Abdullahi Ganduje: Bography, Age, Controversies and Net Worth.
Umar Ganduje started his path to knowledge by attending Qur’anic and Islamiyya schools in Ganduje village where he leant the foundational knowledge about Islamic polytheism, jurisprudence and Quran recitation.
In 1956, he proceeded to Dawakin Tofa Primary School and then Government Secondary School Birnin Kudu.
He then further headed to Advanced Teachers’ College Kano between 1969 and 1972 where he obtained the Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE).
Still hungry for more knowledge, he proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to bag a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in 1975.
He further obtained his Master’s degree in Applied Educational Psychology from Bayero University Kano and another Master of Public Administration degree from Ahmadu Bello University before finally bagging a Doctor of Public Administration degree from the University of Ibadan.
During the Second Nigerian Republic, Ganduje joined the now-defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), where he held the position of the assistant secretary for Kano State from 1979 to 1980.
In 1979, he ran for the House of Representatives under the NPN, but he lost.
Ganduje joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and ran in the party’s 1999 gubernatorial primary, but Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso defeated him.
Later, he was chosen as Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso’s deputy, and the two of them went on to win the election, keeping them in power from 1999-2003 and 2011-2015 respectively.
During his first tenure as the deputy, Ganduje doubled as both the Commissioner for Local Government and the deputy governor.
He and Kwankwaso failed to repeat their former triumph during the 2003 general elections as they lost to Ibrahim Shekarau, who went on to become the state’s governor.
In 2015, the duo came back to power.
While out of office as the deputy governor before his return to the office, Ganduje however served in different capacities.
From 2003-2007, Ganduje was a member of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) and also served as special adviser to the Hon. Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s. During this period, he also participated in the 2006 Nigerian Political Reforms Conference.
In 2008, Ganduje was appointed chairman of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti in 200. And in 2009,he also served as the Lake Chad Basin Commission’s executive secretary in Ndjamena, Republic of Chad.
After serving as deputy governor for two terms, he was chosen as the consensus candidate to succeed Kwankwaso as governor of Kano State in 2014 on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), to which they had decamped.
He later went on to become governor of Kano state after winning the 2015 governor’s elections, a feat which he replicated in the 2019 general election.
Governor of Kano State
In 2014, he was selected as the All Progressives Congress (APC) consensus candidate for the Governor of Kano State. He went on to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Malam Salihu Takai, with 1,546,434 votes against Takai’s 509,726 votes in the 2015 governorship election. On 29 May 2015, he was inaugurated as the Governor of Kano State, replacing his political mentor Rabiu Kwankwaso. During his first term, Ganduje fell out with Kwankwaso, who he accused of godfatherism. His tenure was also characterized by a series of clashes with Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, who he investigated for financial recklessness. In 2019, he won re-election for a second term, defeating Kwankwaso’s son-in-law Abba Kabir Yusuf, in a controversial election marred with electoral malpractices.
In 2019, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje signed into law the creation of four new emirates. This unprecedented move saw the reduction of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II’s traditional domain as emir. According to the law, the Kano emir would only preside over 10 local government areas out of the 44 in the state, when previously the emirate’s domain was all 44 Kano State LGAs. In March 2020, the state legislature launched a new investigation on Sanusi for violation of traditional practices, this coming after a high court ruling restraining the corruption investigation against Sanusi. On March 9, 2020, Ganduje deposed and exiled Emir Sanusi, on the basis of alleged “insubordination and disrespect to lawful instructions from the office of the Governor”.
Pressure to remove anti-corruption official
In later June 2021, the Daily Nigerian reported that Ganduje was pressuring the Kano State House of Assembly to remove Muhuyi MagaJi Rimingado from his position as Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC). Earlier in June, Rimingado, who had been under public pressure to investigate Ganduje since the 2018 bribery scandal, had requested information on construction of the Kano Cancer Centre and the state government’s procurement of diesel. The Cancer Centre’s construction was purportedly controlled by an associate of the Ganduje family while the government diesel procurement was under the direct control of Ganduje’s family members. When Rimingado began to look into the contracts and nature of the Cancer Centre’s construction and diesel procurement, Ganduje pushed for his removal throughout June 2021.
In early July 2021, the Kano State House of Assembly suspended Rimingado for a month over ‘the rejection of an accountant deployed to the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission from the office of the State Accountant General.’ House spokesman, Uba Abdullahi, claimed that the office of the Accountant General sent a petition to the state House of Assembly for intervention and Majority Leader Labaran Abdul Madari appointed a investigative committee. Ganduje later appointed Mahmoud Balarabe, Director for Public Prosecution in the Kano State Ministry of Justice, as acting Chairperson of the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission.
On July 24, 2021, Justice Sanusi Ado-Ma’aji granted a motion filed by Rimingado to halt the House of Assembly from its investigation. Ado-Ma’aji adjourned the case until August 6 for further hearings. Despite the ruling, on July 27, the House of Assembly’s investigative committee presented its report with the claim that Rimingado had faked illness to avoid testimony and acted improperly in declining the office of the Accountant General’s accountant. The committee then recommended that Rimingado be relieved of his position, arrested, and prosecuted along with recommending that the accountant, Isah Yusif, begin at the PCACC and the House set up a new committee to look into the PCACC’s finances under Rimingado. Later that day, the Kano State Police Command detained Rimingado for questioning over alleged forgery and false declaration
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is married to Dr Hafsat Umar Ganduje, a politician and an academician.
