Power Shift: Zoning Is Business Of Political Parties Not Governors, Ganduje Tells Colleagues

…Kicks Against Open Grazing

From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano

Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Friday described as unfortunate recent disagreememt between southern and northern Governors over power shift.

He said power  shift is a “tradition” that has endured in Nigeria’s political terrain through “gentleman agreement,” but wondered why governors should allow such issue polarize them into North and South dichotomy. 

Ganduje who preached peace and unity while delivering his speech at Sani Abacha stadium to commemorate Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary, called on the chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, Mr. Kayode Fayemi to intervene and make peace among the governors from the two divides.

Governor Ganduje fervently prayed  for unity and progress for Nigeria, adding that the country’s differences in culture and religion should serve as unifying force, as any call for disintegration remain unnecessary.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his consistent fight against insecurity across the country.

According to him, “61 years ago since we freed our nation, Nigeria, from the chains of colonialism and imperialism.

Every year since that historic day, we gather to celebrate, show our unrestrained pleasure and sought to express a deep consciousness of love for our country as well as the importance of ensuring that we realize our potential as the most populous black nation in Africa.

“The Independence Day, therefore, is a blissful occasion for all Nigerians to appreciate the efforts of our ancestors at gaining independence from the colonial masters.I wish to thank Allah the Almighty for the bountiful blessings He has continually bestowed on us all these years and also to witness yet another national event in the life of this administration. 

“Today, freedom and the cultivation of democratic values are strengthening our determination to the rule of law, respect for individual liberties, human rights, principles of democratic accountability and the dictates of social justice. Nevertheless, in the recent years, we recognise that the biggest challenge confronting us is the issue of security and to some extent our corporate existence as one nation. 

“We, however, must not miss the fact that Nigeria’s resolve to remain as one indivisible entity has remained unshaken.Fellow citizens, I have always believe that Nigeria is a united and indivisible country and that our constitution has even taken care of that. I don’t see secession as the way out of the current challenges afflicting the nation. 

“Instead, I recommend dialogue as a crucial option for addressing such problems.I am confident that with dedication, hard work, honesty and integrity, we can fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of our nation, who envisioned us to be a dynamic, progressive, prosperous and united nation. 

“We must all step up and play significant roles in the development of our motherland.We must not underestimate the importance of peace for any development to take place. All our plans and big dreams will come to nothing, if we do not have peace in our country. 

Speaking on security, Ganduje said, “the recent spate of banditry and kidnapping is totally unacceptable. No miscreant should have the space to terrorize citizens and generate a sense of insecurity in our country.

“Let us, on this joyous occasion, salute the leadership and the gallant men and women of our security forces, who, in the recent operations against this criminals are putting their lives on the line to guarantee our safety and security. 
“They are patriots, indeed. I urge you all to join in making sure there is no hiding place in our midst for those who would disturb our peace. We must not allow our dynamism to be shattered by either the failures of the past or the challenges of today.”

He further appealed that, “let us embrace today’s challenges as opportunities for a brighter tomorrow. Let us re-define our sense of national responsibility, and remove any doubt some may continue to have about our ability to manage this situation.

Commenting on his modest achievements so far, Ganduje said,”fellow citizens, with your mandate, we are into the sixth year of our first and second tenure in office. During this period, we have not promise much, but we thank Almighty Allah that we have been able to deliver much in terms of evolving and implementing policies and programmes geared towards the development of our dear state.

“These achievements cover areas of peace and security, human capital development, physical infrastructure, and sustainable economic development   through our various interventions in matters related to security, educational institutions, healthcare delivery, public service, improved agricultural inputs and production, skill development and economic empowerment programmes.

“In my inaugural address, I have made it clear to you that while we concentrate on completing all our infrastructure development projects, we will only initiate new critical infrastructure projects that have direct bearing on the general populace.I would like to abreast you with some of our achievements, particularly what we have able to do in this second tenure in office. 

“Just recently, President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned one of our signature projects-The three layer Dangi by Zaria Road change over road. Apart from the beautifulness of the multi-billion project befitting Mega city, the traffic hold up in that area of the bridge, as you can testify, is now a history.

“We have already commenced similar critical signature project, that is, the construction of a new multi-layered flyover and interchange roads at the busy NNPC roundabout in Hotoro area of our state capital.Similarly, another ongoing gigantic project is the construction of multi-million naira world standard Kano Cancer Treatment Centre in the premises of Muhammadu Buhari Hospital Giginyu. 

“Work has reached appreciable level on the project. When completed, the centre will treat 100 patients daily and will also reduce medical tourism and high cost of cancer abroad.Construction works are also continuing on the upgrade of 400-bed capacity hospitals in each of the headquarters of the four created Emirates. 

“This is in addition to the construction of road network to complement our emerging mega city. The multi-million Naira Aliko Dangote Skill Acquisition Centre along Kano-Zaria Federal Highway has also been completed and fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for the training of our youth on different trades. 

“While admission into the centre is currently being processed, preparations are underway to officially commission the project.This is in addition to the implementation of various youth and women economic empowerment programmes since our inception. Presently, we have the fourth batch of 150 youth, men and women undergoing training on auto mechanics at the PAN Learning Centre who will soon graduate.

