‘We want to leave a legacy for Kano people’
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has assured that he would surely leave a lasting legacy for the people of Kano State.
In an interactive session with journalists, he explained that the feat would be achieved by consolidating on the achievements of his predecessors and initiating long lasting projects for the people of Kano state.
According to him: “Our government right from the beginning we say is a government of continuity because I was part of the previous government. My government is a government of consolidation, meaning those very important projects that were not concluded are concluded. That is consolidation and I even went beyond that to complete those abandoned ten years ago by other administrations . this government right from the beginning when I was campaigning, I said the government is a government of fine -tunning, fine-tunning in the sense that because of the economic situation and also because of the contemporary issues that are arising now and because of perception, some think some polices have to be fine tuned.
“That is normal in governance. And also , I said this government is a government of new initiatives. While we are battling with the completion of previous projects by previous governments, we also introduced new programmes and new projects. So all these certainly require a lot of expenditure and certain the money from Abuja would not be enough unless we look inwards.”
Ganduje also ruled out the possibility of disappointing the citizenry in kano when asked whether he would sustain the pace of developmental projects so far recorded in less than two years under his watch if reelected for a second term in the upcoming 2019 poll.
He said: “In our own case, we want to leave a legacy. We know that we must leave a mark because one day we have to leave the scene and we want to be remembered for the good things that we have done for the people of kano state. The reason is that I am not coming from the blues as far as governance is concerned. I didn’t just hit jackpots to find myself in Government House as governor.
“I have been a recruit in public service. I started from level 8 as a graduate and went through all the levels up to 17 grade. That is for the civil service. For the academic environment, I hold a PhD from the University of Ibadan premier university. In fact when I was looking for admission, I said I wanted a university where I would have tribal and religious challenges and somebody told me go to the University of Ibadan. Then I applied. In fact in my class at the time , I was the only Hausa man and I liked it. I came out of that and I was a university lecturer at some point. For politics, I was secretary to a chairman at a local government level where an illiterate was my chairman for the party. Later on, I became state assistant chairman. I contested elections and failed. And I was rehabilitated by that administration during the Shagari administration from where I was posted to work in government.
“So you see I have gone through so many sectors of development and I know it would be shameful for me to come and see and leave with nothing to show for it. I have to come, leave and conquer. So I don’t think I would belong to that kind of category of administrators that in the first four years will perform creditably and then relax if I succeed to get another four years mandate and enjoy myself. What kind of enjoyment do I need now? In fact, my enjoyment is if I am busy, if I have something worthwhile doing.
“That is my enjoyment. So I cannot waste my time on enjoyment or planning what to do after this four years. Most of my children are graduates, with good jobs. I have only one wife. I don’t have polygamous issues around me. My wife is a PhD holder. we travel together. Therefore, on this 4+4 you are hearing about , some people say I will do only one term. This forced the people to react by saying no! no! no!, it is 4+4, not one term. These are the flavours that goes with politics anyway and it is part of the entertainment. It is not an issue that has been calculated.”
Ganduje attributed prudent management of resources, a boast in internally generated revenue (IGR) as responsible for the inroads recorded so far even in the face of the economic recession in the country.
He went on: “We reformed the internally generated revenue board by removing all the civil servants from revenue collections, sending them back to the head of civil service in kano state and employing the best practices applied in modern revenue collection. We instituted an recruitment outfit and we invited almost anybody interested to work in that place and after completing the recruitment which was transparent, we made the outfit independent so much so that we were not paying their salaries but giving them a percentage of whatever they collect and they were group of young men and women who have experience and knowledge pertaining to modern revenue collection. I think that was the beginning of the story.
“Sometimes it is not only the quantum of money that you have , the quantum of money of course is necessary and indispensable but another source of revenue is blocking leakages. What N10 billion could do if business is as usual, you find that N7 or N6 billion could do it if business is not as usual.
“So to me, that is another revenue which is not estimated in the normal revenue estimation. So by blocking leakages, reducing cost of governance, being transparent in the award of contracts, then having knowledge of implementation of projects with the time line and having auditors and due process to be strong in the system, I think that is another way of generating revenue. So the revenue board js still young but we are expanding.
“We are studying other governments that we believe are superior in revenue collection like Lagos state and now the board is engaging morw hands. For example, last week we engage 765 old graduates in one field or the other to assist in the collection of revenue. The problem of revenue collection is that many people who are supposed to be in the net are not even in the net. So if you are teaching in a classroom, the number of people who are not in the classroom are not pupils in the classroom. The pupils are not there to learn because they are not even in the classroom. So you may be jumping in one place.
“So the first thing is to increase the people in the net for revenue collection. If you are having five percent of the population, you make it to about forty percent, then you know that anybody you capture is already there. He would not go out. We believe we would continue to improve. We are so conscious of our expenditure. We have our own projections.”
“On due process, we enacted a law to form the due process bureau and we advertise all our contracts. And we have precise specifications of our contracts. That has assisted us in trying to find the best price for the products want to purchase either for the services or for the construction. Now that we have to contend with inflation, we always caution with the contractors to avoid reviewing the contracts.
“That in itself is a kind of control. Even though sometimes it may become inevitable when the change is so abrupt in the prices of things but equally the same if you press hard, you can still maintain the prices because they would have to touch their profits in order to succeed. So our due process is a very strong outfit that we allow to check on issues relating to public procurement very well.
“We have instituted an anti -corruption bureau which is working very well. We made it independent. In fact one of our commissioners had to lose his job because he was indicted by the anti corruption agency. Three permanent secretaries lost their jobs, some directors also lost their jobs. In fact, some were saying if you allow the commissioner to be removed that it was an indictment on the government. I said well, then they are allowing a vicious cycle to continue.
“To me, it is an achievement if one of my own is found wanting, I will allow it. So that one too is a system of entrenching due process and making sure people do the right thing in whatever they are doing. In fact our anti-corruption agency is in synergy with the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC), and the ICPC. In fact when the world anti-corruption day was launched here in kano because the EFCC is the place where it was launched. There is even a synergy of training of our staffs who have offices in all the 44 local government areas. People are free yo go and write and put in the box.”
On the debt profile of the state, he said: “As I said earlier, right from when we took over we said debt is not a crime. And even debt by our previous governments was not a crime. So we have been paying gradually and completing the abandoned projects. We have completed many within metropolitan kano.
“The hydro-power plant was started by the previous government. We continued with it. The longest flyover in the northern part if this country was started by the previous administration about 40 percent completion but now gradually we are continuing with the project even though we have not pumped enough money into it yet but we believe that place would be completed a 100 percent. So the debt we have been paying and we would continue to pay. We are even paying the debt of the regime before the previous one. So it is a matter of planning.”
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