The decision to write this short piece only came to me as a shot from the hip. It was a couple of days ago that I visited a friend of mine, Nafi’u Ibrahim, in Milton Keynes, who, like me, is a postgraduate student here in the United Kingdom. Somewhere between lunch and dinner, Nafi’u and I parleyed about some key issues of leadership in Nigeria. Needless to say, Nafi’u is an indigene of Kano, and he seems very interested in his state’s partisan politics. He sees himself as a potential governor of Kano someday.
But beyond that, Nafi’u has got a very uncommon, but all the more non-dogmatic admiration for Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the governor of his home state. When I tried to find out what really was the driving force for Nafi’u’s interest in politics, his take was that he wanted to continue the good works of leaders like Governor Kwankwaso.
So, is Governor Kwankwaso a performing governor? I asked. Among the many impressive answers I got from Nafi’u on the exceptional performance of the governor, what interests me the most was the fact of the governor’s ability to establish another state university, the Northwest University, in addition to the existing Kano State University. The latter was equally established by Kwankwaso in his first tenure as governor of the state 1999-2001.
I asked Nafi’u how Kwankwaso was able to run two universities at the same time, and the answers I got were quite alluring. On my return from the visit to my friend, I did some follow-up verifications on the state of things in Kano under Kwankwaso, and for the life of me, I was impressed with his achievements. What follows are my thoughts aloud, written as a short note that I sent to my friend, Nafi’u Ibrahim:
I see the setting up of the new Northwest University, Kano, as an addition worthy of applause, thanks to the progressive Governor Kwankwaso. The new university is an upgrowth for the state of Kano, and its success is a substantial vindicator for the governor and his administration.
I am pleased to learn that Governor Kwankwaso is running a new Kano state, one that is opposed to the wasteful, if spendthrifty, erstwhile administration of Ibrahim Shekarau. Kwankwaso may not speak or command eloquent speech like the former governor (I admire Shekarau’s eloquence!), but he has got perhaps an unrivalled expressivity in both human and infrastructural development.
Governor Kwankwaso has demystified the conjecture, that postulation that there are certain citizens of the state that are untouchable, and that it is part of every incumbent governor’s “stake out” to not only guard these “untouchables” from harm, but to also attend to and tolerate their sickening, everyday misbehaviours.
As part of a pecuniary plan to cut down expenses that were, before now, used for such monkey businesses that may come under irritating headlines as “State Sponsorship to Hajj and Umrah” as practiced under the Shekarau administration, Kwankwaso is using monies under his watch to run, with might and main, the two state universities in Kano.
He has sponsored young men and women from Kano State to various universities abroad so they can acquire new knowledge and bring it back for the development of Nigeria. The infrastructural investment in Kano at the moment, as I would learn, is excellent, and equally commendable.
Kwankwaso is also in charge of an administration that upholds probity and accountability. No government official or politician in Kano would debit from the state’s treasury without Kwankwaso getting a debit alert in his personal mobile phone! He would subsequently make sure that every naira debited from the treasury is put to good use – and he is doing all these with no complaint.
He once said that the money allocated to states from Abuja was enough for every non-thieving state governor to establish and run more than one state university; pay salaries, wages and pensions; sponsor indigenous students at home and abroad; invest in infrastructure, agriculture, health, commerce and industry, etc – and still save some money! With all he has done and is doing, Governor Kwankwaso said he has saved enough money to run Kano State effortlessly for the rest of his tenure as governor, whether the “oil money” from Abuja is remitted to Kano or not.
On a lighter note, Governor Kwankwaso is a humble, modest man, as attested to by those who know him personally. I confess that people like him are the type of leaders we should yearn for in Nigeria. He reminds one of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who, while as governor of Katsina State, developed the state bigheartedly, but still saved billions of naira in the state’s treasury. As president, late Umaru Yar’Adua had left so much money in what is called the Excess Crude Account.
Lastly, as we bless Governor Kwankwaso for his eleemosynary virtues, we can only recline with the prayer of my good friend, Gimba Kakanda, a prayer that I consider very soothing in these depressing times: May God save us from us
Aminu wrote from London, United Kingdom
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