KANO STATE: Heading the Wrong Way!
By Bashir Kabir
It is not an exaggeration that the burden of the Kano State people’s needs and yearnings for development and strategic planning in running the state is fast surpassing the capabilities of governments ruling the state.
It is very much so for obvious reasons.
Verified information through studies is vital in decision making towards providing solution. The fact that researches relevant to the looming societal problems in Kano State are not carried out to provide baseline for studies that will make available informative data which can be used in planning towards control is the first place to begin.
Or, if such studies were conducted, they were not made available in the public domain or put into use where they matter. Or, simply those in the government responsible to use them have no interest in doing that.
The contention of whether Kano is the most populace state in the country or not is not the focus here.
The apparent population expansion of the state is though.
There could be studies tracking the population explosion and statistical predictions of what it will become in future in the state, and perhaps the inevitable consequences it will eventually entail. Consequences such as poverty level rise, congestion and crime surge in the metropolis, underdevelopment of rural areas, poor health and education access.
Take transportation system within the state for an instance. It is one of the poorest for a state so populous. With all the bridges, underpasses and flyovers, Kano state is still without systematic transportation system that addresses the road congestions and easier commuting. The roads are filled with the dreadful yellow tricycles having a field day bruising paintworks and overall not solving a certain percentage of the state’s commute needs.
Don’t get this wrong, I’m not saying ban those yellow pain in the necks. After all, what plans do you have of employing the thousands of youth working the tricycles? Exactly, no plans. But every visionary thinking mind would agree that this cannot be the future of Kano state, and that alternatives need to be envisioned.
The governments that have been running the state so far don’t seem to have any long term plans that would address not just the transportation problems in the state but also issues such as population boost, crime prevalence etc.
On crime, if you are from Kano you know it is not uncommon to be robbed in day light. Teaming youth neither going to school nor into any useful and productive occupation are readily available, lurking in all corners of the state looking for opportunity to own a smart phone because who doesn’t want one.
On population growth, it is entirely not uncommon sight to see a group of more than ten 3-year old kids playing on the street, or a set of four siblings with just a year interval between them. Not just one street in the state, hundreds of such streets mostly of freshly established neighborhoods.
Also, this not about family planning. To each his own. But, these kids born at an insane rapid rate in the next four years would need seats in a classroom to study. In another 17 years they’d need employment, food, roads to facilitate commuting and housing and healthcare and hundreds of other things expected to come from the government one way or another.
Does Kano state have any five-year plan that addresses any of the looming problems mentioned here and more? If it does, that would be a relief. With the political dicing being more prioritized than anything, this plan would not hold even if it exists. It can be attested at this point that development in rural areas has since slowed down to stoppage due to negligence. Influx of the rural dwellers to the city has helped in further augment the population density. Nonetheless, a long term plan is needed; a plan that can see beyond tenure durations and political calculations.
Splitting the state into two or more for wider and even coverage of development might not be a solution in a near sight, but also one that should be among the state’s aspiration. Everyone in the country is aspiring big, so why not?
The Kano elites, and by elites I don’t mean just the politicians, rather the academics, the seasoned specialists and professional from different fields of expertise need to come together to draw a roadmap for the state in consultation with the government, experts and the relevant international bodies; a roadmap that will address various issues and with clear vision within a timeframe.
I feel we are at the point where states should individually address their peculiar issues that would normally get absorbed and lost in the national noise. We know our states, we know their problems we should aspire to ignore all else and address them squarely.
Mr Kabir writes from Kano.