By SA’AD A. MANDAWARI.
The government of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, governor of Kano state (he doesn’t have a Ph.D in water engineering as he claims; he only registered for it, failed to accomplish it but has been using the prefix ‘Dr.’ fraudulently since the 1990s), like most other governments in Nigeria, will on Tuesday this week clock one year in office.
However, the federal and state governments of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including that of Kano, have in the past one year nothing that has impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians but spiral inflation, tottering Naira, unemployment, fuel price increase/scarcity, power outages, ASUU/Doctors strikes, armed robberies, kidnapping/militancy and Boko Haram to show for it.
In Kano state today, the emphasis is on ‘eye service’ projects, which even then were designed purposely to offer means of siphoning public funds by Kwankwaso, his brothers and hangers-on. These trivial projects are only aimed at deceiving the people to think that something aesthetic is being done for them, and because they are only meant to catch the eyes of the people, some elites now derisively refer to the administration as a “cosmetic government.”
These insignificant projects include laying of interlock bricks along the pavements of several roads, renovation of school fences, provision of generators to light some streets, and labelling of school roof tops and other government property with the local party slogan ‘Kwankwasiyya,’ coined from the name of the governor.
Classroom roof tops, school buses, renovated wall fences of the state College of Education and School of Islamic and Legal Studies, and even an overhead bridge, have all been smeared with the vile slogan. Never mind that these are public property and not, as some concerned citizens say, property “bequeathed to Kwankwaso by his father, Musan Bariki.”
As a self-serving measure, the roofing sheets with the offensive slogan were specially made in China, patented and imported exclusively by the governor’s brother. All contractors, therefore, have to purchase the iron roofing sheets from only one man, thereby giving him the undeserved advantage to make cool millions of Naira just for being Kwankwaso’s brother. Talk about nepotism!
Some supporters of the governor, who are as daft as he is, often try to rationalize the labelling of public property by saying that it is merely to indicate that the renovation was done by the governor. Dunces! How would it look like today if all the governors who administered the state, from Audu Bako to Ibrahim Shekarau, had labelled all the infrastructures they had provided with their names? Do you see how thoughtless some of our leaders could be?
It is not a surprise, however. Has “the maximum ruler” not endangered his die-hard supporters by marking them out with red caps? That foolish red cap, at least the governor’s, is now said to be fetish! Behold, the ‘mushrikin’ (idol worshipper) in power and on the prowl in Kano! No wonder, with Hisbah guards effectively neutralized alcohol now flows like mighty waters in Kano and some of our people, like the wayward sheep, are once again back on the booze.
As for the interlock bricks, the project alone is reported to have swollen the whopping sum of N3 billion so far. Wa’iyazu Billahi! This is just so as to provide bribe avenues and patronize the companies of cronies of the governor. Kwankwaso, who claimed to have got an empty treasury, was however hardly a week in office when he began this pet project of his because of its potential to yield kickbacks right away.
I have even heard that the governor recently made another kill with the over one billion Naira contract for the fencing of the Government House, part of which was pulled down during the fuel subsidy withdrawal protests by youths from the ‘Liberation Square.’ Now the fence and entrance gate are not only bullet-proof but said to have been electrified to ward off any intruding freedom fighters in future.
The new fence and gate may appear to be exquisite, but the Government House is perfectly looking more like a high profile prison for a coward (remember ministan tsoro? well, what we now have is gwamnan tsoro) who has since the protests in January hardly dared to show his face in public. Not even on Fridays does he venture out, as the coward has turned the mosque at the Government House to a Friday mosque for only himself and his commissioners.
Keen as he has always been in identifying contracts that provide opportunities for bribes sharing to himself and those he wished to favour, it must be noted however that many of those who appear to be close to the governor often complain about their inability to get a share of the loot even though the distribution occurs regularly. Their constant complaint is that because of his nepotistic tendency, those who have been regular beneficiaries of large chunks of the bribes are Kwankwaso himself, his two brothers and relations, and even his father.
Hence, the common refrain among some commissioners and special advisers is “Kwankwaso ramin kura ne, daga ke sai ‘ya’yan ki” (i.e. Kwankwaso is like a hyena’s hole, which is meant for only the hyena and its little ones), to underscore his nepotism. And because of his pettiness, others call him “Kwankwaso kyashi,” meaning he is so envious of what others, even his close subordinates, would get to the extent that he makes sure nothing tangible comes to them as a largesse.
There is this story in town about a commissioner whose ministry awarded a major contract. Knowing that he/she would also harvest a big kickback, he/she was said to have sold his/her house hoping to combine the payment with the kickback to buy a big luxury house in a choice area in Kano, or elsewhere.
Unknown to him/her, all big bribes are at the discretion of the governor, who promptly cornered it and left him/her dazed and wondering about his pettiness and niggardly attitude. Since then, the commissioner is said to have been referring to Kwankwaso as “The Big Boss” ( i.e. leader of thieves in local parlance) behind his back.
Having been able to attract to his side a number of career politicians for whom loot sharing is their only means to wealth, it remains to be seen how he can sustain their loyalty. Which is why many of them, especially those who left other parties to help him come to power, are today regretting having set up camp with a man that is so avaricious and jealous of what would come to them as ‘compensation.’
Lastly, I strongly recommend the following Food-for-Thought message sent to subscribers by Glo on April 15, 2012 to power-hungry Kwankwaso: “Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.” More so if the man advised engages in ‘tsafi’ (using the power of evil spirits) just so as to get money and power and achieve ends that are obviously far from noble, as they are essentially self-serving.
MANDAWARI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
No. 827, Sabon-Titi Road,
Mandawari Quarters, Kano City, Kano state.
Sunday, May 27th, 2012.