MUHAMMAD KABIR reports on the resolve of the Governor Abdullahi Gandujeled administration to introduce a new economic model in the ancient city of Kano with the Kano Economic City project
There is no doubt that it takes concerted efforts to change old ways of doing things.
This, perhaps, explained why Kano State governor, Abdullahi Gnadue, while trying to clarify the public- oriented intent of his government’s handling of some public properties in the state for the overall development of the state, described those politicising the effort as primitive people “who cannot see beyond their noses.”
He made the declaration recently during an inspection tour to the multi-billion naira Kano Economic City, sited in Dangwauro area on Zaria road, a few kilometres away from the metropolitan city.
On the Triumph Newspapers building, popularly known as Gidan Sa’adu Zungur, he challenged said: “For those critics who don’t even understand the practice of modern journalism, it does not require such a big building for the production of newspapers.
We are turning the building into a modern Foreign Exchange Market.” He added that operators at Waper Bureau-De-Change Market would be relocated to the building, while advising his critics to always understand an issue before delving into it.
According to him, “people should be reminded that Triumph Newspaper was forced to stop production by the past administration and it was closed for many years before we came to power.”
Asking a rhetorical question, he said: “Who then is to be blamed between those who killed the company and those who understand the relevance and importance of the company and brought it back? Daula Hotel has become obsolete, if I can use that concept, and does not in any way depict modern day hotel business. What we are doing now is to modernise the place and put it to good use.
That is why we wonder when these people say such properties are being taken away from public for personal use.” Despite the governor’s explanation, his critics insist that selling of public property at will by the government calls for urgent redress.
They believe that such action lacks largely transparency, and as such, the state government is negating the basic principles and public property disposition. However, Governor Ganduje seems unperturbed as he is focused on his mission of making Kano great again. On the popular Shahuci Motor Park site, Ganduje said the project, which was started by the past administration, but was later abandoned, became a hideout for criminals.
This, according to him, informed the timely intervention of his administration in order to create an enabling environment that could provide more jobs and businesses for the public.
The governor, who stressed that his intervention is an open endeavor, however, decried that “those who don’t seem to get the clear purpose, which is peopledriven and meant to turn such edifices to modern places, have shallow level of understanding and cannot see beyond their noses, while their criticism is embarrassing and ill-conceived.”
He said that when his administration promised to create employment opportunities to Kano citizens, particularly the youth and women, part of the driving force towards achieving that “is how we are creating all these opportunities through modernizing our old-fashioned ways of doing things.” He added: “The Kano Economic City project was conceived 20 years before now but abandoned by previous administrations due to lack of political will, so the project didn’t see the light of the day. But we have shown the political will and you can see the level of work done.” The market project, which is being built on 197 hectares of land, is a One Stop Shop International Market under a Private Partnership Project (PPP) between Brains and Hammers and the Kano State government.
The Project Director, Dr. Abdullahi Hadejia, who spoke with journalists alongside the Chairman of Kanawa Economic City Implementation Board, Muhammad Aliyu, said before they conceived the idea of the market, a survey indicated that 70 per cent of businesses in Kano are from outside the state and the country.
“The target of setting up the market on the main entrance into Kano and along the main highway is to ensure that anybody coming to do trading would have easy access to buy and to transport his goods,” he explained.
Hadejia further explained that the two phases of construction would accommodate GSM and Drug markets, with the Pharmaceutical/ Drugs market having a Coordinated Wholesale Centre (CWC), which is a Federal Government’s drugs control concept.
He noted that the CWC was created by the Federal Government to curtail drug addiction, grug abuses and sales of fake drugs, adding that the drugs market will have six blocks, each accommodating 284 shops. Similarly, the market is to accommodate Nigeria’s largest textile market, which is billed to come up in phase three of the project.
According to him, the third phase will also accommodate a trailer terminal that will allow 250 trucks coming in to load or to unload at a time. Similarly the market will have small scale industries, with hotels, a police station, a fire-fighting office and a clinic. The idea, according to the Project Director, is to have a market that will serve as an international trade centre.
Hadejia disclosed that it was planned that the project would be completed in in six years but with interests so far shown on the project by relevant stakeholders from within and outside Nigeria; it would be completed in less than six years. He said that materials being used for the project are 100 per cent Nigerian, with citizens of all cadre partaking in the contracts.
This, he explained, ensured that locals who are not big contractors are accommodated. During the inspection tour, Governor Ganduje, who was impressed with the level of progress on the project, particularly the section designed to house drug marketers, said traders would be relocated from all markets to the new Economic City Modern Market.
“With this modern drug market, we are so sure of further doing away with peddling of fake and counterfeit drugs, drug abuse and drug mismanagement. We are going to have security agencies attached to the market, for instance, officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) will be here.
“The Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) and all other related stakeholders will all be here. So, you can see how we are putting more eyes on drug production, management and control but those who don’t have the capacity to grasp this reality clearly, have started peddling all sorts of unguided statements.”
The Project Engineer of the market Engr. A.S. Yunusa assured the governor that the drug marketers section of the market would be completed and commissioned by the end of January.
Governor Ganduje, who appealed to Kano citizens to rush and own shops at the market, said: “We use Public Private Partnership to boost our economy.
This Economic City has over 10,000 shops; there are banks, hotels, restaurants and police stations, among many other facilities all in an effort to make our economy compete favourably.” The governor added that “all our projects will, In Sha Allah, be completed during our tenure.”