I left Kano a ful­filled man – Kwankwaso

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Ahmed Tahir Ajobe

How do you feel cel­e­brat­ing your birth­day with the an­niver­sary of the Kwankwasiyya ide­ol­ogy?

I would like to thank the good peo­ple of Kano State who over the years de­cided to sup­port us and elect us into var­i­ous po­si­tions, and to also thank Nige­ri­ans for vot­ing our party, the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC), which clinched power at the cen­tre dur­ing the last elec­tions and in var­i­ous states across the coun­try. I also want to use the op­por­tu­nity of my birth­day to thank all our friends in Kano and Nige­ria in gen­eral, peo­ple who over the years de­cided to take it upon them­selves to or­ga­nize cer­tain ac­tiv­i­ties on Oc­to­ber 21 of ev­ery year to com­mem­o­rate the birth of our Move­ment through vis­its to or­phan­ages and the pris­ons to sup­port the needy; the lec­tures and sym­po­sium as well as other in­no­va­tions. I want to say that this young men and women are or­ga­niz­ing it on their own even when I’m not in gov­ern­ment; I’m happy that they’ve kept the tra­di­tion of en­sur­ing that the Kwankwasiyya day is cel­e­brated. And it is just by co­in­ci­dence that they de­cided to use my birth­day to cel­e­brate Kwankwasiyya. They have done it many times in Kano and to­day even when I’m hardly in Kano; they still feel they should cel­e­brate what has been achieved so far. We will con­tinue to pray for our state and coun­try so that things will con­tinue to move in pos­i­tive di­rec­tions for the ben­e­fit of all of us.

In the last years, we de­cided to come to­gether in Kano with peo­ple of like minds to see if we can have an ide­ol­ogy and, of course, an iden­tity so that we can check our­selves to en­sure that whether in gov­ern­ment or out of it our mem­bers across the state and in the coun­try do the right thing. That was ex­actly what we started.

If you look at our first term, we did so much in terms of in­fras­truc­ture, hu­man de­vel­op­ment, among oth­ers. And even af­ter I left of­fice for eight years, the good peo­ple of Kano de­cided to vote for me again in the same party, the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) through which I lost in 2003. Of course in 2003, we had a lot of chal­lenges, es­pe­cially sen­ti­ments. I re­mem­ber in the elec­tion of that year, it was the only time the pres­i­den­tial and gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions were fixed for the same day; and it was the era of Sharia in the North­ern part of the coun­try when peo­ple whip up a lot of sen­ti­ments. Our pres­i­den­tial can­di­date was a Chris­tian from the South and that of the op­po­si­tion was some­body from our back­yard of Kano. That was used ef­fec­tively against us but we stood by our can­di­date and party. That is all his­tory now; we re­or­ga­nized again and re-con­tested on the same plat­form of the PDP in 2011 and de­spite all the chal­lenges at the na­tional level against us from the lead­er­ship our party, and of course the sit­ting gov­ern­ment at that par­tic­u­lar time, we won the elec­tion due to the sup­port we got from young men and women and peo­ple with good in­ten­tions.

From 2003 to 2011, I was op­por­tune to be the min­is­ter of de­fense; I was also op­por­tune to be mem­ber of NNDC rep­re­sent­ing the North-West, and I was able to do so many other things within the pe­riod. But above all, I was able to re­flect on what we did wrong and right when we were in gov­ern­ment and tried to avoid ar­eas of weak­nesses of our first term. I’m very de­lighted that so much has been achieved. So far, in four years, we were able to do over 6,000 projects and pro­grammes and if you di­vide that num­ber by four years, you will know the arith­metic on what was done on the av­er­age on daily ba­sis. We thank God for the op­por­tu­nity to go back to Kano and above all at the end, peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ated it to the ex­tent that we now have 484 coun­cilors, which is 100 per­cent. We have 100 per­cent in the state as­sem­bly; we have 44 lo­cal gov­ern­ment chair­men; all 24 House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives seats; we have gover­nor and deputy and of course, a pres­i­dent elected on the plat­form of our party.

Dur­ing the 2015 elec­tions, what came from Kano was so sig­nif­i­cant in terms of sup­port for Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari be­ing in power to­day. So we did a lot for the peo­ple of Kano State and they ap­pre­ci­ated by vot­ing us again, be­cause I was one of the three sen­a­tors that were not only elected but got the high­est num­ber of votes - 760,000. So I will con­tinue to be grate­ful to the peo­ple of Kano and we will con­tinue to sup­port them and the en­tire peo­ple of our great coun­try so that we can have last­ing peace.

What pre­cisely did you do which you think the peo­ple of Kano cher­ish?

We have touched lives in all sec­tors in Kano State but we are par­tic­u­larly proud of what we did in the area of ed­u­ca­tion. Within the pe­riod of four years, we have built more than 230 sec­ondary schools and we are de­lighted to say that of this num­ber, 44 are schools for Is­lamic stud­ies, all board­ing. There are 47 board­ing tech­ni­cal schools. I’m op­por­tune also to at­tend two out of the four tech­ni­cal schools we in­her­ited in 2011 and none is any big­ger than the 47. Forty­four are brand new ones and we con­verted some build­ings into tech­ni­cal schools. This is done to en­sure that our chil­dren did not only go to school but those that are very rel­e­vant to to­day’s de­mands; we have sent so many to pri­mary schools. I re­mem­ber that we give pri­mary school pupils lunch dur­ing the work­ing days and even uni­forms. We in­her­ited about one mil­lion pupils but we left be­hind over three mil­lion. We built two board­ing pri­mary schools in Bunkure lo­cal gov­ern­ment and I’m very de­lighted that we have done this. We built two spe­cial schools in Niger Re­pub­lic one in Ni­amey and Da­m­a­garam in col­lab­o­ra­tion with that gov­ern­ment on 50 - 50 ba­sis of con­tri­bu­tion of stu­dents and resources. I can­not also for­get the spe­cial school we built for the chil­dren of the in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons in Borno State, where we en­rolled 100 of them in Kano and there are do­ing well as we speak. I’m sure more would be brought in by our suc­ces­sor to save the chil­dren the con­se­quences of the in­sur­gency.

