsauri promises to confront head-on, maternal morbidity by providing free clinical services and drugs to pregnant women and free delivery services including caesarian section for those with records of having attended minimum ante-natal clinics for six months. And also fight infant mortality by providing free medical services to children aged 0-1 year and at 30 per cent cost to those above. He will also set a new hygiene standard in hospitals by providing round-the-clock water and sanitation services; and establish water and sanitation departments in all general hospitals in the state and follow it up by creating an enforcement unit to supervise and penalise any inaction under the office of the CMD. The governorship aspirant said he would provide automatic employment for nurses and ensure the establishment of a degree nursing programme in the new Faculty of Medicine at UMYUK and College of Medicine. By that way nurses will have a better qualification and would no longer have to go too far places like Maiduguri to further their education. Tata also vowed to increase health workers remuneration to 5 per cent, and also provide free housing for doctors serving in rural and semi-urban areas and ensure that those in the urban areas are provided with accommodation at 50 per cent cost. He also will provide ambulances in all the general hospitals with the former six pioneer local governments having three each. Katsina, being the state capital will have 12 with a modern mechanic workshop to help maintenance. He promised to overhaul the mortuaries and make them serve the purpose for which they were built and will provide mobile clinics in the six pioneer local governments for emergency cases in rural areas. In other to take care of people at the grassroots, Tata stated the he will put to use all abandoned clinics built in villages, provide them with drugs and personnel to man them, and also initiate a segregated welfare incentive for health workers serving and living in rural areas through provision of vehicles and motorcycles, housing and better remuneration. Drugs revolving scheme will be made more vibrant and effective through the provision of adequate drugs at affordable cost, strengthening of state/local government synergy in its implementation and ensure transparent application of the fund’s services to beneficiaries and strict compliance with financial regulations. While purchases will be guided by needs assessment not contractual benefits, with free 48 hours medical services for accident victims in our hospitals. Immunisation is one area that Tata said he will massively invest in against child killer diseases. He will domicile this responsibility in the rural and mobile clinics and ensure that it is an every week affair. “To achieve the above is no mean job but with my commitment to have stable electricity in the state I will inshaa Allah achieve it. I will strengthen our schools of health technologies in Daura and Kankia, School of Midwifery in Malumfashi and the School of Nursing in Katsina. We will review their curriculum to accommodate our renewal drive and provide automatic employment to their products that meet our standard. These I hope to achieve by the time I leave Katsina as its governor inshaa Allah! May Allah make it possible.”


Alhaji Umar and some key officials

Water is life and Tata is determined, through provision of potable water to all the 34 local governments in the state, to inject quality life to all in Katsina State. He said, “this is indeed a tall dream which those people far greater than him never attempted to achieve and that exactly is the attraction for him. “I want to break the best record of the best governor we ever had and follow it up by making it so difficult for anybody to want to be a governor after me because I will set a selfless precedence that will make governance unattractive to those who think it has worldly allure”, he stated.
Until the coming of Ministry of Water Resources and RUWASA, Katsina State Water Board has since 1971 been saddled with the responsibility of providing drinking water to a few local governments. It operated six water treatment plants in Ajiwa for Katsina Metropolis, Jibia, Dutsinma, Daura, Malumfashi and Funtua. The oldest of these plants, being Katsina, was built in 1975 by the North Central State government with the newest being the Jibia plant built by the federal government in the late 1980s. From 1990 to date no effort was made by any government to expand the water supply chain through the expansion and construction of additional water chains or plants to meet the ever-expanding population of Katsina State. The Katsina plant which was built with an initial installed capacity of 50 million litres of drinking water per day for Katsina, Mashi, Kaita, Mani, Rimi and Abukur today has demand of 110 million litres per day, which by far exceeded its installation capacity. The plant could not accommodate nor was any serious effort made for commensurate expansion by any government. The best that was done was to remove Mashi, Mani, Rimi and Abukur from this supply chain. The World Bank and federal government initiative for the construction of a concrete reservoir to draw 40 million litres of water per day from Zobe Dam in Dutsinma since the early 90s is currently abandoned. This is made worse by insufficient power supply to the plants, high cost of diesel, rusted pipelines and inadequate supply chain. This is the problem in almost all the local governments that were covered by the water board.

Currently, Katsina Waterworks is performing at 70 per cent of its installed 50 million litres per day capacity which is 60 million-litre less than the current required capacity! Funtua with initial 18.5 million-litre capacity in 1973 currently has requirement for 30 million litres and is performing at 38 per cent of its 1973 installed capacity. Malumfashi is worst since it has been comatose since 2010 simply because some couple of pipelines were washed away by flood. Its operational capacity as at now is 1.7 per cent even though it was initially built to cater for Malumfashi and Kankara local governments with an installed capacity of 4.5 million litres per day. The story of Dutsinma is somehow better. It is currently operating at a doubtful 60 per cent of its installation capacity for 3.38 million litres of water per day. Jibia which was built to supply six million litres per day is currently operating at 21 per cent capacity, while Daura with seven million capacity currently operates at 4.6 per cent capacity! In Tata’s words: “Now one wonders what is actually the problem, is it water that we lack or the will to pump it to where it is most needed that we lack? The actual problem I am sure is not the water but the lack of seriousness in us. We always tend to relegate the important things in our scale of preference by giving undue preference to the mundane simply because it has some pecuniary reward that comes with it”.

