Re: Nasiru El-Rufai’s Lockdown And The Spoilers At The Door, By Salihu Tanko Yakasai

I was highly surprised when I came across a piece with the above caption that appeared in the online edition of the Vanguard newspaper of Wednesday 3rd June 2020 pseudonymously penned by Rotimi Fasan.

Apart from the blatant misrepresentation and misinformation contained therein, the article is pregnant with sheer blame-game, opprobrium and aspersions against Kano State, its government and its good people aimed solely at hoodwinking the unsuspecting reading public.

What is more painful is that in all intents and purposes, the 19-paragraph article is an exercise in futility aimed at politicizing a serious health issue, it also shows lack of in-depth factual knowledge of the realities on the ground.

The “writer’s” politicization of the already uncoordinated fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is a clear disservice to the nation.

While Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has been making efforts to contain the pandemic without making any public fuss and is averse to apportioning any blame to others, others have resorted to using the pandemic to cast Kano State and his person in poor light in order to score a cheap political goal as if their future political success hinges on this. To say the least, this is unjustifiable, indefensible and arrantly unjust!

Why the “writer” has singled out Kano State out of the other 34 states and the FCT as a spoiler has baffled every discerning and unbiased reader to the core. In short, this article is a public relations stunt that has clearly failed to hit the target and this rejoinder is not aimed at paying the “writer” in the same coin but to clear his misrepresentation and misinformation for the sake of the present and posterity.

Before I address some of the issues raised in the article, it is very apropos to highlight that the Covid-19 virus surfaced in Kaduna State on 28th March 2020 before the index case was recorded in Kano State on 11th April 2020, an interval of two weeks, and the state government did not blame any state or individual for the spread of the virus.

Just as the index case in Kaduna contracted the disease elsewhere, so also the index case of Kano, along with the majority of the cases in Kano. As Muslims, we consign our affairs to the Almighty Allah Who decrees whatever will happen to His servants.

The “writer” should have been dispassionate enough to have consulted his friends in Kano (if he has any) in order to get firsthand information on the numerous measures taken by the state government to curtail the spread of the virus even before the first index case was recorded in the state after the patient had visited Lagos State and Abuja.

In Kano State, the government had taken all necessary measures to prevent the spread of the disease in the state even before the index case was recorded which included the closure of all public schools, establishment of a Taskforce Committee on Covid-19 under the chairmanship of the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, the Appeal Fund Committee (the first State to do so) headed by the Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano to assist the victims and provide relief to the poor, the closure of all public offices, closure of all schools, the banning of passenger buses coming to the state even before the federal government banned inter-state travels, the 1-week lock-down of the state which was subsequently extended many a time, the provision of isolation centres for the quarantine and treatment of the patients, the closure of markets and banning of religious congregations in mosques and churches, the setting up of several mobile courts to prosecute violators, among others.

Even before the federal government took additional strict measures including the banning of inter-state travels, Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje personally spearheaded the interception of some vehicles with passengers coming into the state including, from Kaduna State.

How did these vehicles pass through the state in broad daylight or did they emanated from the skies to land at the borders of Kano? Do they expect Gov. Ganduje to go to Kaduna or any neighbouring State to enforce the ban?

In fact, tens of vehicles laden with passengers were intercepted at Kano State borders and many were turned back or later fined by the many mobile courts established by the state government to prosecute the violators of the lockdown order. Is Ganduje expected to police all the borders of other neighbouring States as well? If as the ‘writer’ claims that Ganduje has failed to enforce the lockdown in Kano preventing people from going out or coming in, is Ganduje also expected to go to Kaduna and other neighbouring States to prevent people from going in or coming out of those States?

The “writer” should have done his homework well to have realized that the violation of the lockdown order is a nation-wide phenomenon in view of the nature of our society and interstate borders. I have seen many crowds of people in Lagos, Abuja and other states in violation of the lockdown, but they were not castigated by the “writer.” It seems what is good for the goose is not good for the gander! The football match in Kano state mentioned by the “writer” was a one-time thing, neither organized nor sanctioned by the state government but by some youth and security agents promptly arrested some people for the violation of the lockdown.

