The date: November 4, 2020, will undoubtedly remain fresh in the minds of people of Ketare District, Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State because of its significance in the rich history of the community. It is the day that their highly revered and compassionate traditional leader, a retired Comptroller of Nigerian Customs Service, Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara, marked 20 years on the throne as the Kanwan Katsina III, District Head of Ketare.
The day will forever remain memorable to the District, its neighbouring Kankara District and the entire families of Iya Nadabo family as one of their own was celebrating two decades of excellent service to humanity as a royal father of great repute. Although such an occasion could have been marked with so much grandeur, pomp and pageantry, the traditional ruler decided to mark it with special prayers across the district.
It is indeed against this background that one felt compelled to pen a tribute in honour of this bridge builder and an extraordinary person that is making the difference as he presides over the affairs of Ketare District for over two decades with remarkable success.
His unquantifiable achievements as District Head were a result of his love for his people, compassion, sound education, exposure and a great wealth of experience as a public servant before ascending to the throne in 2000. Although some of these qualities were common among the Kanwan Katsina family, Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara was exceptionally gifted since childhood.
It was not a surprise when their father died, the late Abdullahi Bello Kankara, Kanwan Katsina II, the natural choice for the exalted throne was Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara, though he was serving as a very senior Nigerian Customs Service officer at that time. It is therefore imperative to pay glowing tributes to the then Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir Usman, of blessed memory, for his wisdom and foresight in appointing and turbanning Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara, UK Bello as he was popularly known among colleagues and friends then, as the Kanwan Katsina III and District Head of Ketare on November 4, 2000.
The late Emir Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir Usman was magnanimous enough to allow UK Bello to continue to remain in service despite his new appointment as Kanwan Katsina III. The late Emir of Katsina reasoned that if the new District Head was to leave the public service then, it would truncate his career and deprive the nation of his excellent service as a sterling customs senior officer whose immense contribution was critical to the Service. Indeed, UK Bello performed creditably well in stemming the tide of smuggling and getting billions of Naira worth of revenue to the nation wherever he served. Indeed, this singular decision by the late Emir Muhammadu Kabir Usman of blessed memory, turned out to be a blessing as it enables UK Bello to continue to rise through the ranks and at the end, retired as Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Service in 2017, after meritorious service to the nation.
At this point, it is necessary to ask, who is Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara, Kanwan Katsina III? Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara was born to the Royal Family of Kanwan Katsina II, the legendary late Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Nadabo on September 1, 1957 in Kankara, Katsina State. He attended the Central Primary School Kankara between 1963 to1969, from where he proceeded to the Government Secondary School Malumfashi in 1970 and graduated in 1974. He had a brief stint at Federal Radio Nigeria, Kaduna as a news reporter in 1975 under direct supervision and tutelage of the then News Manager, Abdul-Aziz Oladumoye, before proceeding for higher education. This experience and knowledge came handy in later parts of his life and career when he joined the Nigerian Customs Service and was made Public Relations Officer. It helped him discharge his duties as PRO of the Customs efficiently and effectively.
He left FRCN Kaduna on gaining admission into Katsina College of Arts and Science, Zaria for his A ‘Levels. On successful completion of the course, he gained entry into the famous Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.
On graduation in 1981, the young UK Bello was mobilised to serve for the mandatory National Youth Service in the then Bendel State. After the orientation, he was deployed to Oshimili Local Government Area, Asaba, and served as Assistant Secretary in the Local Government Secretariat. While on the NYSC, he was also the Liaison Officer for his batch.
No sooner than he completed the mandatory youth service, the zeal to serve the nation further made him enlist into the Nigerian Customs Service as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of customs in 1982. After his officer cadet training at the Nigerian Custom Training School in Ikeja, Lagos, he was posted to Borno State Command, where he began his very eventful career as a Customs Officer.
While at the Command, he served as Deputy Superintendent of Customs up to 1985 and later as Officer in charge of Baga Station. He introduced and imposed Duty on imported Smoked Fish from the Chad Republic. It is to his credit that up till now the Customs duty on imported smoked fish remains one of the sources of revenue to the Federal Government of Nigeria through Borno State Area Command of the Nigerian Customs Service. Apart from that, the then dashing young Custom Officer, Kanwa, made a lot of friends among the good people of Borno State, the military and other sister security agencies. Kanwan Katsina III rose steadily and progressively in the Nigerian Customs Service and attained the enviable rank of Comptroller of Customs in 2009.
During his career, UK Bello had served in various Commands, Units and Departments of the Nigerian Customs Service where he made significant contributions to the repositioning of the service for adequate security and revenue generation. Impressed with his interpersonal relationship and communication skills, while at the Tincan Island Ports, Lagos, the management appointed him Customs Public Relation Officer and its spokesman, an assignment which he discharged effectively and diligently. He projected an excellent image of the Customs, and this earned him an award by the Comptroller General of Customs in 1999.
Additionally, Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara, while in service, headed many State Commands of the Customs. These include Kano, Jigawa and Federal Capital Territory Commands Commands at various points in time. Others were Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara. He was also in charge of the Eastern Marine Command, Port Harcourt, which covers Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Cross-river and Akwa-Ibom State. He retired from the Customs in 2017 after an impressive career as Customs Officer having served the nation for 35 years meritoriously.
