By MUHAMMAD GARBA
When the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo came to Kano on Monday, January 13, 2019 to inspect, commission and lay foundation stone for some gargantuan projects executed or being undertaken by the state government, he was dazed by the pioneering stance of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje whom he described as a trail blazer in infrastructural development.
The VP was overawed with the performance of Governor Ganduje on infrastructure development so much that while commenting on the 2.75 kilometre Alhaji Aminu Alhassan Dantata Bridge, which he described as the longest bridge built by a state government in Nigeria, termed the project a remarkable legacy made by the governor and for taking the lead in providing game-changing infrastructural projects and the enabling environment necessary for the economic development of the northern Nigeria’s biggest economy.
No doubt, the people of Kano have witnessed unprecedented infrastructure development to the astonishment of all discerning minds. Although previous administrations of Late Alhaji Audu Bako and that of Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi have committed their best in creating a foundation for a modern state, never has the infrastructural development reached such an appreciable level as we have seen in the last four years.
Ganduje not only engages in completion of critical development projects, but also that his innovativeness led to the initiation of many projects/programmes/populist policies such as the dual urban/rural transformation.
The commissioned Aminu Alhassan Dantata Bridge, which is one of the many uncompleted projects from the previous administration in the state, was inherited at 25 per cent stage of execution. The state government had to pay the sum of N500, 000, 000.00 million to re-mobilize the contractor back to the site. In fact, it is the Ganduje administration that executed the project under its continuation, consolidation and fine-tuning policy of completing abandoned projects.
You can imagine that with the dwindling resources at the inception of the administration, the governor has been very conscientious and translucent in the management of the state’s resources and having already knew of all these challenges, vowed that the only way to fulfil his campaign promises and deliver dividends of democracy was to spend the state’s resources judiciously and transparently.
The Vice President, after commissioning the projects also stands in a better position to pass the good message to President Muhammadu Buhari of what Governor Ganduje has done, and that it requires just goodwill, genuine commitment and determination to manage funds for the execution of projects of such magnitude for the development of the state.
With many completed and ongoing projects by the Ganduje administration that dotted all over the place, one will disingenuously say that the governor has done well in infrastructure for socio-economic development. That is the essence of democracy.
The administration of Governor Ganduje has kept faith with the good people of Kano state by managing to make significant strides towards implementing its development agenda to ensuring that Kano people enjoy the dividends of change. Not only that, development programmes are evenly spread across the state in terms of infrastructure development in the areas of road construction/rehabilitation, education, health, water supply, environmental protection, agriculture, economy etc.
Governor Ganduje, having looked into the infrastructural deficit in Kano state also explored options on what could be done to develop the state capital, open up more towns and villages. The administration also continues to integrate road development with modern urban scheme to ensure that roads are interlocked into transportation networks that ease access and prevent congestion in the cities and urban peripheries.
Many of such projects in the areas listed above, have been completed, commissioned or on the verge of completion. Other major inherited projects which have been completed, provided with state-of-the art equipment and put to use include Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, Giginyu, Khalifa Sheikh Isyaka Rabiu Paediatrics Hospital, Zoo Road, while the state Independent Power Project from Tiga and Challawa Dams is nearing completion to augment power supply from the National Grid.
The state government is expending over N150 billion in the last four years on construction of critical infrastructure directed to aiding economic development in the state. This include construction of flyover along Panshekara-Madobi Road, Tijjani Hashim Galadiman Kano Underpass Way, Kofar Ruwa, Dangi/Zoo road overpass/underpass, Integrated Skill Acquisition Centre, Zaria Road, Sheikh Qariballah Nasuru Kabara Flyover at Shahuci, among others.
That was why the VP was full of praises for Governor Ganduje for taking the lead in providing game-changing infrastructural projects and the enabling environment necessary for the economic development of the state, especially in health, education and other sectors and particularly in aligning to the national cancer control plan of the federal government. And thrilled by the project, the VP announced the establishment of the special fund to cater for the needs of indigent patients desirous of treatment at the cancer treatment centre when completed.
While laying the foundation of the centre, the VP said the country contributes 15 per cent death from cancer disease in West Africa which informed the decision of the federal government to introduce the National Cancer Control Plan 2018–2022 where states are expected to follow suit in order to address the indices, commended Kano state for leading the way in plugging into the plan of the federal government. Both the structural and facilities components of the Cancer Centre project which will be the highest and the best in Africa, is billed for completion by July, this year.
The massive investment in infrastructure development being done with the aim of turning Kano into a Mega City, has been unprecedented. Under the 2020 fiscal year, the state budget tagged: “Budget of Sustainable Social Development,” 60% of it amounting to N117, 710,626,881, was voted for capital projects, while the remaining 40% amounting to N79, 972,726,778 was allocated for recurrent expenditure. This is in line with the administration’s effort to complete some of the ongoing legacy projects on which the sum of N33.8 billion, representing about 16% of the budget has been voted for works and housing sector.
These deliberate measures are beginning to produce immense results and Kano state is now a first-choice destination for conferences, seminars/workshops, tourism and investment.
Garba is the commissioner for Information, Kano state