The special adviser to the Kano state governor on media and strategy, Comrade Salihu Tanko Yakasai, in this interview with ALIYU ASKIRA reveals why Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is not interested in probing former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as well as Ganduje’s achievements so far.
Recently, some members of the Kwankwasiyya political group led by Comrade Aminu Abdulsalam Gwarzo addressed a press conference in Kano and accused the Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje administration of selling and/or misapplying property such as Daula Hotel; Triumph Publishing Company; Eid Praying Ground at Kofar Mata; Panshekara Modern Abbatoir, some parts of Fagge Jummat Mosque, Hajj Camp and Sahuci Motor Park? What is your reaction to this?
I have been in this government for more than five years and you need to know the quality of man I am working with as governor. Ganduje was a federal director in Abuja before coming to Kano to serve for six years as Commissioner for Works.
He was in the Chad Basin Commission and later a deputy governor to Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso for eight years, and now the incumbent governor of Kano state for more than five years now. Academically, Ganduje holds doctorate degree from some of the best universities in the world; so, it is deliberate that he has continued to ignore the ranting of Kwankwaso so that his unnecessary noise will not distract us.
But have you, as alleged, tampered with the Eid Ground Kofar Mata; Panshekara Modern Abbatoir; Fagge Jummat Mosque; Hajj Camp; Daula Hotel and Sahuci Motor Park.
Aliyu, since 1999, you have been an active journalist in Kano, from Governors Kwankwaso, Ibrahim Shekarau, and later Kwankwaso again, down to the present Ganduje administration, and there is no major decision either in terms of land or education or health and what have you that you are not fully aware of.
Former Governor Kwankwaso in his wisdom decided to close Triumph Newspapers which we have now revived and moved to a suitable location as the former premises will now be used for Bureau De Change activities to generate revenue for the state government. Okay, go and see what is happening at Daula Hotel which Kwankwaso abandoned for years; same thing with the Panshekara Modern Abbatoir.
If you ask me, I will tell you that what the present administration is doing is in the best interest of Kano people; if Ganduje did not constitute a panel to probe the recent EndSARS crisis in Kano, what is the business of Kwankwaso, a man who when he was governor of the state did not listen to anybody apart from himself, not even to Islamic scholars, traditional rulers, colleagues in council, and elders? He was very arrogant and overbearing and as such, he should now mind his business and allow the incumbent governor to concentrate on the good works he is doing for Kano people.
Considering the economic situation in the country, one will be surprised to see some of the giant projects the Ganduje administration is executing. Where is the money coming from for all these projects?
Let me start with education; Kano today has the largest primary school children enrolment in the country, even more than even Lagos, not to talk about renovating and putting necessary facilities in all our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Go and see the wonderful works going on in Maitama Sule and University of Science and Technology, Wudil, by this administration.
Kwanwkaso came up with what he called foreign sponsorship programme, but quote me, the exercise was full of fraud; he used consultants to steal billions of Naira in the programme. When Kwankwaso was handing over in 2015, we were still one family and in his handing over notes, he said his government paid all money for our students studying abroad, only for us to discover that it was false.
Ganduje had to promptly set aside N11 billion to settle the school fees of our students studying abroad. He paid N2 billion for those studying in private universities in Nigeria, and all these we did not make any noise about it because we don’t want to be distracted by people that don’t know what is on the ground.
Today, most states in the North that send their students abroad for studies have cancelled the programme and returned the students to the country. At least 32 states have visited Kano to study our educational and health systems; so, like I told you before, Ganduje is a well-grounded administrator that always looks before he leaps.
The state government is at liberty to convert lands or any other property to proper use for the benefit of the people; but how can you justify selling an Eid praying ground for the purpose of generating revenue? Are you not worried about the Islamic implications?
Go and ask the former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, because the Kofar Mata Eid Praying Ground is under the Kano Emirate Council, and if it was actually sold or diverted for different purposes, the former emir should be in the position to explain that.
One thing I know is that for all the lands and property mentioned by the Kwankwaso group, we set up committees and hired consultants to carry out a feasibility study and table all the recommendations before the state’s executive council. We sought opinions of the Ulama, traditional rulers, women leaders and our respected youth leaders before embarking on all these activities.
This is a democratic government that makes decisions based on the opinions of the majority; so, all they are saying are baseless. I have explained this, and the Commissioner for Information, Comrade Muhammad Garba, had spoken on this and we are fully satisfied with actions taken by the state government.
If you are to write about the achievements of the Ganduje administration, which areas will you concentrate on? Governor Ganduje is a marvelous governor who for years to come will be remembered for his people-oriented projects in the state. When Kwankwaso was handing over, he announced that 25 per cent of the fly-over from Triumph to Bata to stretches of more than two kilometres, the longest in West Africa, had been completed, but when we took over, we discovered that the project was at inception, at zero level.
We had to put in over N11 billion to complete the projects; go to the underpass at Zoo Road, the best in Africa; go to all the major roads in Kano and see the beautiful construction being undertaken by the Ganduje administration – the underpass on Katsina and BUK Roads. Ganduje as far as I am concerned is the best governor in the areas of provision of health care.
You need to take statistics of his achievements in health, education, security, road development and the rest to know that this man is a blessing to Kano state.
That is why I have no regrets being part and parcel of this government and I will continue to serve Ganduje wherever he is because he brought me here to assist him and so far I have not disappointed him or disappointed the respected family I come from. Today, Kano is fully congested with businesses booming in all directions because we have been praying hard and we have relative security and peace.
All the security agencies in the state get maximum support from the state government; that is why most indigenes of the 19 states of the North run to Kano on a daily basis to do business. We have created conducive working atmosphere for them; there is a lot to gain if one moves to Kano and behaves decently within the law.
Come 2023, APC will win Kano again because there is no opposition in the state. PDP is dead; the former governor is only making noise because his party has lost out.