Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is the current Deputy Governor of Kano State Governor and the APC top shot. In this interview in Kaduna with Abubakar Abba, he Bares his mind on why he joined politics, chances of his principal as APC presidential candidate come 2015 and why he dumped PDP for APC. Excerpts:
Sir, tell us about your working experience?
My working experience, I was a lecturer in Advanced Teachers College Kano, I was a lecturer in BUK Kano I work in FCT at FCDA, I was a director there I was a chairman of local government, I was a secretary to various committees, I was a former commissioner for works and transport for six years, I was a Deputy Governor from 1999 to 2003, I was appointed Executive Secretary Lake Chad Commission, with Headquarters in Injamina, Chad Republic. When my governor was appointed as minister of defence at that time, I was appointed as Special Adviser political Affairs to his office and presently I am a deputy governor to Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso., briefly that is my working experience.
What inspire you to join politics?
Well, to work for the people I have interest to be public affairs, so that, I can assist to the development of my people and also to participate in the development of my country.
You were a deputy from 1999 to 2003 would you say you have fulfill?
Is there any fulfillment in public work? Until you expired or die, so I still have public interest and we will continue to do that for the rest of my life.
Throughout your stay as deputy governor, what are your major challenges, while working with your boss?
Well, this question is too wide so far, but what I would like to tell you to be a deputy is a challenge and is something that is really appreciated, because you are appointed by one person that is the governor himself and you should consider that as a kind of confidence, because according to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria and in accordance with the constitution of the political party, it is the governor that will appoint his deputy, therefore, I consider that as a challenge because somebody repose confidence in you by giving you a lot of responsibilities, vast in nature, and then if you are not capable to work within his expectations, that would be a sellout, that would be a disgraced . so, for me is a challenge to ensure that, I work in accordance with his expectations.
There is this notion in Nigeria that Deputy Governors are been considered as spare tires, is this the same thing in Kano state between you and your governor?
There is nothing wrong to considered deputy governor as a spare tyre ire, because if you want him not get spare tire, have you seen a vehicle with five tires? Mechanically it does not work! Have you seen one vehicle with two drivers? Even the Aircraft they called it core pilot. So, a deputy governor is a core pilot, so the work of a governor is elaborate so that he need a ray of assistance and in the ray of assistance, he requires a senior which is the deputy governor. Two, because of interpretation, there is need for a deputy governor because in the event that the governor is not alive, in the event that the governor cannot carry out his functions, then a vacuum is not been left. Like we have seen when Yaradua died, there was no confusion for who will take over from him, but there was no designated person, according to the law who will take over from him, then before you appoint a new one there is a vacuum and some people can used that vacuum and create confusion. Also, if you look at what happened in Kaduna when the governor suddenly died, there was no confusion on who to take over, and within twenty four hour, somebody was sworn –in and again, if you look at what happened in Taraba state, even though the man is not dead, but still there could be confusion if there is nobody that can manage the affairs of the state. But one thing is that which people should know position of a deputy governor is only held by a maturity in the government that can make that position viable, but no constitutional arrangement that can make that position viable even if you are occupying the position of the deputy governor that does not work because the deputy governor can picked those responsibilities confined by him and by the constitution and then whether the governor like it or not, he will discharge his duties and let me tell you one thing, you see; the position of a deputy governor not even a deputy governor of any deputy, the position of a deputy governor is very controversial, Allah( S.W.A) said everybody is a servant, even Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W.) , he is a man and a servant. So, you can see the level at which the position of a deputy governor is so sophisticated.
You are one of the governorship aspirants under APC in your state; if you eventually become governor what area are you going to give priority?
