By MUHAMMAD GARBA
In the last few weeks, the media has been inundated with stories and analysis by experts and public affairs commentators on who are the people that will eventually make the list of the much-awaited ministerial nominations into the yet-to-be formed cabinet of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
This has, no doubt, created widespread speculations and expectations from Nigerians. The list will be presented to the Nigerian Senate any time from now which is set to begin the screening ‘ritual’ for the president’s nominees.
Recent constitutional amendment mandates the president to submit the names of his ministerial nominees for Senate confirmation within 60 days of his assumption of office.
In the process, for obvious reasons there bound to be time for further consultations and readjustment to accommodate critical input of various stakeholders
The role of a minister is one of the most coveted positions in government. Most leaders believed that competence, trust and loyalty will assist the President in serving the nation with diligence. We have seen how ministers in different governments fared and therefore Nigerians are anxiously waiting for the nominations by Predident Tinubu to see what will be the composition of his cabinet.
In this context, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from how Tinubu assembled his cabinet when he was the governor of Lagos state from 1999-2003. During that period, he sought for the best talents, loyalists and trusted hands that he could find, he didn’t restrict the search to the indigenes of Lagos state or rely on any ethno-religious consideration. That singular act made the state a model for the rest of the country.
Our expectations are that credible, trusted and loyalist who have ability and capacity to perform will be nominated and assigned to key portfolios where they will serve the president and the country well.
One other issue that is said to be delaying the submission of the ministerial nominees is the resignation of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, last week and a close ally of the president and former Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is believed to be invited and supported by President Tinubu and other stakeholders to replace Abdullahi Adamu.
However, given this unfolding scenario, the president is left to choose between proceeding with the nomination of Ganduje as a cabinet minister or as leader of the party, making him a consensus national party chairman. I believe Dr. Ganduje can fit in either of the two.
I have been working with him for over three decades now. He is “a skilled politician, a party builder and a man who works for the success of our party,” if I may use the words of former President Muhammadu Buhari, while congratulating him on his 70th birthday.
A grassroots politician, Dr. Ganduje was Secretary, National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Dawakin Tofa local government area 1978-1979. He served as the deputy governor of Kano state from 1999 to 2003 and again from 2011 to 2015. He was elected the governor of Kano state on April 11, 2015 and 2019 to 2023.
During his two term tenure, Dr. Ganduje transformed Kano via the gigantic infrastructure development projects that are inching the Commerce Centre to a Mega City. He built the best Cancer Treatment Centre in Nigeria and West African sub-region; completed and equipped an Ultra-Modern Specialist Hospital at Giginyu and a Paediatric Hospital as well as established key healthcare support institutions. He made Kano one of the few states with a comprehensive Free Basic and Secondary Education Policy, built many flyovers, underpasses and several road networks, and created four additional emirates that facilitated an integrated rural transformation programme. He built and equipped modern skills acquisition centre among others
As party leader in the state, he initiated various strategies to advance the course of the party, but the effort was always ruined by the centre. Under his watch kano delivered the highest votes for the party in the 2019 and 2023 presidential election. That was why he was given various party assignments at the national level.
Dr. Ganduje is also a technocrat and seasoned civil servant. After working in the private sector, between 1981 and 1993, he worked for the Federal Capital Development Authority, Abuja in various capacities rising to become the Acting Director, Personnel Department. He was appointed Commissioner, Kano State Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport (1994-1998) and Executive Secretary, Chad Basin Commission (2009-2011).
He is an academician par excellence, having been a lecturer at Advance Teachers College, Kano. He attended the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1972-1975) where he graduated with B.Sc. Ed and later for M. Ed. Psychology as well as another Master’s degree in Public Administration. He earned his Doctorate Degree (Ph.D) in Public Administration from the University of Ibadan in 1993.
While Dr. Ganduje’s detractors have been dishing out propaganda to discredit him. This is mostly coming from the opposition political parties and other interested parties who have meted out similar attacks on the person and candidature of President Tinubu.
I have no doubt that President Tinubu will always acknowledge and appreciate trusted, loyal and competent party members. His concern for Dr Ganduje shows clearly that Mr. president acknowledge that he is indeed a pillar in his project and therefore I do not think he will be abandoned just because of mere propaganda.
Also, the very people who are allegedly behind character assassination, particularly the resurrection of the old dollar video case, did it in 2019 to prevent Dr. Ganduje from emerging as an APC gubernatorial candidate. However, they failed woefully at that time and are still doing it for the same political reasons.
Just as I mentioned above, some of these people have not only sabotaged the presidential ambition of President Tinubu but had said all sorts of things about his candidature before he emerged as President.
It is my belief that Mr. President clearly appreciate the person in Dr. Ganduje and has the mind to support him by either forwarding his nomination as cabinet minister or allow him to emerge as national chairman of the APC.
Garba is the immediate past commissioner for Information and Internal Affairs, Kano State