Salihu Tanko Yakasai
When His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR assumed the mantle of governorship of the most populous state in the federation on 29th May, 2015, he was confronted with formidable development challenges in the forms of multi-billion naira abandoned projects, huge liabilities of over N400 billion and eye-sores of many decades-old rotten infrastructures such as the old Daula Hotel, KASCO, the structurally defective multi-storey carpark at Shahuchi, the Triumph Publishing Company shut down by his immediate predecessor due to political mischief because it was established by the late Abubakar Muhammadu Rimi, the promising Tiga Rock Castle Hotel built in preparation for the visit of the Queen of England, the uncompleted Magwan Water Restaurant and Hotel and the famous Kano Zoo now in the midst of well-developed residential areas thus posing serious threat to the inhabitants.
Undaunted by these formidable challenges, some created purposely to frustrate Ganduje’s administration for political gain, the governor set out toward taking the state to the next level. For example, despite the financial crunch the three tiers of governments have been facing leading to the many months of recession in the country, the governor has succeeded in completing some multi-billion naira projects such as the two specialist hospitals at Giginyu and Zoo Road, the longest flyover bridge in the north named after Alhaji Aminu Dantata, and many other projects. The two independent power projects and some 5-kilometer roads abandoned by his immediate predecessor have now reached various levels of completion. Unlike his immediate predecessor, Gov. Ganduje has continued with all inherited projects that have positive impact on the lives of the teeming people of the state.
In addition, the governor has initiated many money-guzzling projects such as the Madobi-Panshekara underpass, the Katsina Road underpass, and the vocational skills acquisition centre along Zaria Road named after Alhaji Aliko Dangote whose construction and equipping gulped over N5 billion, etc all now completed. This is apart from the payment of monthly salary and other workers’ entitlements running into billions of naira.
But despite all these achievements, the ever-dwindling Kwankwasiyya elements loyal to the former governor of Kano State, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso have never acknowledged these glaring giant strides of the present administration; instead they have continued with their campaigns of calumny and propaganda just to cast the present administration of His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR in bad light or to hoodwink gullible unsuspecting members of the public for the sect’s selfish political ends.
Gov. Ganduje has not only succeeded in making true his promise to complete all inherited projects and initiate new ones in a bid to provide Kano State with befitting infrastructures for its sustainable development, but has vowed to put it on a viable economic pedestal in partnership with private investors as is the norm all over the world.
One of the laudable policies the present administration has come up with is the resuscitation of some landmark but comatose landed property listed above most of which had passed their usefulness in view of their dilapidated and obsolete conditions. However, in their characteristic disposition to brandish empty propaganda through lies and half-truths, the Kwankwasiyya elements have taken to the social, print and broadcast media making wild and unsubstantiated claims that the Ganduje administration has sold up some choice properties to cronies and family members. To say the least, this is not true.
What actually transpired is that the state government has entered into private public partnership (PPP) arrangements with some willing and interested private investors to either redevelop these rotten, under-performing and obsolete assets for the benefits of the two parties with Kano State government contributing land as its equity while the investors would sink their money and expertise into the development and management of the assets or completely demolish these properties and build new modern ones in their place. None of the assets has been sold contrary to the baseless allegations dished out by the prejudiced opposition elements who see no good in any government other than theirs.
In the case of Daula Hotel, for example, the facility is a shadow of its former self and has been out of operation for many years due to dilapidation and out-datedness. With new modern hotels springing up in the state capital, Daula Hotel is no longer attractive and competitive enough; thus unable to attract patronage. The hotel has just become a safe haven for reptiles of all sorts most especially snakes. That is why the state government has entered into a PPP arrangement with a reputable private developer and the old hotel has been demolished and a new modern one, a mall and residential houses will be built after experts have given their professional inputs as to the viability of the projects.
In respect of the premises of the Triumph Publishing Company, the story is the same. The company has been relocated after its resuscitation by the Ganduje administration and a private investor will construct a modern secured structure housing shops for the bureau de change operators. The facilities also contain many amenities apart from providing well-secured environment for foreign exchange transactions to bloom and flourish.
With regards to the Shahuchi multi-storey carpark initiated by the Kwankwaso administration, the building is structurally defective and after receiving expert advice, the structure was demolished to safeguard the lives and property of the citizenry and would be converted into a shopping complex with modern facilities under a private public partnership arrangement and the state government’s equity is the land while the investor will bear the cost of the project in addition to other responsibilities.
For over 20 years, the state-owned Kano State Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO) has been moribund and out of operation. But the present administration succeeded in resuscitating the highly potential company now operating in full capacity. A new modern fertilizer blending line has been added under a progressive management and the company is now profitable and is being patronized by the federal and some state governments. Nowadays, fertilizer and other farm inputs are readily affordable and available to farmers in and outside the state.
Or take the issue of the ambitious Kano Economic City at Dangwauro, Zaria Road initiated by the Shekarau administration but abandoned by the succeeding Kwankwaso administration when it came on board in 2011 despite its high economic potentials to the development of the state. Upon coming into power, the Ganduje administration entered into a PPP arrangement with a private investor and now Kano Economic City has been revived and the investors have completed many shops ready for commissioning before the end of this year.
The opposition has also wildly castigated the Ganduje administration for resorting to taking loans for developmental purposes. Unknown to them, even developed countries take loans for developmental purposes. For example, the United States of America (USA) with its GDP of $12 trillion is now indebted to the tune of $36 billion and one of the lenders is its arch-rival and adversary, China with its loan of about $3 trillion to the USA. If the opposition elements can become a book-worm, they will cease making unsubstantiated claims especially in respect of development issues.
It is laughable that while their principal has not seen it worthwhile and important to complete inherited projects during his 8-year reign but instead initiated white elephant ones which he subsequently bequeathed to his successors, his supporters have not seen anything wrong with this political kamikaze. So blinded are they with political prejudice that they always oppose development efforts by the predecessors of their principal in the vain hope that he will assume political relevance again in the state or country at large. The earlier they realize that their political eclipse has become permanent, the better for them as some of the former die-hard members of the Kwankwasiyya sect have realized by dumping him and pitching their political camp with Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR.
Salihu Yakasai is the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Kano State.