Alh. Idris Danbazau is the Kano State Commissioner for Special Duties. In this interview with CHIBUNMA UKWU, he explains how the state government has developed a coordinated effort to help millions of youth secure employment, be it in the military, Federal Civil Service, private sector or even state programmes. Danbazau as commissioner also explains how he coordinates the activities of all special advisers to the governor.
What exactly is the Ministry of Special Duties about?
Well, there is nothing special about the ministry. The only special thing is in the name. It is just a ministry like all other ministries, and it has its own schedule of duties.
The schedule of the duties of Kano State are as follows; the ministry is to coordinate the activities of the offices of all special advisers and all the senior special assistance to the Executive Governor of Kano State; It also coordinates the state’s inter-governmental relations, as well as the state’s emergency matters and disaster management, among others.
What are the current challenges that must be surmounted if the ministry is to achieve its successes?
Like I mentioned earlier, the ministry is supposed to coordinate and implement the state policy and job creation, establishment and maintenance of job registration centres. It is also supposed to initiate and coordinate policies pertaining to skill acquisitions for unskilled applicants and re-orientations of graduate applicants into the private and public sectors.
So you can see that the schedule of duty of the ministry is heavily tilted towards youth empowerment and youth development. So our challenge mainly is because of the enormity of the youth population in Kano State, finding places for qualified youths and training the unemployed ones in the areas of vocation in order to make them prepared for life is the major challenge that we are facing, and it is for this reason that His Excellency created about 20 new institutions including new universities aimed at absorbing these youths. In this way, the rate of unemployment and other negative effects of youths that are not properly engaged would be reduced.
How many youths have you registered so far under the programme?
I want to point out that we have data banks for youths in three of the agencies under this ministry which include the guardian and counselling board, the youths and empowerment board, and the youths development directorate. These agencies will continue to register youths as the case arises.
Right now, I cannot give the figure of the number of youths registered because the programme is still ongoing. Thus, the figure that we have now might change from what we will have in the afternoon and the idea behind it is to easily pick up people for employment anytime there is vacancy for employment whether at the local government or in the state; these youths can easily be picked up for job.
What are the targets of the ministry in helping youths secure jobs and how successful have you been?
Well, since the assumption of my office, I have made efforts to ensure sustainable progress in the discharge in the ministry. Initially, I started with working visits, which I made to all the parastatals under the supervision of the ministry. The objective of the visit was to avail the ministry the opportunity to establish the supervising body and agencies under it.
I have also taken special consideration to coordinate and process the activities of the offices of the special advisers and all other related agencies. This I was able to do through the coordination of various requests for remedies submitted by the State Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Agency of the flood, fire and other forms of disasters victims across the 44 local government areas of the state.
Also through our guardians and training agency, the ministry was able to make requests to the government to sponsor the indigenous youths in the areas of recruitment into the military and para-military services, employment, skill acquisition programmes, admissions into specialised and non-specialised universities.
That notwithstanding, I considered it imperative to facilitate for governmental approval to refurbish offices of the special advisers to the governor. Accordingly, it (the ministry) coordinates and supervises the purchase of office items of the special advisers to enhance the prestige of those offices.
The ministry oversees the activities of the offices of special advisers and senior special assistants and so on. How do you as the commissioner relate with these different bodies?
I relate with the special advisers and the senior special assistants in a very simple way. Foremost, we have monthly meetings with these two groups separately and during these meetings, we discuss a lot of proposals which most times are initiatives by members of these groups.
Subsequently, we articulate on these proposals which we send to the governor and those the governor fixes are viable and beneficial to the state and are enunciated into the government’s policies and are implemented. So, this is how I relate with them.
Kano is a very large state in terms of population and local governments. Do you think that the challenges are too much for your office in covering all the 44 local governments?
Not at all. Yes, there are challenges in this job; I agree with you that 44 local governments are a lot, but we are up to the challenges. We try to reach out to all the nooks and cranny of the state. We also do our best to ensure that whatever programme we run get to all the local governments. This is to ensure that everybody is carried along.
In the course of your duty, what assistance do you think that the government can give you to help you make an impact in this enormous assignment?
Foremost, the governor decided to establish this ministry because he felt it was needed and there are roles it will play in assisting him to succeed in the implementation of the numerous projects that he intends to use in developing the state and its citizenry.
Therefore, right from the establishment of the office, the governor has always responded quickly and positively to all the requests that we have made, both financially and materially, in order to make sure that we are able to carry out our activities, and we are grateful to him as this attitude has enabled us to work more effectively.