Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has described the overseas scholarship scheme of his predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, as a scam. But it’s still too hard to take the governor seriously.
Ganduje served as Kwankwaso’s deputy for two terms (1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2015). And he was an aide to Kwankwaso in the period in between. He was an active participant in the previous government. He sought and obtained Kwankwaso’s endorsement to succeed him as governor and vowed to continue in the footsteps of his predecessor.
Through all those years, he was not known to have expressed issues over Kwankwaso’s handling of state affairs. And now, suddenly, he realises that his former boss had been a fraud all along while he was spotless.
Ganduje accused the Kwankwaso administration of failing to follow due process in the scholarship scheme.
He told new leaders of the National Association of Kano State Students (NAKSS) who were on a courtesy visit, that the Kwankwaso government engaged the services of “a contractor”, who collected money from both the government and the institutions and turned the admission exercise into a racket.
“When they want to pay the bursaries of the students, they give the contractor, who in turn takes his share before remitting the money to the students. Similarly, when they want to pay the school fees, they send the money to him to take his share, then give the rest to the institutions,” he said.
Ganduje said his government would discontinue the “fraudulent and unacceptable” procedure of the past.
Unlike the new governors of some other states like Rivers, which left scholarship students stranded and in limbo, Gov. Ganduje said his administration intends to sustain the foreign scholarship scheme “until our children complete their studies and return home.”
He said his government inherited a huge liability of unpaid scholarships for students in foreign universities, pointing out that although effort was made to settle some of the debt, about N3 billion is still being owed to the institutions.
On local scholarships, he berated his predecessor for not paying the teeming Kano students for four years running, saying so far, the outstanding claim by students in private universities alone is over N2 billion, apart from the amount due to students in public universities and other tertiary institutions.
Speaking on the Northwest University also initiated by the past administration, the governor noted that the project was at a standstill for two years, before his assumption of office. He said his administration has since asked the contractor to return to site and work is now progressing smoothly.