In Kano There Is a Revolution by Ahmed Rufai Isah
In Kano there is a revolution. This revolution is not a violent one. This revolution is not a ballot one. This revolution is a one Man revolution. This revolution is called Kwankwasiyya revolution. The man Kwankwaso has become some kind of wonder. In 2011, when he got re-elected to govern Kano again, I was in Kano on the day of the announcement. I assure you the celebrations were unimaginable. Back then I was wondering, wasn’t it this same man that governed Kano from 1999 to 2003 and was voted out overwhelmingly? I remember having and intense argument with my cousin Bashir who is a staunch supporter of Kwankwaso and the Kwankwassiya movement, trying hard to convince him that the man had nothing new to offer. I was wrong.
On the 15th to 17th of November, 2014. I was on a 3 days tour in Kano alongside some notable Twitter figures and bloggers on a social media reporting role to cover Kwankwaso’s achievement or not in the last four years. I wasn’t to miss that opportunity. Not that Kwankwaso’s work in Kano is new to me, as Kano is home. But the tour presented me with a chance to see other parts of Kano I didn’t get to see on other occasions I visited.
In recent time, so many people have asked me what changed? Why is there so much difference between Kwankwaso’s first term in office and his second term. So many reasons abound for that but that is certainly discourse for another piece. Infrastructural deficit is major problem in Nigeria. We don’t even spend adequately on infrastructure talk more of a decline in spending. Kwankwaso and his team understood this. From what I have seen on ground, they had a plan and that plan is yielding fruits. Roads everywhere in the city are under construction. Those in good shape are been dualised. Most of them are already completed as is the case with Kabuga-BUK road, Zaria road, Airport road, Sharada road, etc. And this is important because it ensures the whole town is linked together and the ease of moving goods and services from one end of the town to another is guaranteed. Bridges, flyovers and under-pass are springing up in every part of the city. There is a two kilometre bridge which passes through Sabon Gari up to Murtala road, there is an under-pass at Kabuga and another at Kofan Gadan Kaya, all under construction.
One area the North has played with before now is education. Kwankwaso has ensured education top the list of the government’s policy. What he did is impressive and it takes great courage to accomplish. He did not open Almajiri school as someone who calls himself a leader boast of. What he did is to abolish the Almajiri system and integrate all the kids back into the society. Those that weren’t from Kano, were sent back to their states. Those from Kano were sent back to their parents home and admitted into schools. This wasn’t easy as he faced countless criticisms from people who had stake in the Almajiri system. However what impressed me the most is how he encouraged school enrolment of the girl child. Kwankwaso provided Intervention buses in different streets in Kano which will convey only the girl child to school to counter parents who don’t want their girls mixing with boys in public buses. Then again there is the provision of free uniforms and free meals for kids. All these has gone a long way in ensuring more kids attend school. This is evident in the creation more class room blocks. Official figure has it at three thousand more class rooms in the space of three years.
Interestingly, one can’t really tell where he deserves more praise because he has done equally great at the tertiary level. In the last four years, many Kano state students have been sent abroad for undergraduate and post-graduate studies in various fields of study. The SSG to the Kano state government told us also that the government has sent qualified students to different Nigerian institutions and no single institution without a Kano state citizen. To get a clearer picture I advise anyone interested to request for statistic on education from the government that covers the last four years of Kwankwaso’s administration.
Significantly, the Kwankwasiyya revolution is reshaping the psyche of every Kano person. This is evident in the compliance with the Karota system. Which is modelled after Lasma in Lagos. If you know Kano before now, you will know how people drive rough before now. The introduction of Karota has stymied this. Everyone is driving responsibly because they know there is consequence if they break traffic laws. But the Karota system is without criticism. I have listened to many people with genuine concerns about their operations. There is a particular man I met in a Bus who told me about their treatment of a friend whose sister was sick and was in a haste to get her to the hospital when officials of Karota stopped apprehended him for crossing the trade mark white line. He pleaded with them to no avail. He had to pay the sum of ten thousand Naira which he budgeted for his sister’s treatment. This is is the kind of excesses I urge the next administration to look into to ensure the Karota system doesn’t trample on people’s rights. In all, the good far outweigh the bad. My hope is the next administration doesn’t scrap it but instead make it better.
Power is instrumental in achieving industrialisation. No industrialised nation today achieved that status without first having stable electricity. Stable electricity is important to the growth of Kano state which is described as the centre of commerce. In the late 90s and early 2000, most of the industries in Sharada Kano suffered because of increase cost of production. So many of the companies closed shop. It is because of this that the news of signing a contract for two power plants by the Kano state government gladdens my heart. The governor himself confirmed this to us in a chat with him. This will go a longer way in ensuring return of investors to the ancient city, increase employment and the general well-being of the Kano child.
Furthermore, the Kwankwassiya revolution has extended its hands to a housing policy that is highly impressive. On our tour, we visited three massive housing estates embarked upon by the Kwankwaso administration that is focusd on providing homes for the Kano people. First is the Kwankwasiyya city then Amana city and Badarawo city. Each of these cities holds three thousand units of houses. It didn’t stop there. The overall plan is to build schools, markets, malls, services stations, etc in each of the cities.
WHY IT MATTERS
One might take a look and argue a city like Kano should by now be more developed than it currently is. Well it isn’t. We can blame that on past administrations and lack of foresight. Including Kwankwaso first term in office. Most come into power without a clear vision on the direction a state should move. That is why I am glad Kwankwaso has addressed that and set a standard for the next governor. In many years to come, we will look back at what Kwankwaso has done and appreciate it more. The young people he has encourage to get an education and those who went to further will be back to change this land for better. What I want all young Kano people to believe is they are the revolution. The Kwankwasiyya revolution is real and it has just began.
For further engagement the writer tweets as @Sir_Ruffy on Twitter.
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