“We appreciate the fact that Kano as centre of commerce and North’s industrial hub, we are determined to generate power from the state owned Independent Power Project (IPP) for industrial and other uses from Challawa and Tiga Dams.

“The project is designed to generate an estimated 7.2 megawatts of electricity for a start and is expected to impact positively in the conservation of monetary resource being expended by the state in servicing electricity bills as it involves some key state public utility establishments.It will also supply energy to the small-scale industries at Sharada, Challawa and Bompai Industrial Estates during the day time, while the two water treatment plants at Tamburawa and Challawa will supply power to street lights in the night in order to improve security situation in the state.

“Fellow citizens of Kano, we have been treated to a wonderful performance by school children and men and women from the police and other services. It took hours and weeks of practice to be able to put up such a perfect display, and I wish to congratulate them all. I wish you all a joyous 61st Independence Anniversary, and, once again, our dear nation prosperous years ahead.I thank you for your attention.”

In a brief chat with journalists shortly after the Independence anniversary, Ganduje further expantiated on his speech, insisting that, “the recent problem between northern governors and southern governors as  I earlier mentioned is unfortunate. Because a situation whereby governors of one region speak uncomplimentary language  to their colleagues in the other region is not civilised at all. There is no civilization at all in that. The issues at stake are varied, some issues that can be resolved while some issues are political party issues. 

“To me some of the issues that brought the dichotomy is the issue of power shift, whether power should go to the north or whether power should go to the south. 

“Like I have been saying, the constitution has not mentioned that power should shift from north to south but it has been a tradition in the country to have power zoning. And this zoning is a strategy by a political party. Each party has to develop a strategy on how to win election.

“If you think power shift will bring you votes to win elections, you have not offended the constitution. If you think you can retain leadership of this country forever and win election, the constitution is not offended. So I thought this issue should be left to political parties to resolve. Not we as governors to have two opposing groups. That is important. 
“So I urge the chairman of  Nigerian Governors Forum to convene a meeting of the governors forum so that we apologize to each other for making uncomplimentary remarks on each other on an issue that is solely a political issue. That is my stand on that.”

He further noted that, “another issue that brought the dichotomy is the issue of open grazing. Each state has the powers to make laws and there is diversity in each of these states. What is one problem to this state may not be a problem to another state. So states have the powers with their state assemblies to make laws.  

“I have been saying it, is unfortunate that this issue of open grazing have brought a lot of controversy.

“Like I earlier said, trekking from northern part of this country to the middle belt or central part of this country or to the south, to me its not acceptable. Because the children will not be able to have education, to me it is criminal. Will the education system follow them along with  the routs from north to central to southern parts of this country? Can any educational system agreed with that? 

“That is one. The other issue is that some of these herdsmen are from West African countries. Because of climatic change they move down to northern parts of this country, to the Middle Belt and to the South with thousands of cattle and with arms. Should that be acceptable to Nigeria? Can’t we take it to the ECOWAS organization since it is created by problem? Before the issue of the climatic change and many many years ago, the relationship between herdsmen and farmers was esteem symbiotic relationship. While the farmers provide grazing areas for the herdsmen, the herdsmen provide manure for the farmers.

“But now the discovery of fertilizer, the farmer does not require manure as such and with the increase of population, the grazing areas are reduced. Even with the climate change, the vegetation has changed. So now the relationship is a parasitic relationship not a symbiotic relationship and that beings conflict. 

“So I think is better to develop the ranching system where the herdsmen are confined to a place where they can have animal husbandry in the modern system. 

“That is why at the Dansoshiya Forest here in Kano we creating the Ruga system where we provide water, provide housing units, we provide markets, provide veterinary clinic, provide the educational system and schools for the children so that they can also be enjoying social development like any other person in Nigeria.

“I think that is the answer because now the issue is that as I have been saying herdsmen have not succeeded in killing poverty and poverty has nor succeeded in killing herdsmen. Because a man with thousands of cattle cannot be called a poor man, he is moving with a mobile bank. But there is no doubt somebody who treks from the north to the south cannot be called a rich man.

“If you look at his shoes and his body you will understand that the herdsman has not succeeded in killing poverty and poverty has not succeeded in killing the herdsman. 

“I was once in China and I was driven in a car and I asked the driver, a Chinese man, I have not seen cows crossing the roads? He said no, no, no, the cattle rearers are in one zone. Anybody who wants to rear cattle will be in that zone. That is why you cannot see the cows here and there. That is planning. That is what we should have.

“The greatest crime in  migrating from north to south for grazing is lack of education for the children. As far as I am concerned, that is the greatest crime, you deny somebody education. No Islamic education, no western education, nothing whatsoever, that is why we are in the problems in which we are now.”

Speaking on completion of abandoned projects, he stated that,”yes I said we completed some started by the last administrations and some left by my previous administration, the Kwankwaso administration. 

“We found it important and we completed some, in fact many, but still there are some left due to lack of funds especially the five kilometer roads in each of the 44 Local Government Areas we are still battling because we still need more than N60 billion, which we don’t have. But I assure you, the ones that we started, we will complete them according to our estimations.”

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