Friday, 9th June 2023

Much ado over Ganduje’s latter-day decisions and NNPP’s advisories

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
14 May 2023   |   3:14 am
Until May 29, 2023, when Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje would complete his second term in office, his powers and privileges as recognised by the provisions of the constitution remain in full course.

Kwankwaso and Ganduje

Until May 29, 2023, when Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje would complete his second term in office, his powers and privileges as recognised by the provisions of the constitution remain in full course.

As such, Ganduje’s executive powers to discharge state responsibilities, for policy formulation and implementation, appointment and disengagement of any political appointee are undoubtedly unlimited.

Nevertheless, the outgoing administration, billed to complete its tenure in office in less than 17 days, has embarked on recruitment exercise, political appointments and also committed to other exigencies.

Among many actions that has since been taken, first, the outgoing government approved a new salary package for judicial staff with accommodations and other benefits, shortly after the ruling party lost the governorship poll.

These last minute actions of the outgoing government has triggered counter-reactions from the incoming administration of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), which considers Ganduje’s actions and decisions ‘reckless,’ wondering why such recruitments are coming at the tale end of the APC administration.

Although the opposition party could not substantiate its claim with accurate data, the NNPP revealed the outgoing government recruited hundreds of persons into the civil service without due consideration of the financial implication.

More so, the NNPP sees the action and inaction of the outgoing government as deliberate attempt to strain the state civil service already overburden with needless liabilities.

Ostensibly frustrated, the incoming administration has issued series of advisories, challenging the sitting government to be wary of its recent actions, a development analysts have described as been ‘overzealous’ against a constituted authority.

In a swift reaction, the Governor-elect, Yusuf vowed to revive the past glory of the civil service just as he challenged the outgoing government in the area of recruitment and other policies introduced from the day the NNPP was declared winner of gubernatorial poll in Kano. He made the comment in his May 1 message to workers.

According to Yusuf, “The leadership of the incoming government is quite aware of the problems facing the state civil servants, including unfavourable working conditions and inadequate manpower which have been noted for redress. Our government will be committed to reforming the civil service as part of the efforts towards strengthening the system for effective and efficient service delivery.

“As contained in our blueprint, we will establish a Training Institute for the civil servants to be up-to-date with the global best practices. On the current job racketeering and nepotism in staff recruitment, which the outgoing government is recklessly conducting, our administration will revisit all the wrong doings and ensure a credible recruitment process is placed for all citizens with the required qualifications to compete.

“We shall not allow the civil service to be misguided by corruption and nepotism. We must check the job racketeering in Kano state as a priority to restore the lost glory of the service,” Yusuf warned.

Reacting to NNPP claim, the state head of Civil Service and acting Chief of Staff to Governor Ganduje, Alh. Usman Bala Mohammad debunked allegations raised by NNPP, noting that the service is always open to routine entries and exits.

The head of service, who did not deny the recent recruitment exercise by the ongoing government, wondered why creation of job opportunities to critical areas such as schools, healthcare and other essential services becomes subject of political debate.

Justifying the reason for Ganduje’s recent recruitment, the head of service said: “Civil service is continuum, which has no beginning and end. The system has a way of entrance and a way of exit. So it is a similar system that has no particular time limit regardless of the government in place and whether the government is just coming or about to go. So, there is no bad intention whatsoever.

“Perhaps, the timing of the recruitment is the bone of contention but you must understand that for long, there have been wide gaps and vacancies that needed to be filled in the service, especially on account of retirement, migration, brain drain and resignations. That means there would be vacuum and government must fill the gaps. It may not be carried out as at when due but I must say the process for the recruitment has been on long before now.

“For instance, we have inadequate human resources in our primary schools and we had migrations from secondary schools to higher level, that was why we had cumulative gaps in that areas. And definitely, we have to recruit to meet the demand. In the health sector, medical personnel are more prompt to exit the service because of more comparative advantages outside the country. You cannot stop them. The alternative is that we have to continue to recruit because we are short staff already if you check the ratio,” Mohammad noted.

Before the allegation of ‘reckless’ recruitment, the incoming NNPP had also cautioned financial institutions against granting loans and other financial instruments to the outgoing government.

