“It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it.” ~ Vince Lombardi
By May 29, 2023, Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje will be handing over the mantle of leadership to his successor. He took the mantle as the number one citizen of Kano (the most populous and richest state in northern Nigeria) on May 29, 2015. He was re-elected in 2019 to continue his second-term, which is coming to an end in about two months time.
On assumption of office, Ganduje had promised to build his administration on the bedrock of continuity. That promise he kept, with the completion of many abandoned and uncompleted projects left behind by his predecessors, ranging from physical infrastructure, health, education, as well as human development. Space may not allow the writer to mention these many projects which have been completed and have added value to the development of the commercial city of Kano, as well as promoting the comfort and welfare of her residents.
Apart from completing abandoned and uncompleted projects, Ganduje also initiated gigantic projects that have direct impacts to the wellbeing and welfare of the people. His records on infrastructural development in terms of constructions of roads, inter-change bridges and flyovers, have remained unbeatable in the history of Kano, as observers and pundits have agreed that, indeed, Kano has taken the front-pew as one of the mega-cities in Africa. This is coming close to Ganduje’s dream of making Kano equal to Lagos in terms of physical infrastructure.
Kano being an agrarian state, Ganduje, during his first tenure concentrated much on boosting the commercial production of rice and wheat, empowering farmers and creating enabling environment for them to thrive. He also performed creditably in boosting livestock production. Many livestock farmers were sent abroad for training, enhancing their skills on modern milk production and animal husbandry.
His records in education remain unmatched as he did not only continue with the home and abroad scholarship scheme of his predecessor, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, but also settled a backlog of arrears accrued by the immediate-past administration, running into billions of Naira. While also ensuring the growth and development of the two Kano State owned universities—Aliko Dangote University of Science and Technology and Maitama Yusuf Sule University, Ganduje also ensured that the Na’ajatu Rimi College of Education is upgraded to the status of a university. Today, Kano State boasts of three state-owned universities. His achievements in the girl-child education, Almajiri system of education as well as free, compulsory basic and secondary education, cannot be overemphasized. International organizations such as the UNICEF, UNESCO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, at different occasions, gave him commendations for the feat he achieved in these areas.
In terms of commerce and industry, Ganduje has ensured that Kano takes its rightful place as the commercial nerve centre of the North, as he has kept encouraging both small and large scale businesses. The erection of government-owned ultra-modern shopping plazas in strategic locations across the commercial city remain a testament to the fact that Ganduje has added value to the commercial status of Kano. Major markets such as the Abubakar Rimi market, Singer market, Dawanau Grain market, the ancient Kurmi market, the multi-billion Naira Kantin Kwari textile market, among others, have also been given a face-lift.
Just recently, the Kano drug market constructed inside the spacious Kanawa economic city was inaugurated by the Minister of Health. With the commissioning of Kano drug market, the state became the first in ensuring that drugs are no longer sold in open markets. This has curtailed the bane of drug abuse and selling of illicit cum sub-standard drugs in Kano. The Kanawa Economic City will also house other major markets such as the multi-billion Naira textile market when fully completed.
It is on record that Ganduje has also made giant strides in human development, empowering hundreds of thousands of youths and women, who today, have not only become employers of labour, but are self-reliant and breadwinners of their families. In collaboration with the Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria (PAN), Kaduna, Ganduje’s administration trained hundreds of professional automobile mechanics who are certified and are applying modern expertise in car repairs with globally accepted standards. More so, the establishment of Dangote Skills Acquisition Centre has empowered youths within and outside Kano who are being trained in different types of skills to enable them become self-reliant and economically stable.
Governor Ganduje’s achievements in the health sector remain unequaled. He has not only checkmated maternal mortality, but has also ensured the welfare of under-five age children. Both primary and secondary healthcare delivery in Kano received a boost under Ganduje’s administration. Apart from ensuring the completion and commissioning of the ultra-modern Muhammadu Buhari Specialist hospital in Gingiyu, Ganduje built one of the best Cancer Treatment Centre, which has the capability of making Kano a health tourist state for Nigerians from other states of the federation and people from neighbouring countries. The upgrade and renovation of major medical centres across the 44 Local Government Areas have also served the health needs of the teeming Kano populace.
Another unbeatable feat of Ganduje is the creation of five Emirates in Kano, with the sole ambition of taking development to the hinterlands. Indeed, the creation of the Bichi, Karaye, Gaya and Rano Emirates, in addition with the ancient Kano Emirate, all being presided over by First Class Emirs did not only end a long-standing, but silent traditional tussle in Kano, but has also ensured the even spread of socio-insfrastructural development across the nooks and crannies of Kano state.
For the eight years Ganduje has remained as the Executive Governor of Kano State, the state hitherto known for its volatile nature has not only remained peaceful, but a haven for both local and foreign investors. While neighbouring states of Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto keep experiencing different sheds of security threats, Kano under the watch of Governor Ganduje has been rated high as the most peaceful state in Nigeria, erasing her age-long status as a hotbed of ethno-religious crisis. Non-natives and people from different religious faiths and denominations resident in Kano have continued to commend Ganduje for making Kano a home for all Nigerians without discrimination in terms of ethnic or religious affiliations.
Prince Ajayi Memaiyeton, a veteran journalist cum public analyst, resident in Kano, described Ganduje’s administration as “equal-to- none” in the history of Kano politics, particularly, in the aspect of peace and security. Prince Ajayi, the pioneer chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kano State chapter, said Ganduje’s tenure is, “the end of an era,” but hoped that his successor will build on his good legacies.
According to Prince Ajayi who was at one-time the Managing-Director of the state-owned Triumph Newspapers, “Ganduje did not only show love and affection to non-natives, he accommodated and treated them as real citizens of Kano State. He protected their lives, their businesses and genuine interest. Ganduje is a true nationalist, a bridge-builder, lover of peace and a decent politician who truly believes in one Nigeria. He is not tribalistic, and he does not segregate. Ganduje deserves a Noble Peace Prize for keeping Kano away from any sort of crisis and violence for the eight years he has been in the Government House as the Governor of the most populous state in northern Nigeria where people from different parts of Africa and, indeed, the world, troop in on daily basis for various chains of business transactions.”
Prince Ajayi, like other discernable Nigerians, predicted that Ganduje shall have more taskful assignment for nation-building ahead of him as the President-elect, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu takes over Aso Rock from President Muhammadu Buhari, come May 29. Indeed, Ganduje is wearing a big shoe, it is also hoped that his successor will not only build on his legacies, but will also come up with policies that will build a greater Kano and make the people even happier.
Madu-Jerry is a Kano-based journalist