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My relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari – Salihu Tanko Yakasai

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Yakasai and Buhari

In light of recent events that transpired over my recent comments about the government of President Buhari, I think it is absolutely necessary to shed more light on my decades of relationship with the President, and how I am not doing anybody’s bidding with my remarks but simply reacting to issues that are happening in my country.

What is more, my comments were not aimed at casting aspersion against the person or government of Mr. President.

Far from that!

I joined partisan politics in December 2000 at the age of 24, when I officially became a member of the defunct APP at my ward, Kawaji in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State.

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At that time, Kano State was PDP-controlled under the then governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.

So, I entered politics as an opposition member in my state. As at that time, I was contesting for the position of a councilor at my ward, which ended with my losing the primary election in 2004.

Pioneer Buharist

In 2002, I was in All Progressives Party (APP) when President Buhari picked the membership card of the party and officially joined politics to run for the presidency in the 2003 elections. At that time, I and millions of people particularly from the north welcomed this decision by the President with enthusiasm and zeal and we supported him 100%.

We were basically the 1st set of the so-called ‘cult-like followership ‘ of the President, simply because we believed in him to deliver and lead this country to prosperity.

He came into politics as someone people trusted and whom they see as an upright person that they can vouch for, earning him the nickname ‘Mai Gaskiya’.

We campaigned for him through thick and thin, street to street, the young and the old, and when it was election time, I was assigned by my party leaders at my ward to be the returning officer of our party, APP, for the presidential election which Buhari was contesting for.

We fought PDP hard at my ward to ensure that we delivered the ward to him in the election.

I did not sleep for almost 48 hours then, because I had to accompany the results to the local government collation centre to ensure that the results were not altered.

President Buhari did not win the 2003 general elections, but our party, the defunct APP won the governorship election in Kano State, which ushered in Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau as the new governor of the state.

But soon after that, there was friction between his camp and that of President Buhari, which later on after the 2007 elections led to the creation of a new political party formed by Buhari, that is Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC).

First meeting with Buhari

I, and my political leader at that time, Hon. Balarabe Wakili, a former member representing Nasarawa Local Government in the House of Reps (2003 to 2007) decided to pitch our camp with the President and not with Mallam Shekarau, and it was through Hon. Wakili that I first visited the President on a solidarity visit back in the early stages.

It is still in CPC that I contested for the State Assembly, which we suffered a lot because of the factionalization of the party that led to a lot of bickerings.

Ultimately, I neither got the ticket nor did our party win the election.

May I use this medium to thank the current Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajia Sadiya for the role she played in my election back then when she was the National Treasurer of CPC.

My surrogate father-in-law

The President, also served as my wife’s guardian during our wedding in 2006 on behalf of her late uncle, AVM Mukhtar Mohammed who was a very close associate of the President.

May I use this opportunity to tell my wife’s guardian that 14 years after he gave her hand in marriage to me, we are still living peacefully and blessed with 3 children.

We thank him for his fatherly role during the nuptial rites.

Back to politics, at the presidential level, I served as a member of the Welfare Committee of the Presidential Election of Muhammadu Buhari, with the current Minister of Water Resources, Hon. Sulaiman Adamu Kazaure as the chairman of the committee, during the 2011 presidential election.

After the formation of APC, I also served as a member of the Youth Committee during the 2015 elections, crisscrossing this country to campaign for the President which we eventually won and Buhari was ushered into government with popular national support.

Now having given the background of the long-term relationship between me and the President spanning 18 years to be precise, I have never known a political leader throughout my political career other than Buhari, even though I can count the number of times I’ve met him.

NEPU blood

I did not only wish for his success but I equally worked hard with everything that I’ve got for almost two decades to see his dream become a reality, and I will continue to stand by him.

When I see things that are going not the way they are supposed to, I naturally have that urge to try and express my concern about them, because I want things to work right.

I can understand, if by virtue of my position as an aide to a governor in the same party as the President’s that I have limitations and somehow the spotlight is always on me.

But occasionally, despite suppressing my opinions,

I find the NEPU blood in me triggering me to react.

This is in no way, meant to undermine the President or my dear party, APC.