On the issue of almajirai, the “writer” was also off the mark by a wide margin. It should be recalled that the 19 northern state governors agreed to ban street begging especially by almajirai and to repatriate them to their respective states of origin.

It may interest the “writer” to know that Kaduna State is the first to repatriate 30,000 almajirai to their states of origin and it did so without adherence to protocol, neither were they tested for Covid-19. For example, Kaduna State did not officially hand over any almajirai to Kano State government officials but dumped them at motor parks and out of the almajirai dumped in Kano State some later tested positive of the coronavirus.

However, Kano State government did not publicly blame Kaduna State government over this which shows the maturity, decorum and foresight of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Unlike Kaduna State, Kano State officially hands over all repatriated almajirai to the officials of their states of origin after making sure that they do not have any Covid-19 symptoms. In fact, the would-be repatriated almajiris are usually camped, fed and treated for any diagnosed ailment before they are repatriated to their states of origin. So the argument that Kano State government intentionally or knowingly repatriates almajirai infected with Covid-19 virus does not hold water a bit.

Why should Kano State play the role of a spoiler as alluded by the “writer” still beats my imagination for in what way will we profit from this.

Harming any fellow human being especially a neighbour is against the injunctions of all divine religions and His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje will be the last person to intentionally sanction the spread of a debilitating disease like Covid-19.

It is pathetic that despite all the measures taken by the federal and 36 state governments, the Covid-19 cases have increased to about 11,166 cases as at 4th June 2020 with Lagos State, Kano State and FCT Abuja having 5,440, 970 and 763 cases respectively while Kaduna State occupies 7th position with 297 cases.

If Kano State or any other state for that matter had been a spoiler as wrongly alleged by the “writer”, the Kaduna State figure might have been much higher. In this respect, His Excellency, Malam Nasir El Rufai deserves our commendation for his efforts to curtail the spread of the virus in Kaduna State.

Lifting of the ban by Kano State government on religious gatherings was not arbitrary but after due consultations with stakeholders and the state was not the first in the country to lift the ban. Even in countries like the US, Italy, Spain, Britain and Brazil, to mention but a few, where the highest number of cases and mortalities due to coronavirus are being recorded, the strict lockdown and banning of social gatherings, the authorities in these countries have to relax these restrictions.

So, to blame Kano state for not enforcing full restrictions on religious or social gatherings is not only mischievous but unfounded, because for the duration of the lockdown in the State, almost all the mosques and churches suspended holding religious gatherings.

What the country needs at this trying period is not passing the buck and politicization of serious issues like the current pandemic but concerted and coordinated efforts to save humanity from this serious health challenge.

If we did not blame the Italian citizen who was the first to bring the virus to our shores or Ogun State, does not blame its neighbourly sister, Lagos State, for the spread of the disease, then there is no basis to accuse anybody or government of being a spoiler for this is an unnecessary diversion which will not augur well for the country. This unwarranted and unnecessary blame-game needs to cease forthwith for the sake of humanity. Let me end this piece with a quote by George Washington Carver who says “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”

Salihu Tanko Yakasai is the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Kano State.

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Why I’m Not Supporting President Buhari For Second Term – Yakasai

Elder statesman and Chairman, Northern Elders Council, Tanko Yakasai, has said that he is withholding his support for President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office because he has failed Nigerians.

Mr Yakasai, in an interview with Punch, wondered why the president has failed to prosecute anyone in his anti-corruption war, adding that he lacks the qualities of a good leader.

Yakasai said, “There are many qualities required to be a good leader. One of them is competence.

“Another is capacity. The third one is the ability to plan and think clearly. I believe that every leader should possess these qualities.

“I have really not seen all these qualifications in our leaders in this country in recent times; that was why I did not support the second – term bid of the President, because I have not been happy with his performance in the last three years.”

