Alhaji Halilu Ibrahim Dantiye is the Director of Press and Public Relations to the Executive Governor of Kano state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. The governor’s Image maker was until his appointment the weekend Editor in the defunct Triumph state-owned newspaper and the former president of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, as well as an alumnus of the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS). He told journalists including Pointblanknews.com that his boss has performed creditably in delivering democratic dividends to Kano people.
What are the challenges Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has been contending with in his commitment to deliver the dividends of democracy across the 44 Local Government Areas of the State?
Well, his most daunting challenge is that of time, with which to complete the numerous human-oriented projects he initiated. His goal is to achieve so much within a short time that does not seem to be in his favour. He is very ambitious in his desire to make Kano a better place than he met it. I am also happy that you have been in the pyramid ancient city of Kano for quite some time to appreciate the governor’s efforts in transforming Kano to a mega city. For example, if you have listening to him in different for a, he will readily realize that he has tall dreams, aimed at piloting Kano to another level of development. However, his basic challenge for now is that of time to complete the numerous projects he initiated. However, his focus at this point in time is to concentrate on the completion of projects, as 90 per cent of this year’s budget is dedicated toward the completion of on-going projects, as well as the already started projects.
However, his mind set for now is to as much as possible
complete all the on-going projects he initiated, while he would also make sure that an appreciable progress is recorded on projects, so that by the time the next government comes on board, it would complete them, while the projects that could not be started would be left to the next administration to complete them.
Do you foresee the governor fulfilling his promise to complete all the projects he initiated in 2011 when he mounted the saddle of leadership in Kano?
You should acknowledge the fact that government is a continuous process and therefore not possible to complete certain projects it started within a particular period. You should also recognize the fact that all succeeding administrations inherit projects but the idea is to endeavour to complete them as much as possible. For example, Governor Kwankwaso met with all the contractors yesterday (Tuesday, June 17, 204), who are handling all the projects, while he will also meet with all the Local Government Chairmen on June 18, 2014, so the bottom line is that it is not a one-man project, as he is not field worker. As long as he is determined to complete the projects, they are other interplaying variables. During the governor’s meeting with contractors, he mandated them to ensure the completion of the projects on schedule, suggesting to them to run on shift basis, so as to complete the projects on schedule. However, his mission is to complete all the projects he initiated on schedule but the major project comprising the flyovers, the N7 billion Wuji-wuji road, the Local Government complexes and the Sports complex, which are the major projects will all be completed before the expiration of his tenure in 2015. He has however given contractors the marching order, and mandated those that are foot dragging to redouble their efforts, as well as directed some of them to operate on shift basis, just like the contractors handling the two kilometres N10 billion flyover in Sabon Gari area of the metropolis have embarked on two shifts and close at about 2.am and if need be according to the Governor, they work round the clock. Also, if the work schedule will weigh down the contractor, he should sub-contract some portions of his work, so as to be completed on schedule to avoid excuses over the shortage of manpower. For example, the flyover under construction at Kofar Nasarawa have been sub-contracted to small scale contractors, as one contractor lacks the ability to complete his projects on schedule.
The battle for who succeeds Kwankwaso must have begun, what is the governor’s plan over his successor?
Well, you see, Governor Kwankwaso has said it several times, as he is presently working with a team and would be satisfied with anybody that would be picked from the team of his party will continue along his line but cannot determine who will succeed him but the idea is that you should do the best you can, so that whoever emerges for now is between him and the people, so it is the people, who will determine the appropriate successor and if they want the work to continue, they know who to vote for and anybody that the governor says that this is the man that will do it, I am sure the people will vote for him because he knows individuals capabilities and of course the party, which is very critical, so they do not vote for the party, they will not enjoy the on-going dividends of democracy because they have tested other parties and individuals in the past, all of who failed them and this is the person they are comfortable with because he delivered in his first tenure and also delivering right now. So, whoever comes from the team would be capable of continuing with the policies and programmes of the transformation agenda, aimed at transforming Kano to a mega city. Already, a Journalist in town, you must have noticed the quality of work, which is of international standard. Prior to the construction of the flyovers, the contractors took into cognizance the quality of acceptable standard in other cities in the world, so as to ensure that the quality compares with international standard. You must have observed that Kano has undergone remarkable transformation, unlike what it was in the past three years in terms of infrastructure. We want this transformation to continue, so whoever the governor says this is the man that he believes that can do it, I am sure Kano people will support him.
In the last Local Government election, the All Progressive Congress (APC) swept the stakes in the Chairmanship and Councillorship positions. Are you optimistic that it will take same pattern in the forthcoming Governorship elections in 2015?
The outcome of the last Local Government elections is a signal that all the forthcoming election results would follow same pattern. You see, people are surprised that the APC has about 82 per cent, while the other parties shared the remaining eight per cent in terms of party strength, so we are even surprised that they have up to eight per cent because Kano is tilting towards 100 per cent of an APC controlled state. You see when Governor Kwankwaso mounted the saddle of leadership 2011, he captured not less than 48 per cent votes on the platform of Kwankwasiyya Movement within the PDP but now with the merger, you have ANPP led by the elders and former Commissioners of the ANPP and Bashir Tofa, who was the Chairman of the Elders Committee and 100 per cent of CPC members led by General Jafaru Isa, who was a gubernatorial candidate, then the CAN, who was led by former Deputy Governor of Kano State, Engineer Abdullahi Gwarzo, who was also their gubernatorial candidate of the CAN, so this was what gave the party 92 per cent and they are still there, which means that they are not only going to maintain the 92 per cent but is should be noted that before the commencement of the general elections, most of the on-going projects must have been transformed to reality, which will gladden the hearts of the electorate, most of whom will make up their minds on who to cast their votes for, so based on these realities, we do not have any problem, as Kano is just like one party state.
