Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has described Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as a man of deep social conscience who cares about the plight of the poor.
Mr El-Rufai stated this when the vice president performed the inauguration of the Kasuwan Magani market and 100 kilowatt Solar PV Mini-Grid on Thursday at Kajuru, Kaduna State.
According to the governor, Mr Osinbajo is a bridge builder and who relates cordially across different faith.
“We waited eight months after the completion of this market because we wanted you to commission this market; we insisted on you for several reasons.
“The first is that you are a man of deep social conscience; you care deeply about poor people and you care about giving them opportunities to prosper economically.
“This is one of the reasons why we felt that you are the one that will commission this market.
“The second reason, sir, is that you are bridge builder; you are a pastor who is friends with Imams and emirs; you are a professor who can speak the language of ordinary people.
“You are a lawyer who pursues justice, not technicality; you care for people, you care for Nigerians and you care for unity in diversity; you care about stopping differences in religion and ethnicity, and you always promote peaceful coexistence,” he said.
The governor said that the community needed an apostle like Mr Osinbajo to preach unity and peaceful coexistence.
According to him, no one is more qualified to inaugurate the market in the community than the vice president.
“So, we waited eight months to bring you here and we are happy you made the time to come here, and you can see the excitement of the people here for you visiting their community,” he said.
In his remark, Mr Osinbajo said that there were two important themes that the Kasuwan Magani market project symbolised.
According to him, the first is the history of the market.
He said the market had been burnt down so many times in the heat of ethnic conflicts.
“And there is no point looking for who was right and who was wrong; only to say that the destruction of a place of trade and commerce is bad for everyone.
“Loss of jobs and the goods and services that the market provides; no matter what our grievances may be we must never burn down public facilities.
“It hurts the people we claim to be fighting for far more; so there are many important and difficult lessons about the importance of community building, partnership and tolerance amongst our people.
“These lessons must be learnt, but in learning these lessons, it is also very critical that the history of this market does not prevent us from moving forward.
“It is important that this community in Kaduna State looks forward and creates a new narrative for this market, a narrative created of growth, togetherness, economic progress and development.”
The vice president said that the second theme was the effective coordination and collaboration between the Federal Government and the Kaduna State Government.
He said that the Kaduna State Government’s commitment to rebuilding and modernising the Kasuwan Magani Market was commendable.
Mr Osinbajo said he was so happy that the Ministry of Power through the Rural Electrification Agency, REA, partnered with Kaduna State Government and Blue Camel to create a sustainable, clean source of power for the market.
“The 100 kilowatt Solar PV mini-grid built by Blue Camel, I understand is planned to go up to 500 kilowatts; we hope it can go above 1MW as the market and economic opportunities here grow.
“It is impressive what the Kaduna State Government has been able to achieve with the repositioning of the Kaduna Market Development and Management Company (KMDMC).
“The Galaxy Mall we just visited and this project at Kasuwan Magani are both products of the focus of the Kaduna State Government on enabling commerce and improving the economic prospects of its citizens.
He commended Hafiz Bayero, the managing director of the KMDMC, for the great work on both projects
Mr Osinbajo said that the funding mechanism for the Solar PV plant would not have been possible without the intervention of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“Despite the passage of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act in 2005, the activation of the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) was only commenced in 2019, a staggering 14 years after the passing of the Act.
“The REF provides capital subsidies in a clear and transparent competitive process to qualified electrification projects and companies focusing on Mini-Grids, Solar Home Systems and Grid Extension.
“In the two REF cycles executed thus far, more than N6 billion worth of projects have been executed with 42,000 connections being created -impacting an estimated 200,000 Nigerians,’’ he said.
Mr Osinbajo had earlier attended as the Special Guest of Honour, the Kaduna State Investment Summit, KADINVEST 6.0.