The coming of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as Governor of Kano State came with many firsts. It is the first time PhD. holders are both Governor and deputy governor in Prof. Hafiz Abubakar.
Apart from being well honed in academics, Ganduje learnt the ropes as he was Deputy Governor of the state from 1999 to 2003 and 2011-2015 under the administration of Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso.
While taking oath of office, he promised to submit a Bill on Free and Compulsory Primary School Education to the state House of Assembly for consideration.
“The law will make it compulsory for all children of school age to access free primary education in the state’’, he said. The scheme, he further explained, was part of efforts to sustain the free education policy of the former governor Kwankwaso.
That dream of sustaining the legacy of his predecessor was nearly thrust in to the thrash can as he inherited an empty treasury with liability of N379 billion but for some aces up his sleeves. The buzz in the grapevine is that, “Ganduje was not the choice of Kwankwaso but that of President Muhammadu Buhari so we are likely to expect more of this. However, Ganduje has defended Kwankwaso on the debt issue saying it is not too much considering the works he did”.
Ganduje’s pro-people projects spread across the state are testimonies of deliberate planning and adroit application of scarce resources. The Governor had in his inaugural address promised to ensure continuity of all the projects that his administration inherited from Kwankwaso. Some of the projects that Governor Ganduje completed include Bela to Dakata road, Sabon Gari roads, Murtala Mohammed flyover, BUK road flyover and Gadon Kaya underpass road.
He also revisited the five-kilometer roads across the 44 local government areas where new systems have been introduced to ensure that roads infrastructure spread across all the local government areas of the state.
His 14months in office have been a turning point in the history of Kano State which has become destination of interest to all.
Despite the internal crisis within the party and its stakeholders who underrated Ganduje’s coming to power as governor, many people have confessed to witnessing positive change in the state. The administration is about to inaugurate a flyover along Sani Abacha Road (Bank Road) and is to construct a vehicle underpass at the busy Bukavu Barrack junction adjoining Kofar Ruwa, along Katsina road – Aminu Kano way, in Kano metropolis. Similarly, the engineering design of the underpass is the second such project embarked upon by the Ganduje administration in the past 15 months.
Besides easing vehicular traffic, the project is one of the efforts to enhance the physical status of the state capital as a mega city.
Other projects he has embarked on are construction of Marhaba-Farm Center road, the construction of covered drainages at Adakawa, Yantandu-Limanci, Karofin Gangamau-Kabuwaya and Zaitawa-Bakin Zuwo-‘Yanmota, in Dala local government with a similar project at Kabuga, Gwale local government area.
In addition, administration concentrated on desilting and maintenance works on some drainage within the state capital to check flooding and ensure better environmental management.
On the issue of security, the Ganduje administration approved the release N305 million for the procurement of 25 utility vehicles for the state Command of Nigeria Police and N19.4 million for purchase of communication and working materials for the command.
He also partners with the private sector to upgrade the overall infrastructure as seen in the provision of N86. 59 million for the provision of essential equipment and furniture at 10 Basic Health Clinics constructed by Dangote Foundation in the state as well as Sabon Sara Maternal and Child Health Clinic and Imam Halliru Memorial Maternity and Pediatric Clinic.
Thousands of indigent peoples were assisted with free eye and other ailment treatments as part of assistance to the people of the state and making healthcare available to all.
On the backlog of scholarship payment to local and oversea students, the state government has defrayed five years backlog right from the 2012 academic session while thousands of students whose bursaries have been outstanding would be paid to avoid disruption of their academic activities.
Recently, the state government made good its promise when it released N677, 589, 092 for payment to 54, 862 students in various universities across the country, for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic sessions. The payment was to cushion the possible negative impact on the education sector of the state.
In addition, the government approved N136, 558,100 to defray outstanding balance owed Kano students studying at American University, Yola, Adamawa State and another N389. 3 million, for 377 Kano students at Bells University of Technology Otta, Ogun State for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic sessions with an assurance to parents and students that the Ganduje administration would not allow their studies to be stopped midstream.
Prior to this development, the state government approved N115, 400,477.6 for payment of upkeep and other allowances, for three months, in respect of 459 students on the state government scholarship, pursuing various degree programmes in China, India, Cyprus, Egypt, Uganda and Sudan. It released N138 million for settlement of outstanding school fees in respect of 89 of them sponsored by the immediate past administration in the state, at Mideast Aviation Academy, Jordan. The Governor assured that the government would continue to make determined efforts to revive its bursary scheme.
In a bid to broaden access to education and to ensure a well-informed society, Ganduje introduced Education Promotion Committees at state and local government levels, pointing out that because of this initiative, community participation in reviving education at public schools was so far encouraging.
He dwelt extensively on efforts of his administration to transform the state through revolutionising Internally Generated Revenue as well as making huge investments in infrastructure, agriculture, health, job creation and sanitation, despite financial challenges, requested the continued support of the people to attain maximum success.
Part of the yields in the revenue generation is the release of N1.2 billion by the government from its internally generated revenue to the 44 local government councils in the state to augment their federal allocations, so that they could pay their workers salary for the month of June. The Ganduje administration said it constructed Yusuf Road in Nassarawa local government through the internally generated revenue and had to use such to provide the needs of the people as a payback to good citizenship that respects civic obligations and promised to do more.
The strides of Ganduje have made political analysts to view his coming to power as a positive step that would save the state from many challenges.