By Mukhtar Yahya Usman
Rural communities in Nigeria are the most vulnerable societies whereby getting access to infrastructural amenities such as: good road networks, hospitals, clean water, schools and electricity has become an insurmountable challenge.
In Kano state, the level of government presence in rural areas is very negligible, making rural dwellers feel that they are second class citizens who do not deserve modern amenities that make life more comfortable.
Despite billions of naira allocated to the 44 local government areas of the state monthly from federation account, if you go to rural areas you will hardly find tangible projects that merit the amount received.
Due to the policy of keeping joint accounts where state governments take over local government allocation, the money meant for rural communities is being diverted to Kano metropolis, which is dotted by flyovers and underpasses.
Moreover, epileptic electricity supply which is a general problem in Nigeria is worse in many villages across Kano state.
In some villages, electricity may be available only for a cumulative 24 hours monthly for those who have access, a situation that makes life in the rural areas difficult and unattractive to youths.
Poor project execution
Critics assert that various governments, right from Kwankwaso in 1999, to Ganduje in 2018, have introduced various programs for rural people which have not see the light of the day as a result of corruption, favoritism and carelessness.
Nowadays, most rural dwellers in Kano cannot afford three square meals or clean water to drink, making many to troop to Kano city to beg while some little girls who are supposed to be in schools roam the streets hawking.
During the second term of former Kano state governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso 2011 – 2015, he initiated some massive infrastructural development in some rural areas, which include construction of five-kilometer roads in each of the 44 local government areas of the state.
The initiative failed to materialize as most of the projects had been abandoned despite spending billions of naira from the coppers of the state.
As 2019 general election is approaching, the current administration has returned to some of the project site in what is seen as a cynical attempt to attract the votes of villagers who have been complaining of lack of motorable roads and portable water supply for many years without getting proper attention.
When you listen to Radio stations in Kano, the rural dwellers always complain of inadequate road network, which according to them, makes it difficult for farmers to convey their farm produce to markets.
During the outgoing year 2018 some rural communities in Kano witnessed several challenges which include: Cholera outbreak in Dawakin Tofa, Getso in Gwarzo, Bebeji and Dawakin Kudu local Governments areas. Others also affected by the epidemic, include Minjibir, Gezawa, Ajingi, Ungoggo, Gabasawa, Tofa and Wudil local governments areas who also decry lack of portable drinking water, poor healthcare system, and bad roads.
Government doing its best
When asked about the gory tale of the rural communities, Kano state commissioner for rural development Musa Ilyasu Kwankwaso said the state government is doing its best to tackle issues militating against rural development.
The commissioner also highlighted some of the achievements recorded by Kano state government in the year 2018 which include: providing one hundred transformers to rural communities as well as construction feeder roads.
He also debunked the insinuation that government is not doing enough and said the opposition and naysayers are exaggerating the matter in order to tarnish the image of the Abdullahi Umar Ganduje administration.
He added that the state government in collaboration with World Bank will construct 500-kilometer roads in rural areas in 2019.
However, analysts aver that virtually all government initiatives targeted at improving the lives of rural dwellers have failed due to poor planning, corruption and avarice by government officials and their collaborators.
They add that it is unfortunate that, many villagers still fetch water from streams for their domestic use, which led to the water-borne diseases.
And it is not surprising that most of the rural communities in the state have remained rustic and undeveloped all these years in spite of rural development programs launched with fanfare by different administrations.
They therefore advise the present administration to change the narrative by allowing the local government areas to utilize their monthly allocation for the betterment of all.
Ganduje vs Abba: The journey to the Supreme Court
Kano state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenger Abba Kabir Yusuf will know their fate this Monday as the Supreme Court delivers its verdict on the rightful winner of the 2019 governorship election.
In this report, KANO FOCUS recalls the political and legal battles that landed the duo at the Supreme Court.
It could be recalled that 52 candidates including eight women contested for the governorship seat on March O9, 2019.
