Now political campaigns and elections are over. The winner has been declared and the loser has chosen a court option to seek for redress. I cannot see anything new or strange about this; this is normally what trails elections in Nigeria and perhaps other African countries. What I am concerned about the most is the future of Kano State.
It is true Kano State is the most populous state in the country and, the biggest democracy. The ever-present influx of people into the commercial nerve centre in search of a greener pasture adds a dint of complexity to its setting.
Interestingly, against all odds the state has recorded lower index of drug abuse in recent time; but the number of rudderless, misguided and unemployed youth coupled with the Almajiri phenomenon is on the rise and staring us dead in the face.
Nevertheless, many expect things to go down well with this my dear state, taking into consideration the governor’s speech at the inauguration of Kano Transition Committee two weeks ago. The governor pledged to run an inclusive government, whose light, gentle wind will touch every nook and cranny of the state. So the composition of the committee justifies; people more or less from all walks of life have been carefully plugged in.
More so, I personally capitalize on the governor’s gripping speech at Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, during the presentation of certificate of return by INEC, this month to envisage light at the end of the tunnel.
The “Future is now” as the governor entitled it, if the content fully implemented, will mend some fissures and discordances created by overheated political campaigns. In addition, this will take the people of Kano State to the next level of political dividends.
As the speech argues, I strong believe that “Our future does not lie in any of the things that we are currently fighting about”. There is no way the future of this great state can be built on dependency or hand out. It must be built on sustainability and self-sufficiency.
However, the speech added “Our future lies in providing the 21st century knowledge and resources to our people. We must by whatever means possible make sure that our state becomes an attractive destination for investment and business with focus on development of our human capacity”.
Investment in health is indispensable to improve the quality of life of our people. And since agriculture is our mainstay, we must ensure huge investment to increase output and thereby unlocking more doors for additional economic growth.
Despite these calculated steps taking by the governor aimed at improving the standard of education, opening more floodgates of economic growth, creating more jobs and improving health quality of our people, I can see a hurdle, as huge and tall as it is, towering above all the hurdles the governor has so far cleared.
It all started on March, 23, 2019, when some disgruntled individuals took it to the streets of social media posting pictures of mangled bodies and gory scenes fetched from tribal uprisings or accident scenes outside Nigeria’s shores and captioning them with inciting statements to black-paint the supplementary election in the state. The truth is that we have not experienced perfect elections in this country yet.
Who thought the great Olawale Olaleye of ThisDay newspaper would write the following lines in piece “Why Kano election will not stand”?
“But that confidence and pride of place of the kano people was bruised penultimate weekend, when during the supplementary election for the governorship category (sic) of the 2019 elections, the electoral field was ceded to thugs and the choice of who emerged leader of the state was at the mercy of political scoundrels, who intimidated, harassed, maimed, killed and practically dished out orders to electoral officers on the direction they wanted the voting that was to determine the eventual winner of an election that was earlier declared inconclusive.”
Those outside Kano State had every reason to form maniacally cannibalistic images of maimed bodies and puddles of blood in the streets of Kano State then, if they were to reason with such sources. Why? It is this: propaganda has that extraordinary ability to pollute the minds of especially the masses.
I can see nothing wrong with Olawale Olaleye urging the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf, to go to court. Court is meant for justice. What I frown at is the grimly harrowing pictures the veteran journalist tried to engraft to the real happening in Kano then. Neither was he somewhere near Kano nor could the anonymous eye witness(es) he cited provided him with beyond-the-reasonable-doubt circumstantial evidences before painting a gory picture of the situation.
There is something more at stake than this. It is called the “future of Kano State”. It takes a meditative mind to learn that the threat posed by the spread of misinformation will not augur well for the state. Fake news, argued an educationist, does not only threatens democratic process since democracy somewhat depends on people’s debate and decision based on what they are being informed; but also sets one section of the society against another.
On Thursday last week, I listened to a well-orchestrated programme on fuel scarcity aired by one radio station in Kano. As if in movies, the reporter had interviewed some frustrated young men who were queuing all day long. Their responses indicated that almost two-thirds of filling stations in Kano had been shut down. Imagine the long queues and sweating faces. It is left to the reader to guess the target.
What could I do? With the aid of my bike I toured about ten filling stations. Finding them open, I returned home to hear some tricycle operator’s versions of the story since they trot the width and breadth of Kano metropolis. That report by the radio station was proven a big lie.
The danger is this. Any time issues bordering on murder, defamation or internal security in relation to local politics is raised people pay more attention to it. Undoubtedly our society pays more attention to anything negative. It pays more attention to a story of death than good health and failure than success.
Now the carefree peddlers of propaganda have it that the administration is planning to sell the air space of Sabon Gari Market to the detriment of stall owners and heftily tax house owners. Aren’t loud speakers of propaganda drowning out the government’s efforts?
How many know Kiru Reformatory institute is back and has even rehabilitated and graduated hundreds of drug-dependent youth, multi-billion acquisition centre has been established, first ever brain surgery has been conducted in the state or dozens of science lecturers have been sponsored to France on scholarship? Tell me.
“Having a large number of people in a society who are misinformed is absolutely devastating and extremely difficult to cope with,” wrote Stephan Lewandowsky. But what the governor needs at the moment are strong initiatives that will lift Kano State to the next level and foil any attempt at destabilizing the state.
AbdulHamid wrote from Kano and can be reached at [email protected]