“How many people have been convicted (of corruption) by this government?

“The most important case among others was that of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Babachir Lawal), who was indicted for committing an
infraction by the report of a Senate committee, which was forwarded to the President.

“When the matter was referred to the President , he asked the Vice President (Prof . Yemi Osinbajo ) to investigate. After the investigation , the presidential panel confirmed the allegations levelled against the former SGF.

“However, up till today , the former SGF has not been arraigned in any court of law. This is
an open case of corruption where a contract was improperly awarded to a company.

“So, a government that claims to be fighting corruption cannot be found wanting in a case that concerned such individual.

“That is where this administration is incompetent . Lawal should have been arraigned before a court of law.

“I have never met the former SGF in my life, but I feel any serious – minded government should have arraigned him and commenced a full prosecution by now.”

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Mr. President, Welcome To Kano State, Your Political Stronghold, By Salihu Yakasai

The long-awaited official visit of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to his most solid political base in the whole country, i.e. Kano State will become a reality anytime from now.
It is expected that Mr. President will embark on a 3-day official visit to the most populous State in the federation during which he will commission some landmark projects executed by the administration of His Excellency, the Executed Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje OFR, inspect on-going ones, and also some private agro-based industries and meet with the cream of the society made of the Ulama, traditional rulers, businessmen and political bigwigs and lay the foundation stone of other gargantuan ones.
For long, Kanawas have been longing for this historic visit since the epoch-making elections of 2015 when the APC swept away the then ruling PDP at federal and state levels. But due to some intervening variables, Mr. President could not make this visit prompting speculations by some political funambulists to insinuate that the most populous politician in Kano State has forsaken his political base which is very far from the truth. Kano people will forever remain loyal and solidly supportive of Mr. President and I am sure he will never jettison Kanawas through thick or thin.
Equally worth-mentioning is that the amiable Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR is also a Buhari loyalists and he has demonstrated this in both words and actions on several occasions which has angered some desperate politicians who accuse him of disloyalty, “anti-party” activities and betrayal of their “cause and ideology” as if he is subservient to someone rather than being the chief executive of Kano State who is accountable to the Almighty and the people who voted for him en masse. Mr. President, be rest-assured that the Governor, his administration and majority of the people of the State are yours and when you visit, you will see huge crowds of Kanawas that will line the streets to welcome you chanting in chorus Maraba! Maraba! Maraba! Sai Buhari! Sai Buhari! Sai Buhari! Sa Mai Gaskiya! Sai Mai Gaskiya! Sai Mai Gaskiya! Sai Baba! Sai Baba! Sai Baba!
Though not a fortune-teller, I am sure the successful visit of Mr. President to Kano State will give some desperate politicians sleepless nights because they will then realize that they have no any political base upon which to realize their self-centred political ambition because Kano ta Buhari ce da Ganduje.
Mr. President, let me be the first to welcome you to Kano State because during this visit you will see the laudable progress so far recorded by the present administration of His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje supported by loyal lieutenants. In fact, in the last two years since the Ganduje administration came to power, we have seen unprecedented transformation in the form of infrastructural development, implementation of people-centred policies and programmes especially empowerment of youth and women as well as the determined efforts of the State Government to ensure the security of lives and property of the citizenry.
These are not a mean achievement especially as some assume that the governor is not the right stuff to assume the governorship of the State and they have not relented in their futile efforts to cast him in bad light. However, the people are much wiser and things are becoming much clearer by the day.
It is really a great achievement for the Ganduje administration to consistently pay salary to public servants and still execute these numerous money-guzzling projects within this period of two years since its assumption of office. While other States are grappling with salary liabilities for many months, the State Government has been paying a colossal monthly wage bill of about N10 billion. Mr. President, this is a great achievement and the Governor deserves a pat on the back for this has demonstrated his prudent management of scarce financial resources, acumen, transparency and accountability.