Trouble began with the reported disruption of collation process at Nassarawa local government by high ranking government officials.
On March 11, the Kano state police command announced the arrest of commissioner for local government, Murtala Sule Garo, and the Chairman, Nassarawa local government, Lamin Sani for allegedly destroying Gama ward election result.
The police also announced that it had taken the Kano state deputy governor, Nasiru Gawuna who accompanied the arrested officials into “protective custody”.
Following this incident, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Riskuwa Arabu Shehu told journalists that the commission would regenerate the election result.
However, the state’s Returning Officer Bello Shehu announced that the election is inconclusive because the number of cancelled votes is higher than the difference between the two leading candidates.
The result announced by INEC, indicated that the PDP candidate polled 1,014,474 votes, while Mr Ganduje of the APC scored 987,819 votes leaving a difference of 26,655 votes.
While the total votes cancelled across 22 local governments including Gama ward of Nasarawa local government were 141,694 votes.
On March 24, INEC conducted supplementary elections at 28 out of 44 local governments of Kano state.
The supplementary election was characterized by violence and voter intimidation by armed thugs.
After the supplementary election, INEC declared Mr Ganduje winner having scored 45,876 votes to Mr Yusuf’s 10,239 thereby upturning the result in his favor.
The Returning Officer, Mr. Shehu, announced that Mr Ganduje scored a total vote of 1,033,695 while Mr Yusuf polled 1,024,713.
The winning margin was 8,982 between the two major candidates.
The PDP and its governorship candidate rejected the result and asked INEC to cancel it.
Election Petition Tribunal
On Thursday April 11th, PDP and its governorship candidate filed a petition against the victory of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje as winner of the March 23 governorship election in Kano State as announced by the INEC.
The petition filed by the party before the governorship election tribunal contended that its governorship candidate, Abba Yusuf, won the March 9 election, as such any result other than that was a nullity.
The party also contended that the supplementary election conducted by INEC was unconstitutional and unlawful.
Mr Kabir-Yusuf told journalists shortly after filing the petition “during the March 9 governorship election, the PDP got the highest votes across the 44 local governments in the state.
“To me as the PDP candidate the only election that took place was on March 9.
“The issue of supplementary election as far as PDP is concerned was an illegality which we reject and have nothing to do with.”
On July 16, counsel to PDP, Adeboyega Awomolo, filed a motion on notice seeking the tribunal to grant his clients leave to amend the names of witnesses and their initials earlier presented alongside the petition.
Counsels to Ganduje and the INEC, Offiong Offiong and Adedayo Adedeji objected to the application and urged the tribunal to dismiss it.
In her ruling, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Halima Shamaki, dismissed the application saying that, “If the application is granted it will overreach the respondents and it will be an abuse of court process.”
However, court of appeal sitting in Kaduna granted the application of governorship candidate of PDP, Mr Kabir-Yusuf, to amend its witness list with additional eight “star” witnesses in his case against Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
Justice Adedotun Adefoke-Okoji, while delivering judgment on the appeal filed by the appellant, granted all the prayers of the petitioner.
Mr Ganduje filed a notice of appeal against the judgment to the Supreme Court, and the apex court upheld the ruling of court of appeal.
On October 2, Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Halima Shamaki had in its unanimous judgment dismissed the petition filed by the PDP and Mr Kabir-Yusuf on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove their claims that the election was marred by irregularities and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The tribunal also held that INEC was right in declaring the March 9 election in Kano State inconclusive and also in declaring Mr. Ganduje the winner of the supplementary election held on March 23.
It also said that declaring an election as inconclusive where there are lawful reasons is constitutional.
Court of Appeal
On April 11 the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate filed a petition at the Appeal Court against the October 2 judgment of the election petition tribunal.
However, in a unanimous decision delivered on November 22, a five-man panel of the court led by Justice Tijjani Abubakar dismissed the appeal by the PDP and its governorship candidate.
