In spite of the turbulent political waters of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje broke the jinx, as he is reckoned by historical antecedent to be a two-term governor. His gargantuan steps in infrastructural development is said to be unrivaled by the performance of his predecessors. In his parley with Blueprint’s Achiever’s Profile, he enumerated a number of achievements by his government, most especially security strategy, education and the creation of new emirates.
How do you plan to upgrade the healthcare delivery system?
Health care delivery is the key to enhancing productivity and the welfare of the people of Kano. In strengthening health institutions, our priority focused on ensuring availability and timely supply of drugs, procurement of some medical equipment, recruitment of health personnel and promotion of innovative health financing in addition to general expansion/rehabilitation works at Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital and procurement of certain specialized medical equipment.
Moreover, government is committed to upgrading 12 Primary Health Centers to a standard Cottage and General Hospitals at Kiru, Takai, Tsanyawa, Ungogo, Garko, K/Dangora, Madobi, Walawar Sarari, Sharada, Tariwa, Rikadawa and Tofa.
Completion of construction works and commissioning of Giginyu General Hospital, Paediatric Hospital at Zoo Road, Gezawa Post Midwifery College and College of Nursing Madobi.
Can you give highlight on agricultural development in the state?
Agricultural development is properly accorded a priority status as a result of special focus in the government’s diversification strategy, because of its inherent potential toward realization of the food security and enhanced revenues.
For this reason, our fertiliser-blending plants ensure that many states now buy fertilisers from Kano. Sometimes they even work for 24 hours. If you want 100 bags of fertiliser, you will get them. It was not working for over 25 years, but we made it to work and we are fixing additional lines within three months of my second term; and we aimed at providing Nigeria with fertilisers, and not Kano alone.
What is your take on the famers, herders clashes?
All hands must be on deck to bring an end to farmers, herder clashes. However, we are vehemently opposing the proposed Ruga settlement for herders. But Ruga project is indispensably the most important settlement, though the antagonists of the project are fond of giving it a bad name. You can call it Ruga or rural settlement, but we need to have a thorough understanding of herdsmen in Nigeria. They can be categorized into three groups.
One, because of climate change, they are in West Africa, who are coming into Nigeria with thousands of cattle and usually they carry arms. From the beginning, it was to defend themselves, but now they have graduated into banditry. Movement of them from West Africa sub-continent or the Middle Belt to Northern part of Nigeria is not attainable, and this must be stopped, in as much as we are committed to peace and stability.
The second one, the herdsmen from Northern part of Nigeria go to the Middle Belt during the dry season and come back during the rainy season to get grazing areas. Thirdly, there are herdsmen who are born in an environment; that is historically not their own. In Enugu and other parts of Nigeria, you will get some Fulani who have been there for over 100 years. They were born there and they are herdsmen.
Thus, in order to solve the problem, as far as I am concerned, it is to ban the movement of herdsmen from one part of the country to another. For those who are already settled in different communities with different sense of culture and tradition and religion, nobody should tell them to leave that place because they are Nigerians. However, they should negotiate with those communities on how to operate their trade in order not to encroach on farmlands. If you want to build a nightclub, you don’t go near a church or mosque to build that. You can go to the outskirts of the city to build that, because the constitution does not prevent you from doing that. Most importantly, they should be settlement for herdsmen, so that they should graduate from social-cultural to socio-economic. The way they do herding now is not economically viable.
If you settle the Fulani in one place, you will be able to provide them with social amenities and other welfare packages like every other Nigerian. They will be able to have schools, hospitals, veterinary clinics, markets, security and be able to practice modern breeding of cattle. It is not the number of cattle that matters, but their productivity. That is why we are saying that a traditional herdsman has not succeeded in killing poverty and poverty has also not killed him. The way he is going about with a number of cattle, you cannot call him a poor man, but the way he looks trekking for miles cannot allow you call him a rich man either. It is for this reason that, we are preparing to start Ruga in Kano now. Already technical committees are working. There is a forest that is already being used as a training ground for military to avoid being inherited by bandits and it will become grazing area.
What are you doing about youth empowerment?
In Kano are a number of roadside mechanics, according to our research, and the present types of vehicles we have are computerised. Based on this we targeted at least 1, 000 auto mechanics in Kano to be trained. We started with 75, who trained for one year as we signed an MoU with Peugeot in Kaduna. They are now full auto mechanics. We took another 150 and we trained 50 women. All of them graduated after one year now and can dismantle your vehicle and fix it on their own. We have taken another 250 to Kaduna – that is 200 men and 50 women. They will soon become auto mechanics.
