The measure had long been expected. Soon after the Kaduna State government set up a committee to address the administration of districts and village units in the state, there were fears, going by the committee’s terms of reference, that the government was going to reduce the number of traditional rulers in the state.
The seven-member committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Ibrahim Sabo, went about its work quietly and for the period it sat, the salaries and allowances of the district and village heads were put on hold.
When the committee later submitted its report to Governor Nasir El-Rufai in January, the its content leaked and it became public knowledge that many of the district and village heads would be dropped in line with the recommendations.
The committee recommended that 194 district heads, 2,927 village heads and 643 council members and staff of the traditional institutions in the state should go.
The state government, sensing danger when the recommendations quickly became public, arranged for a meeting with the traditional rulers to give them an opportunity to express their views.
This served to douse tension as the traditional rulers felt they were taken along and the government was going to take some of the suggestions they made.
But when the government came out with its position on Sunday, it turned out that it had thought better than to go about the exercise in phases and decided on a clean break by going back to what the institutions used to be before 2001.
A source in the Government House said the suggestion of conserving the merits of some of the newly created stools would put the government in dilemma as retaining even a single stool while scrapping another would not be understood by those adversely affected, hence decided that the best thing was to go back to the pre-2001 structure.
Prior to 2001, the state had only 77 districts and 1,429 village units. Subsequent governments starting with that of Ahmed Makrafi created 313 more districts from 2001 and increased the number of district heads to 390. The six oldest first class emirates and chiefdoms had 37 districts which ballooned to 152 districts after 2001.
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