Ganduje: Exceeding Expectation, By Salihu Tanko Yakasai
One of the major concerns towards the end of the tenure of the immediate past Governor of Kano State, Engr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, was the issue of continuity. After the former Governor performed exceptionally well in placing Kano back on the development map, and regained its lost glory, many were genuinely worried as to who will succeed him. Most importantly if the successor will be able to continue with such developmental projects Kwankwaso initiated.
As a political analyst, with over a decade and a half of experience in Kano politics, many people from within and outside Kano have asked me if Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has the capacity to continue where Kwankwaso stopped. It was a bit of a challenge to be able to answer in the affirmative. Simply because, Governor Ganduje has mostly been in the shadows of kwankwaso. From 1999 when he was the Deputy Governor of Kwankwaso during their first tenure, to the various positions Kwankwaso held which he always took Ganduje along, it was difficult to profile Ganduje as a person, and ascertain with a degree of certainty, the type of government he will run. But one thing I consistently tell people is that he has vast experience in civil service, to some degree, even much more than Kwankwaso. On this note, I had that belief that he would surely bring the wealth of his experience to bear in the discharge of his duty.
May 29 came and passed, Ganduje was sworn in as the Governor of Kano State, and it was his chance to define and dictate how he wants history to remember him. I particularly was keenly observing him to see how he will go about this. Two weeks into the life of his administration, I can categorically tell you he has exceeded many’s expectations.
The first thing he did that wowed me, was retaining the Secretary to the State Government. As the Deputy Governor who became the Governor, (the only one in Nigeria to do so in 2015) appointing the same SSG that was there in the immediate past administration to continue now proves that Gov. Ganduje’s administration is the true definition of continuity. They are both insiders of Kwankwaso’s administration, they knew all the happenings during his tenure, and it will just be continuation from where he stopped. This is indeed laudable.
Remarkably, his decision to reduce the size of his government for cost effectiveness and better efficiency is deserving of accolade. He is the first to reduce the number of his commissioners, from 19 to 14, and the consolidation of the ministries, glad to see couple of other states emulating him. What impressed me the most in this is his decision to merge Ministries of Education, Higher Education, and Science and Technology. He has also directed his Deputy Governor, Prof Hafiz, to head Education reform. Only a leader with vision, will within the first week of his administration, give this attention to the education sector. He did not stop there, he also set up a committee on internally generated revenue of the state with the sole aim of looking into ways the government will enhance its revenue. This shows how focused he is, and how he is looking for ways to garner enough resources to execute more projects. Another committee was also set up, on projects completion, with a view of assessing, prioritizing, and evaluating ongoing projects, and has since ordered contractors to return to sites. A welcome development indeed. Governor Ganduje also declared “OPERATION KEEP KANO CLEAN” the importance of this cannot be over emphasized, I was out of Kano only to come back and see how clean most parts of the states are. He has also directed, all government offices to clean their environment, including markets, motor parks, residential areas and places of businesses. This was a departure from the usual monthly sanitation day, which most see as an avenue to sit and relax at home, defeating the objective. Governor Ganduje has also directed all civil servants to report to work as early as 8am, he is also set to empower Servicom, which means that everyone will sit up straight.
These are just a few of Governor Ganduje’s remarkable start within just two weeks. I know some would say two weeks isn’t enough to assess him critically, but there is a saying in Hausa, “Juma’ar da za tai kyau, tun daga Laraba ake gane ta” meaning: A good Friday will start showing positive signs from Wednesday. He did not only hit the ground running, but rather hit the ground with the speed of light. While his counterparts from across the federation are struggling to kick off, he has already shown that he means business. Permit me at this juncture to make a prediction that with such tendencies, if he continues with this foresight, he will no doubt exceed what Governor Kwankwaso has done, and Kano will continue to be great.
I leave you with the words of A. Bartlett Giamatti “If a family is an expression of continuity through biology, a city is an expression of continuity through will amd imagination — through mental choices making artifice, not through physical reproduction.”
Salihu Tanko Yakasai