PRESS RELEASE ADDRESSED BY GRASSROOT DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE INITIATIVE ON THE MATTERS OF CORRUPTION ALLEGATION AGAINST HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR ABDULLAHI U. GANDUJE OF KANO STATE.
Recently, the Nigeria public came face to face with charges of corruption and corrupt practices against the sitting Governor of the state. Before now, leaders of the state had been so highly rated that one dared raise charges or issues of corruption against a Governor of Kano State because of the level of civilization that is known to operate there. However, it was right in our eyes that, some months ago, a stunning video which went viral was circulated showing Governor Ganduje allegedly caught in the act of receiving bribe said to be ten percent (10%) kick back from contract jobs.
The video took the Nigeria space by surprise and stunned all who saw it. Although the image therein suggested it was Governor Ganduje receiving and stuffing the wad of money into his pockets, the image of the giver was not clear as his back was turned to the camera. Funny enough, Nigerians cried for the head of Ganduje without bordering to ask about the giver. That video made a mockery of President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption because Governor Ganduje of Kano state had been regarded as Mr. President’s close ally and confidant. It would seem that the issue has been swept under the carpet with the rumours making the rounds that there had been ‘settlements’.
The GRASSROOT DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE INITIAVE has watched all along for a clear situation about the allegation and we are not satisfied that such monumental allegation could be made about the government of Kano state, yet nothing concerted or dramatic has been done to unravel it. Both the suspect and the whistle blower have been left to move around free as if nothing really happened. These are the type of things that have continued to rob off, negatively, on the image of Nigeria. Kano State is not just another state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Kano state is symbolic. We are worried that if a highly rated state like Kano could be so easily caste in the dust, then what institutions and landmark symbols do we, as a country, have to showcase to the world about our good identity?
Could we please, ponder a little! It was from Kano state that, few months ago, a video was released about President Muhammadu Buhari’s purported marriage with a Serving Minister in Aso Rock. That video went viral and caused untold uproar in the country. It made the situation so speculative that people cast aspersions so freely. Today, after the hullabaloo was found to be untrue, nothing is done about it in the manner of putting the records straight for the public to appreciate the true situation.
Kano state was also the quarters from where the Governor Ganduje bribery allegation video episode (Gandollar or Gandugate) was released. Yet, nobody has been made to answer for such no less a serious matter in a government that has made its anti-corruption fight a leadership mantra. It causes for ponder why the President Muhammadu Buhari leadership appears to be unperturbed at these events that are direct poking of finger in the eyes of his fight against corruption.
It could be recalled that revered media institutions like the BBC London, the Al-Jazeera, SaharaReporters, etc became interested in the matter so much so that they, too, obtained copies of the video with the intention to carry out thorough investigations. Till this moment, nothing has been heard about such enthusiasms.
Kano State is also the only state in the entire country that has its own anti-corruption commission (Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission) expected to have boldly taken action or made strong statement without bias in this regards, they have rather remained silent in such a critical matter that borders on the fight against corruption and saving our corporate image as a nation. While the Nigerian public and, indeed, the Nigeria Civil Society Groups had been expecting to get a clear picture of the proceedings and outcome of those efforts, the concerned institutions have gone about their businesses as if nothing was at stake.
We as a Civil Society group feel that a lot of things have gone on in the country without proper redress or government determination to assuage the unsavory feelings of the citizenry. We are opined that government is of the people and the people is of government. We can no longer fold our arms while things continue to go awry in the polity. Therefore, it is our determination to take it upon ourselves to carry on with the investigation of that serious allegation of bribery against Governor Ganduje of Kano state.
We have courageously taken it upon ourselves to carry out a forensic investigation of that serious allegation (Video) which is also an embarrassing moment for Nigeria. We are aware that it is not an easy enterprise. But we are equally aware that it would account for a change of the narrative, not just in the civil society efforts, but also in the Nigeria anti-corruption struggle. We want Nigerians to own the anti-corruption fight. We want the civil society spectrum to rise up to the challenge of the time and begin to chart the course of putting things in their right perspectives in the country.
We shall achieve this by tasking ourselves and sourcing funds from donor agencies that would be thrilled by our determination and compelled to identify with our struggle. We are grassroots development driven with formidable and functional grassroots structures across Nigeria with about One Hundred and Fifty Civil Society Organizations, reputable professional bodies, etc, registered under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). We have taken up the challenge. We can do it – in fact, we are doing it.
We promise Nigerians that at the end of the exercise, we shall make our findings public and follow it up for appropriate actions in line with our relevant laws. What we have undertaken to do is not different from what other civil society groups and Non-governmental organizations do in the developed countries – and, indeed, any country that would wish to move on in the direction of civilization and achievement of growth in leadership.
God bless Nigeria.
Comrade Victor Kalu
Alh. Engr. Mukhtar M. Joda