Mr. President is scheduled to commission two mega hospitals inherited and completed by the Ganduje administration which will impact directly on the lives of the people unlike some elephant projects executed by others for mere prestige and self-deification. The government also installed state-of-the-art equipment with a view to providing efficient and effective healthcare services to the teeming people of the State. The completion of these two projects in particular has clearly demonstrated that Dr. Ganduje is not a short-sighted politician as others wilfully refuse to complete projects initiated by their predecessors however important they are to the betterment of the lives of the people that defied rains and sun to vote them into office.
Apart from spending billions of Naira to complete the two health facilities, the Ganduje administration also expended the sums of N964,883,036.56 and N1,999,053,126.54 for the procurement of modern equipment and furniture for the 250-bed Zoo Road Paediatric and 250-bed Giginyu Specialist Hospitals respectively, these equipments and furniture have been successfully installed ready for commissioning by our august visitor in sha Allah. During his recent visit to the hospitals, the Hon. Minister of Health was highly impressed by these ultra-modern pieces of equipment which he described as the first of their kind in the country that will go a long way in preventing medical tourism by some Nigerians that flock to foreign countries in search of quality healthcare services.
Other gigantic projects to be commissioned by Mr. President include the multi-billion Naira Madobi-Panshekara underpass embarked upon by the present administration in order to ensure safe motoring, bring to an end chaotic traffic jam and beautify the environment, the CBN Quarters Road, among a host of many others all executed within a space of two years of the present administration.
Also, Mr. President will embark on inspection visits to some projects which include the resuscitated Kano Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO) that has been provided with a second modern fertilizer blending line and the company now supplies assorted fertilizer to even the federal and some state governments. Unlike before, KASCO is now a very profitable entity ably run by a new team of visionary and dedicated management staff which is to the credit of the Ganduje administration.
There is no doubt that the Buhari administration has clearly made its policy on agriculture known loud and clear so that the age-long over-reliance on oil will be a thing of the past and the Ganduje administration has unwaveringly towed this line. That is why it has been according the agricultural sector much-needed support in terms of provision of fertilizer and other inputs and credit support to local farmers.
To this end, the President will inspect some private rice mills established by some businessmen to support the federal government initiatives on local rice production to reduce its importation that guzzles billions of US Dollars annually.
One project that is dear to Gov. Ganduje is the on-going multi-billion Naira ultra-modern skills acquisition centre project aimed at training the youth of both sexes in about 22 vocational skills in an effort to make them self-reliant and productive. It is this gigantic project that Mr. President will inspect especially as contract for the supply and installation of equipment worth about N2 billion at the centre has been awarded recently by the State Government.
Another inherited project which the Governor is bent on completing under a PPP arrangement is the Kanawa Modern Market (Kano Economic City) and that is why Mr. President will lay the foundation of this ambitious project that will transform the commercial landscape of the State and even the West African sub-region. Upon completion, the market will consist of thousands of shops of various sizes, hotel, and other modern facilities/amenities. In addition, Mr. President will visit the famous Kantin Kwari Textile Market to witness the on-going modernization projects embarked upon by the State Government in line with the consistent policy of the Ganduje administration to modernize all major markets in the State aimed at creating a conducive commercial/business environment.
So, Mr. President, Kano State is working as it is undergoing rapid socio-economic transformation under Gov. Ganduje. Remarkable achievements have been recorded and the Kanawas are very appreciative of this progress which you will see in sha Allah when you visit this ancient and historic city of Kano, how i wish you will stay for months, to be able to visit all the projects embarked upon by Ganduje, as two days will certainly not be enough to go round and see them all. All this despite the recent economic recession in the country that affected all tiers of government, but our amiable and far-sighted Governor has weathered the storm. Apart from initiating new projects, the Governor has vowed on several occasions to complete all inherited projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the teeming people of the State and we have seen that he has kept to his promises as a gentleman with vast experiences garnered from various public spheres.
Salihu Tanko Yakasai is the Director General, Media & Communications, Government House, Kano.
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Agricultural Modernization In Kano State, By Salihu Tanko Yakasai

