President Muhammadu Buhari's much-awaited and symbolic two-day official visit to Kano has begun yesterday. The historic visit is intended to thank the people of Kano state - which has genuine, loyal and die-hard supporters of the President more than any other state in the federation - for their relentless support in all his political undertakings. During the visit, President Buhari is scheduled to commission, inspect and lay the foundation stone for some major infrastructure development projects by the administration of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. It is also envisaged to bring cheering news to Kano, which arguably occupies the enviable position of the commercial centre of the North, in terms what the federal government intends to do for the President's support base.
Projects to be commissioned by the President during this maiden official visit included Panshekara/Madobi Underpass, 250-bed capacity Giginyu Specialist Hospital, 250 bed capacity Paediatric Hospital, Zoo Road, 25-30 metric tonnes production capacity new fertilizer blending plant at the state Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO) and the 2.1-kilometre CBN Quarters/Maiduguri Road/Zaria Road project. The President is expected to inspect ongoing construction projects at the 2, 0002-bedroom affordable housing units along Kwanar Gurjiya; Kofar Ruwa Interchange and Ultra-Modern Integrated Skills Acquisition Centre along Zaria Road. There will also be a stone-laying foundation for over 10, 000 wholesale and retail shops capacity Kano Economic City along Zaria/Maiduguri Highway.
Given the level of progress recorded in just a span two and a half years in office, the Ganduje Administration considers no other person more befitting to commission such major development projects it executed than the President himself. With a desirable capacity to ensuring that Kano works for its people, coupled with the desire for positive change-spearheaded by the President himself-the projects slated for commissioning by Mr President may be just a tip of the iceberg. A number of major infrastructure development projects, inherited or initiated, have been executed by the Ganduje administration, which may not have the attention of President Buhari due to the exigencies of office.
It may interest the President that the governor, having inherited over 2, 000 on-going projects from the previous administration, and in fulfilment of his electioneering campaign promises to the people of the state, took giant strides in the aspects of major unfinished infrastructure development projects bequeathed to his Administration by the previous governments and initiating more people-oriented projects.
Governor Ganduje also looked into the infrastructural deficit in Kano state and what could be done to open up more towns and villages by reconstructing existing roads and constructing new ones, rehabilitating bridges and doing new ones, renovating schools and colleges, hospitals, and generally creating the necessary environment for new investments and foreign capital.
In the last two years in office, Ganduje has ensured the completion of inherited road projects and construction of several new township roads in urban and semi-urban areas including local government headquarters. His government also invested in major roads and feeder roads to link commercial centres with rural communities.
The President may not have the opportunity to pass through some of the road projects inherited and completed that included Post Office Road, Dorawa Road, Gurin Gawa-Maidille Road, Niger Street, Lagos Street, Kofar Dawanau/Yantaya Road, Ahmadiyya Road, Kwankwaso Town Road network, Lamido Road, Sultan Road, Yusuf Road, Kwairanga Road, construction of Hotoron Arewa road and drainage network, Babban Kwari Badawa-Bala Barodo Road, Lamido Terrace, Kawo Road, Tiga-Rurum-Rano Road, Kwanar Zira-Zaura-Dungurawa Road, Mobile Police Barrack-CBN Quarters Road, Panshekara-Madobi Junction-Panshekara Town, Upgrading/dualization of Sheik Mahmud Salga Road, expansion/dualization of Zaria Road.
The rest are continuation of Murtala Muhammed Bridge, Prince Abubakar Audu Underpass, Kofar Gadon Kaya, construction/dualization of Dakata-Bela Road Phase II, Rehabilitation of Farm Centre/Marhaba Road, construction of Gidan Zakka Aminu Kano way - Kofar Waika - Tudun Rubudi - Gadan - Dango - Garin Iya - Danguguwa - Karas - Haga road.
