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Kano’s metamorphosis: ‘How Shekarau transforms the North’s commercial capital’

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Kano’s metamorphosis: ‘How Shekarau transforms the North’s commercial capital’

Post  Admin on Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:37 pm

When the discourse is on infrastructural development in the commercial city of Kano, Mallam Sule Yau Sule, Director of Press and Public Relations to Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State promptly unleashes a shower of encomiums on his principal, the governor.

“The people’s governor, His Excellency, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, has been doing a lot in terms of human and physical development in the city,” Sule says.

But Sule’s praises aren’t for no reason. A little chat with the governor’s aide shows you how Mallam Shekarau has been doing a yeoman’s job in the areas of road rehabilitation, provision of potable water, development of the health sector and many more both within the Kano metropolis and in the rural areas.

With statistics and photographs, this personable communicator unveils before you images of how the teacher-turned-governor has, since mounting the saddle of governance in 2003, been transforming the ancient Kano into a modern megacity.

“The first major problem facing the city when we came in was lack of water as well as the absence of good road networks,” Sule tells Daily Sun at the Ni’ima Guest Palace in Nassarawa area of the city.
“Because the governor said his policy was human development, some people thought he would not embark on physical development. They thought he would only concentrate on human beings. Some didn’t understand that if you simplify the life of a human being, you are developing human beings. If you make a road motorable, that road will be used by human beings. If you provide drugs in the hospital, the drugs will be consumed by human beings.

So, you are virtually developing human beings. But aside the human development aspect which the governor has been doing, he also incorporated the physical aspects of the town, which is also a component of human development.”

The first major hurdle faced by the Governor Shekarau when he assumed office was ensuring that potable water became a permanent feature in Kano. According to Sule: “From the first day he came into office, the governor started saving money with which he embarked on a giant water project, the biggest in West Africa, producing 150 million litres of water per day. It’s in Tamburawa along Zaria Road. It started in 2005 and it’s been completed. In fact, areas along Zaria Road, Nassarawa GRA and others are currently enjoying potable water from that plant which cost the government N5.6billion. And it was financed solely with the resources of the state government. After that one, he has started another one that will produce 75 million litres of water. That too will cause N5billion.”

The 43-year-old director of press, who earned a Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Mass Communications from the Bayero University in Kano, informs that Kano city alone requires 400 million litres of water every day. And, according to him, Shekarau’s administration will not relent until water flows in every home in the metropolis.

But all the governor’s efforts aren’t just in the provision of water alone. On roads, the governor’s spokesman says Shekarau’s administration also deserves a pat on the back.

His words: “When we came in, most of the roads were in a terrible condition. They were bad. The governor then embarked on massive road re-construction. He embarked on the reconstruction of six-lane roads, six of them, using the funds from the excess crude oil which we are lucky to get as a result of the high price in the oil market in the recent past. The roads are costing the state government more than N10 billion.

Each of the six roads will have six lanes, new traffic lights, new street lights. It’s a complete reconstruction. By the time these are completed, Kano will look great.”
And in the health sector, the gentleman says the governor has spent quality time and money in ensuring that great health facilities befitting Kano’s status as an important urban centre are provided for the city’s dwellers. As soon as you broach the subject, he immediately reels out the governor’s efforts at improving the health sector.

“There is the Lamido Crescent 100-bed hospital opposite the SSS headquarters which is being constructed. It’s costing the state government N1.3 billion. The completion period is around March/April. There is a paediatric hospital and the foundation laying ceremony has also taken place. That one will cost the state government N2billion. The state government also bought a hospital from a private concern, Asmaru Memorial Hospital, and converted it into a kidney and urology specialist hospital. The state government bought it for over N200million and renovated and equipped it. So far, the government has spent about a billion naira on it.

“Our main general hospital, the Murtala Mohammed Hospital, has also been expanded. New blocks were constructed. Doctors’ quarters were built within the complex because the governor said doctors must be living in the vicinity of the hospital. These are apart from the small clinics within the city itself. And we opened over seven of them last year alone.”

Mallam Sule is also excited that the federal government picked Kano as one of the urban centres to be upgraded into mega cities. But he says the Shekarau administration has started turning the state capital into a megacity even before the federal government came with its idea. And in his words, when the projects being executed by the government are completed, Kano would be wearing a brand new attire.
“All the link roads to the government house, including Commissioner Road, Kashim Road, Sokoto Road, they are all going to be reconstructed completely with street lights and other facelifts,” he said. “Even the Government House will wear a new look. We are having new fencing, new gates and new landscaping. Next year, there are two roads that will come up in Sabon Gari. Two new ones have been completed already, and two are coming up.

So you can see that the idea of the mega city has started even before the federal government’s idea came up. When all these projects are completed, even without the mega city idea, we can call our city a mega city.”

The 43-year old government’s spokesman also gives the governor an A+ in his support for the police and other security agencies in the state. He explains that the governor has taken certain steps to ensure that peace continues to pervade the entire state. What are those steps, you seek to know. His response: “Whether there is a problem or not, every month, the governor sits with his security chiefs where they review the security situation and take measures. Another thing which is the secret behind the relative peace we are experiencing in the state is that the governor has embraced all the security agencies as his personal staff. He refused to be gagged by the fact that the security agencies are federal government organizations. He embraced them. Their problem is his problem, their welfare is his welfare. He is so concerned about them and they are so happy with him. Since he came into power, he has given out three sets of vehicles to the police. With the governor’s support, the crime rate in the state has drastically dropped.”

The government is also planning big for the city’s industrial sector. According to Sule, the government got a conglomerate of investors who will soon build a market in the city to be known as Kanawa Trade Centre. The project, he notes, will cost about N15 billion naira.

“There is a hotel there, there are stores, there is a parking lot. All these big lorries will no longer be coming to town. There are places where they will offload their goods and small lorries will be bringing them into town. The project is on and it’s along Zaria Road,” he says.


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