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Ganduje And His Many Burdens In Kano




SOON after taking oath of office May 29, this year as the governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje unveiled his strategic road map to effectively turn around the fortune of the state.

Ganduje is not new to the affairs of the governance of the state, having served the former governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, as deputy governor for a long stretch of eight years.

The decision by stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to pick him as the worthy successor of Kwankwaso was welcome by the citizens of the state.

On assumption of office, he promised to sustain the human capital and developmental agenda of the Kwankwasiya philosophy, whose cardinal objective is to improve the  socio-economic wellbeing of the people.

Barely less than two weeks on the saddle, Ganduje hit the ground running by ascertaining the level of work on projects initiated by Kwankwaso and the state of indebtedness of the state. His decision to present his cabinet nominees just one week after his inauguration to the House of Assembly attests to his readiness to live up to the challenges of administering the state.

With the shortfall in allocations from the federation account, there are concerns as to whether the administration would cope with the debt burden, payment of workers salaries as at when due and sustain ongoing projects inherited from his predecessor.

The scarring news came from the Chairman of transition committee and the Deputy Governor, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, who revealed that the incoming government inherited cash liabilities of N175.5 billion, besides almost next to zero naira in the treasury.

According to the committee, Kwankwaso administration in four years received over N419.5 billion from federal account, of which about N418.5 billion was expended.

Similarly, the committee hinted that N346.5 billion was collected for local governments, out of which N329 billion was expended. Besides, over 10, 000 newly recruited civil servant were yet to be placed on the payroll in the last six month.

Few weeks before the end of the Kwankwaso administration, an association of indigenous contractors protested non-payment of over N60 billion debts by the state government, a development that forced them to leave their sites. Ganduje, who is aware of the huge debt burden before him, has assured that he would leave no stone unturned to ensure that there would be no case of abandoned projects in the state.

According to an abridged report of the transition committee, 4,019 capital projects were completed, while 2,715 are ongoing. Out of the completed ones, an outstanding of N4.5 billion is still hanging. For the abandon projects, government is indebted to the tune of N105 billion.

The abandon capital projects spanning across the state, include road networks within the metropolis, flyovers, the five-kilometre road in almost all the 44 councils, school and water projects, among others. Away from the debt profile, the Independent Power Project not yet completed is another heavy task for the present administration.

Worse still is the fact that these mounting tasks are coming at a point when the state is battling with dwindling income, as a result of declining federal allocations and poor volume of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Not disturbed by the quantum of challenges ahead of him, Ganduje had swung to action with all energy within the limited resources.

For anyone familiar with the terrain and statutory duties of governance, Ganduje would no doubt bring his administrative prowess to bear to achieve the desirable goals.

To prove this worth, he has flagged off seven days emergency sanitation to rid the state of heaps of refuse littered around the city centre to further prevent possible epidemic. His resolve to downsize the ministries and agencies within few days of resuming duty indicated that he meant business in his determination to cut down the cost of governance.

According to the governor, the former 19 ministries have been condensed to 14, saying the measure become pertinent not to only cut cost, but also to get rid of docile workers for effective service delivery. Whoever knows the competence and level of commitment of Ganduje would testify that he is a go-getter.

His diligence and doggedness when he chaired state polio eradication programme in the last administration brought the deadly virus under control. Today, the level of polio vaccine acceptance, particularly in the rural communities, has largely improved.

With a foresight and sincerity of purpose, Ganduje was able to effectively manage the cultural and religion sentiments associated with polio immunisation, which eventually secured the supports of locals and community leaders that initially rejected the intervention.

As at last check, available record showed about 80 per cent success in the fight against polio virus in Kano. To most Kano residents and indigenes, there would have been no better successor of Kwankwaso at this point in time than Ganduje.

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