From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
Having spent over 43 years in active politics, Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Monday declared that he will remain active in politics, even after his tenure expires as Governor of Kano state in 2023.
Though he refused to confirm if he would be eyeing the Kano North Senatorial seat, Ganduje maintained that his eyes will still be widely opened as a potential and sagacious politician for the good of the country.
“I am not tired anyway; on neither will I resign from politics or not, time will tell. You know I have been in politics since 1978. After 2023, my eyes will still be opened.” he said.
Ganduje spoke at Ante Chamber, Government House, during an interactive session with journalists as part of events to mark the Democracy Day celebrations.
He also spoke on dozens of governorship aspirants, particularly within his cabinet, jostling to succeed him, saying, “the party delegates will chose my successor when the time comes.”
Ganduje who regretted the arrears being owed pensioners in the state, revealed that he did not meet a dime as pensioners’ fund when he took over as the state Governor in 2015.
“I hear you say the former Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau left N9 billion as pensioners’ fund; but when we came in I met N4 billion of pension fund which was loaned to the housing scheme.
“The pensioners were given the houses, the houses were costly. Up till now, they are not sold. He (former Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso) even gave out some of the houses to institutions.
“We did not meet any money for pensioners. We are facing financial problems. We are paying workers. We cannot borrow money from bank to pay pensioners. We are trying our best.
“The pensioners have enough houses which they can sell but even if they sell the houses, the houses will be consumed by liabilities.”
On gender politics, Ganduje said his administration has been gender sensitive, adding that in the next election, “we will make sure that application forms for women will be given free by our party. We have been trying to be gender sensitive; even in the 2019 elections and the last Local Government elections.”
Ganduje also expressed optimism that Nigeria will not divide, even in the face of daunting challenges.
“I am confident that Nigeria will continue to be one indivisible country. I don’t want to comment on those who are calling for the split because they are young people who did not experience the civil war.
“I am confident because last week the Ohanaeze Ndigbo said they are not part of Biafra agitation, they are behind one Nigeria. Afenifere, AREWA and Middle-belt groups all said they belong to one Nigeria.
“I call on all the regional bodies to meet and find out how we can convert our differences to uphold the unity of this country. All that we require is to respect our differences and convert our challenges to unity.
“If God want us to be one religion, all of us will be one religion, if God want us to be Bart and be flying all over the country, we will be Bart. So, we should forget our differences and be united as one.”
He also assured that the proposed light rail project will soon commence as the Federal Government is already in touch with the Chinese government to facilitate the loan from a Chinese bank.
He added that apart from the light rail project, the state executive council has approved about N2.5 billion for the purchase metropolitan buses to ease transportation problem within the city.
On completion of projects before the end of his tenure, Ganduje said: “We inherited many capital projects. Some are being completed and some are still ongoing. We are not neglecting any.
We are determined to complete all the projects we started, but the ones we can not complete, government is a continium…we inherited projects which we have completed. Even if we will leave any project behind, it will not be too many.”
The Governor maintained that his administration has continued to work ensure the independence of the judiciary and the Local Government autonomy. We have no problem with judicial indepnednece. In fact, the judiciary is indepnednent here in Kano state because we make sure that all their funds are released to them. We have no problem with that.
“In the Local Government, we have no problem with them. We release t their allocation from the Federla Government. Though sometimes, we engage in joint projects.”
Ganduje, however, admitted that evacuating Almajiri from the streets of Kano has become a very big challenge,, owing to the continuos influx of Almajiri into Kano from neighbouring states.
“The Almajiri issue is a big problem. Here in Kano, we have children from all over the northern part of this country. We have returned children to their respective states, but sometimes they come back to Kano even before our officials return because the government of those states have not taken responsibility.
“The only problem we have is the Almajiri coming from other states. The Almajiris in Kao have been taken to the various schools we built for them. We have about 300, 000 of them, and they are all accommodated in these schools.”