By Comrade Alhassan Haruna Dambatta
I was amazed and made angry by some people’s response to the Federal Executive Council approval of $1.9billion for the construction of a rail line that will link, Kano-Daura-Jibia-Maradi in Niger.
The approved rail project was conceived in the first tenure of President Muhammad Buhari and was considered because of its immense economic importance and its potentials in economic and Social integration, easy flow of commodities, promotion of trade and movement of people and goods.
The rail when completed will promote African integration and equally promote easy access between two African countries which the AU and ECOWAS were trying to promote and uphold, so, to ask if such a project has any importance to the people of the geographical location is to say the least, is a hypocrisy of the highest order.
This is why it didn’t come to us as a surprise when an opposition party together with other southern civil society organizations started advocating against the idea of giving the north and in particular Kano state a befitting infrastructure that will promote it out of the cocoon of underdevelopment it presently found itself.
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The proposed rail line when constructed will promote economic opportunities for northern Nigeria because Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna and other close by northern states can easily access refined petroleum products from Niger Republic new refinery, this is in exception of our northern businesses getting opportunities for supplies of products and commodities which Niger Republic as a country depends on Nigeria for its supply for centuries.
You can easily see why such project is undergoing serious criticism from the South West and the South East, the reason is not far fetched because, whilst, the rail line from Lagos to Ibadan is already completed, the Ikpe-Warri is put to use, the Niger bridge is almost completed, their major roads paved and reconstructed by the use of Sukuk funds, those of the northern Nigeria are stalled and sabotaged by the same people who are shouting over a 200km rail line that is of immense economic importance to us.
The Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road is already sabotaged because only 26killometres out of the more than 400 kilometers were completed with a completion date which out of it only 9months is left.
The Ibadan-Kaduna-Kano rail line is nowhere to be found years after approval were given, and now the kano-Daura-Maradi rail line is being called all sort of names because is meant to ensure the progress and Development of northern states in Nigeria, if this is not a sabotage what else is it.
The north especially Kano State have been and is still being shortchanged in the comity of states in Nigeria as every project so proposed to bring Development to us is furiously criticize by the southwest and their collaborators in the southeast because they understood and acquired the knowledge of how to shortchange and underdeveloped us.
This is unacceptable and we want our detractors to understand that Nigeria is for every one of us and their indiscretions towards us will only remain in history book for future generations to study.
It’s equally unfortunate that our northern leaders are only concerned with issues that will reflect on their political relevance than what concern the generality of the poor people in the north. It’s heartbreaking to see our members of the National Assembly and those of the Senate keeping quiet on issues like this, it’s amazing to hear the quietness of our traditional rulers, local politicians and stakeholders in the face of economic sabotage against the north and in particular Kano State.
Why must they keep quiet? What importance do they have to us if they cannot defend our interest and rights? Do they think we will need them again to represent us in the coming elections? No, never, they are of no use to us.
Whilst we thank the president for ensuring that funding for this project was provided and approved, we wish to call on him to ensure that he supervise its implementation so that the project will see the light of the day because history will record it against his name and no one else, so he has a duty to make sure the rail line is laid in time so that the north will see one thing it can be proud of electing the present government.
For saboteurs of our development, we call on them to frail out of their hatred and allow us in the north and most especially in Kano State to enjoy the dividend of Democracy which they have been enjoying since the inception of this administration. What is good for the goose is also good for the gender.
Comrade Alhassan Haruna Dambatta, Chairman Kungiyar Matasan Kano Advocacy organisation can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org