The Hausa word likimo (faking sleep) has not only recently acquired prominence in the Nigerian political space, following the governor of Kano, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s assertion, but has also been seriously misinterpreted, twisted and warped. Prognosis advanced, jokes cracked, derisive comments made but none has so far been able to grasp or come closer to comprehending the message of humility conveyed by the amiable governor.
While you can simply pass the criticisms of others as ill-informed because they aren’t Kano dwellers but relied on information obtained via social media platforms and may not necessarily sort the wheat from the chaff before making conclusions, other critics of the governor who can see the achievements of the governor right under their nose are only nursing an unconvincing hatred.
There are a few people who have had the opportunity of working closely with Gov. Ganduje and therefore aren’t surprised the least when the Governor is seen pretending to be sleeping at public functions. They are not only in the know as to why he pretends to be sleeping but expect him to pretend. Truly, as stated, the old man is pretending to be sleeping because he has never lost track of proceedings while pretending to be asleep?
In politics, everyone dreams of a coveted political appointment. Oftentimes, one feels that he deserves a position in the government based on their contribution to the party’s victory in elections, or, at times, their ‘connections’ in the government. Contrary to these reasons, an appreciable number of political appointments in Ganduje’s administration were made out of sheer reverence and a mark of gratitude to his long-time friend and Oga, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso fnse.
I happened to be among those considered for reappointment in Ganduje’s government. My reappointment as Special Assistant Administration on the 29th May 2015 to Gov Ganduje has given me a rare chance to further broaden my horizons as to what governance entails as well as to unearth the very reason why those who have had business to do with Gov Ganduje speak glowingly of him and are so much endeared to him.
On a need-to-know basis, Gov Ganduje is a man of impeccable human relationship, generosity personified, striking embodiment of humility and simplicity, an astute grassroots politician and a philanthropist to a T. These are a few reasons why people are endeared to him.
I have come to learn first-hand how Gov Ganduje intends to work his fingers to the bone to make Kano greater than he met it. When I went to his office to thank him for finding me worthy of reappointment, he unpretentiously said leadership should always be inspired by the desire to bring about a positive change in society. He will therefore ensure that the pledge of continuity in meaningful projects initiated by Kwankwaso is well kept and would work even harder to make Kwankwaso and the good people of Kano contented with his performance. He vowed to adopt policies that will improve the standard of living of the citizenry and initiate project/programs that will steer this state to greater prosperity. ‘I have confidence in your honesty, goodness and skill and expect you to bring them all to bear in this noble venture’ he added. How self-effacing he is.
The unassuming demeanour of Gov Ganduje gave me all the inspiration I needed to work harder to prove my worth as well as to assist in the success of APC-led government in Kano state. This I have done without fear of antagonising or inviting the wrath of the governor when I make a mistake. He is at all times ready to correct mistakes.
I assumed working from morning hours till evening and late into the night hours and the capacity to carry out some administrative tasks are second nature to me, for I have acquired hands-on experience from Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, but with Gov Ganduje –a man with excellent credentials, enormous administrative practicality and political exposures, it’s seemingly going to be another rigorous process of learning to get plugged into office affairs from morning to night and to begin new lesson in governance for the old man is only old by the number of his age.
If men could change the 24-hour in a day; Ganduje would have done just that because provision of good governance is really challenging and demanding. It’s highly expected of a governor to pull a long day every once in a while to accomplish some tasks. But my very first uneasiness is that Gov Ganduje would one day collapse for he has made it a habit to routinely begin work in the morning and stay late at the office or work into the night.
Archetypical of a man who has attained age of wisdom, full of life experiences and with the resolute determination to succeed in the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the good people of Kano and as a Fulani man that he is, Ganduje couldn’t and still can’t deny access to the hordes of important guests who invade his office to have their problems addressed. And while at a private audience with him he still can’t say you can go for you have said enough even when it is obvious you have overstayed your welcome. He believes that he is occupying position of immense public trust that requires relentless pursuit of robust initiatives that will have direct bearing on the wellbeing of the electorate. Hence, being receptive is not only crucial but necessary for the success of his administration. This explains the radical and aggressive development being witnessed in Kano state.
As an SA to Gov Ganduje, it behoved me to device means for the governor to always help him recharge his batteries and unwind after a hectic day. One such measures was to cut the number of guests he was to deal with every evening, allocated time to them followed by entreaty to them (guests) to expend few minutes while at his presence by going straight to the point of their mission. This is besides the load of files, memos, and correspondences that equally need urgent treatment. During the night hours, Gov Ganduje would likely undertake unscheduled inspection visits to hospitals and projects sites. He therefore needs a lot of time to rest and to reflect on other state matters.
I can vividly remember when I went to him and said ‘Your Excellency, you have worked since morning and it’s now after 3:00am without respite except for meals and Sallah. Sir, may I suggest that Your Excellency retires for the day to get some rest and the energy to start afresh the following morning?’ I succeeded, but surprisingly he said ‘thank you and please explain this to them and fetch their contacts so I can call them to learn the purpose of their visits perhaps on phone they may not likely use too much of my time’. Gov Ganduje began calling some of them even before they left the Government House.
My success fairly short-lived for the trend continues afterward, circumventing all my effort to reduce the number of hours that he has to work at night. My fear is that if the governor persists in working too much, it may take a toll on his body. Physicians and psychologists have told us that getting less than seven to eight hours sleep repeatedly for a man of his age comes with consequences. But with Ganduje one often tends to think if he were genetically wired to thrive on less sleep while it is only a sheer willpower to succeed in governance that forces Ganduje to choose to sleep less.
Gov Ganduje is a rare, lucky soul. While many others with ‘sleep debt’ suffer various health problems, the impact it has so far had on the governor is to humbly say that ‘I pretend to be sleeping at public functions’.
Mr Danjaji wrote in from Kano