The court affirmed the October 2 judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Tribunal, which had dismissed the petition by PDP and its candidate, challenging Ganduje’s victory at the supplementary election.
In protest to the court of Appeal verdict, the PDP filed an appeal at Supreme Court.
On January 14, the court fixed January 20 to deliver its judgment.
March wedding for American woman and Kano based Instagram lover
Maude Rabiu Gwadabe
An American woman Janine Sanchez is set to marry her Instagram lover in March after visiting his home in Panshekara, Kano.
KANO FOCUS reports that Ms Sanchez, 46, fell in love with Sulaiman Isah Isah, 26, after they met about 10 months ago on the social networking platform, Instagram.
Ms Sanchez was visibly happy as she holds Mr Isah’s hand during our interview at a recreational park in Kano metropolis.
“He messaged me on Instagram saying Hi.
“I didn’t respond because I have had experiences with Nigerian scammers.
“But there was a guy messaging me and Sulaiman knew he was a scammer so he said “get a job and quit scamming innocent people.” “So I thought he sounded like a nice guy.”
Mr Isah said he had always fantasized about marrying a white woman and fathering mixed race kids.
“It was a dream come true for me when she responded to my message.
“We continued exchanging messages and our relationship became closer.”
“I therefore invited her to visit me in Kano.” Said Mr. Isah who is originally from Minna, Niger state.
Going to America
Ms Sanchez, a chef based in Lindon, California said she would be taking Mr Isah back to the US after the marriage.
“I have two kids – a boy and a girl – from my previous marriage. As we have joint custody with my ex-husband, I cannot take the kids away from their father.”
Mr Isah, a barber, and a student, popularly known as ‘Babayaro’ said that is not a problem.
“I will be visiting my parents and other relations regularly. And she has agreed that even our future kids will be coming to Nigeria to visit my family.” He said.
Another point of contention is the 20-year age gap between the couple.
However, both have assured KANO FOCUS that it is not important to them.
“I wasn’t looking to date anybody younger than 30 but he is very mature for his age.
“When I talk to him I feel like I’m talking to somebody my age.” Ms Sanchez said.
“The age difference doesn’t matter as Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) married an older woman too. So I’m following in his Sunnah.” Mr. Isah said.
Family happy but wary
Meanwhile, Mr Isah’s family are happy about the forthcoming marriage but worried about the religious implication.
His mother, Mrs Fatima Sulaiman said she has agreed to the marriage and Sulaiman’s relocation to the USA.
“I’m very happy. My whole family have become celebrities in the Panshekara area.
“We are now singled out as the in-laws of a white woman.
“I pray for Allah’s protection as Sulaiman leaves for America.” She said.
However, his elder brother, Yakubu Sulaiman Isa sounded a note of caution.
“This is the will of God. We have only good wishes for the couple.
“But my prayer is that he retains his Islamic religion wherever he finds himself.” He said.
Kano records coldest night, at par with London
Mukhtar Yahya Usman
The early morning hours of Thursday, January 02 have recorded the coldest temperature that will occur in Kano metropolis throughout this harmattan season.
KANO FOCUS reports that Kano metropolis recorded a low temperature of 7°C which is colder than London at 9°C on the same night, according to accuweather.com.
However, during the day London is much colder than Kano at 10°C and 21°C respectively.
Kano residents have taken to social media to decry the cold temperature.
Daily Nigerian publisher, Jaafar Jaafar remarked that it was the first day of the Cold month of 2020 in Kano.
Broadcast journalist, Nasiru Zango asked whether the extreme cold which is personified in Hausa as Jaura was passing by with her husband Jauro, as the cold was too much in his area.
A tailor, Abdullahi Umar asked who is the angel responsible for cold, or is it turned on directly from heaven?
These posts generated a lot of comments and likes from other Kano residents who have experienced the cold night.
However, accuweather.com forecasts that the nights will be getting warmer in Kano as from Friday.
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