Their union is blessed with 2 children; Fatima Umar Ganduje and Muhammad Abdullahi Umar Ganduje
The administration has trained youths on vocational skills and also about 10,000 women have been beneficiaries of skills like tailoring, and needed tools and equipment have been given to them for the sustenance of their business.
Ganduje-led administration has also constructed over 20 urban and rural highways including major flyovers.
In the education sector, his administration has provided free access to education from primary to secondary level which has addressed the almajiri issue facing the state for a while.
Alhaji Ganduje also founded the Ganduje foundation; a foundation that carries out philanthropic, humanitarian and charitable activities
In an online publication, the foundation has also claimed that about 380,000 people have benefited from the foundation’s Eye Care Program, which provided medical eyewear as well as treatment for glaucoma and cataracts patients
The publication further added that since the establishment of the foundation, it has constructed numerous schools, healthcare facilities, and boreholes, and has given new primary school students free uniforms and educational resources.
In September 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan bestowed upon Ganduje the National Honor of the Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).
In 2016, he was also admitted as a Fellow of the National Association of Educational Administration and Planning (FNAEAP) at Bayero University Kano..
In October 2018, video clips reportedly recorded by spy camera were published by an online medium Daily Nigerian showing the governor receiving wads of dollar notes in what appears to be bribe payments from contractors. The governor, through his commissioner for information, however, denied the allegations and claimed the video clips were doctored to blackmail him and threatened legal suit to the publisher of Daily Nigerian, the journalist who released the video clips.
In November 2018, Ganduje sued Daily Nigerian publisher Jaafar Jaafar for alleged defamation over the publications of the bribery videos. On June 30, 2021, Ganduje attempted to withdraw the lawsuit with sources saying that he intends to refile at a later date. However, on July 6, counsel to the Daily Nigerian Muhammad Dan’Azumi, filed a counter-claim that Ganduje’s lawsuit was baseless and a waste of the court’s time. The next day, Justice S. B. Namalam granted Ganduje’s motion to withdraw but ordered him to pay ₦400,000 to Jaafar and the Daily Nigerian each. In August 2021, Jaafar said that Ganduje had not paid the ₦800,000 or contacted his lawyers to arrange the payments.
On July 15, 2021, Ganduje filed another defamation case against Jaafar and Daily Nigerian. Previously, Jaafar had countersued for ₦300,000.
Threats against publisher
On March 19, 2021, Ganduje reiterated his claim that the videos were doctored to BBC Hausa and said that he had plans to ‘deal with’ the journalists who published the videos. On March 22, 2021, Jaafar Jaafar sent a letter to the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu stating that the interview amounted to a threat and Ganduje should be held responsible if anything happens to him. The letter also reiterated claims that Jaafar had been in intense danger since the videos were released and that he had been made de facto “persona non-grata” in Kano State along with a call for an investigation into Ganduje. Kano State Commissioner of Information Mohammed Garba defended Ganduje, claiming that the “deal with” remarks referenced the then-ongoing defamation lawsuit.The next month, Jaafar fled his home in Abuja due to death threats and unidentified men following him (he had stopped permanently living in Kano in 2018); later in April, police officers went to Daily Nigerian offices in search of Jaafar. The officers gave employees a letter summoning Jaafar to police headquarters for questioning about alleged “criminal conspiracy, defamation, injurious falsehood and inciting violence. Jaafar remained in hiding and in May, fled with his family to the United Kingdom in fear of the death threats. He said that he would remain overseas “until this regime can guarantee my safety and protect freedom of the press.”
In July 2022, former Secretary to the Government, Babachir Lawal accused Ganduje of trying to Islamize Nigeria and forcefully converting Christians through his foundation; Ganduje Foundation.
He made this statement when Governor Ganduje expresses his support when the APC presidential aspirant for the 2023 presidential election, Bola Tinubu, chose a Muslim, Kashim Shettima as his running mate.
Babachir Lawal in a statement published said “Proof of a possible Islamic agenda was leaked when Governor Ganduje, the “Kadmul Islam”, gave advance notice that Tinubu had assured them he would nominate a Moslem as his running mate. For those who might not know, Governor Ganduje has a foundation called “Ganduje Foundation” which purpose according to its website is to “provide selfless service to humanity and Islam” but whose primary purpose it appears is the conversion of Christians to Islam”
Ganduje in reply fired at Babachir in a statement published in one of the online dailies. He said, “It was unfortunate that at a time when the country needs to be united for national development and religious tolerance, a man of Babachir’s calibre, who is highly respected, would spread falsehood without much consideration to his position in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and close relationship with the party’s flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
Speaking further, he said “Going by its activities, the foundation is not faith-based but purely philanthropic in which case, non-Muslims also stand to benefit from the services it renders”.
Issues with predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso
Governor Ganduje has had constant political bickering with his predecessor and former boss, Rabiu Kwankwaso. Despite the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, the crisis had also split APC in the state into two factions.
Kwankwaso is the 2023 presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
When the relationship between Ganduje and Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II went sour, Ganduje established new law in 2019 to reduce the emirate territory which spans across the whole 44 local government areas in Kano to just 10 local governments.
Following a high court decision halting the corruption probe against Sanusi, the state legislature opened a new investigation into his alleged violations of customary norms in March 2020.
Later in March 2020, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II was removed and banished from Kano for “insubordination and disregard to legal directions from the office of the Governor”