The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa Service has organized and moderated a gubernatorial debate for Kano candidates as a way of revealing their political blueprints ahead of the 2023 general elections at the Dangote Business School, Bayero University Kano, on Saturday.
In attendance were gubernatorial candidates from 5 political parties. there was Hon. Ibrahim Sha’aban Sharada of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Dr. Nasir YusUf Gawuna of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Alh. Muhammad Sani Abacha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Salihu Tanko Yaksai of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
Ibrahim Isah of the BBC Hausa Service moderated the debate.
Speaking on the issues of education in Kano state, such as poor funding, pupils dropout, and provision of quality education, the PRP candidate, Yakasai said: “Education is an important key for the development of a Nation, I promise to build more structures that will accommodate our pupils.
Hon. Sharada of the ADP promised to strengthen basic primary education, and assess education in the first 100 days in office.
“Quality and quantity teachers, transfer of service, conducive environment and feeding programs, will be adopted,” he added.
Also speaking on education, Abacha, the PDP candidate noted that Kano state has inadequate schools and they are overcrowded. At the same time, Yusuf of the NNPP said: “Poverty is one of the major reasons affecting education.
“However free education will be given and also feeding programs will be provided.
“Over 60% of Kano pupils are schools dropped out, also teachers are yet to be recruited.”
He added that if elected, his government will generate education funds by stopping corruption, reaching out to donors, Universal Basic Education Commission, and strengthening internally generated revenue.
On his part, Gawuna of the APC revealed that “our government has increased the numbers of classrooms and also improved the free and compulsory education scheme. The increase in population is what is affecting the education sector.”
The moderator cuts in with another question from the health sector…., Kano has over 20 million, less than 600 health workers, and inadequate hospitals. How can you tackle these challenges?
Yusuf answered that the Kano health sector has challenges and the reason is the lack of good health services and health facilities, we will strengthen the sector by introducing home services, and provision of community ambulances to tackle mortalities.
“During our previous administration, the government trained over 100 doctors, but no job for them.
“However, if I am elected, I will revive the policy of doctors’ training and provide employment opportunities for them.”
Abacha stressed that there is no adequate funding in the health sector, “I will give health 25% budget, improve knowledge in health, and train more doctors.”
Sharada said: “We will check the system of health and improve the Primary Healthcare centers and also build 3 standard hospitals in the senatorial zones.
Yakasai declared that Kano needs 34,000 doctors and we will cooperate with universities to graduate more doctors.
Gawuna said: “We will create awareness to the public on the importance of primary healthcare systems.
In the breakout session, random questions from the people of Kano in a vox-pop conducted by BBC before the debate had questions on youth’s development, security, health, education, employment, and pension.
The first question was from Muhammad Bello, Chairman of Kano Pensioners. “We are owning over N6 billion, how can the issue of pension be tackled?
Responding, Sharada said: “If elected, we won’t slash pensioners’ salary; we will ensure all pensioners get their money paid without mismanagement.”
Yusuf responded on empowerment and youth inclusion saying “We will strengthen women’s affairs, revive our 26 schools of empowerment and skills acquisition for youths.”
Yakasai also talked about empowerment saying “engaging with youths in my government is a priority and we will create more skills acquisition centers and introduce 21st-century skills, such as computer literacy and others.”
Abacha worried about the neglect of youths in governance, referred that the Abacha Youth Center was created to harness the skills of the youths, he then promised to strengthen youths farming scheme.
Gawuna disclosed that “our government has opened skills acquisition centers and enrolled students without bias.
“We have empowered 14,500 youths from 2015 to date and if elected will increase the numbers to graduate and empower more youths in Kano State,” he added.
On security, Gawuna declared that “my government will strengthen the security forces that is why in this present administration, we stopped the movement of tricycles by 10 pm to tackle the menace of phone snatching.”
Yakasai: “I will promote security at all levels and cooperate with traditional rulers.”
Abacha: “I work with the grassroots, strengthen community policing, and also educate the public on the importance of the rule of law.”
On agriculture, all the governorship candidates pledge to improve the system.
Sharada: “We will take soil sampling of each Local Government Area to know what is suitable for farming, revive dams for fish farming, revive groundnut pyramids, and irrigation farming.”
Abacha said Kano has over 200 thousand kilometers and over 20 dams. He lamented that there are low fertilizers and pesticides.
“We will provide farming schemes and also partner with foreign donors to strengthen the sector.”
Gawuna: “On agriculture, we will harness rice farming, improve the farmers’ schemes, and partner with the world bank for funding.
“Currently, in collaboration with the Islamic Bank, we distributed livestock to 4000 farmers.
“We are targeting 1.2 million and we have reached 200 thousand farmers in the first year under the Kano Agro Pastoral Project.
The high point was the questions and answer session by participants who attended the debate.