During his service in the Customs, he attended various courses both locally and internationally. Such courses include the world Customs Organization course on Valuation and post Clearance Audit in Brussels, Belgium. He also attended the course on Good Governance, Leadership, Accountability and Ethics in the United States of America in 2010. He also attended a one year course at National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, where he earned the prestigious award of Membership of the National Institute.
Upon his retirement from the Nigerian Customs Service in 2017, Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara mni, resumed fully as KANKWAN KATSINA III District head of Ketare in Katsina Emirate Council. Since then, has been contributing immensely to the well being and development of Ketare District in the Areas of Education, Health, Agriculture, Social Development and ICT, just to mention a few.
The District Head has continued to demonstrate love, passion and care for his people in different ways. As earlier noted, he had a sound upbringing; therefore, through the application of these good qualities, traits and lessons he gained from his late father, and the numerous leadership training obtained in the course of his service career in the Nigerian Customs Service, he impacted positively on the society far beyond expectations. The respected traditional ruler has been a veritable and dependable pillar of support to his people of Ketare District since he rejoined them after voluntary exit from the Customs Service.
From 2017 to date, he has made an immense contribution to his community in the fields education, provision of healthcare, environment, agriculture, youth empowerment and Information, Communication and Technology, amongst others.
In education, for instance, the intervention of Kanwan Katsina has led to the successful establishment and take-off of community Day Schools at Ketare, Kuka Sheka, Pauwa, Tudu, Ganzamawa Gundawa, Tsamiyar Jino and Katoge through communal efforts.
Similarly, he established the UK Bello Primary at Ganzamawa village, as well as additional classes at Pauwa and Tsamiyar Jino Community Day Secondary School, due to increased enrollment. And to provide ICT knowledge to teeming youths in the area, Kanwan Katsina has sponsored Computer training for over 300 youths from Ketare district. While the training was sustained in phases as a result of which now students find it easy to register for JAMB, NECO, WAEC, and during recruitment exercise for employment with either Federal, State or Local Governments. That indeed was a commendable initiative.
In the same vein, he has been very supportive to the Kankara Local Government Healthcare department, in ensuring the success of Polio Immunization, Malnutrition Foods Programme for Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children, as well as, all health programmes organised by the State and local governments for the overall benefit of the people of Ketare district.
The Kanwan Katsina has within the years worked tirelessly to ensure effective collaboration with all federal agencies and state governments agencies. For instance, it was through that collaboration with the National Identity Management Commission -NIMC all eligible persons in Ketare district got registered to obtain the modern National ID Card.
Equally, through such collaboration with INEC Office in Kankara local government, all eligible voters in Ketare District were registered and got their Permanent Voters Card. This has helped in more political consciousness as manifested large voter turn out on election days.
He also liaise with noted agencies, department and boards for the benefit of the Ketare teeming. These include WACOT, CASSAVA Growers Association, the CBN, CSDP, RUWASSA. Others were the Intervention programme on the eradication of Open defecation, Economic Empowerment, the SDGs, State Education Trust Fund (ETF), the Gidauniyar Jihar Katsina, the NYSC, the NPC for birth and death registration. No wonder, the Kanwan Katsina III, has gained dozens of merit awards and certificates of excellence, while in active public service and as a traditional ruler.
He is a recipient of so many awards both while in public service and as a traditional ruler. In the year 2000, the Katsina State Government commended Kanwan Katsina for making the State proud in the discharge of his duties at the federal level. Prominent among the other awards, letters of Commendation and appreciations were the ones received from the NYSC in 2019, the National Population Commission in 2018, and the one from the office of Secretary to the Katsina State Government also in 2018.
He got the best all-round officers award from the Nigeria Customs Service, another one as Best Area Command Tin Can Island Lagos, and a certificate of merit in 1999 as the best Public Relations Officer of Nigerian Customs.
To crown it all, the Kanwan Katsina III, Alhaji UK Bello Kankara, obtained the prestigious national institute’s membership certificate from the famous National Institute of Policies and Strategies Study, Kuru, Plateau State. He also went to School of Public and International Affairs University of Pittsburgh and the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership.
Certainly, Alhaji Usman Belllo is indeed a man of all fronts and fully prepared in the service of his community, the State and the country at large in his present capacity as Kanwan Katsina III. Therefore, as Kanwan Katsina III clocked 20 years on the throne as the District Head of Ketare, we join the teeming people in congratulating Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara mni, for the unquantifiable achievements recorded as he attained 20 years on the throne.
It is our prayer that may Almighty Allah continue to be his guide, and to provide peace and security in our communities in Ketare District, Katsina State and the nation at large, amen. Congratulations Alhaji Usman Bello Kankara, Kanwan Katsina III and District Head of Ketare.
LONG LIVE KETARE DISTRICT!
LONG LIVE KATSINA STATE!! AND
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!!!
Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman (retd) is a public relations consultant, Director of Corporate Affairs and farmer.