As new Govs warm up for the saddle…    


By Sonde Abbah


An air of expectation, mingled with optimism and excitement, fills the air all over the nation. Indeed, since the 2015 general elections were held between March 28 and April 11, Nigerians from all walks of life have been in a buoyant mood. The sort of mood that hasn’t pervaded this land for so long.
Not only were the elections held peacefully and successfully despite the predictions of gloom and doom, they conjured results that were as heart-warming as they were unprecedented here in Nigeria and far beyond. For the first time in living memory the people’s yearning for a change from the old order was generally allowed to prevail both on March 28 and April 11.
This development is particularly remarkable given the level of disenchantment and hopelessness over the land ahead of the polls. Such was the level of corruption, insecurity, inflation and decaying infrastructures across Nigeria that majority of Nigerians had become despondent. They resolved to enthrone a new order, and this they did favorably on March 28 and April 11, as eloquently demonstrated by their votes.
Against the backdrop, as the May 29 hand over date approaches with a new president and new state governors warming up to mount the saddles, it goes without saying that much is expected from the country’s new set of leaders. To whom much is given, so the saying goes, much is expected.
Accordingly, DESERT HERALD, as part of its mission statement and in line with our human effort to deepen democracy and fight the cause of good governance, has decided to x-ray the tasks and challenges ahead of our new set of leaders. To be done in form of setting agendas, this uniquely packaged series of special reports will be published for the next couple of weeks.
Specifically, each edition of DESERT HERALD will, between now and June focus on particular states of the federation (starting with Kano State in this edition). Based on the in-depth investigations of our correspondents in various states, the special reports will be packaged in such a way that they would serve as a roadmap of sorts for the incoming chief executives of our states.
The icing on the cake of this series would be the mother of all x-rays which you guessed right would be on the challenges awaiting the president-elect, General Muhammad Buhari. To be published at the same time when the newly elected president would be sworn-in, this grand finale of our series would attempt to set a template of sorts for the incoming administration with a view to living up to the people’s expectations.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to remind ourselves of the need for timeless truism. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Any of our incoming leaders who fails to plan in advance, is effectively planning to fail. That is the moving spirit behind the innovative series of special reports that we are pleased to present to you now…


Once in every generation society witnesses unexpected events and developments. Myths are broken and sundry things that had hitherto been termed impossible, suddenly became possible. For instance, prior to the advent of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, it had been assumed that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an incumbent Kano state Helmsman to be re-elected.
Not only has Kwankwaso rubbished this myth, he went the extra mile to win a THIRD successive election (this time as a senator-elect) and also engineered the victory of his anointed successor, Mallam Ganduje. To ice his cake, the Kano supreme ensured that his party APC, made a clean sweep of ALL the national Assembly seats in his jurisdiction.
It is however one thing to be a winner, and quite another thing to build on one’s victory. Having given ‘Kwankwaso’ a virtual blank cheque (as evident in the just concluded general elections) it goes without saying that the people would be expecting quite much from the incoming administration (and justifiably so). This more so as the Ganduje administration would be more or less a continuation of the Kwankwaso regime.


The first major challenge confronting the incoming Gandije government is to ensure mutual respect, understanding, and tolerance between the new governor and the outgoing helmsman. One is, of course, not advocating that the new man on the bloc must be a stooge of his political godfather. Nonetheless, Ganduje must endeavour to accord his predecessor the respect and honor he fully deserves.
On his part, the outgoing governor must resist the temptation to dictate to his successor. As senator-elect Kwankwaso has a lot to do at the national level; he should concentrate more on Abuja than on Kano. Let him see himself more as a statesman than as a dictator or conqueror. This way, peace would reign in Kano for the peoples benefit.

Outgoing Governor Kwankwaso has in the past eight years, executed a lot of people-oriented projects. This trend should be sustained by his successor. At the same time, Ganduje should endeavour to go the extra mile by accelerating the pace of progress in Kano State.


Not too long ago Kano attained universal acclaim on account of its famous groundnut pyramids. That was in the days of yore when agriculture reigned like king. This sector, along with education, must be given a pride of place. Modern farming methods and machinery should be made available to the people at affordable costs. Education should not only be made available to the people at affordable costs. Education should not only be made cheaper and affordable, but should be made more beneficial to the people in terms of importing various skills which will in turn make the youths self-employed and/or employable.


At a time when terrorism and general insecurity pervaded the North in general and the North-east in particular, it is a testimony to Governor Kwankwaso’s leadership prowess that Kano has remained comparatively safe in the past eight years. This trend should be maintained. In the same vein, priority should be accorded the provision of basic amenities such as water, affordable houses, and good roads: – Comatose industries (Particularly textiles) and cottage industries should also be revived or established.

Focus On The Almajiri Educational System
By Abba Abubakar Elmassa
The Amajiri system, though funded was not over dependent on the state. The students were at liberty to acquire vocational and occupational skills in between their Islamic lessons and so were involved in farming, fishing, well construction, masonry, trade, tailoring, small businesses etc. Many of them were the farmers of the northern Nigerian cotton and groundnut pyramids. They formed the majority of the traders in the commercial city of Kano. They were the leather tanners and leather shoe and bags makers in the old Sokoto Empire.


The cap weavers and Taylors in Zaria city were said to be Almajiris. Thus they formed the largest percentage of the community workforce and made significant contribution to the economy of the society before the introduction of white collar jobs. After colonialization, they were recruited by the British as columbite and tin miners in Jos city which was then under Bauchi before the creation of Plateau State
The system also produced the judges, clerks, teachers etc. and laid an elaborate system of administration in Northern Nigeria. They provided the colonial administration with the needed staff. The first set of colonial staff in Northern Nigeria was provided by the Almajiri schools and this went on for years. In fact, the Almajiri system was a civilizing agent second to none before they were gradually replaced, phased out & indeed abandoned.
Elmassa writes from Department of Mass Communication University of Maiduguri


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