Corporate Nigeria (CN) talks to
His Excellency Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau
Executive Governor of Kano State
Leadership with a Vision
CN: Your Excellency, when you became Governor of Kano State in 2003, what was your vision for the State?
His Excellency Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau: First and foremost, my administration pursued a progressive human development agenda through the universal principles of Sharia. We had to look at it from a holistic perspective and with a long term vision; we had to address the issues in education, the inadequacy of the welfare system – in particular the pension scheme, we had to take the grievances of the general public into consideration and offer the citizens a place to turn to, and we had to engage in societal re-orientation to bring about real attitudinal change.
In respect to education, the infrastructure across all levels of education was dilapidated, so we made a large investment to rehabilitate the institutions on ground, and built more primary and secondary school classrooms than any other administration before, over eight hundred classroom blocks. Also, we had a serious shortage of teachers when I entered office, so I addressed the issue by recruiting five thousand additional teachers. As for the welfare system, we reformed the pension scheme and made sure that pensioners would be paid promptly and in full; you cannot expect people to be responsible citizens and not treat them as such. We also addressed the decaying state of health care when I assumed office, and during my first term, we spent over NGN4 billion on capital projects in the health sector.
Also, we had to engage in a Societal Re-orientation Programme to bring about attitudinal change. The Programme has been very successful in reestablishing values and morals, especially for the Youth, because I believe the difference between us as a poor nation and other developed nations is in the area of attitude of the people. It is important to recognize the principles of ethics, integrity, responsibility, respect for law and order, respect for the rights of others, hard work, prudence and punctuality. Only with the right attitude we can succeed in fighting injustices, such as corruption, and develop as a nation. We also established the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Directorate, which has played a major role in fostering accountability, social cohesion and together with the Societal Re-orientation Programme, it has resulted in peace and stability in Kano State.
In order to serve the modern needs of businesses, your administration has embarked on creating a central business district that will also be the home of the Kanawa International Market. What are the key elements of the development?
There is a need to transform and modernize the city of Kano, and we want to do so with careful planning. The Kanawa International Market is a fifteen billion Naira project, and a partnership between the State Government and private investors that will provide Kano with the infrastructure needed to achieve real economic growth. It is located just 10km outside Kano metropolis, on the Kano-Zaria approach, and it is essentially a one-stop business and leisure centre that stretches across 350 hectares of land once it is completed. It will consist of 15’000 retail outlets, a vast range of warehouses of different sizes and a 20-storey twin tower World Trade Centre, parking space for thousands of cars and a five star hotel with conference halls. It will also feature a diverse selection of recreational activities such as cinemas, restaurants and a shopping mall, and part of the development are also residential and industrial estates, as well as mosques and pedestrian walkways. Investors are already on ground but it is such a monumental project that there are plenty of opportunities for investors to tie in. Due to the economic slowdown and the banking reforms in the country, the project was temporarily stalled but it is back on track.