Salihu Tanko Yakasai
It is almost a trite now to talk about how those managing governments at all level are in a nightmarish situation owing to slim resources and dwindling revenue. The Nigerian economy has gotten the bite of the resource curse bug and since last year many states have found it increasingly hard to even meet up with basic responsibilities, namely payment of salary. It is a different story in Kano.
In this bleak situation, keeping up with regular payment of salary is celebrated to high heavens in certain places. In Kano, under the state governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, no civil servant is owed by the government. But no one trumpets that because there are a thousand and one things achieved by the Ganduje administration within this year that call for greater garlands, especially giving the austere position of government finances.
But, first thing first. What is the root of the success of the Ganduje administration? Reforms! The Kano state government was the first in this dispensation to introduce cutting edge fiscal and administrative reforms to contain the foreseeable fiscal crisis, as at this time last year. As an experienced administrator (both by training and practice) Governor Ganduje foresaw a challenge in continuing with the status quo thus he came up with sharp reforms that are dual age; slash the cost of governance and explore the untapped alternative sources of revenue.
Governor Ganduje was the first in Nigeria to slash the number government ministries by reducing the inherited 24 ministries to 19. He it was also that fist announced slashing of the emoluments of public office holders by 50 percent. It was after him that some state governments and even the federal government adopted such standpoints as measures of reducing the over bloated wage bills and overhead costs.
The next step was to reform the state’s Board of Internal Revenue. From early in the day, the Ganduje administration initiated overhauling of the State Board of Internal Revenue and commissioning of highly experienced consultancy firms as part of far-reaching and creative measures towards boosting the internally generated revenue which include developing alternative revenue sources.
With these restrictions on government’s spending on recurrent matters and its deliberate revenue harnessing policy, Governor Ganduje made pro-people policies the cornerstone of his administration. The idea is for the poor at the grassroots to have the full benefits of their resources whether it is that which was collected from the national basket or the one sourced from them.
And in executing whatever development project that the government deemed needed or essential, Governor Ganduje has a clear focus and direction which he recently succinctly restated on the occasion of his one year in office.
“The direction of our administration is predicated on continuation, consolidation, fine tuning of on-going critical infrastructural projects embarked upon by the previous administrations and initiation of more people oriented policies and programs for the overall development of our dear state,” in the words of the governor.
This pronouncement is important and very radical position. Over the years, governance has been turned into a narcissistic venture where no one wants to complete a project started by a previous government, no matter how important, thereby leaving the land dotted with several uncompleted projects with the public coffers the one to pay for the wastefulness.
With this unambiguous navigation compass, Governor Ganduje went all out to finish up all that was started by the two immediate past administrations of the state, especially those ambitious projects embarked upon by his predecessor, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
In the last 365 days, Governor Ganduje has withered the storms to complete projects ranging from road construction, schools and hospital renovations, among others. Among the seven inherited road projects completed by the Ganduje administration include the Lagos Street, Post Office Road, Airport Road– Ahmadiyya/Kwanar Jaba road, among others. Similarly, the government has completed the Tsanyawa water works and completed the laying of pipelines along Zaria and Maiduguri roads which has made inhabitants of Hotoro and environs to witness sharp rise in water supply.
Work was also continued on many other important projects initiated by the previous administration including infrastructure at Amana, Bandirawo and Kwankwasiya cities as well as the 5-kilometer roads project in the 44 local governments, all in the overall spirit of governance as a continuous process.
The Ganduje administration is not only continuing with other projects but also initiating other laudable projects for urban renewal and rural development, as well as holistic development of Kano State and its people. About a dozen roads have been constructed/rehabilitated by this administration, from the scratch.
Under Ganduje, the state government has constructed a third underpass in Kano at the Panshekara/Sabon Titi intersection, easing off a traffic gridlock that was a commuter’s nightmare. This is in addition to other municipal and rural roads completed in this year under review.
Central as it is to the development of any society, education was also received serious attention from the Ganduje administration. A princely sum of N14.4billion has been allocated for 104 on-going projects and N3.6billion for new projects. Some of these projects include continuation of construction works at the permanent site of North West University and Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil.
A large number of classrooms is also being constructed, complete with furniture in effort to ginger up foundational level of education.
In a country where diversification is the new mantra, the Kano State government has taken it beyond the lip service by heavily investing in agriculture, which had been the mainstay of Kano’s economy from the days of the legendry groundnut pyramid. Apart from its own direct investment, notable among which is the revival of the comatose state-owned fertilizer blending company, KASCO, the state government has facilitated a federal government N1 billion loan for rice farmers that is aimed at revamping rice farming.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as it is practically impossible to itemize the many strides achieved by Governor Ganduje in this rather short piece.
In final analysis, in his first one, Governor Ganduje has silently laid down salient foundations for the growth and progress of Kano state. He has also proved to be a visionary leader looking at his priorities and key policy decisions. At this rate, it is safe to say Kano is in safe hands and in three years it will be placed on real path to eternal progress.
Yakasai is the DG Media and Communications to the Executive Governor of Kano State