BY MUKTAR AlKALI
Governor Ganduje is a legend not only for his comical demeanor in the infamous dollar-stuffing videos that recently resurfaced on electronic billboards in Edo state during the recent gubernatorial electioneering process but also for his provincial impulses. On a Freudian psychoanalysis framework, he came across as a traumatized and vindictive person. To draw a parallel with the Commodus, the disgraced son of the Philosopher King Marcus Arelius, Ganduje seems to be an unfulfilled leader. One could hazard a guess as to why someone in such an exalted position would fail to demonstrate grace and contentment with all the privileges life has offered to him? The answer is not far-fetched. It would help if you watched the blockbuster psychological thriller, “Silence of the Lamb.” Dr. Hannibal Hecter gave us an insight into how dangerously a person with low self-esteem could turn out.
Like Commodus, Ganduje sits uncomfortably on a robbed mandate. He is struggling with an overwhelming lack of acceptability. He was initially self-absorbed in his provincialism, wholly deluded by the allure of power, but only to receive a shockwave on the Election Day. He became acutely aware of his paperweight approval rating and flawed image when the 2019 gubernatorial election results started trickling in. As a sitting governor, he was losing badly. The election seemed like a referendum mainly on him. Barely a week to the gubernatorial election, his party APC won all the seats in Kano. Yet, here he was trailing far behind a relatively unknown Abba Kabir Yusuf with over 26,000 votes. It was so bad for Ganduje and APC, who had to join forces and mobilized full federal might, as a desperate rescue measure. In the end, he was violently rigged back to the office in what appeared to be a mathematically improbable election for him to win. Yet that shocking trauma left him a permanent impression of low self-esteem. He had an underserved victory with an underlying feeling of misery. He feels and behaves like a baby caught cheating in his Common Entrance exams.
This brief background might have given you a hint about why Ganduje has a predilection for a carve-out mentality. Ganduje’s second term is akin to laying a siege on Kano’s ancient city. It is a vengeful mission motivated by the psychological trauma of massive rejection by the people he forcefully ruled over. In his poorly written assignment, there is nothing like a city master plan. Every land fits into his primitive grab and accumulation philosophy of life. His only heritage now is to destroy tangible heritages. It is painful while passing on the road to see the old city wall’s remnants replaced by unfriendly petrol filling stations. The land grabbers even go as far as scraping the little trace of our 1000-year heritage to sink their multitudes of groundwater-polluting heavy-metal containers. When approving such “aika-aika”, Ganduje could not be oblivious to his carve-out mentality’s enormous environmental impacts. Thousands of trees that ordinarily reduce carbon prints (coming from our increasing number of vehicles and industries emissions), and provide us with fresh oxygen, have been destroyed forever due to one man’s insatiable greed. Paris agreement, which Nigeria under Muhammad Buhari’s APC-led government was a signatory, is there for a reason.
Climate change is a real phenomenon. If Ganduje looked around, he would see its effect next to him. A few millimeters of rainfall send jitters down the spine of households in Kano because of fear of flooding. Perhaps Ganduje was ignorant of the value the reserved areas add in preventing a flood. Maybe he has no idea what roles detention and retention ponds could play in containing floodwater. As lands are indiscriminately allocated for his cronies to build on reserved areas, the rainwater would not have a space to percolate on impervious surfaces. This water will run off on the streets in a city lacking effective drainages. It is so unfortunate that Ganduje has reduced governance now to creating ponds in the name of an underpass. When it rains, kids now come out to swim in those poorly designed middle-of-the-road ponds cum underpass.
A few years ago, we were hopeful that the era of bad roads in Kano was coming to an end. Unfortunately, with Ganduje’s provincial actions, Kano’s streets are now eyesores. If you discount the major roads built by Shekarau and Kwankwaso, all other roads are now a nightmare. It appears to me that Ganduje wants to be remembered as the only governor in Kano’s history that has failed to construct a single 3km-long road in the city. He will be remembered as a governor that was infamous for converting Eid-ground to corner shops. A governor that carved out Fagge Juma’at mosque and sold it off as corner shops. A governor that carved out cemeteries and offer the lands for sale. A governor that self-appointed himself as Khadimul-Islam only to proudly crave for usury-riddled commercial bank loans. This governor needs to rescue himself from himself.
Muktar Alkali wrote from Sabon Titi, Kano.