GOVERNOR of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje has articulated a blueprint for the sustainable development of Kano State whose capital, Kano city has been a major commercial and industrial centre in Nigeria's North West geo-political zone from the pre-colonial times.
It focuses on poverty alleviation through the strengthening of agro-food value chains, assurance of quality education, the enhancement of women's empowerment and the creation of an enabling environment for peace in the state. The government of Kano State considers the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 Agenda into its 2016-2025 development plan an important component of its overall development strategy.
Since the implementation of the SDGs commenced in January 2016, Governor Ganduje has shown strong commitment to the mainstreaming of the global goals into the state development plan. This commitment has been backed by action as the governor has put in place key institutional frameworks required for the successful implementation of the SDGs.
To ensure effective coordination of the SDGs across the state, he appointed Zulyadaini Sidi Mustapha as his Senior Special Adviser on SDGs.
Leveraging the SDGs for socio-economic development, Governor Ganduje is pursuing the strategic goal of transforming Kano State into a modern economic powerhouse. To achieve this goal and lay a solid foundation for the implementation of the SDGs, the governor had in 2016 launched the Kano State Development Plan 2016-2025. He declared at the launching that his vision was “to transform the state into a knowledge-based, agriculturally industrialized and commerce-friendly society with sustainable growth and appreciable living standards for all citizens.”
The critical area on which Ganduje's blueprint for the sustainable development of Kano State focuses is poverty alleviation, ensuring quality education, enhancing women's empowerment and job creation.
Although Kano is the commercial nerve of Northern Nigeria and potentially the commercial hub of the entire Sahel region, a significant proportion of its residents live below the poverty line and are exposed to various vulnerabilities. The United Nations report on Nigeria's Poverty Index conducted in 2014 put the poverty rate of Kano State at 76.4%.
Interestingly, the Ganduje administration has initiated laudable programmes and projects targeted at alleviating poverty in Kano State. Realising that the agricultural sector holds a lot of promise towards ensuring food security, industrialisation, revenue generation, creation of employment and poverty reduction, the administration has continued to accord it the priority it deserves.
To evolve a comprehensive policy for the development of the agricultural sector, the Ganduje administration had in 2015, set up a 35-man Agricultural Technical Committee headed by Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Deputy Governor of the state, who is also the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology. The committee, composed of highly knowledgeable professionals, experienced academics and experts in various fields, proffered various recommendations to the State government on how to revamp the agricultural sector and effectively utilise it as the new driver of inclusive growth and prosperity.
The implementation of the committee's recommendations started in earnest. In order to enhance the capacity of farmers, the state government employed an additional 742 extension workers to train them in modern farming practices with the aim of increasing crop yields and weaning them from the age-old subsistence farming that is in most cases not productive. The Kano State government followed the training up with disbursement of over N4 billion as assistance to local seed producers.
The government also resuscitated the Kano State Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO) and Kano State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA) for the supply of insecticides, quality seeds, adaptable farm implements and provision of extension services to farmers. The sum of N164, 942,400 was approved for the procurement and installation of a new fertilizer blending machine for KASCO.
The government equally procured 500 units of irrigation pumps which were distributed to dry-season farmers at the cost of N45 million. It approved N20 million for the purchase of two combined harvesters which were allocated to the State Wheat Farmers Association and granted N100 million interest-free loan to the association for the purchase of quality seeds which were distributed to its members. In addition, government gave N16 million assistance to the association to purchase six tractors with implements.
To further galvanize farmers into action, government earmarked N200 million for its tractorization programme under which tractors are provided for farmers' associations at subsidized rate.
Other interventions toward assisting farmers in Kano State to boost food production include the approval of N213, 400,000 for the purchase of 5,000 units of petrol engine water pumps and combined harvesters which were distributed to Fadama farmers and Water Users' Association and the grant of N200 million loan to the State Wheat Farmers Association for the 2015/2016 cropping season. This enabled them to meet the production level of 75,000 hectares and the demand of flour millers.
The state government also provided fertilizer subsidy worth N2 billion to farmers for the production of 50,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer while some 60 local Fulani herdsmen were trained abroad on artificial insemination.
To ensure that farmers access credit to boost productivity, the Kano State government has tapped into the Anchor Borrowers' Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). About N2 billion is being sourced for farming related activities in the state through the scheme.
Many residents of Kano State are also benefitting from the National Social Safety Net Programme (NASSP). The programme is aimed at empowering poor and vulnerable households in the state. In July, 2017, Mr. Peter Papka, the National Coordinator, National Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), organised a training workshop on Community Based Targeting Team (CBTT) for identification of the poor and vulnerable in Kano. He said 180 persons identified from the 15 poorest local government areas of Kano Stat were trained on CBTT process that would guide identification of the beneficiaries in the selected areas. He said the Federal government would work in partnership with the state Ministry of Planning and Budget to identify the poor and vulnerable households in the state and maintain the social register of the beneficiaries under the programme.
