Date Published: 04/22/10
About the Kano's 'Unusual GRA' By Saka Raji Audu
Perhaps, the reason why some time Nigeria has always been characterised with bad leadership is simply because we do not learn to appreciate the efforts of good people. In other words, it is some times difficult in Nigeria to show appreciation to people that have distinguished themselves in the art of governance; else one would be termed as sycophant, bootlicker, etc. This is however not one's concern provided one's conscience is clear in whatever one does.
As a result of the unfortunate culture of deliberately or otherwise pointing accusing finger at our enemy that we know very well has not done wrong, we always tend to give room to real bad people to take over the stage, thereby causing more harm than good. Thus, glorification of bad people at the detriment of good ones has always been our practice and this attitude has never moved us forward. Why do people some times chose to glorify bad at the detriment of good rarely beat one's imagination? Perhaps, the quick answer to this puzzle might be sentiment and the desire to run down whoever is not in our good record because of our vaulting ambition.
I have the opportunity to read a two- page feature on "Kano's Unusual GRA by one Lawan Danjuma Adamu in the Daily Trust of Wednesday, April 21, 2010, pages 14 and 15. After going through the piece, one could not but to honestly believe that the essence of such lopsided piece at this period in time is basically not what the author pretends to show but to simply portray Kano GRA and her environ in bad light for reason best known to him. Don't crucify me yet, I have my reason for making this assertion.
A day before Danjuma's follow up feature article, the Daily trust had in its front page of April 20 , 2010 placed unusual scene captioned, "Street beggars scavenging at a refuse dump in GRA Kano yesterday." It is unusual because such scene is a common sight of beggars, not only in GRA but almost in all the cities of Nigeria. So, it is not a newsworthy event. It is not quite long ago documentary news was aired on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which portrayed the city of Lagos as a slum. But where interest is involved, any type of photograph can be conspicuously displayed on the front page to achieve certain targeted result. Methinks that Daily trust binocular should have also captured that of Lagos City and perhaps else where.
However, the aim of such unusual front page photograph of the Daily trust became known in the so called star feature anchored Lawan Danjuma Adamu titled "Kano's unusual GRA" where in spite of the great achievements recorded in the area of road construction and rehabilitation in Kano GRAs, the author chose to satisfy his paymaster by hammering on certain vested interest of Kano GRA.
For the fact that the Bompai residents in Nassarawa GRA opposed house numbering tax of N2,000 per house does not make Kano GRA unusual. After all, it is not only Bompai residents that make up Kano GRA. While government has the responsibility to take good care of her GRA, the author of Kano's unusual GRA should not have negated the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by private GRA residents on their private streets and roads. It is also interesting that the author enumerated in his feature the importance of tax on the activities of government, which perhaps is evaded. We also understand that only the well-to-do in the society are usually found in a place known as Government Reserved Area, GRA. It is however expected that the residents of the vexed areas or streets mentioned by the author should be in position to assist the government to take care of their residential houses and streets without necessarily waiting for government to always come to their aid. This is why most poor people are not found in GRA because it takes a lot to be a member of such reserved area.
One of the chief functions of government at whatever level is the provision of basic social amenities such as provision of sound basic education, health, roads, portable water, housing, food, security, etc. These are in addition to many other statutory functions that the law stipulates for the government. Unfortunately however, the resources available for the government to take care of the social needs and wants by the people are so limited that the government alone cannot just provide every thing required for progress and development. This is why it becomes imperative for a responsible government to arrange needs according to preferences.
As the government battles with this critical option, the essence of Private- Public Partnership comes to focus as a way of assisting the government in the provision of the social facilities to the people. This brings us to the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is very much cherished in the Southern part of the country where individuals, corporate establishments and multi national bodies working in that part of the country budget some percentages of their income to carry out social services for the people, aimed at reducing the huge burden on government. Indeed, this type of self help project fastens development in any society. Unfortunately however, in most part of the North, the idea of Private Public Partnership cum Corporate Social Responsibility is not given much priority attention it requires. This is chiefly because, perhaps, people in this part of the community seem to so much rely on what the government alone can provide for them, which in most cases, might not be possible.
Consequently, as a way of awakening the public consciousness on the role of CSR in fast tracking development, some state governments in the North especially Kano, have tried to bring about such public awareness on the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility to the door step of financial institutions and corporate establishment. It is in this retrospect that the bourgeois class resident in Kano GRA should also believe in the beauty of CSR to help themselves or simply check out of that zone because it is simply for Government Reserved Area, GRA. For instance if one is able to use N40 million to build a house, what stops one from investing mere N3million into the maintenance of the house environment for one's comfort? It is therefore funny and unusual to hear that people who chose to live in GRA are complaining of their streets and roads that are not up to one kilometer. If this is the case, what would the common man that constitutes 80 percent of the populace say? It is in the light of this that the uninformed feature of Danjuma's Kano's unusual GRA should be seen and thrown to the dogs.
Above all, it is sad to note that Danjuma's piece on Kano GRA only centre on private residential roads/streets where bourgeois class lives but the author failed woefully to highlight and mention the tremendous improvements on the public roads and streets as Ibrahim Taiwo road, State road, BUK road, Zoo road, France road and many other roads in GRA Kano suburbs that now become mini-London, courtesy of the People's Governor, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau.
No investigative star feature can stand the test of time if it is lopsided. Whatever is the aim and purpose of Danjuma's feature on Kano's so called unusual GRA, the fact is that he stated it in his article that, "the last major road repair in 20 years, investigation has revealed, was the one done two years ago on Durbin – Katsina road by the State Government." This is wonderful! It means that all the governments that administered Kano in the last 20 years, only the Shekarau-led administration did something marvelous, Ma Shallahu! Going by this revelation in Danjuma's piece, who does he now want to blame and for what purpose?
As for the issue of refuse and dustbin scavengers, it gladdens the heart that the state House of Assembly is already looking into the matter. Hitherto, we have seen many new trucks purchased by Shekarau administration for refuse disposal. Effort should be made by the authority concern to see to it that with those trucks on ground, things should be made right and all hands must be on deck by every citizen in the state to ensure that refuse are properly disposed and quickly too.
It is now established that there is nothing unusual in Danjuma's Kano's unusual GRA. No matter the interest involved, as an informed journalist, he should have called a spade a spade by enlightening our big men in GRA the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility, which they have always shy away from, only to expect government to always do every thing for them, knowing full well that the common people especially the under privileged are more in need of government's assistance than what they would like to think. It is hoped that one day the GRA residents will not cry of government not sweeping their rooms. Most worrisome is that by not talking about the other major areas of achievements of government, the author together with his paper demonstrated lack of balance and fairness and this is highly regrettable, sad and unfortunate.
Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email; firstname.lastname@example.org