Also, so much has been achieved in the ter­tiary schools. Dur­ing my first ten­ure, we es­tab­lished the state univer­sity of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy and by the time we left, there was stu­dents’ pop­u­la­tion of over 10,000. Dur­ing our sec­ond term in 2012, we es­tab­lished North West Univer­sity, one of the best gov­ern­ment-owned in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try; and I’m happy that we are able to es­tab­lish those schools. By the time we were leav­ing, North West Univer­sity has about 5,000 stu­dents and so much has been achieved by the in­sti­tu­tion. We also es­tab­lished 26 in­sti­tutes which are func­tion­ing. Many of those who grad­u­ated from th­ese in­sti­tutes were sent to Uganda for fur­ther top up cour­ses. We are happy to say the first set have grad­u­ated from the In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity of Uganda with first class de­grees. You could go on and on but what is even im­por­tant to us is to be able to mo­bi­lize peo­ple and get them to send their chil­dren to schools un­der our cir­cum­stances. In ad­di­tion to that, we sent about 3,000 young men and women of Kano State ori­gin to 14 coun­tries across the world. Many of them have since re­turned. We gave schol­ar­ships in uni­ver­si­ties that are ready to give us dis­count and for those who are un­able to com­plete their pro­grammes be­fore we left of­fice, our gov­ern­ment is con­tin­u­ous; I am sure the present ad­min­is­tra­tion would con­tinue to meet its obli­ga­tion.

Even lo­cally, we have done a lot by send­ing our young peo­ple to dif­fer­ent uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try. We sent 400 to a pri­vate univer­sity in Katsina - AlKalam Univer­sity; we sent 300 stu­dents to Bells Univer­sity in Otta; 300 to Cres­cent Univer­sity in Abeokuta; 250 to Ig­bine­dion Univer­sity in Edo State and 25 to Amer­ica Univer­sity in Yola.

Th­ese are all pri­vate uni­ver­si­ties that we thought chil­dren of the poor should ben­e­fit from. In ad­di­tion to that, we sup­ported some fed­eral uni­ver­si­ties. We built 300-bed ca­pac­ity hos­tel in the Usumanu Dan­fo­dio Univer­sity, Sokoto, Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity and Univer­sity of Maiduguri. All th­ese were done to sup­port them so that they could ad­mit our stu­dents. I’m happy to say that at the end of my ten­ure any­body who had the req­ui­site qual­i­fi­ca­tion had a place in state, pri­vate or fed­eral uni­ver­si­ties in Nige­ria and of course abroad. We had to go through the ra­dio and tele­vi­sion to ap­peal to any­body who has the qual­i­fi­ca­tion to come for­ward to be ad­mit­ted into any univer­sity of their choice.

How did you come up with this Kwankwasiyya ide­ol­ogy?

I’m happy that we came up with this Kwankwasiyya ide­ol­ogy where we can have iden­tity -the red cap on white gown or jumper and of course the black shoe. It was the colour and iden­tity of the de­funct Peo­ples Re­demp­tion Party (PRP) which the late Aminu Kano was noted for and we were his stu­dents po­lit­i­cally. We learnt so much from him and we be­lieved in his ide­ol­ogy. Not only that we be­lieved it was the ide­ol­ogy that would help not only Kano but our so­ci­ety to move for­ward, the ide­ol­ogy is sim­ple. We call it demo­cratic hu­man­ism; an ide­ol­ogy that gives pri­or­ity to the needy, the very young, the very old, the poor and sick who can­not help them­selves and that was our top­most pri­or­ity.

Ours was an ide­ol­ogy aimed at sup­port­ing them; sup­port­ing their chil­dren to go to school; cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment for them; pro­vid­ing them with ba­sic ameni­ties, and giv­ing them a sense of be­long­ing and ca­pac­ity to par­tic­i­pate in the mod­ern econ­omy. And you know the poor are in the ma­jor­ity; and pol­i­tics is a game of num­ber which is why the ide­ol­ogy is good for all. So, we were able to con­vince the masses of our state, get their trust and sup­port based on our in­tegrity. That was why we were al­ways win­ing at any given time ir­re­spec­tive of the plat­form we chose to use.

I re­mem­ber I con­tested 14 elec­tions; I lost two -the 2003 gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion and pres­i­den­tial pri­mary that I con­tested with Pres­i­dent Buhari in Lagos. Yes, I didn’t get the ticket but I be­lieve if you look at the fig­ures, it was a big vic­tory for my­self. No­body ex­pected that I will come sec­ond un­der our cir­cum­stances but from the re­sult, you can see that our sup­port cuts across the coun­try. This shows that we had peo­ple who be­lieved in us.

Engr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso

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