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AHMED YAKASAI: A WORKAHOLIC COMMISSIONER IN KANO

PHOTO: KANO STATE GOVERNOR IBRAHIM SHEKARAU.
PHOTO: KANO STATE GOVERNOR IBRAHIM SHEKARAU.
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"No Nation can plan for the future without taking stock of the past" - The late Gani Fawehinmi Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai is the immediate past Honourable Commissioner of Commerce, Industry, Cooperative and Tourism Ministry in Kano State. He was appointed to this position by the people's Governor of the State, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardaunan Kano in September 2005. On resumption of office in this month, the workaholic, dedicated but jovial Ahmed Yakasai did not leave any one in doubt regarding his avowed determination not to disappoint the governor that reposed trust in him. In addition to the fact that he is a man that does not believe in the hide and seeks game where serious issues that affect people are concerned, he is also a man that works hard for the benefit of the people. This, in the first place, would have warranted Governor Shekarau to appoint him as Commissioner in 2005. What are the remarkable achievements of Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai's five years in office as the Honourable Commissioner in the Kano State Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Cooperative and Tourism? The first Kano State economic Summit, which was held under the auspices of his office, is still very green in the mind of the stakeholders. The successful conduct of this summit attracted economic gurus that brain stormed an economic road map for the state. What about the interactive session organized by his Ministry in which about 150 corporate organizations consisting of 25 commercial banks and others operating in the state attended to chart the course of enhancing Corporate Social Responsibility in the state? Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai was able to personally mobilize resource towards ensuring that the objective of the committee on CSR is achieved. He first opened a service desk manned by officers of his ministry that would liaise with the committee to coordinate and enhance effective performance for ultimate good result. The members of the committee, drawn from different sectors of the economy, willingly contributed financial resources, which they used in purchasing materials for VVF patients in the state. The above initiatives have yielded some dividends for the state as some corporate bodies and wealthy individuals were able to intervene as could be seen in the renovation, fencing and furnishing of Unguwa Uku Primary School in addition to the renovation of the Government Junior Secondary School in the place by Intercontinental Bank Plc. In this regard, the Oceanic Bank Plc also donated 33 No. 4.5KVA Generators to 33 girls' boarding secondary schools as well as 500 pieces of 3-seate furniture to Government Girls College, Dala. This is not all; the Zenith Bank Plc equally donated 50 pieces of flat screen IBM computers to the Government Girls Secondary School, Shekara 1 in addition to the provision of qualitative furniture in the air- conditioned computer room and renovation of two furnished classrooms. Sky Technical Construction Company Limited also participated in the Public Private Partnership by carrying out renovation and furnishing of 6 blocks of 2 classrooms at the Government Girls Secondary School, Shekara. The construction firm also renovated two hostels, constructed four new others, a matron's residence, toilets, laundry, students' rest shades and a borehole at Government Girls' College, Dala. This company under the Chairman of Alhaji Kabiru Sani Kwagila also undertook the provision of beds, mattresses and a generating set to the school. Unity Bank Plc and Abdul Jalil Hajaig Construction Company were not left behind in the Corporate Social Responsibility initiated by the Ministry of Commerce, Cooperative, Industry and Tourism under the present Commissioner of Land and Physical Planning, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Yakasai. The former renovated Government Girls College, Giginyu Primary and Government Girls Senior secondary School, Kano while latter provided drainages as well as constructed access road to Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Giginyu. Of equal note, the Nigerian Bottling Company Challawa Industrial Estate, Kano rehabilitated 5No blocks of 10 classrooms and provided one hundred 3 seater students' desks at GGSS, Panshekara. Likewise, the Fidelity Bank Plc constructed two blocks of four classrooms at Rumfa College, Kano, which the People's governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau commissioned. It then came to the issue of Trade conflict resolutions among Kano Business Community, which Ahmed Yakasai handled with dexterity. One remembers vividly how, with the help of the Governor, the Commissioner was able to nipped in the bud some conflict of business interest that would have jeopardized peace among the business community. Here, we should mention the case of the crises between the youths and elders of the Yangwanjo Traders Association in Kano, which occurred in year 2004. Although this started before the coming of Ahmed Yakasai as the Commissioner of the Ministry, it is however noteworthy to say that he eventually brokered the peace on his arrival in the Ministry in September 2005 when his Ministry had to make a case to the government over the issue. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Cooperative and Tourism under Alhaji Ahmed Yakasai was, with dint of hard work, able to settle the conflict between the Yankaba Market Association and Kano State Primary Board, Taobat Pharmaceutical and Kantin Kwari Market Traders Association between 2006 and 2007; the disagreement between the National Association of Hides and Skins Dealers and Tanners Council, the conflict of interest on Kantin Kwari Market access road between two business moguls that almost threatened the peaceful atmosphere of the market; the crisis between the Executive Members of the Kantin Kwari Market Association and its members concerning election issue; the crisis between Lee Group of Companies and the labour union and indeed, the crisis situation among the Kano business community shifted to the National Trucks Manufacturers Ltd, Kano concerning an alleged denial of the Kano State indigenes employment opportunity in the available key positions in the company, in spite of the fact that the state government has share in the truck firm. These various trade conflicts mentioned here were resolved by the Ministry of Commerce, Cooperative, Industry and Tourism under the then Commissioner, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai that has the qualities of perceptiveness, cool-headedness, authority and kindness to issues, which are basic ingredient or characteristics needed by a crisis Manager to resolve issues of such magnitude. The government of Shekarau through its State Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Co-operative led by Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai left no stone unturned to ensure that in spite of the world economic depression ravaging every aspect of human endeavours, Kano remains giant and a leader in commercial and business activities. Thus, the meticulous supervision of the multi billion naira ultra modern market being constructed at the Kano Eastern bypass, otherwise known as the "Kanawa International Market" by the Commerce Ministry under Ahmed Yakasai is another area of performance that should not be swept under the carpet. Likewise, the Fish market project conceived by Shekarau government to be implemented under Public Private Partnership (PPP) is yet another milestone in the life of the Ministry of Commerce under Ahmed Yakasai. Still, the Tourism camp is not left behind in the government policies and programmes to boost business in the state. Thus the Ministry established tourism house, internet café, renovation of reception area, construction of jetties and purchase speed boat for Bagwai, etc as added innovation for tourism. The first World Tourism Day was successfully hosted in Kano. The cooperative society too also received boost in local government areas with additional office in Rimi Market and provision of public convenience, micro finance and reactivation of the Bureau De Change. A lot has also been done by the government on the industrial layout at Challawa and Bompai with road rehabilitation taking the lead. There is the capacity building by banks and the government is still working hard to actualize the Independent Power Plant project as the issue of tariff and purchase of power agreement are on course. Also, the industrial survey has been completed and business incentives are being carried out. This is equally being done through the establishment of about fifty micro finances to enable the industry source finance from them. There was improvement of women business through women affairs and for the Youth Directorate, Cottage industries loan scheme as well as small scale medium credit scheme. Indeed, the present government through its Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Cooperative under the then Honourable Commissioner Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai made frantic efforts to ensure that Kano, as centre of commerce, does not derail at all. This was how Shekarau government boosts the business potentials of the state through the various business incentives. Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai is one Commissioner whose name has become prominent in the Shekarau administration due to his hard work and diligence. This man has really distinguished himself as an astute administrator whose genuine desire to transform the dwindling economic fortunes of the state has never been doubtful. He is a man that is so much dedicated to the success of Shekarau administration because he simply believes that the success of the amiable governor should be every one's success. So, he takes every thing about Shekarau administration especially his areas of jurisdiction very serious as failure is never in his dictionary. It is against this background that Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai five years sojourn in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Cooperative and Tourism has been a remarkable success. In a minor cabinet reshuffle carried out recently by His Excellency, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardaunan Kano, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai was redeployed from the Ministry of Commerce to Ministry of Land and Physical Planning as its Commissioner. Most civil servants in his former Ministry wore sober reflection because they believe that a man who has done so much for the Ministry has been snatched away from them to another Ministry. This is the nature of the Civil Service administration and one should be ready to work anywhere any time. Nevertheless, we believe that with the little time available, Alhaji Ahmed Yakasai will not hastate to put his new Ministry in good shape. Therefore, as he takes the mantle of leadership in the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning, one has no doubt about his success because he is known for his hard work and sincerity of purpose. Indeed, he is the Commissioner of all Commissioners in the state. We wish him all the best in his new assignment and to keep the flag flying. Abdullahi Yusuf Bichi writes from Bichi, Kano State [email protected]

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