Well, you go to Kano and look at what happening in Kano, is not the issue of priority but to see that how we can maintain what we have put on the ground and how we can introduce new innovations, because whatever you are seen in Kano now, is a product of innovation, and of course that of foresight and a product of good leadership. So, if I become the governor of Kano state, I am part of the foundation that is been build for the development of Kano state, what requires is sustainability and this is what is the problem of leadership in Nigeria because if you look at it any governor who come the first thing he do is to disregard any other good work that is done by his predecessor and start something new even at the international level, what happened to the 11 point Agenda? Who will talk about it now? Who will talk about the excavation of River Niger Bridge now? When people are talking about the ancient Tigers, those countries that we are at the same pedestal before, but now they are at the higher level. If you study their political development, you find that continuity contributed to the development of those nations, so in Nigeria that is what we are lacking. In my own case if I happened to be governor of Kano state I will maintain the tempo of development in Kano state.
Your state is been described as center of commerce and industry and is one of the states in the north that is been affected by insurgence, is the state losing it relevance in that regard?
No you cannot lose relevance, the issue of insurgency is definitely a serious problem and it has economic implication in Nigeria as a whole and to the economic development of the northern part in particular and by implication to Kano state to some extent, but what I want to assure you is that, Kano state is doing everything possible to contain the insurgency within its own limit because is a national issue because security is a national issue not a local issue, especially if the youth are been allowed to be recruited into insurgency. So, at the state level, our governor is doing his best to ensure that he provides employment to the youth so that even if there is insurgency, it would not be effective. Two, he try to develop the state in all perspective so that the indigenes of Kano will have the feeling that they are been carried along. He works with the security agencies, and the federal government closely the effort that the federal government is doing is complemented, in terms of logistics, in terms of equipments, in terms of giving the right leadership.
Sir your principal is eyeing for the presidency under APC what effort are Kano people making to woo him support if eventually he emerged as the presidential candidate after the primaries?
Why are you asking this question? You see Kano state been the most populace state in the country have rally round him to become the governor, Kano state been the most populace state is now witnessing the most progressive development by any state government in Nigeria then, what do you expect if he want transform the whole nation, he already got the approval that is in Kano state all the measure problems at the national level he will address it , because the mean problem of this country is corruption also the mean the mean problem of this county is the budget and this man has succeeded, in making his budget accordance with the international statues that is seventy percent per capital thirty percent per recurrent, but the federal government has failed in that aspect, most of the projects in the federal government he has touched them, because there is no fund. The another issue is the insecurity, everybody would be surprised the level of security in Kano state, compared with other states in the northern states so, you can imagine the kind of pressure of Kano state and you can imagine the kind of efforts, put by the Chief Executive, and don’t forget that he was a minister of defence for four years, so he knew the type of military, he knew the equipments we have at that time and he knows how the Nigerian military are been respected all over the world, even this military intervention in different countries, because of the capability of our military. So, to say that our military are incapable does not arise, our military is capable what requires is that, our military requires is the equipments, especially sophisticated equipments so that they should not die useless while depending our country, and our principal and APC presidential aspirant, Engr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, he knows what it takes to address the insecurity in this country. And we are assured that he will be able to put the army in the proper perspective, so that we maintain our leadership in Africa.
You were a former PDP member and now in APC, what the difference sir?
Do you compare an old Horse with a vibrant youthful Horse, in terms of race? Definitely an old Horse, is facing the grave, already the coffin is been purchased waiting for the digging for the burial. APC is a progressive party, it is a conglomeration, you know progressive, it absolved other political parties, because when PDP was formed in 1999, by then the only objective of the political party was to send the military away. So, the issue of having like minds to come together was not even there, because everybody was wishing the military to get out so that is why, you have what I can call a political mixture, but after ruling the country for that time, you expect a kind of, you know, coming to identify a particular, you know, commitment to how to improve the flight of our people, but you find that political mixture is working at cross words, is not a deformity, and that one gave it lack of focus, but we said no, but now APC is a political compound not a political mixture, you know that is a political mixture you can separate the element, but for a compound, wherever you touch is the same commitment. So, APC is just like that, so PDP is a political mixture while APC is a political compound. Can you compare a bag of cotton with a bag of stones? I know the only thing they really on is rigging, and we are watching may be they want to use the army, the police, so we seen PDP as it does not want to die, it prepare to die with Nigeria than to die and give way, for us to take over.