Apart from what we are saying about compulsory free secondary education for the girl-child, training as an auto mechanic is also good. We have done so many empowerment programmes for women. We are even going to build a college of education for women and we have recruited 1,500 women teachers and given to them letters of employment.
Kano is bedivilled with the shortage of clean water for domestic chores, how do you strive to tackle the problem?
For water supply, we signed an agreement with the French and federal governments and they have already given us three million Euros and very soon we will start the upgrade of the water system in Kano. The money is already here. All the old pipes will be replaced and metres connected for people to pay for the water for regular water supply. All over the country, the problem is that things are not sustainable, as we lack the maintenance culture. People are consuming electricity and water without paying; so it is a herculean task to make it sustainable. We took it upon ourselves to ensure that we come up with sustainable project.
And water supply is going simultaneously with rural development, owing to which we awarded several contracts some of which include: construction of 90m litre per day dam at Wudil; continuation of eight small towns water works at Falgore, Albasu, Makoda, Gadanya, Minjibir, Bunkure, Ganduje and Tofa; 88 mini town water supply projects, two locations in each of the 44 Local Governments; Improvement of supply of safe and portable water to the communities of Tiga, Rano and Rurum, installation of high lift pumps at Tiga; Rehabilitation and expansion of Bichi township water system to restore adequate supply of potable drinking water; Supply of 3700 metric tons of Aluminium Sulphate and 300 drums of Super Flux for the Water Board.
Moreso, major projects in the pipeline are: Procurement and installation of raw water, high lift and Chemical Dosing Pumps at Kusalla, T/Wada, Tomas, Chiromawa Tamburawa, Challawa, Gari, Kura, Pada, Magaga, Tiga, Guzu – Guzu and Joda; construction of 88 solar powered borehole scheme; two in each LGA.
Likewise, we are working toward establishment of Small Town Water Supply Scheme at Albasu, Falgore, Minjibir, Makoda, Ganduje, Gadanya, Tofa and Bunkure; Implementation of EU-WSSSRP Project: EU/KN/NPC at Takai and Madobi; Extension of pipeline at Kauyen Alu in Tarauni LGA. Provision of water supply and sanitation facilities to Sunusi Dantata General Hospital Babeji Construction of two Solar motorized boreholes with storage tanks in NYSC Camp Kusalla, Karaye LGA and construction of generator powered motorized borehole in Servicom Directorate Office. Hopely our stringent effort in dealing with water supply is aimed at yielding positive result.
Is your government doing anything tangible in fighting crimes, considering crime rates and insecurity across the country?
Kano is peaceful, compared to other states. The traditional title holder of Magajin Garin Daura was kidnapped and held in captivity for almost two months, but he was rescued in Kano. The recent Taraba kidnap kingpin was captured in Kano too. Almost 95 per cent of the kidnapped in Kano are being rescued and kidnappers arrested.
From our records, we have sophisticated gadget which we don’t want to mention here for obvious reasons. There is coordination among security agencies and the community is fully cooperating in keeping the state safe. Security agencies get information from the local people, which is very important. They are coordinated, honest, and we assist them. That is how we have succeeded in keeping Kano safe.
Why do you create more traditional institutions in Kano?
The creation of new emirates is mainly attributed to three reasons.
Firstly, it is because of history and demand by the people. Secondly, it is to widen the participation of traditional institutions in governance.
Thirdly, it is in order to develop mini-cities.
Kano is growing up as a mega city and we don’t want a one-city state. We want bigger towns to become mini cities, in terms social and infrastructural facilities. That is where we are going and the people are happy about the creation of traditional institutions. It is not because we want to punish somebody or reduce his powers, no. We want the state to have a balanced development, both in the urban and rural areas. We have shaped the outlook of urban Kano and that is what we want to do in the rural areas.
More traditional institutions are created under my stewardship because their importance is to give us helping hand in the security situation, hence we undertook a sensitisation programme.
In a particular emirate, we started with the air force, army, police, DSS, Civil defence, vigilance groups, Customs, immigration, prisons, NDLEA, and all those relating to security. We discussed with emirs and districts, village heads, ward heads and we established committees involving security agencies and local people. That is how we tried to use the traditional system in trying to maintain peace and stability in the state.