As the President's motorcade went round the city, he may need to see new projects initiated that include Kanti Kwari Market Road network, Dakata-Bela Road Phase II, Kings Garden-Kwanar T/Wada-T/Murtala Road, Abdullah Bayero Road, Kwanar Dawanau-Dandishe-Kwanar Madugu Road Phase II, Court Road Sabon Gari, New Road Sabon Gari, Rumfa Shehu Road network, Rijiyar Zaki, Gwaro-Dan Suda Road, Gidan Boss-Katsina Road, Gurjiya-Yankatsari-Rijiyar Gwangwan Road.
Other major projects the President may not be a chance to inspect or commission include the dual urban renewal and rural transformation programmes. Under the urban renewal programme tagged: LUNGU Kal Kal aimed at modernization of narrow streets and pathways in Kano city, re-enforced concrete line drainages are being constructed with the provision of cover slabs, fitting interlocking tiles as well as the installation of street lights along the lanes crisis-crossing localities in the old city. The rural transformation programme tagged: KARKARA SALAMU ALAIKUM, on the other hand, is an integrated rural development programme intended to provide rural areas with good road networks that will link the areas to Kano metropolitan. Many rural communities have been opened up through the construction of 500-kilometre roads across the 38 local government areas in the state.
Infrastructural projects executed in the education sector, include the construction of 348 new classrooms including provision of 6,960 sets of equipment across the state, execution of rehabilitation of blocks of classrooms and distribution of instructional materials, provision of 3-seater desks and chairs in the state's public schools by the Education Promotion Committee, sustenance of scholarship for indigents students in foreign, public/private local universities and institutions of higher learning.
As promised by Ganduje, the health sector also receives a facelift with upgrade of many health facilities to include Dawakin Tofa Cottage Hospital to a general Hospital, upgrade of Middle Road, Sabon Gari from Primary Health Centre to Maternal and Child Health Centre/provision of state of the art equipment, which were all commissioned by the minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewale, completion and commissioning of renovation of Dambatta General Hospital, renovation of Yadakunya Leprosy Hospital; renovation and construction at School of Health Technology, Bebeji etc.
The administration also established two permanent Artificial Insemination Centres at Kadawa and Dambatta, procurement of two combine harvesters; provision of the sum of N100 million soft loan to rice/wheat farmers to acquire seeds for improved production; employment of 729 women and youth as Agricultural Extension Workers, distribution of 5,000 water pumps for irrigation farmers, construction of 1, 000 tube wells across Fadama sites in the state, among others.
Several infrastructural development projects were also executed in the water sector which included the installation of Raw Water and High lift Pumps at various water works; laying of 1000mm diameter D.I. Pipes from Tamburawa to Hadejia Road (23.1km), rehabilitation and construction of three tube wells each at Wudil Water Treatment Plant; on-going construction of 88 solar powered boreholes, two each within 44 local government areas, on-going rehabilitation of Bagauda Dam etc
On environment, there are projects like fortification of embankment protection along Challawa Road, erosion control at Yaryasa Bridge along Tudun Wada Jos road, construction of drainages at Giginyu quarters in Nassarawa local government, Tudun Wazirchi, Kabara and Chiranchi quarters, , Link 67 Albarka, Dorayi Babba, behind Forestry in Gwale local government, Ja'en in Kumbotso, construction of drainage with cover slabs and interlock at Sharadar Malam 'B' in Municipal council etc.
The President may wish to know that since inception, the Ganduje Administration has implemented policies that will empower the youth and have direct bearing on their lives, through empowerment programmes, job creation, skills acquisition programmes in the field of Education, Agriculture, Healthcare Services, Economic Empowerment among others, which translated to the training and empowerment of more than 50, 000 youth in the above fields.
While the people of Kano anxiously await the arrival of the August Visitor, the Kanawa, known for their unalloyed support for the President, welcome Baba Buhari to his second home, Kano.
Malam Garba is the Hon. Commissioner for Information, Youth and Culture, Kano State.