Ohanaeze Ndigbo Kano state chapter has observed and identified some laudable infrastructural projects going on in the metropolitan area of the commercial city of kano state. We have also looked at other human development projects being championed by the Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso’s government. In as much as we commend the Governor for his desire to transform Kano, we are taken aback by what has been proven to be absolute abandonment of Sabon Gari axis, an enclave exclusively reserved for the non-natives in kano.
As the apex Igbo cultural organization in Kano, and taking cognizance of the fact that over 90 per cent of the inhabitants of Sabon Gari in Kano are Igbos, we frown at the Kano state government’s tactical refusal to arrest stark lack of infrastructural facilities in Sabon Gari where its inhabitants contribute to about 40 per cents of tax generation and other levies in Kano State, with high concentration of commercial activities.
Over the years, Sabon Gari Kano has been relegated in terms of infrastructural and social facilities such as public schools, government hospitals, portable water and good road etc.
We can recall that there used to be about 10 public schools within Sabon Gari. But now, they have been abandoned and converted to commercial shops under the supervision of government agents. It is, indeed, worrisome that today, there is no single functional public school in Sabon Gari. As a result of this, our people pay through their nose to see their children through primary and secondary schools. Even at occasions where the state government runs scholarship programmes, none of our people benefit from the scheme. This is so because it is difficult to send our wards to public schools outside Sabon Gari because of their curricula which are guided by the dictates of Islam.
Also, Ohanaeze Ndigbo is concerned over the inability of successive governments in Kano state to build even one maternity hospital within the area. This is, indeed, a bad situation in an area that has about two political wards. We can recall that in 1988, there used to be a maternity hospital located on France/Court Road Sabon Gari Kano, but was later demolished at the orders of Government agents and was bought over by a certain Kano business man who converted the maternity hospital to commercial shops.
Pregnant women within Sabon Gari are subjected to the exploitation of private hospitals who continue to hike their bills; and those who cannot afford it take risk as they are forced to trek to the city hospitals, even in the night or live at the mercy of quack local doctors or nurses. As a result of this, the rate of maternal mortality continues to rise among non-indigenes resident in the state.
Kano has one of the biggest water treatment plants at Tamburawa axis, very close to the city. We are aware that the Kwankwaso government has taken steps to improve water supply within the Kano metropolitan city, but what beats our imagination is the inability of the government to include Sabon Gari in the water scheme. In Sabon Gari Kano, the taps are dry; and residents have resorted to other alternatives like bore-hole and water vendors who charge and over-charge buyers. Conservatively, Sabon Gari residents spend over N50 million on daily basis buying water which ought to have been one of the obligations of the government.
Motorists in Sabon Gari Kano see hell on the roads every day, despite the fact that the master plan of the area was among the best designed by the late Commissioner of Police, Audu Bako’s government who was the first military administrator of Kano state in the late 60s. Since after the Audu Bako regime, successive governments in Kano have not rehabilitated one single road inside the heart of Sabon Gari, except Igbo Road and Festing/Burma Road which are usually used by politicians to campaign in the area during elections.
Over 50 roads within Sabon Gari have been in deplorable condition, despite the billions of Naira being generated by both Fagge Local Government and the State government from the area. Whenever it rained, motorists and pedestrians in the area go through pains as they struggle to maneuver waters lodges, floods and pot-holes. Drainages in Sabon Gari are in bad shape; and anytime it rains, resident are exposed to communicable diseases, as dirty running water over-flow and flood the compounds. Motorist in Sabon Gari change tyres on weekly basis owing to consistent punctures because of bad roads. Even in the face of this neglect, agents of Kano State Environmental Agency storm the area on daily basis with intimidating security, destroying people’s property with reckless abandon.
We can also recall that during the Governor Kwankwaso’s electioneering campaign in 2011, he had taken residents and stakeholders of Sabon Gari in confidence, promising to alleviate all these problems facing the area; but to our greatest surprise, for over one year running, the Kwankwaso government has not done anything in this direction, even when it is too glaring that residence of this area are suffering. We had expected that the Sabon Gari problem would have been included in Kwankwaso’s maiden budget owing to the fact Sabon Gari residents gave him the votes that gave him victory over the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) government.
Then the pertinent questions remain: has Governor Kwankwaso forgotten so soon, the promises he made to non-indigenes, particularly, Sabon Gari Kano residents? Why is it that successive government in Kano has refused to address the nagging problems facing non-natives in the state? Or is it that the Kwankwaso has special hatred for non-natives in the state, because by this systematic marginalization, one cannot but conclude that the Kano state government is deliberately suffering inhabitants of Sabon Gari simply because they are non-natives?
From our observation, the only ‘good thing’ the Kwankwaso government has done is to appoint non-native Special Advisers without recourse to the relevant of the characters to the community they ought to represent. Taking the Special Adviser of South-East Affairs as a case study, Ohanaeze Ndigbo can categorically state that such appointment was not made in faithfulness and sincerity. We say this because we have not seen any single project being under taken by the Special Adviser that can have direct impact on the Igbos in Kano. Most Igbo stakeholders in the state do not even know that they have a representative in the state government; and Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Kano officially declare such appointment as a ploy to deceive the Igbos and make it look as if we are part of his government. whereas we are not.
As stakeholders in Kano, Ohanaeze Ndigbo demand from the Kwankwaso Government, the plans he has for the Igbos and non- natives in Kano. We control a reasonable percentage of commercial and business activities in the state. Kano is estimated to be the highest population in the country and this is not by accident because Ohanaeze can boast of four million Igbos resident in Kano, despite another huge number of our people that visit the city on daily basis for business activities. We believe that we belong here. Kano gets huge amount from the Federal Government monthly allocation to states, and this is due to its acclaimed huge population of which our people are part of.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, hereby urge the Kwankwaso government to map out a project for the Igbos and Sabon Gari residents in terms of road construction, provision of portable water, security of lives and property, health-care centres and schools for our children etc. We make an urgent call on the governor to alleviate the sufferings of our people. We chose to use the media because Governor Kwankwaso does not give listening ear to non-indigenous stakeholders. We have severally written him for a meeting to discuss issues such as these without getting a reply from him. We do not know if it is part of his policy to shun talks with non-natives or that his handlers deliberately and consistently shield the letters addressed to him.
For and on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,Kano State Chapter.
Hon. Chief Tobias Michael Idika
President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Kano State Chapter.