Governor Ganduje said the state government had earmarked N500 million for the implementation of a similar programme in the state. He noted that the programme would go a long way in alleviating the hardship being experienced by the less-privileged in the society.
Another poverty alleviation initiative of the Ganduje administration is empowerment programme for the teeming local tea sellers in the state. In October 2017, about 5,200 tea sellers drawn from the 44 local governments areas of the state were empowered by the government with N280 million, ostensibly to boost their sales. Each of the beneficiaries was given N40, 000 as take off grant.
Alhaji Murtala Sule Garo, Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development, said that the various empowerment programmes that have been undertaken by the present administration have ensured the training of over 100,000 youths in various trades across Kano State.
In a bid to empower the youths to become self-reliant and employers of labour, the Kano State government in conjunction with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs had in May 2017 organised a training workshop for 7,000 youths in the state on Google digital skills. On completion of ICT training, the government equipped participants with laptop computers and other necessary equipments they needed to start-up their business.
Governor Ganduje said the programme was considered imperative because the present day life is driven by digital knowledge.
The Kano State government is also constructing a multi-billion naira Integrated Skill Acquisition Centre in the state capital with a view to filling in the gaps in the trades and services such as electric wiring, plumbing, mechanics, and masonry offered in the state which requires citizens' participation.
Enhancing quality education
Governor Ganduje acknowledges Quality Education (SDG-4) as an instrument for the attainment of the 17 other global goals in Kano State. He had expressed his determination to uphold the sanctity of education in his inaugural speech on assumption of office on May 29, 2015. “It is universally accepted that the foundation of qualitative education starts from the basic or primary level. This administration intends to take necessary measures in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, with a view to ensuring that all children are enrolled in primary schools nearest to them as soon as they attain school age,” Ganduje said.
To facilitate the transformation of the education sector, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Deputy Governor of the State, was also named the Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology. As a veteran academic who was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC, Academics) at the Bayero University, Kano (BUK) before his election as Deputy Governor, Professor Abubakar has been working hard to turn education in the state around.
On November 30, 2015, the Ganduje administration proclaimed a renewed effort targeted at revolutionizing the state's education sector into a more qualitative, vibrant, efficient and result-oriented one. To solve the myriads of problems besetting the education in the state, the Kano State Education Promotion Committee and the Local Government Education Promotion Committee were set up to monitor and evaluate rehabilitation projects in schools across the state. The two committees were also given the task of paying regular visits to schools with the aim of ensuring prompt attendance of pupils and teachers and monitoring quality delivery of knowledge.
The government disbursed N440 million to the Education Promotion Committees in the 44 local government areas of the state as take off funds and challenged them to involve other individuals and groups to assist financially in improving the quality of infrastructure in the schools.
With the support of the Education Promotion Committees, the state government has renovated many primary and post-primary schools. Professor Abubakar said that “government will continue to be steadfast in the provision of all the necessary educational infrastructures, such as the provision of instructional and learning materials, construction of additional classrooms, offices, laboratories and libraries as well as maintaining the existing ones.”
He expressed joy that the efforts of the government towards ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education the state are yielding positive results. According to him, it has not only improved the delivery of quality service in the education sector, especially learning outcomes in schools but led to increase in enrolment of pupils and students in schools. He said that Kano State has over three million pupils and 6,000 schools which is the highest number in any state in Nigeria. Through the policy of compulsory and free primary education, the state government is making concerted efforts to absorb the over three million Almajiri children studying in Quranic schools into the formal education sector.
To further enhance quality education, the Kano State government has ensured the training and retraining of the basic education teaching staff. Over 2,000 teachers have been sponsored to acquire the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE). Another measure taken by the Ganduje administration to motivate teachers and enhance quality education was the promotion of over one thousand teachers who were stagnated without promotion for over 10 years.
Based on Governor Ganduje's passion for education, the sector has continued to take the lion's share in Kano State budget. For instance, in the state's 2017 budget, the sum of N17.5 billion was allocated to education. The sum of N500 million was earmarked for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of classrooms, N640 million for the construction of staff residences, while N8 billion was set aside for capital projects in the education sector. The administration also approved N1 billion for the completion of abandoned technical colleges in the state.
Tertiary institutions in the state have been provided with the requisite fund to enhance quality education. In 2017, N2.4 billion was utilised for the completion of some projects in the North West University, Kano. The Kano University of Science and Technology Wudil is another tertiary institution in the state which has witnessed the completion of notable capital projects such as halls, lecture theatres and laboratories.
