By Kehinde Aderemi
In Kano State it is a new dawn for farmers, students, youths and many other groups and individuals.
At a recent encounter, the Commissioner for Information, Youth and Culture, Mallam Muhammad Garba, said the various programmes of the Governor Abdullahi Ganduje administration had started yielding fruits, bringing succour to many in the state.
Daily Sun learnt that one of the sectors undergoing transformation in Kano is agriculture. Indeed, on Saturday, January 7, 2017, the governor inaugurated the Kano State rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. The programme, which was launched at the Kadawa seed processing plant in Garun-Malam Local Government Area of the state, was aimed at making Kano the number one rice-producing state in the country. The state government’s plan, the reporter gathered, is to have Kano producing half of Nigeria’s total rice requirements.
Garba said the state has put plans in place to ensure that farmers that benefitted from the 2016 loan scheme return the money, so that the next batch of farmers would benefit from the N1 billion loan intervention from the state government. A total of 5,000 farmers benefited from the current facility, each receiving about N163,710 per hectare, totalling about N906 million.
A hectare is expected to produce 60 bags of rice. According to estimates, 13 bags, when sold at the current market price, are enough to repay the loan, while 47 bags could be retained as profit for the farmer.
The commissioner also asserted that past governments in the state failed to fix the health sector, such that, over the years, health facilities in the state have fallen into disrepair and dilapidation. But he stated that the negative trend would soon become history because the state government has started receiving equipment worth billions of naira for the two prominent hospitals in the state, which would soon be opened by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The equipment includes a CT scan machine, 64 Slice, digital x-ray machine, digital mammography machines and several others.
Garba expressed hope that the two hospitals, when completed, would “address the influx of patients seeking medical attention locally and internationally.”
The commissioner said the revolution in the health sector was extended to the Kano State Ministry of Health and the Primary Health Care Management Board. In his words, the state government has commissioned the installation of V-Sat for e-recording and e-consultation at the Dambatta General Hospital, in collaboration with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC): “That is in addition to the use of vaccination tracking system/global positioning system (VTC/GPS) used to determine coverage by immunisation teams during routine immunisation campaigns.”
He also noted that, at the beginning of this year, the state’s youth empowerment programme recorded a major boost when about 250 youths in the state received a new computer each along with Internet modem and N5,000 cash.
The programme was to meant enhance information and communication technology in the state through hands-on training, teaching the youths how ro cope with modern-day ICT challenges. A good number of the youths were also trained in automobile engineering.
The commissioner spoke on education in Kano.
His words: “In the past, Kano State had challenges in the education sector, resulting from a number of factors. These include poor enrolment of pupils, infrastructural decay, and girl-child issues, among others.
“Before Dr. Ganduje became governor of the state, there were only 25,000 habitable classrooms out of the 30,000 available, whereas the total requirement was 45,000 classrooms. There were also only 18,000 toilets as against the total requirement of 35,000, while three-seater pupils’ desks were only 198,832, against the need of 914,000. Apart from these, instructional materials were inadequate while teachers’ morale was worrisome, making a large number of the teachers in the state unqualified practitioners.”
However, he said the governor has since been correcting the mistakes of the past.
One of the measures Ganduje introduced was to access the counterpart funding of about N2 billion, to enable quick rehabilitation of classroom blocks to replace the decrepit ones, the commissioner said.
He subsequently told Daily Sun that “libraries were built, water boreholes constructed while 15,000 pieces of furniture and instructional materials were procured.”
Garba explained that the governor’s policy was hinged on the maxim that education should not be the sole responsibility of government. He expressed regrets that education in Kano State was negatively affected because everything was left in the hands of government.
“The governor’s new policy of ‘Education for All, Responsibility for All’ is aimed at making everyone feel some sense of responsibility for the development of education. That is why N440 million was allocated as take-off grant for the Education Promotion Committee, with N10 million for each of the 44 local governments across the state,” Garba said.
The grant was to fund and rehabilitate 490 blocks consisting of 981 classrooms as well as provide 7,915 three-seater desks and various instructional materials.
“Apart from this, about 10,000 female students were trained in a summer coaching programme, and it was an instant success across the state, with all the students passing their common entrance examinations,” he said.
Last month, over 3,500 vigilante group members benefited from the launch of the 2017 Literacy Programme, which Garba said was to help increase literacy among members.
At the event, items like books, bags and other writing materials were distributed freely by the state government.
“Governor Ganduje, in his characteristic manner, said the vigilante members were an integral part of the security apparatus in the state, and they have aided the sustainability of peace in Kano.