By the middle of this century (year 2050 to be precise), it is predicted that Nigeria, will have an estimated population of between 230 and 430 million people thereby surpassing the United States of America as the third most populated country in the world after China and India.
This population explosion will definitely pose serious challenges to governments at all levels and other stakeholders on how to make these huge human resources into an asset rather than a liability in terms of ensuring a highly educated, well-fed and secured society with a minimal unemployment rate. Unless concrete measures are taken, this demographic development will definitely lead to social dislocation through rural-urban migration, food insecurity, massive joblessness and other unwanted consequences.
In order to check this bleak scenario, the agricultural sector must be given deserved attention and, however seemingly gargantuan this formidable challenge is, the administration of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR in Kano State since May 29, 2015 has remained undaunted by according the agricultural sector the highest priority it deserves because the sector holds a lot of promises toward ensuring food security, industrialization, revenue/income generation, creation of gainful employment for the teeming able-bodied youth of both sexes, rural development, access to international commodity markets, poverty reduction, etc.
With over 90 million hectares of land of which over 75% is arable and cultivable, Nigeria has the highest ratio of usable agricultural land to total land mass in Africa if not in the whole world and Kano State, being the most populous in the federation, shares in this endowment of fertile land and irrigation infrastructures for all-season farming practice.
Despite these endowments, the agricultural sector in the country is bedevilled by a myriad of problems which include the use of simple and crude tools and implements, constraints of the land tenure system, inadequacy of agricultural education through extension services, lack of finance or credit facilities, problems of pest and diseases, lack of storage and processing facilities resulting in the loss of at least 20 to 40% of the annual harvest, poor transportation, poor marketing, negative attitude of people towards agriculture due to its low reward and boring nature, small and scattered nature of agricultural holdings, food imports that stifle local food production, rural-urban migration of young men and women causing shortage of labour on rural farms and conflicts between sedentary farmers and nomadic pastoralists.
Apart from these, there are natural problems facing the sector including soil erosion caused by water and wind that reduces soil fertility, the unstable and changing rainfall patterns attributable to climate change, desertification, rise of sea level and global warming, among others.
According to the 2008 World Bank Development Report, “In much of Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is a strong option for spurring growth, overcoming poverty, and enhancing food security. Agricultural productivity growth is vital for stimulating growth in other parts of the economy.” Realizing this vital role of the sector to the overall socio-economic development of Kano State and in his characteristic far-sightedness, Governor Ganduje initiated many policies and programmes aimed at developing the agricultural sector more especially as an alternative source of income to the oil sector with its vagaries in the international markets.
To evolve a comprehensive policy toward developing the agricultural sector, the present administration set up a 35-man Agricultural Technical Committee headed by His Excellency, the Deputy Governor and Hon. Commissioner of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, MFR. The committee, composed of highly knowledgeable professionals, experienced academics and experts in various fields, proffered various recommendations to the State Government toward revamping the agricultural sector in the State the implementation of which has since started in earnest.
In order to enhance the capacity of farmers, for example, the State Government employed additional 742 extension workers in order to train farmers in modern farming practices with the aim of increasing crop yields and weaning them from the age-old subsistence farming that is in most cases not productive. Equally, the government resuscitated Kano State Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO) that had been dormant for many years to the extent that the company has been contracted by the federal Government to produce assorted fertilizer for sale to farmers in the country. The sum of N164,942,400:00 was approved for the procurement and installation of a new fertilizer blending machine for the company.
The government also procured 500 units of irrigation pumps for distribution to dry-season farmers at the cost of N45 million, approved N20 million for the purchase of two combined harvesters for allocation to the State Wheat Farmers Association, granted N100 million interest-free loan to the association for the purchase of quality seeds for distribution to its members and gave N16 million assistance to the association to purchase six tractors with implements. This is in addition to the sum of N200 million earmarked for the tractorization programme of the present administration under which tractors are provided to farmers’ associations at subsidized rate.
