Kano is an important city that said to be the heart of Northern Nigeria. Whenever, Kano sneeze other states would definitely catch cold. Even during pre-colonial era, the leaders of Kano worked hard to see the city goes with modernisation at that particular time. So also, when colonial masters took over the leadership, the city was redesigned with new structures and modern facilities that were never in the thought of Kano man. For instance, GRA was designed to accommodate white men who were seen as foreigners, and because of their indirect rule; they chose to stay away from the main city. Even within the walled city; roads, schools, hospitals, water plant and power generation were created. (Kofar Famfo was built to give room for water pipelines to reach Kano city.)
Of course, a good number of projects that are meant to improve the lives and well-being of Kano people were implemented by both military and democratic governments. Modern roads and social amenities were built to give the city of Kano new breath of life. But, looking at the image and name of Kano across the world, our leaders are underrating the city and what ought to be done. Many projects have been initiated in the state, but were intentionally or blindly ignored. This made me to wonder what think tanks of the city are doing towards redesigning and maintaining the development so far achieved. Is this that we don’t have brilliant people who can plan for the betterment of our children and grandchildren to come? No, that is not what our forefathers did to us.
I grew up in Nassarawa local government of Kano, where we enjoyed the facilities of Nassarawa GRA. I can recall my childhood period mingling within the inheritance structures and facilities erected by colonial masters. For instance, Nassarawa GRA has the highest number of gardens where you can visit to refresh yourself. I can vividly recall the evergreen land and flowers that send fresh aeration and nice scent. But, now my heart bleeds when I now observed new layouts that are created with no provisions of recreational facilities. Today even the GRA lack enough water for domestic use than watering flowers.
Many of these new layouts have no plans for schools, hospitals, game fields and police stations not to talk about recreational facilities. This is against the nature of living; if white people with their small population could think of providing all what is needed in the modern city, what would stop us from doing that? I was told that sometimes even if the government outlined areas to develop for the requirement of genuine human environment, some members of the community either temper with it or struggle to get reallocation of the land to other things else; e.g building of shops. It is a responsibility of a good government to stick to its plan. Many of those that are denying us such privilege are not true sons of Kano, but agolas that prepare to take us back to 18th century. The real people of Kano are those that want good for the state irrespective of their places of origin.
Many people underrate the importance of projects such as creating football fitches for young people. Based on researches by various scholars, even locally in the state found out that when young people who are at their useful and fruitful ages lack places like game fields, they can ended up being violence and dangerous to the society. This is why I commended previous government of Kano for creating Kofar Naisa sport fitches. It is not sensible for every nook and corner of Kano to be shops, markets or residential areas; even though we bear Centre of Commerce. Many industrial cities in the world such as Manchester, Berlin, Beijing, and Tokyo are neat and breathtaking cities.
The city of Kano is blessed with new roads, flyovers and underpasses. Quite, these are welcome development that we need at this particular time when the population is overgrown. But, I truly found negligence and underrating a risk of accident. For over three years, BUK-Gwarzo road was reconstructed and dualised. But, the government found it difficult to complete the drainages system; living erected iron open for danger. There was a time when a vehicle hit one of our cleaners while he was riding his bicycle to work; he was felt inside the drainage. Even though he was not been killed, but was injured.
Similarly, some of our underpasses and flyovers are uncomplicated, but are still put into use by commuters. Even the Silver Jubilee and Obansanjo flyover commissioned by the previous government, are not completed. The iron fence that supposed to be mounted side by side to protect motorists were no where to be found, and the risk of accident is so high, but ones seem to pay a hoot. Only Kabuga under and flyover is fully completed with rightful iron fence. The danger of neglecting this project is so glaring. Kofar Gadankaya is a good example of these projects that need serious attention of Kano state government. Vehicles are using uncompleted shoulder of temporary roads created, which is so dangerous. It’s not good to take chances; vehicle can slide down on vehicles coming under ground. There was a time I saw pure water sellers fighting on the flyover. I just imagine what would happen if one fell down because of lack of iron fence. These are the type of negligence that caused loss of lives along Sheikh Jafar Road, when Pedestal Bridge collapsed.
Based on these, I am calling the attention of those in the steering seat to consider looking at these problems with critical minds. I am sure I speak the minds of many Kanawa who would like to see their city becomes the Washington of Africa. I am sure my dream is not too ambitious. We are blessed with vast lands, human and mineral resources. It’s time to work with our brains, and work it out. Our long civilisation and political consciousness should be our road-map.
Zaharaddeen Ibrahim Kallah is a poet and novelist. He works with Registry, Bayero University, Kano. He can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org