By AbdulSalam Muhammad
THE euphoria that greeted Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje ascension to power on May 29, 2015 was perhaps informed by the fact he was part and parcel of Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s success story in Kano, and the yearning by citizen to witness the re-enactment of that laudable era under his leadership.
Under the former Governor Kwankwaso, who is now a senator, Kano and its environs were a huge construction site that earned him the sobriquet ‘architect of modern Kano.’ From road constructions, fly overs, underpass, expansion of educational institution, and human capital development, the citizens could not settle for less under Ganduje.
Ostensibly, Ganduje who was buoyed by this popular expectation did not only promise to complete over 3000 abandoned projects by his predecessor, he also solemnly declared that his administration was an offshoot of Kwankwaso’s administration that also left behind a huge debt profile.
Interestingly, Ganduje outlined three major projects he intended to kick-start his administration with in line with the yearning and aspiration of the citizens. These include the Independent Power Project (IPP), which was anticipated to generate 5 mega watt for local consumption and sale to Electricity Distribution Agency; the Wuju Wuju road, constructed on across Jakara river to ease transportation between the old city and its environs; and the strategic 2.5 kilometer Sabon Gari flyover bridge to ease congestion at the city centre.
Like a bolt from the sky, Ganduje was jolted by the enormous debt profile left by his former boss that was further compounded by drop in the price of crude oil in the international market and the attendant drop in federal allocation that forced many states including Kano to the fringe of collapse. It was under these circumstances that Ganduje was compelled to re strategize to meet emerging challenges of governance. Expectedly, Dr Ganduje reduced the ministries from 19 to 14, reduced the running cost of ministries and parastatals, and by fiat cut down his salary, those of his deputy and all political appointees by 50 percent to set in a regime of fiscal discipline. Of course Ganduje’s sacrifice attracted applauses from the citizenry who commended him for leading by example.
However, as days run into weeks and months, tongues have started wagging over the policy direction of Ganduje’s administration as regards the bench mark the governor set for himself within the first 100 days.
Periscoping Governor Ganduje’s 100 days in office, a Kano based human rights activist, Comrade Saidu Bello declared that Kano has been scammed by the ‘change agents who rode to the crest of power through a popular mantra but lost out when it mattered most’. The outspoken social critics said that 100 days of Ganduje in office “tantamount to a motion without movement, no clear cut agenda to sustain or consolidate what it is on ground and Ganduje appears to be struggling to remove the yoke of being a deputy and the man now in charge”. Comrade Saidu Bello therefore cautioned Ganduje to roll out his development plan and as well demonstrate ‘dexterity, unalloyed commitment in handling state matters and confidence that he can handle the job.’
But, Government spokesman, and Commissioner for information, Comrade Mohammed Garba believes Governor Ganduje has done creditably well over the last couple of months in office, most especially when his achievements are compared with the dwindling resources of the state.
The former NUJ President said that Ganduje made sacrifices to keep the development goal afloat, stressing that government contractors handling key infrastructure across the state have since mobilized to site.
Garba explained that his boss has started well and there are evidence of his solid achievements across the spectrum, adding that “by the time we clock a year in office the opposition would be overwhelmed with our achievements.”
The Government spokesman revealed that human capital development is one area that has received attention in the 100 days pointing out that over450 youth were trained under the ICT empowerment programme .
Ganduje may have pulled through these 100 days in pains and sacrifice, but he needs to do more especially in areas of critical infrastructure to change the perception of the citizens.