Other interventions toward assisting farmers in the State include N213,400,000:00 approved for the purchase of 5,000 units of petrol engine water pumps for distribution to Fadama farmers and Water Users’ Association and the grant of N200 million loan to the State Wheat Farmers Association for the 2015/2016 cropping season to enable them to meet the proposed production level of 75,000 hectares and the demand of flour millers.
The State Government also provided fertilizer subsidy to farmers amounting to N2 billion for the production of 50,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer (1,000,000 bags) at the cost of N5,500:00 per bag for sale to farmers at N3,500:00 per bag while the contract for the procurement/supply of tomato seeds and pesticides to support tomato farmers in the State in the sum of N252,304,000:00 was awarded following the outbreak of Tuta Absoluta epidemic in the State.
This government’s intervention in the provision of affordable fertilizer and other farm inputs to farmers has solved the problem of racketeering, profiteering, product diversion and other underhand dealings resulting in lack of product availability, affordability and accessibility.
Also, to ensure the supply of hygienic beef and mutton for safe human consumption, the State Government earmarked the sum of N2 billion in the current fiscal year for the establishment of an ultra-modern Halal abattoir in the State which can also export excess meat for revenue generation for the State.
Training of farmers in and out of the country has also been prioritized. For example, the State Government sponsored 60 pastoralists to undergo training in artificial insemination in Turkey at the cost of N51,777,500:00 and the beneficiaries have since returned home and they are expected to share the knowledge acquired with others.
In order to ensure a healthy livestock for safe human consumption and economic value, the State Government embarks on the annual mass vaccination exercise (CBPP in cattle, PPR in small ruminants and anti-rabies in dogs) which has proved highly beneficial to the State.
The Ganduje administration embarked on the drilling of 1,000 tube wells  under its pet programme Kauda Rani in some Fadama areas (wetlands) across 29 local government areas which gulped the sum of N55.8 million, initiated integrated rural development programme titled Karkara Salamun Alaikum under which hundreds of kilometres of feeder and tarred roads are being constructed gulping billions of Naira in order to open up inaccessible rural areas, hundreds of boreholes either drilled or rehabilitated for the supply of potable water to the rural dwellers, electrification of many towns and villages, among other laudable interventions for the development of the rural agrarian communities in the State.
The present administration has also been according top priority to fighting the menace of desertification and other ecological problems through the annual tree planting campaign, establishment of shelterbelts and rehabilitation of existing ones and execution of erosion control projects toward ensuring sustainable environment for food production and safe human habitation.
So, the government has succeeded in coming up with a comprehensive policy for the development of the agricultural sector through accelerated food production, livestock development for meat, leather and dairy products, natural resources conservation, agricultural pest and disease control, agro-processing and value addition, agricultural programme management information system, skills acquisition training, agricultural productivity and diversification,  mechanization/tractorization, vaccination campaigns, renovation/rehabilitation of veterinary hospitals, micro-credit facilities for small and medium-scale agro-businesses, fisheries and poultry development, procurement of improved seeds and agro-chemicals for distribution to farmers, community warehousing to reduce post-harvest losses, training, collaboration with development partners, irrigation development, among a host of others which have already started bearing fruit.
Indeed, it is evidently clear that the Ganduje administration in Kano State has, in the past two years since its inception, recorded tremendous achievements in the agriculture sector being a catalyst to the overall development of any society.
The State Governor has demonstrated political will and commitment to develop this vital sector in order to put the State on a sound pedestal for overall development thereby rescuing millions of people from abject penury just like many countries in Asia and Latin America have succeeded in doing through agrarian revolution. As a pacesetter for long, the State has again set the pace on the modernization of the agricultural sector for food security, income generation and job creation which has been the preoccupation of His Excellency since assuming the mantle of leadership in 2015.
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