Kwankwaso: Refocussing Kano – Leadership Newspapers

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Governor Rabi'u Musa kwankwaso

Governor Rabi'u Musa kwankwaso

Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State is one man many people love to hate especially in contemporary politics of Nigeria. His greatest offence apparently is doing good and feeling good about it.

Unknown to Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, in Nigerian politics of today, there are very few people who are happy about anybody doing good, which is the reason why almost ninety per cent of Nigerian leaders throughout the three tiers of government do not deem it necessary to perform or do anything meaningful for the development of the people they govern.

In fact, it is evident that one is even better off if he dosen’t perform. What the people require is to come round and “receive” some form of gratification or spoils of office from the leader, and that to them is what constitutes a good leader.

This way, it is practically impossible for leaders of the likes of Engr. Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso to become popular at a go. That explains why he came back after eight years away from government.

People never see what he did in his first tenure until they experienced another leadership for eight years just like the popular singer of the 70s Donna Summer said in one of her albums “you never know what you want until you lose.”

Gov. Rabi’u Kwankwaso’s first challenge after being sworn in as governor in May 2011 for the second time is entering the Government House itself, because in the guise of celebrations, some hoodlums stormed the Government House and vandalised its walls which were made of reinforced concrete slabs by Governor Audu Bako in the early 70’s.

Surprisingly, the concrete slabs were carted away to unknown destinations, leaving the Kano State Government House vulnerable. It is important to note that apart from housing the state governor’s office and residence, the Kano State government house also has within its vicinity the famous Africa House which serves as accommodation for visiting presidents from all countries of the world and any other highly important personality that visits Kano.

Similarly, the Africa House serves as the ultimate conference centre, a meeting point for all stakeholders within the Kano society, where issues of security, socio-cultural, religious and economic importance are thrashed along with the government of the day for the benefit of the entire people of Kano state.

In most cases, people that matter in the Kano society from the government, executive, legislative, judiciary, from the traditionalists, emirs, clerics, district heads, community leaders, leaders of the business community and leaders of non-governmental organiSations and informal groups have converged at the Africa House trying to find solutions on how to develop Kano State and this happens quite often, irrespective of who is the state chief executive or governor.

IT would be disastrous if the security of such gathering cannot be guaranteed at all times. Furthermore, up to the time this article is being written, most newspapers in the country maintain at least a reporter in the government house apart from the existence of the Kano State directorate of special services and the deputy governor’s office, which are wholly located within the premises of the Kano State Government House. Suffice is to mention that there are also dozens of VIP guest houses and other staff house that reside there.

As a first challenge therefore, the wall had to be reconstructed and naturally it has to be better than the one constructed in the early 70s notwithstanding the insecurity country is facing. A wall of re-enforced concrete was planned and budgeted for; however, the construction became an issue which is not surprising as the best was planned for.

That settled, Gov. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwso surprisingly discarded the embarrassing issue of a huge debt profile he inherited not to talk of the level of infrastructural decay which the present administration met on ground when it took the leadership of the state Governor Kwankwaso made it clear that he did not come to take any body to the prison.

To the chagrin of the average Kano man, he never setup any judicial, administrative or whatever commission of enquiry. He just decided to forge ahead.

Governor  Rabi’u Kwankwaso unfolded his priorities during his first one year in office which include: Youth Empowerment, Education, Water, Urban and Rural Transport, and Physical Planning.

In the area of Youth empowerment, it is important for any government to consider the alarming rate at which unemployed youths paraded our streets thereby constituting social and security risks. Within his first one year, Gov. Kwanwakso established 18 new institutes that would enhance skills acquisition and address the salient factor that caused unemployment in the state.

Some of the institutes include, the Kano Informatics Institute that already graduated its first set of 200 students which are now being prepared to proceed to Singapore for their degree programme. The second set has already started classes.

There is the Kano Sports Institute along Zaria road which will train the youths on all aspects of sporting activities. Through the sport institute, football teams in Kano have started winning international trophies even as a football team in Dubai has bought four players, while a Tunisian football club has also bought two players from a team trained by the Kano Sports Institute.

There is the Poultry Institute which has so far trained eight thousand, six hundred women from the 44 local governments of the state on intensive poultry training, and on graduation they have been empowered with 100 day-old chicks each with all necessary tools for breeding the chicks.

Then there is the Fisheries and Horticulture Institute where youths are trained in the art of fish farming and horticultural activities.

The government has also provided ponds and equally acquired fish of commercial varieties and distributed them to the youths.

There is also the Livestock Institute were cattle are cross bred to produce more meat and milk for more profitability. There is the Farm Mechanisation Institute where youths were trained on how to operate and repair oxen-driven plough.

Already nine hundred youths have been trained and empowered to start up as young farmers in a commercial way. There is also the Irrigation Institute, the Qura’anic and Western Education Institute, the Film Academy, Corporate Security Institute as well as Tourism and Hospitality Institute. In addition, there is the Driving Institute, Reformatory Institute, Entrepreneurship Development Institute, Kano Development Journalism Institute, College of Nursing and Midwifery and School of Post Basic Midwifery.