Apologies to Ganduje

To my boss, His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR, I want to use this opportunity to apologise for putting Your Excellency in an uncomfortable position due to my personal opinions.

It is indeed something that I never intended to happen, and I am not happy about it a bit. I do not have a boss-and-aide relationship with Your Excellency; I rather have a father-and-son relationship with Your Excellency.

Indeed, I appreciate the support Your Excellency has been according me in the last five years, and I will continue to remain loyal to you and serve my state and my country through your government and in whatever other capacity.

At the end of the day, our prayer is for Nigeria to be great.

In the words of Barack Obama “Do we participate  in a politics of cynicism, or in a politics of hope?”

I am an optimist, and it’s our ardent HOPE that we will have the Nigeria of our dreams in which development and prosperity will be the norm rather than the exception; a country we can build a secured future for our children and generations yet unborn.

May we continue to do our best in ensuring this is the Nigeria that our forefathers sacrificed their lives for to lay a solid foundation.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Salihu Tanko Yakasai, Governor Ganduje’s suspended media aide writes from Kano.

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Kano High Court acquits 2 suspected armed robbers detained for 13 years

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Kano High Court

Nasiru Yusuf

A Kano State High Court has disçharged and acquitted two suspected armed robbers accused of killing their victim, Bako Zangina, an offense punishable by death.

Kano Focus reports that Justice Suleman Namalam held that though the court has no doubt that the accused are criminals having been convicted previously, the prosecution has failed to estabilish the ingredient of the offence beyond reasonable doubt in the instant case.

The accused Isyaku Umar otherwise known as ‘Small’ and Ibrahim Suleiman were arraigned in court on three counts charges of conspiracy,attempted armed robbery and culpable homicide punishable by death.

The two accused have been in custody since October 2007 for the alleged killing of Bako Zangina.

The court held that while the prosecution established the death of the victim, it failed to establish three ingredients of offense linking the identity of the accused to the crime thereby creating doubt.

The trial judge held that failure of the prosecution to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt left the court with no option than to discharge and acquitt the two accused.

The two accused persons have been in detention for over 13 years and have previously been tried and convicted for armed robbery.

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Kano wins national award in the fight against TB, leprosy

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Nasiru Yusuf

Kano State Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program has won the twin National Tuberculosis and Leprosy awards for the year 2020.

Kano Focus reports that, the awards were announced by the Nigeria National TB, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control program during the Annual Review meeting held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital.

Kano get the award as the state with highest consistent quarterly TB case notification for 2020 and the highest TB testing laboratory using GeneXpert Machine.

This is the first time the state have won such National TB and Leprosy Awards.

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FG signs US$1.959bn Kano-Maradi railway project

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Nasiru Yusuf

The federal government has on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mota-Engil Group for the construction of US$1.959 billion Kano-Maradi Standard gauge railway line.

Kano Focus reports that the Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi signed on behalf of the federal government while the Managing Director, Mota- Engil, Antonio Gvoea signed on behalf of the contracting firm.

The new railway corridor which is to be located in northern Nigeria will run through Kano, Jigawa and Katsina states and through Niger Republic territory as far as Maradi.

Other cities to benefit directly from the passage of the rail route are Danbatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina and Jibiya.

A statement signed by Eric Ojiekwe, Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Transportation noted that the 283.750-kilometre rail line besides developing freight and passenger transport, “will be integrated with road transport to make a great contribution to the local economy as well as an important development in the social sector.”

The project duration is for 36 months and the contract type is Engineering, Procurement and Construction.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Magdalene Ajani; Director, Legal Services, Pius Oteh; Managing Director, Mota-Engil Group, Antonio Gvoea; Head of Legal, Mota- Engil Group, Cameron Beverley; Magajin Garin Kano, Muhammad Wada; Director, Mota-Engil Group, Kola Abdulkarim; Vice President, Mota-Engil Group, Mohammed Abdul-Razaq; Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar; Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman among other personalities.

Mota-Engil is a Portuguese conglomerate with diverse interest in construction, transportation, public works, port operations, waste, water and logistics with presence in 23 countries spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America.

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