Abdullahi Ganduje: Biography, Education, Career, Marriage, Net worth, Achievements and Controversies

By Balogun Kamilu Lekan

Biography

Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was born in Ganduje village of Tofa Local Government Area of Kano State on the 25 December 1949. Currently, he is 72 year

He was born into the royal family of Alhaji Umar Shi’aibu.

Ganduje is the incumbent Governor of Kano State whose administration has recorded massive success inthe transformation of the State.

Education

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.

Career

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.

Marriage

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

In 2017, Fatima Ganduje got married to Idris Ajimobi; the son of Abiola Ajimobi; Oyo State former governor.

Achievements

Ganduje’s administration has recorded immense success in Kano.

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.

Net worth

Ganduje is undoubtedly one of the most influential politicians in the northern part of Nigeria.

According to a publication by NewsWireNGR, Ganduje’s networth is estimated at $400 million. 

Controversies

Islamizing Nigeria

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).

Dethroning Emir

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”

Bribery Video

Video clips purportedly taken by a spy camera and released in October 2018 by the online publication Daily Nigerian showed the governor accepting wads of dollar bills in what appeared to be bribe payments from contractors. 

However, the governor disputed the claims and asserted that the video footage was altered to frighten him. He also threatened to file a lawsuit against the Daily Nigerian publisher and the journalist who leaked the video clips.

Ganduje then sued the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar for defamation.

The video earned Ganduje the nickname “Gandollar” among social media users.

Threats against publisher

The publisher of the video claimed he has been receiving death threats since he released the video and wrote a letter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the development stating that Ganduje should be held responsible if anything happens to him.

Prior to that, Jaafar was declared “persona non grata” in Kano State.

Later in April 2020, Jaafar left his Abuja home the next month after receiving death threats and being pursued by unknown persons and police has gone to search for him at the Daily Nigerian offices.

The police headquarters also wrote to Jaafar for questioning regarding alleged “criminal conspiracy, slander, cruel lies, and inciting violence.”.

Jaafar then went into hiding until he and his family fled the country for the UK out of fear for their lives. He declared that he will continue to live abroad “until this dictatorship can ensure my safety and defend press freedom.”

Pressure to remove anti-corruption official

The Kano State House of Assembly was under pressure from Ganduje, according to a subsequent June 2021 article in The Daily Nigerian, to oust Muhuyi MagaJi Rimingado from his post as the head of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC).

Rimingado has come under pressure from the public to look into Ganduje. Earlier in June, he made inquiries on the construction of the Kano Cancer Centre and the state government’s fuel procurement.

Construction of the Cancer Center was allegedly overseen by a family member of the Gandujes, whereas the family members directly oversaw the purchase of government fuel. Ganduje campaigned for Rimingado’s dismissal when he started investigating the contracts, nature, and construction of the Cancer Center and diesel purchase.

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.’ 

The PCACC accountant’s deployment from the State Accountant General’s office was rejected by Rimingado this led to his suspension by the Kano State House of Assembly 

Ganduje then appointed Mahmoud Balarabe, Director for Public Prosecution in the Kano State Ministry of Justice, to serve as the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission’s acting chair.

Rimingado was later detained by the police and faced charges over alleged forgery and false declaration.


Disclaimer

The information in this article was curated from online sources. NewsWireNGR or its editorial team cannot independently verify all details.

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