Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has done remarkably well, writes Kande Ibrahim
If you have been anywhere near Kano State in recent weeks, you would have noticed that the commonest refrain in the streets of Kano resonates with the name- Ganduje. All that is required is for an excited indigene to shout Kanooo! And the thunderous refrain will be- Ganduje. Why has Ganduje become such a cult hero in Kano State? The answer to this question lies in the manner of man that Ganduje is and the transformative governance that he has brought to bear in the state.
Ordinarily, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the governor of Kano State, is supposed to be fighting the political battle of his life. Having run a good race in his first tenure, Ganduje is bidding for a second term in office. Well-meaning people of the state and beyond believe that he deserves to serve again considering his stellar performance in his first tenure. But some political opponents of his in the state have stacked up some obstacles for him. Prominent among them is the former governor of the state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. The former governor, for some reason, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the hope that the political structure in the state will collapse under him. But Ganduje, who served as deputy governor under Kwankwaso held back. He did not jump unto Kwankwaso’s defection bandwagon. Instead, he held his own and has been putting everything in place to ensure that he becomes the man to watch in Kano.
So far, the odds have worked in favour of Ganduje. Kwankwaso, the man who is supposed to give him troubled sleep, has been floundering. In deciding who will fly the flag of the PDP in the state, Kwankwaso made a tactical mistake when he anointed his in-law for the top job. Fortunately, the misstep by Kwankwaso is turning out to be an advantage for Ganduje. The Ganduje political machine has effectively sunk that of his opponents considering the speed and ravages with which it is cruising around the state. In trying to have a strong foothold on the state, Ganduje is winning virtually everybody that matters in the state to his side. Two out of the three senators in the state, with the exception of Kwankwaso are with him.
And it is expected that Ganduje’s loyalists will take over the three senatorial seats by the time the February 23 elections hold. In fact, one of the biggest catches that Ganduje made is in the person of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, the former governor of the state. Shekarau, an avowed political foe of Kwankwaso, has joined forces with Ganduje to effectively neutralise Kwankwaso in the state. Even some top politicians who made the mistake of moving with Kwankwaso have started returning to Ganduje. Prominent among them is Ganduje’s former deputy who left his master in the hope that Kwankwaso was going to offer him the governorship ticket. Now, the chips are down and the good people of Kano are making their choice. Ganduje, from all indications, stands tall among the motley crowd of candidates jostling for the governorship slot.
You will truly appreciate the governor’s level of acceptability by the people of Kano State if you operate within and around Kano State. The governor has become a huge phenomenon. His popularity is soaring by the day because the people have a lot to be happy about when they reflect on the government of the day led by Ganduje.
The man is humane, humble and unassuming. There are no airs around him. That is why Government House Kano can best be described as the people’s house. Under the present dispensation, there is no artificial brick wall that separates the leadership from the followers. All mix freely in the same environment. And this has brought everybody home. No one feels any sense of alienation.
Human relations apart, Ganduje is the Mr. Projects of our time. His pursuit of landmark projects has changed the face of Kano. He is reputed to be the first governor to construct the longest flyover stretching about two kilometres along Murtala Muhammed Way, Sabon Gari. The flyover is considered to be a major solution to the traffic congestion in Sabon Gari which is the commercial hub of the state. It will also facilitate the movement of people and goods in and out of the state. With increased commercial activities which the flyover has brought about, the living conditions of the ordinary man in Kano is likely to improve.
There is also the three newly completed underpasses along Katsina Road. Katsina road in Kano is a very busy road through which people, goods and services from neighbouring countries like Niger Republic, Benin Republic and even Libya pass through. The influx of people on this major artery has been a major source of discomfort to road users and businesses in Kano. But the three underpasses have provided the much needed relief. Vehicular and human traffic, noise pollution and other irritations are gone for good. This, as should be expected, will impact positively on the growth of businesses in the state.
There is also the ongoing construction of Underpass and flyover at Dangi Roundabout, along Zaria road, Kano. Under Ganduje as well, a massive project called Kano Economic City located in Dangworo area of Kano is being embarked upon. The project promises to be the largest economic hub in northern Nigeria. It is also going to be an Export Processing Zone. All of this put together make Kano a sprawling mega city. Significantly, the Ganduje flyovers and underpasses are not commonplace. They are modeled after what obtains in Dubai and some other advanced cities in the western world.
Apart from the massive road construction efforts, the Ganduje administration has major landmark projects in the area of youth empowerment. One is the Reformatory Centre in Kiru local government area of the state. The other is the Skills Acquisition Centre in Kano city. The reformatory project is the first of its kind in the country. Here, drug addicts are resettled and rehabilitated. It is a programme which discourages the youth from doing drugs. At the centre, government has provided facilities for de-intoxicating the addicts, both men and women, and expose them to various trades such as carpentry and joinery, auto mechanics, technical drawing, automotive engineering, plumbing, welding, electrical and electronics, etc.
The ultra-modern Integrated Vocational Skills Acquisition centre is for graduates of secondary and tertiary institutions who lack the requisite skills to be gainfully employed. The centre is therefore like a finishing school of sorts. It parades about 20 trades such as computer engineering, plumbing and pipe works, electrical installation, metal machine works, renewable energy, welding and fabrication, catering and hospitality, among others.
These are signature projects which mark the Ganduje administration out. No doubt, the people feel good about the man who has given them so much. They yearn for him. This makes Ganduje the candidate to beat in the March 9, Governorship Election in the state.
Ibrahim wrote from Abuja