Following the emergence of former CBN governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the new Emir of Kano, mild protests erupted, how did the governor succeed in managing the situation and subsequently doused the tension within three days?
Well, majority of us believe that the protests were pre-determined and organised protest and it was like some people were acting a script. Also, at the time the protest was in progress, it was announced in so many places that it was concluded that the name of the eldest son of the late Emir had already been approved which was not the case, also, the PDP had already congratulated whoever that was announced by the medium. Moreover, this kind of attachment that the son of the late Emir must emerge as the successor of his late father is a historical antecedent as it happened when the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero ascended the throne, there was similar riot, which lasted for about 10 days and just last week, the former Emir of Gwandu, Haruna Dokola was in Kano to commiserate with the people of Kano over the death of the Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero and recalled that in 1950 or thereabout, when one of his great grand-fathers ascended the throne, which sparked off riots, which lasted for about 50 days, which informed his decision to commend Governor Kwankwaso for the wisdom he applied to control the riot, which lasted for about three days.
However, up to this moment, nobody has questioned the eligibility of the Emir; nobody has questioned the fact that he is royal blooded, nobody has questioned the process and nobody has questioned the choice, the only mind set of the people is that since the Emir died, why not give it to his son, just as nobody also argued that it was wrong to appoint his as the new Emir. One can understand that the Emir died, who everybody knows but among the three contenders that were recommended to the governor, Alhaji Muhamad’s name was the first on the list, assuming it was second, so people will ask why did the governor, just as he has the prerogative to select the Emir from the three shortlisted contenders but he picked from number two or three of the shortlisted contenders for the throne, people would equally ask why did the governor circumvent the process. It should however be noted that the process was not under the state government’s control but was started by the kingmakers, who made a recommendation as provided by law, which the governor also approved as provided by law, so what was the problem. However, as noted earlier, it was a script and after some time, the people have exhausted the parameters they were given and the bottom line was that it was ill-advised. The new Emir after he led the last Friday prayer at the Government House relocated to the palace. So far, we thank God that those who were misled into rioting were the same people, who escorted the new Emir to the palace. Meanwhile, they appreciate the fact that the issue was politicised and those that misled them were partly embittered because they lost the Local Government elections and just wanted to prove a point.
Is it correct to conclude that Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi 11 has settled in the palace?
Of course yes, the new Emir has settled down. I was at the palace this morning to pay homage, alongside my brothers and entire family members.
Is there any truth in the notion that the late Emir’s son and his brothers were yet to pay homage to the new Emir, which is an indication that there are still cracks on the wall?
However, the information I gathered from the news is that the late Emir’s eldest son is likely to be in Abuja for medical attention. Indeed, it was an interview during which some newsmen spoke with him, during which he called for calm. To me, I believe that a son who has lost his father, who is now about 56-57 years old, I think that for now in fairness to him, people should sympathize with him, so the bone of contention should not be on whether or not he has paid homage to the new Emir because he has not overcome the shock of the death of his father. He is the eldest son, who lived with his late father much longer than any of his other children, so he is conversant with the process. If he had become the Emir, he would have also expected other people to pay homage to him, so he knows the process and system from where he was brought out from, so he is not the kind of person that will be associated with such reports about him and sure that he would not be comfortable with some of the reports. However, I learnt that he is in Abuja for now and do wish him speedy recovery from whatever ailment that is battling with because he is a very nice and likeable person.
In your candid assessment, would you say that calmness has returned to Kano after the protest that followed the emergence of the new Emir?
Frankly speaking, all is calm in Kano for now, just as you too can testify as everybody is going about his business.
In your opinion, has the new Emir been wholly embraced by Kano people?
Yes. He has absolutely been embraced by his people. This is based on the background of Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi 11 has what it takes to take the Emirate council to another level. That is basically behind the reason why the state government approved his appointment as the new Emir, just as the kingmakers made him number one on the list of contenders to ascend the throne, due to his unique qualities, which nobody has disputed. You need to see the multitude of crowd of those yearning to pay homage to the new Emir, both from Kano and beyond, you will be overwhelmed and we are happy that Kano would be a lot more greater in so many respects because the new Emir is an internationalist who will attract a lot of development that is why we are happy with the combination, with him as the Emir and Kwankwaso as the governor. With this combination, the sky would be the limit for the ancient city of Kano.
Do you think Kwankwaso can have a successor that can build on his legacies?
You see, the most important thing is to set the standard and whatever happens after that, Kwankwaso should not be blamed. Based on the standard established by Kwankwaso, whoever that steps into his shoes must live up to expectation and like I told since the governor maintained that they are working as a group, there are some people that are capable and therefore anybody that is picked will be supported by the people, because they realise that the governor had worked and only waiting that this is the man, who we will support and will complete what they have started.
What is your boss’ message to Kano people?
People should embrace education as it is very central, people should after their wards and ensure that they go to school, as well as to ensure that their children are vaccinated against poliomyelitis so that Polio mist be kicked out from Kano and the entire country and we are happy we are making a headway. People should make good use of the established 24 institutes and take the opportunity of these openings, as well as happy that street begging has been banned. People should endeavour to be self-reliant. Free education still abounds for all Kano indigenes in public schools, all you need do is to secure admission and get registered and forward the total bill to the state government for payment.