“As a governor, I promise to put an end to this nonsense! I will finish the Zobe Dam reticulation to Katsina through which I will supply water to Kankia, Charanchi,and Kurfi. I will restore the connection of Rimi, Mashi, Mani, Bindawa, Ingawa, Abukur and Dandagoro. I will further expand the supply chain on this route by linking Katsina to Jibia dam. Simply put, Katsina will be supplied by three dams – Ajiwa, Jibia and Zobe. I will follow this up by dredging Ajiwa Dam after which I will commence the expansion of Jibia Dam. I will construct additional pump rooms in Ajiwa, Dutsinma and Jibia to assist this expansion. I will provide RUWASA with adequate funds to replace clogged pipelines and make way for the replacement of smaller pipes with bigger pipes. I will draw Sabke Dam to provide water to Maiadua, Daura, Dutsi, Shargalle, Zango and Sandamu. I will follow this up by replacing some key surface tanks in Daura and a complete repair and overhaul of spoiled boreholes in Daura. Baure will equally not be left out. I will link Jibia dam to Batsari, Tsauri, Tsanni, Yargamji, Batagarawa and Zakka. I will draw Zobe Dam to Safana, Danmusa, Wagini, Yantumaki, Maidabino, Dangani, Musawa, Matazu and jikamshi. I will replace all washed pipelines of Malumfashi dam and reconnect it to Kankara, Karfi, Unguwar Maikawo, Gundawa, Kafur and Makurdi. I will construct a dam in Danja to cater for Danja, Dabai, Gozaki, Sabuwar Kasa, Tandama, Tsiga and Bakori. I will draw Mairuwa dam to cater for Bakori, Dandume, Mahuta, Maska, Tumburkai, Kurami and Yankwani. I will build another dam in Faskari local government to cater for Faskari, Sheme, Daudawa, Tafoki, Yankara, Dannakwabo, Machika and Sabuwa. All towns on the pipeline way will be connected.

I will, pending the completion and eventual take off of my power project, build one megawatt of electricity for Malumfashi/Danja waterworks, one megawatt for Funtua/Faskari waterworks, one megawatt for Katsina waterworks, one megawatt for Zobe Dam waterworks and one megawatt for Jibia/Sabke waterworks. These I will use for the purpose of providing drinking water to my people and for round-the-year irrigation.” He added that he will pull all the caterpillars in the 34 local governments, five tippers in each local government, four water tankers available in the local governments and all the rubbish vans in our local governments to make a strong construction outfit. “I am going to trade these rubbish vans for diggers, coater heaters and what have you to add to what we already have in RUWASA, KASAROMA, ministry of works and others to enable me have the necessary equipment for my projects. I am not a 10-15 per cent freak and will therefore use my local engineers in both the state ministries and the local governments for manpower. Everything will be done internally by Katsinawa except for those projects that we lack expertise. This way I do not have to contract these projects out considering that every penny is so precious and important and I have to save it to make this dream real! May Allah help me, amen”!

AGRICULTURE – Agriculture is the next most viable economic sector in the state. The only problem with this sector is its singular focus on subsistence farming as against commercial agriculture. The other area of irrigation that should ordinarily complement wet agriculture is hampered by issues to do more with demand than supply. Produce that come out of farms are either too much, thereby creating a glut in the market with the attendant consequences of poor selling prices, or perish on the way to markets, like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Aba and Onitsha, or sometimes could not even make it out of the production area because of poor infrastructure. According to TaTa, agriculture in Katsina State is no longer profitable, attractive and viable except for those who see it as a hobby or for those who have no any other alternative. “That is why such big names in farming are no longer heard! Late Dan Ammani, Aminu Makera and all those within their category have abandoned farming! It is with this in mind that I am committed to revitalising this industry with the view to making it the principal employer of labour in the state and one of the major sources of income for the state. I will first make it as a policy to give fertiliser and other chemical requirements free to all low and middle level farmers across the state”.

He vowed to resuscitate the agricultural extension services that have died in the state and rebuild all the moribund and abandoned extension settlements and warehouses scattered all over the state to render necessary advices and guidance to farmers and make them the custodians of these items through whom distribution will be effected. “I will never wait until the rainy season to procure fertiliser but will make it a policy to procure it bit by bit every month until when I am satisfied that we have enough. This will be for the period I will establish a viable fertiliser plant to meet our demand and even sell to our neighbours”.