Gender equality and women's economic empowerment
The Ganduje administration places emphasis on gender equality, especially the empowerment of women and girls to reach their full potential.
In its quest to find a lasting solution to the socio-economic problems facing women in Kano State, the Ganduje administration held a one-day strategic empowerment forum for women in September 2015. Declaring the forum open, the governor described it as a paradigm shift in the way women issues are addressed. He frowned at the pathetic conditions of many women in their matrimonial homes and promised that his government will no longer condone the oppression of the female gender. He was particularly piqued about the high rate of divorce in the state and promised that government will no longer fold its hand to watch such acts of injustice happening in the society.
He further stressed the need for the Muslim society to rethink the issue of early marriage, saying the girl-child should be given the opportunity to acquire education. “It is only through sound education that the woman will lead a good life and train her children correctly but denying her such right is synonymous to denying her a good and fruitful life,” he said.
Ganduje added that it was in his quest to give women in the state a new lease of life that he appointed many women into sensitive positions in some government agencies. Indeed, Governor Ganduje has been gender-sensitive to an extent because he has so far appointed about eight women as chief executives of government agencies and has two women as members of the executive council.
In her speech, Hajia Zubaida Damakka Abubakar, who was then the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said the forum was aimed at providing a platform for women from all walks of life to brainstorm and come up with measures to improve the lives of Kano women which would be integrated into the government action plan.
In further demonstration of its interest in the wellbeing of women, the Ganduje administration had launched the Kano State Action Plan for the Domestication of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), in Kano on May 27 2016. Governor Ganduje pledged that with the action plan, the state will punish those involved in all forms violence against women, especially domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 provides the framework for women's participation in decision-making, conflict prevention, peace processes, and their protection against all forms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and human rights abuses especially during violent conflict.
Hajia Abubakar, erstwhile Commissioner for Women's Affairs acknowledged the potential impact of the Kano State Action Plan (SAP) in terms of addressing violence against women and girls. “This document will help provide guideline on how best to protect women and ensure they are included in peace-building processes,” she said.
As the Ganduje administration strives to eliminate unwritten customs and traditions which discriminate against women, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II is also supporting government's efforts in this direction. He said recently that he was on the verge of proposing a law which will restrict poor men in the emirate from marrying many wives.
The monarch said he has been able to establish a connection between polygamy, poverty and terrorism, hence he would ensure that the law would be passed by the Kano State government as a way of addressing gender imbalance in the society. He said: “The law will address what Islam says on marriage, it will outlaw forced marriages, it will make domestic violence illegal, it will put in conditions that you need to fulfil before you can marry a second wife, it will spell out the responsibilities of a father beyond producing a child. It is a big law which covers a whole range of issues from consent to marriage, to maintenance, to divorce, to maintenance of children and inheritance. It will be the first time in northern Nigeria that a Muslim law on personal status will be codified.”
Sanusi, who said there was nothing wrong with polygamy if it was practised properly, maintained that women must be given the opportunity to thrive.
Apart from its efforts in building a society devoid of gender discrimination, the Kano State government is also empowering women through various initiatives. In 2016, the Kano State government launched the first segment of the Ganduje Mass Economic Empowerment Programme (G - MEEP) for 520 women and youths from across the state. The beneficiaries were presented with grinding machines, sewing machines, spaghetti-making tools and Masa/Kosai fryers and a working capital of N5, 000 each.
Ganduje explained that the administration was investing in the development of skills, talents and entrepreneurship of women and youths so as to address unemployment, which is one of the biggest challenges of the state.
In August 2017, the Kano State government flagged off the training of 6,700 more women in various skills. The participants, selected from 44 local government areas of the state received training on how to prepare local delicacies and other trades to enable them to be self-reliant. The beneficiaries were given a token amount as a start-up capital to enable them to set up businesses of their choice after the training.
Governor Ganduje said that the training was aimed at empowering women not only to become self-reliant, but to enable them to be employers of labour in their respective communities. The governor has also promised to continue to empower women, recalling that his government has recently trained 200 women on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and provided them with computers, laptops and other communication accessories. The government has equally trained 50 women on auto mechanic at the Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) in Kaduna while over 1,936 women were trained on nursing, particularly to help pregnant women in the rural areas to deliver safely.
Hajiya Yardada Bichi, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development said that the state government recently released the sum of N101.8 million for the training of the women in various skills.
About 3,000 women from Kano State have also received training on various skills through the 'Future Assured Programme', the pet project of Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari. Mrs Buhari urged women to engage in income generating activities and promised to continue championing the cause of women in the areas of education, health and empowerment.
Dr. Hafsat Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, wife of the Governor of Kano State said her happiness knew no bounds because the training of women has translated to more economic activities for the women in Kano State.
