By SALIHI ABUBAKAR BELLO, Kano
Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has conferred special awards on 82 prominent Nigerians and expatriates as the state marks 5o years of statehood.
The awardees were honoured for their exceptional contributions towards the development of Kano State.
They include former Heads of State, Gen. Murtala Muhammad and Gen. Sani Abacha, all past military and civilian governors of the state, the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, his maternal uncle, Alhaji Aminu Dantata and Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha.
Other recipients include Islamic religious leaders, public officials, traditional leaders, politicians, businessmen and so forth, who helped relentlessly in building Kano.
In his remarks, Governor Ganduje stated that individual and collective efforts of citizens, especially the founding fathers of the state and other patriotic people has resulted in landmarks, by which Kano stands tall among its peers.
While rejoicing with recipients of the state honours, Dr. Ganduje stated that the awards would stimulate people to contribute towards the development of the state, announcing that his administration would forward a bill to the state legislature to make the Kano Merit Awards a permanent affair in the scheme of things.
“We have come a long way and as a matter of policy, our administration has continued with projects initiate by past administrations, despite economic recession”, the governor stated his government has also initiated more projects aimed at making life better for the citizens of Kano,” he added.
The special guest of honour and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar paid special tribute to the first Military administrator of the state, late Police Commissioner Audu Bako and the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, for laying the foundation of infrastructural and agricultural progress of the state and for providing the leadership in keeping the pole together.
“As you celebrate 50 years, you must focus on the next 50 years,” he advised, noting that despite economic challenges, Governor Ganduje has so far exhibited level-headedness in dealing with the problems facing the state.
In his speech, Governor Rochas Okorocha who expressed heartfelt appreciation to the people of Kano urged the state government to pay more attention to education of children, assuring that he would personally work with the state government to promote education, mainly for poor children, in view of its importance.
On his part, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, said the recognition would inspire them to do more. He also promised to work closely with the Ganduje administration to enhance the progress of the state.