Muhsin Ibrahim, an author and observer of northern Nigerian affairs, has drawn attention to critical issues surrounding governance and employment in the region.
Ibrahim, a lecturer at the University of Cologne, was reacting to the proliferation of special advisers appointed by Kano state governor Abba Kabir Yusuf.
Governor Yusuf has appointed over 100 special assistants in the northwest state.
Ibrahim also highlighted concerns about institutional inefficiencies, pointing to his experience at Bayero University, Kano, where he noticed the presence of redundant non-academic staff.
He wrote on X:
”I met a cousin yesterday. He works for a local government in one northern Nigerian state. For some reason, I learned that he barely goes there; he lives in Kano and is engaged in other businesses.
”He does that because he effectively has no work at his workplace. He also earns a peanut.
”I was not surprised because I know a department at Bayero University, Kano, with redundant non-academic staff. I only understood how redundant they were when I started working for a foreign university.
”I also remembered how a handful of staff adequately manned the British Council (Kano Office). This morning, I read that the Kano State governor appointed more special advisors. I guess their number is almost 200 now.
”For Allah’s sake, how can all these people advise him? Remember that he has a deputy and commissioners, among others. Believe it or not, these people were appointed just to enjoy the so-called dividend of democracy – and God knows, I am happy for them.
”However, I believe the government should do better. The earlier we understand that no government can provide jobs for everyone, even those who helped establish it, the better for us.
”Instead, the government can – and should – create an enabling environment to create jobs, attract local and foreign investors, etc. This way, more people will get permanent and more sustainable jobs.
”While, of course, some of these SSAs have jobs, skills or businesses before joining the government, others don’t. Therefore, four or eight years will quickly pass and leave them jobless. Hence the need for them to have something more tangible and reliable.
”Moreover, the government could have directed their salaries and allowances to other projects that could impact more people, if not the general public.”
He cautioned the Kanos state governor to ”think twice before appointing more SSAs.”
”No matter how many he appoints, he cannot ‘repay’ all those who closely worked to make his victory in the polls a reality,” he added.