Just recently, the NNPP transition committee accused Ganduje’s son, Abba Abdullahi Ganduje of illegal procurement of public property without following due process. According to NNPP, Ganduje junior unduly purchased a landed property for the sum of N10 million. They alleged that the same property was sold for N300 million.

The NNPP threatened that any financial institution or construction on public property without consultation with the incoming government may be done with risks. NNPP insisted all the properties disposed unduly by the outgoing government would also be reclaimed.

Chairman, NNPP transition committee, Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, insisted the outgoing government would witness ‘real game’ as soon as the new government takes over the mantle of leadership beginning from May 29.

Abba Kabir Yusuf

“The Kano State incoming government of Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf will explore all legal means to recover public properties allegedly sold by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to members of his family. The Kano State Public Procurement Bureau office, popularly called Due Process Office located on State Road was allegedly sold to Abba Ganduje, at a ridiculous price of N10 million.

‘’We are deeply worried with the manner in which the outgoing administration is mortgaging the common franchise of the good people of Kano State; it leaves much to be desired. This is akin to vandalism of every structure of governance and this is not what is expected of a government that was given the opportunity to rule the state for eight years.

‘’This place (Due Process Office) was sold for less than N10 million and we are aware that the boy has sold it for over N300 million. You are literally giving him the place free of charge and asking him to go and get a buyer. We feel that this is the most unfortunate destruction of public property that anybody could ever imagine,’’ Bichi said.

Reacting to the threat caution of the NNPP, Ganduje reminded the party that he remains the governor of Kano with full powers and privileges, telling Yusuf that “you are not yet a governor of Kano state.”

In a statement signed by Commissioner for Information, Mallam Muhammad Garba, Ganduje called on the Governor-elect to exercise patience and desist from issuing official pronouncements in form of public advisory in order not to cause unnecessary confusion in the state.

“As far as the division of power is concerned, as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje remains the governor with executive powers until May 29 and reserves the right to carry out his functions in the public interest even on the eve of his exit.

“Until the NNPP Governor-elect subscribes to the oath of office as governor on May 29, he remains what he is – a governor-elect and does not have the powers of the governor. All he can do is to reverse some of the actions taken by his predecessor when he assumes office if there is a valid reason to do so. No governor-elect has the constitutional or legal powers to determine the direction of a state until he is sworn in.”

The Commissioner noted that state governors wielded enormous powers to allocate plots and therefore every government has undertaken such exercise, including the previous administration, which the governor-elect had served.

Garba continued: “Based on available records, the previous administration has made land allocations in some of the public places the governor-elect categorically mentioned, which include the city wall, with allocation of land from Kofar Nassarawa to Kofar Mata; shops at the Kofar Mata Eid Prayer Ground facing the Orion Cinema and from Kofar Mata to ‘Yan yashi opposite the Eid Ground and from Kofar Kabuga to Kofar Famfo facing the old Campus of Bayero University. The advisory issued by the governor-elect has generated a lot of tension in the state and we advise him to desist from such in order to avoid causing confusion.”

A civil society activist, Comrade Ibrahim Waiya, however, considers the actions and inactions of the outgoing government and the overzealousness of the incoming administration unnecessary.

Although Waiya decried what he considered as confusing the series of confrontation of the incoming government with Ganduje’s administration, he insisted that no responsible government would compound already loaded burden on the incoming administration within days to its exit.

“In a situation whereby the state is indebted to the tune of N147 billion and pays over N10 billion monthly as salaries, it does not make any sense for such government to embark on another round of recruitment exercise. Such action will definitely cause another burden to the incoming government.

“And much as I would not want to entirely blame the incoming government for raising the alarm in form of advisories to financial institutions and on the other hand to public property owners, I want to consider the whole exercise as distraction. It is a distraction because you cannot have two governments at a time. One must go for the other one to take over.

“I don’t think there is any need for distraction where the same government will sooner than later take over power. There is no need to start creating tension and fear in the heart of the sitting government. If the two governments are truly sincere, they should do things moderately without necessarily creating tension,” Waiya cautioned.

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