The Kano State Government is going on with more projects and programmes at Gama ward of Nassarawa local government, in the state, amidst criticism of ethical misconduct from activists.
Gama, a densely populated area, is a big decider in the supplementary election in the state scheduled for Saturday.
Mr Ganduje currently trails the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Abba Kabir-Yusuf, by about 26,000 votes in the election declared inconclusive by the electoral commission, INEC.
Because the margin of lead is less than the 141,694 votes cancelled, supplementary elections will now be held in the affected areas, including Gama, one of the most populated.
On Sunday, PREMIUM TIMES reported execution of three projects, comprising refuse evacuation, mass drilling of boreholes and road reconstruction which kicked off almost simultaneously in Gama.
More projects are now being carried out in the area, including direct cash payments that have generated strong criticism from pro-democracy voices.
Gama’s result was cancelled in the aftermath of the March 9 governorship election.
The cancellation followed an attack on the local government’s collation centre on March 11 allegedly led by top officials of the Abdullahi Ganduje administration.
The attack was believed to have been led by the state’s deputy governor, Nasiru Gawuna.
The altercation led to the destruction of result sheets for the ward, according to INEC and returning officers.
Mr Gawuna, the commissioner for local governments, Murtala Garo, and chairman of the local government area, Lamin Sani, were arrested by the police at the scene.
The police command letter issued a statement confirming the involvement of Messrs Garo and Sani, promising to charge them to court after investigation.
Mr Garo has however disputed the police’s account, as he denied any wrongdoing.
Gama, a densely populated area of the metropolis, is bedevilled by a number of infrastructural and development challenges.
Since Friday, the community has been busy, with government workers and contractors executing various assignments on behalf of the Ganduje administration.
On Friday, detachments of refuse evacuation vehicles were dispatched to the area to evacuate long-abandoned dump sites.
On Saturday, two other projects sprang up; asphalt overlay on Gama’s main artery, Audu Utai Road, and digging of at least 11 boreholes in the area.
Since then, a free eye treatment campaign was flagged off, offering surgeries and medication. A health centre in the area, Isa Kaita Hospital, which has been decrepit is now undergoing a massive facelift.
Residents of the area reported the presence of another detachment of workers who are assigned to give mosques in the area quick facelifts.
On Wednesday, the state deputy governor led the distribution of delivery packs to pregnant women with Mr Ganduje’s picture emblazoned on them.
Another set of women were also presented with N10,000 each as start-up capital at the same occasion.
Football kits are also due to be shared to selected clubs located in the area on Thursday.
Mr Ganduje’s handlers announced that the governor will perform the congregational Friday prayer for this week in the community.
More voices are condemning Mr Ganduje’s action describing it as open inducement of voters.
“It is clearly a case of voter inducement”, said Jibrin Ibrahim, a professor of political science and senior fellow at the Centre for Democracy and Development.
“He wasn’t doing these projects before this time, and it is interesting to see that nothing is going to Dakata, which is the next ward to Gama. So, it is clearly directed at the voters,” he said.
Mr Ibrahim, however, expressed optimism that the sudden projects would not “fool” voters in the area.
“It is very clear that these projects that Governor Ganduje is hurriedly executing are not budgeted for. They are not in the approved budget.” Said Auwal Rafsanjani, the executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
“Government is not a personal project to use it for personal gain. I think, if you have a serious state assembly they should have asked how this sudden withdrawal is being done without even proper procurement. It is not just about carrying out these projects. There is no accountability in the manner in which these projects are executed,” he said.
Mr Rafsanjani said the political motive of the projects is glaring.
“The question is, what was he doing all this while that he abandoned these areas without carrying out infrastructural projects in those places?”
Government Defends Action
The state government, however, defended its action as legitimate.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, commissioner for information, Mohammed Garba, said there is nothing wrong for the government to do anything that is not illegal in order to get support for Mr Ganduje.
“Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. Whatever a politician would do to get the support of the people, provided it is going to benefit the people, I don’t see anything wrong with that,” he said.
“If that project is for the benefit of the people of Gama, and part of strategy, the government decides to execute it at this material time, personally I didn’t see anything wrong”.