it was one of the seemingly ordinary statements issued by Mohammed Garba, on behalf of his principal, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State. But the volley of reactions, especially from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has since demonstrated that in politics, nothing is an accident. And nothing is taken for granted!
Some few days back, Garba, Commissioner for Information, disclosed that government would not hesitate to bring down the famous Kofar Nassarawa flyover constructed by the immediate past governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. He said there were challenges with the flyover project, which is situated at the entry post to the ancient city, looking down at the palace of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero.
But the statement was challenged by those who read and saw nothing more than politics in his remarks. Could this be another attempt to discredit the former administration? Is there really a serious crack and crush in the structure?
Is Ganduje paying back Kwankwaso in his own coin, after all, the Kwankwaso administration once mocked the quality of a flyover ((Gadsn Lado) constructed by the Federal Government under the Jonathan administration? The troubling questions that bugged the public’s mind were certainly more than one.
In a quick rebuttal, PDP sprang up to dispute the deficit assertion and defend its legacy. Its former gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Aminu Abdulsalam, who was at the time of the construction of the project the Commissioner for Project Monitoring, stated that the Kofar Nassarawa flyover was a functional infrastructure that was designed and constructed to last for 100 years.
He argued that two years after the people of Kano State “rejected” the governor at the polls, “the governor has elected to take his pound of flesh on the people by the obliteration of Kano’s historical and cultural monuments and other landmarks that gave Kano its identity.
“We are witnesses to how the administration ignominiously oversaw the calamitous demolition of functional public institutions and structures and the butchering of public land and properties for sale to the highest bidder, not minding over-riding public interest.
“We are also witnessing how the governor demolished and sold the Shahuci ultramodern three-storey Parking Lot, the Hajj (Pilgrims) Camp, Daula Hotel, Tukuntawa Radio Station, Kano City Wall, Kofar Mata Eid Ground, Fagge Jumma’a Mosque, Kano Polytechnic staff quarters, Triumph Publishing Company premises, etc.
“It is on record that recently the governor attempted to relocate the 50 years Kano Zoological and Botanical Garden which is on 53 hectares of land for the sole purpose of selling the land for commercial gains.
“It is therefore sheer outlandish falsehood that the Kofar Nassarawa flyover is collapsing. Apparently, we have it on good authority that the governor is merely trying to justify the demolition of the flyover just so as to butcher the land for sale
Let me issue a word of advice and warning to the government and those scrambling to buy these public properties to note that the people of Kano would not fold their arms and watch the state assets being ravaged.
“Come 2023 when Ganduje would have ended his illegitimate rule the incoming Kwankwasiyya administration will take every necessary measure available to reclaim all the public properties misappropriated by the Ganduje administration. A word they say is enough for the wise.”
Abba Kabiru Yusuf also joined the fray. In a letter to the firm who constructed the project, TEC Engineering, he observed that it had come to their notice that government had alleged that there were structural defects on the Kofar Nassarawa multi- million flyover bridge that initiated and constructed by their administration:
“It was further alleged that the bridge was sinking and the concrete was crushing. As a patriotic citizen of the state, I find it very necessary to bring your attention to this malicious assertion and to request your indulgence to conduct a investigation on the quality and stability of the bridge from its date of completion to this date.
“It is my wish that you forward the findings of your investigation, bearing its lifespan and any other related information that might help in dismissing the spurious claims of the state government.”
He urged the company to take the letter with all the seriousness it deserves as the members of the public plying the bridge are desirous of an answer that would assure them of the durability of the bridge.
In its response, the firm declared government’s claim as spurious. Its managing director, Lin Zhengliang, stated that the project had been investigated by their structural engineers along with other relevant professionals and found to be road worthy and in good condition.
The firm said the structural works of the bridge was guaranteed to last for a minimum of 80 years starting from the date of its completion in 2015
It added that after they completed the said bridge, they were awarded several other contracts by the Ganduje administration, saying that if they were defective in the discharge of their assigned duty, the administration would have blacklisted them by now
The firm implored the parties involved in the present controversy and their principals not to drag them into the political arena as they were just contractors doing their legal business in the state.
A top government official who spoke to Daily Sun, but begged not to be named, observed that the bridge actually had structural challenges, being investigated to determine the extent of risk it poses to the public and users of the flyover.
He stressed that even the comment by Garba was not declarative that a decision to pull down the structure had been taken: “It is just a side comment where he noted that it was not impossible for the bridge to be pulled down if the defect was enough a risk to the public.
Even in near by Kaduna State, a completed structure like this one was reconstructed by the administration after it was established that the lives of the members of the public were at risk.”
He defended the administration over allegation of selling public properties, saying that all the structures mentioned in the allegation were ill-informed: “They missed the fact that these projects were only being reassigned to more profitable and enterprising roles for the people of Kano as against their previously dormant and trophy – like postures, where they had lingered as memories of a glorious past.”