He tasked those that will question the rationality behind giving fertiliser free to first of all consider the economic rationality of subsidising it as is being done. What is the wisdom in buying NPK or Urea at N5200 and N4800 respectively to sell it at N2000 to farmers who cannot even afford N2000? Will the N2000 buy another one? If it can’t what is its use? Is the fertiliser even sold to farmers or to PDP urchins who have nothing to do with farming? Simply put we are subsiding violence and cronyism? “If I can’t use the N2000 simple logic should tell you that I don’t need it! Having achieved this I will, through the instrumentality of our traditional institutions, the Emirs we have, the Hakimmai, the Magaddai and the Masu Unguwanni, reclaim a vast swathe of our jungle and clear it to be allocated to farmers at controlled prices. This is with the view to releasing more land for our ever-expanding population. I will ensure round-the-year farming by boosting our irrigation capacity. The current system where our farmers are only active during the rainy season and idle for eight months is not acceptable to me. I will draw Zobe Dam in Dutsinma to as far a Faskari in order to expand our irrigation capacity. I will build a dam in Danja local government to cater for Danja, Kafur and Bakori irrigation needs. I will draw canals from Bakolori in Jibia to Batsari, Kaita and do same for Safke to Maiadua, Dutsi and Mashi. I will establish grazing farms in three strategic locations in the state after which I will use our local entrepreneurs to establish a viable dairy company”. He promised to establish a tomato processing plant to absorb tomatoes to avoid glut and falling prices, as well as overhaul in totality the sugar plant in Danja to a more serious outfit. “I will establish rice processing plant and wheat industry to absorb our rice in Dandume, Sabuwa, Funtua and Faskari and encourage massive wheat production through our expanded irrigation drive. I will aid the capacity of Funtua textiles to encourage cotton production in the state and embark on massive infrastructural development of the state”. He said power generation is the most singular economic concern of his administration; if there is power all the things listed above can be achieved. “With power I can pump water 24 hours to my canals and service my farmers. With power I will create other incentives that will make the establishment of these industries possible without having to build them myself where necessary. As to the issue of building the canals and other infrastructure that is the simplest of all. Do you recall that in Katsina State every local government has a caterpillar, a tipper, a water tanker, a roller and a garbage truck? Multiply these by 34 that will be 34 caterpillars, 34 tippers, 34 rollers, 34 water tankers and God knows how many garbage trucks since I learnt each local government has four or five! Now with that at my disposal even Julius Berger cannot beat me! This is even less what KUPDA and KASAROMA have”.

“Available before me are engineers in the ministry of works, ministry of water resources, and ministry of agriculture, KUPDA, KASAROMA and 34 local governments! If it is capacity I have it, if it is equipment I have them then what is the problem? I will swap the garbage trucks of 31 local governments, less Katsina, Funtua and Daura to procure graders, asphalt mixers and heating trucks, asphalt laying trucks to complement my equipment forte! I will incorporate Katsina Investment Company with engineering as its subsidiary and put all these machines under the company. With this I will provide the necessary funding that will see us revitalise and rebuild the state infrastructure to the level we want. I am not a 10-per cent freak so I will not bother to give contracts on any of these things that we have capacity for. I will as I said establish a Katsina College of Agriculture to train my people toward this planned expansion and will inshaa Allah bring back the Dala days of Kano back into Katsina”.

Talking about procedure, the governorship aspirant will insulate the Katsina State Civil Service from the wish of an individual governor or his surrogates. Civil servants will be treated humanly and decorously and the rules governing appointment, promotion and discipline will guide how the system will work. Gone will be the days when civil servants will be told that if you do not receive salary alert you are gone! Nowhere in the world are employees of government treated with such disdain! All withheld promotions will be released and arrears paid. All existing vacancies in the service will be filled adequately through internal and external recruitments. All withheld entitlements of civil servants and pensioners will be paid within the first three months of his tenure.

All those sacked via the withholding of salary alert will have their jobs back and paid their salaries from the day it was stopped except if they were issued with severance letters. He vowed to constitute a committee to verify if the right procedure was followed before such actions were taken. “I will protect civil servants as Allah is currently protecting me and nobody will tamper with their means of livelihood. Those directors from the state and local government services that were forcefully pushed into retirement on the basis of tenure will have their cases reviewed. No federal circular will automatically become a legal instrument in the state except if it has been either considered and approved by the Katsina State House of Assembly or is gazetted via administrative proclamation”. Those with years left will be recalled if no disciplinary case is established and proved against them. Those that opt not to come back will be given graceful exit and their entitlements fully paid. This includes those that would have been caught up by age!

He continued by saying that Katsina State Civil Service Commission will be repositioned to discharge its responsibility as provided by law while Local Government Service Commission will be cleared of corrupt and inept workers that take advantage of their positions to further push the system down for pecuniary benefits. He vowed to be just to all and make sure that injustice receives no reward! “I will construct 2000 four-bedroom bungalows for directors, 5000 three-bedroom bungalows for levels 12-14, 5000 two-bedroom condo units for levels 7 – 10. This I will give on owner-occupier basis to be paid at 50 per cent cost.

I hope to see a happier Katsina which can only be achieved by having a happy and motivated civil service. So help me ya Allah!”

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