Dr. (Engr.) Mohammed Rabi’u Musa popularly known as Rabiu Kwankwaso was born on 21 October 1956 in Kwankwaso village of Madobi Local Government Area of Kano State. His father, Malam Musa Salihu, was the village head of Kwankwaso and now the District Head of Madobi. Young Rabi’u started Islamic school at the age of four and later enrolled in Primary School in Kwankwaso (1962 – 1969). He attended Kwankwaso Primary School, Gwarzo Boarding Senior School, Wudil Craft School (1970 – 1972) and Kano Technical College before proceeding to Kaduna Polytechnic where he did both his National Diploma, and Higher National Diploma. He did Postgraduate Studies in the United Kingdom at Middlesex Polytechnic (1982 – 1983) and Loughborough University of Technology (1983 -1985) where he got his Master’s Degree in Water Engineering and University of Nottingham (1987 – 1991). Kwankwaso was an active student leader during his school days and was an elected official of the Kano State Students Association.
Rabi’u Kwankwaso started work as an artisan craftsman in 1975 with Water Resources Engineering and Construction Agency (WRECA). It was after seven years working that he went to the UK for further studies. During that time, he intermittently attended some certificate courses at Derby National Water Council in 1982, Derby Water Industrial Training in 1985 and London Industrial Water Training in 1985.
In all, Kwankwaso worked with Kano State government for 17 years and rose through the cadre of the civil service to the rank of Principal Engineer.
Kwankwaso’s first significant act as a politician was when he became an active student leader during his school days and was an elected official of the Kano State Students Association.
In 1991, he resigned from government work and vied for election into the Federal House of Representatives.
He recalled “In fact, I had to battle my employers before they allowed me to retire, because they felt so much was being in invested on me. But I felt the only way I could make better contributions to humanity was in politics.”
He joined partisan politics in the aborted Third Republic where he contested elections to the House of Representatives in 1992. His becoming the Deputy Speaker in the House brought him to the limelight of national politics. He was also elected to be one the delegates and representatives from Kano for the 1995 Constitutional Conference. He built his political empire with the support of numerous political movements, groups, and factions and solid endorsements and of political giants almost all. Rabiu Kwankwaso was then seen as the heir apparent to the political dynasty of Sheu Musa Yar’adua, Mallam Abubakar Rimi and Mallam Aminu Kano of blessed memories.
He then became the first governor of Kano State in the fourth republic (1999 – 2003). His swearing in ceremony at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano metropolis was witnessed by millions of urban and rural citizens of the state as well as members of the diplomatic corps. It was a day that residents of the ancient city of Kano will not forget in a hurry and will live to remember as it marked the beginning of a visionary and revolutionary leadership. It also served as the foundation laying ceremony for the transformation of the state into an economic powerhouse as well as the economic and commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria. Thereafter, he became the Defense Minister (2003 – 2006) and Presidential Special Envoy to Somalia and Darfur (2006 – 2007).
Kwankwaso was the party leader in Kano and was nominated into the party’s most powerful political of the then ruling party – Board of Trustees. He was also shortlisted for ambassadorial appointment which he refused due to his burning desire to remain in the country and contribute his quota towards the development of this great country. He later accepted to serve as a board member representing Northwest region of Nigeria in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) from 2009 to 2010
Consequently, he re-contested in the 2011 gubernatorial poll and won the election, thus staging a comeback to the governorship seat in Kano state with an outstanding difference of sixty three thousand plus votes, his party won three quarters of the house of assembly seats, by winning 30 out of the total 40 seats in the state.
Kwankwaso contested the presidential primaries nomination and came second to the current president Muhammad Buhari. He then swapped to contest the senatorial seat for Kano Central Senatorial District which he won and now serving in the committee for National Planning & Economic Affairs.
The Kwakwansiyya slogan and Red cap identity definitely did not come by accident, rather it was a result of the track of records of probity, tested and trusted leadership Kwakwanso demonstrated in his administration as its tagged Amaana in response to Kwakwansiyya.
One would therefore be inquisitive to ask the meaning of Amana. A Kano man will be quick to tell you that it is trust that characterised the administration of affable humanist and administrator per excellence. He is indeed tagged as one of the most amazing leaders in Nigeria. Those who love him consider him to be a supersonic person whose achievements speaks before his sound.
His achievements were really massive in the areas of education, rural electrification, health, infrastructural development, industrialization, agriculture, housing and in fact, every works of live. He was able to establish a State University of Technology at Wudil, he introduced Free Feeding for Primary School Students in the State which led the United Nations to recognise his effort in that direction. His electrification programme in the rural areas recorded great successes. He was able to give the Federal Government a property that was turned into the Nigeria Law School at Bagauda. He built a number of bridges in the rural areas and introduce free natal programme for pregnant mothers.
These landmark achievements of Kwankwaso as governor of Kano states are extremely massive numbering over 10,000 projects and 10,000,000 lives touched directly and indirectly. One of the most notable achievements in the area of financial prudency and management was the measures that jerked up the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state from N400 million to about N2 Billion monthly. In ensuring fiscal discipline, Gov. Kwankwaso was able to make capital expenditure higher than recurrent votes (2012: 63% capital, 37% recurrent; 2013 75% capital, 25% recurrent) and achieved up to 85% budget implementation in 2012 and 2013. He is the first governor to achieve 2:1 ratio in favour of capital vote.