All these programmes that took up within the first one year of Governor Kwankwaso have attracted national and international commendations. In the area of education, the government came in when education in Kano State was in a state of comatose. At the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, all sectors where in a state of collapse, decay and insufficient infrastructural facilities.

Within the first eight months of his administration, Governor Kwankwaso provided 800 class rooms fully equipped with chairs and black boards, while 400 staff offices were equally built. With that, the issue of incessant strike by lecturers at the higher education level was finally tackled.

The Kano State University of Technology, Wudil which was about to be closed by the NUC, was fully resuscitated and its quarterly subvention which was since stopped, restored from June 2011 to date. This made the NUC to give accreditation to above 70 per cent of the university’s programmes.

To cap it all, a new state-owned university, Northwest University has been established by the Kwankwaso administration. Already, the government has awarded contract for the construction of two complexes expected to accommodate six faculties within the new university site.

Thanks to the National Universities commission, NUC which speedily granted approval for the take-off of the university scheduled to commence operation in the next academic session.

In collaboration with Texas A & M University, the state government has concluded arrangements to start a university of public health in the city of Kano. A temporary site for this institution has been identified to enable academic work commence as soon as possible.

However, these institutions require skilled lecturers and other staff to function efficiently. It is in realization of this that the Kano State government under Governor Kwankwaso picked indigenes of the state with first class and second class upper honours in their first degrees for sponsorship to undergo post-graduate studies abroad. On completion of their courses, they are expected to return home and man the North-West University and the other institutions of higher learning.

Another area where the present administration in the state has made remarkable impact is the area of poverty alleviation.

Interestingly, all these, and other projects and programmes were executed with funds from the coffers of the government as since 2011, the government has not taken any loan to finance its projects.

For the womenfolk, a free ante-natal programme was introduced. Pregnant women and babies enjoy treatment and medication in all public hospitals without paying a Kobo. Besides, a women empowerment programme was introduced to alleviate poverty and help the women contribute meaningfully to the local economy.

Under this scheme, 1,000 women from each of the 44 local government areas of the state received grants of N10, 000 each after being trained to acquire specific skills. The first batch, totaling 44,000 women, has now been completed and the governor has directed that the training of the second batch of another 1,000 women from each of the 44 local governments in the state should commence immediately.

This initiative attracted the attention of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the foremost businessman to donate a whopping N460 million to Kano state government in support of the programme, pledging to contribute more as the empowerment programme progresses.

Youths were also not left out of the government’s capacity building programmes as about 600 auxiliary health graduates were trained under the “Lafiya Jari” programme to open patent medicine stores in their localities. Each of these young men and women was given a N50, 000 to secure a shop while N150, 000 worth of assorted drugs was given to the beneficiaries by the state government to start with.

Another remarkable programme introduced by the Kwankwaso administration is the work bull loan scheme designed to tackle unemployment among the youths. Under this scheme, young men are trained in worked bull-based farming and at the end; each was given two oxen and a plough worth N150, 000 to earn a living.

This programme also received the blessing of Alhaji Dangote who donated another N160 million toward its implementation, with a commitment to contribute more because of his belief and satisfaction of Governor Kwankwaso’s transparency, prudent management of resources and commitment in executing the programme.

Another area where substantial capital investment has been made is the area of road construction. The government has given out contract for the reconstruction and expansion of some roads in Kano metropolis which will cost billions of naira.

The projects are Zaria road, N5.16 billion, Hadeja road N3.25 billion, Kabuga-BUK news site road, N303 billion and Challawa road, N2.24 billion. All the roads will be dualised and with street lights fixed on them to enhance security.

Although these are federal roads, the state government took it upon itself to upgrade them, so as to facilitate movement of goods and services thereby improving the economic development  of Kano State.

The construction of a major road transport facility at the cost of about N11.97 billion was also started recently by the Kwankwaso administration. The project, which is to be sited off Dambatta road in the outskirts of Kano city, will comprise parking space for trailers, motor park, mechanic village, warehousing and similar facilities.

Contract for the execution of a similar project at Gundutse along Zaria road at the cost of N6.86 billion was also approved, as part of measures to ease traffic congestion caused by heavy duty vehicles moving in and out of the ever-busy commercial city of Kano and reducing pollution in the state and prolonging the lifespan of the city roads. Similarly, 1,500 saloon cars and buses have been purchased to augment the existing facilities in transportation in Kano metropolis.

Under the water supply sector, billions of Naira has so far been spent for the procurement of 1000mm ductile iron pipes and fitting for the 15km Challawa-Goron Dutse and the 40 km Watari-Bachirawa pipeline project toward sustaining water supply in Kano State.

This is apart from routine maintenance of the existing water works in Kano city and the upgrading of regional water schemes.

Millions of Naira has also been spent in electrification projects covering several communities in the state in the past one year.

Kano, under Rabi’u Kwankwaso, is a state that does not believe in operating any security vote. The governor regards this as an avenue for stealing public funds. That is why all monies accruable to the state government are, as a matter of transparency, duly accounted for.

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