Ganduje's decent work score card
The administration of Governor Ganduje has to a large extent protected labour rights and promoted secure environment for its workers. To promote inclusive and sustainable employment and decent work for all, the Ganduje administration has been creating job opportunities for its people. It has also accords priority to workers' welfare.
Governor Ganduje considers prompt payment of workers' salaries a prerequisite for economic development. Therefore, while some state governments in Nigeria owe their workers backlog of salaries due to the economic difficulties in the country, the Kano State government under Governor Ganduje has ensured prompt payment of workers' salaries. It has also been remitting monthly pension deductions timely.
Malam Muhammad Garba, Kano State Commissioner for Information, Youths and Culture, said that although the monthly wage bill of the Kano State government for its 151,000 workforce which is N9.2 billion is a big burden, the state government considers it an obligation that must be fulfilled to promote decent work.
The Kano State government has recently established the salary and wages directorate as part of efforts to ensure transparent salary administration for the state's civil servants. Addressing workers to mark the 2017 Workers Day, Governor Ganduje noted that the welfare of workers has been one of the major priorities of his administration since inception. While expressing happiness with the cordial relationships between his government and labour unions in the state, he promised that his government would continue to put in place various policy frameworks that promote inclusive and sustainable employment and decent work.
The government is also encouraging private investors to invest in Kano State so as to create employment opportunities for its people. Isyaku Umar Tofa, Chairman, Kano State Investment Promotion Agency said that the rising confidence among the investing community within the state explains why the state government recently signed Memoranda of Understanding with 10 different companies which have so far invested N146 billion in the state. Some of the new investors in Kano State are Black Rhino/Dangote Group which is constructing a 100-megawatt solar project estimated at $150 million, St. Meer International Investment and Management Company which is investing $120 million in a similar project. In addition, Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, a multinational Chinese company is investing $600 million into the textile and garment sector of Kano State.
The Kano State government has been making concerted efforts to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters.
In May, 2017, the state government approved the release of N300 million as counterpart funds for the take-off of the first phase of projects, under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
NEWMAP intends to rehabilitate five erosion sites in Kiru, Ungoggo, Dwakin Tofa, Nassarawa and Tarauni local government areas. Governor Ganduje said that the selection of the sites was predicated on the fact that the erosion has not only engulfed considerable hectares of productive agricultural land but also destroyed several houses, and other infrastructural facilities, thereby threatening the means of livelihood of thousands of inhabitants living in those areas.
He added that the programme will further play a crucial role of complementing the state government's efforts of Sustainable Land Use Practices and reforestation by putting back vegetation cover on farm lands, some deforested reserves and communal forest areas through conventional and social forestry practices in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
Dr. Amos Abu, Task Team Leader (TTL) of NEWMAP said the erosion intervention projects being financed by the World Bank are geared towards reducing vulnerability to soil erosion in targeted communities.
The Kano State government has also been fighting the menace of desertification and other ecological problems through the annual tree planting campaign, establishment of shelterbelts and rehabilitation of existing ones. All these measures have enhanced sustainable environment for food production and safe human habitation in Kano State.
Peace, justice and strong institutions
The Kano State government regards the prevalence of peace and security as critical for sustainable development. Governor Ganduje has continuously highlighted the fact that there can be no development without peace and vice versa, and neither development nor peace can thrive without the respect for human rights.
Prior to the administration of Governor Ganduje, Kano had suffered its fair share of extremist violence, ethno-religious intolerance, attacks and conflicts, armed banditry and cattle rustling. But since the inception of the Ganduje administration, it has adopted strategies which have brought peace in Kano State. The state government has been supporting the police and other law enforcement agencies to check the criminal activities of bandits and kidnappers in the state. One of the measures adopted to curb kidnapping is the Kidnapping, Abduction and Forced Labour Amendment Bill which has been passed by the Kano State House of Assembly.
Additionally, the government has been providing the police and other security agencies with operational vehicles to enable them effectively patrol all nooks and corners of the state and ensure that criminals are not given the opportunity to wreak havoc. For instance, in August 2017, the Kano State government gave out operational vehicles to security agencies in the state worth N300 million.
The Kano State government is also motivating judicial officers to perform optimally by ensuring speedy dispensation of justice. During the swearing-in of Justice Nuraddeen Umar Sagir as the Kano State Chief Judge in July, 2015 , Governor Ganduje had charged the judiciary to make the process of justice delivery fast, cheap and affordable to the common man, so that it can be delivered to deserving persons as and when due.
However, Justice Sagir noted recently that the state judiciary was understaffed by professionals to the extent that a single judge handles 20 cases in a day. This, he said, is unethical going by the standard of the judicial system.
Nevertheless, Governor Ganduje has promised that his administration would give the judiciary all necessary support to overcome such any challenge which could impinge the dispensation of justice.