By Abdulmajid Mudassir
I dreamt a good dream, a perfect dream about Kano. I consider Kano the best part of myself. Words are indeed scantier than dreams. The Kano of my dream is nearly impossible to describe. It is the Kano that cannot be found elsewhere in a hurry. Dear reader, I will describe it to you.
The Kano of my dream is a society where education is the most valued treasure. It is where primary and secondary education is free, compulsory and easily accessible in the real—not political—sense of the word. The Kano from whose territories illiteracy has entirely vanished. The Kano, where tertiary education is affordable and accessible by anyone who wishes to pursue it. Education is the bedrock of any thriving society. Education is to a society what fresh water is to thirsty lips.
People often say: “health is wealth”. In the Kano of my dream, there is the required number of doctors, nurses, midwives, paediatricians, obstetricians and public health officers who are patriotic and caring. There is also an adequate number of hospitals and materials. Listening to people begging for money via radio stations for medical care is horrific.
Kano has been blessed with seductive fertile lands: there is virtually no farm produce we cannot grow. I dream of Kano growing food in excess.
Is a just society not the best society? I dream of Kano, where injustice of any kind is zero-tolerated. Where the weak can successfully seek redress with ease.
I dream of Kano, where good road networks and potable water in rural areas are available.
I dream of Kano, where there is respect for the values and dignity of women and where the youth are considered the engine of growth.
It has been said that every limit is a beginning as well as an ending. All that you read above are hopes. How can we achieve all our hopes? George Elliott, the author of the Middlemarch, said: “hopes are often delusive.” But is hope not delusive only when the wrong remedies are applied? If we carefully observe, understand and plan for the solutions to our problems, they are surmountable.
Although there is a concentration of pupils in rural areas, primary schools in rural areas give very little or no consideration to knowledge, skills and new ideas needed by these pupils to function effectively in their environment (e.g. farming practice and management, community development, fishing, sheep and goat rearing, hygiene, nutrition etc.). Moreover, the teaching focuses more on recitation and repetition instead of thinking and problem-solving.
The curricula shall be radically reformed. It should incorporate the subjects needed in rural areas. Our primary and secondary schools should not only focus on general but also a family improvement, community development, and occupational education. Failure to do this will cause the youth to drift away from rural areas, eventually leading to more crimes and job lottery in the Kano metropolitan area.
To achieve the above, the government shall reopen teachers’ training colleges. Furthermore, primary schools should observe and prepare pupils who distinguish themselves in terms of sharp thinking, problem-solving and creativity for those schools.
Research shows that not more than 35% of the potentially cultivable lands are used in Kano. Therefore, the government shall revivify our dams, provide more irrigation channels, construct road networks, and provide materials for land improvement in preparation for intensive farming by the teeming unemployed labour force willing to participate in farming.
As a state estimated to have over 15 million people, it is horrific to learn that no manufacturing company produces merely distilled water in the whole state. Government should concentrate more on providing the sophisticated and expensive machines and other materials desperately needed in our hospitals instead of focusing on building new blocks in the existing hospitals where it is unnecessary.
It is now the time for Kano City to develop vertically instead of horizontally in building construction. What if we have multiple twenty-and-above-storey buildings in Kantin Kwari Market? The urban planning authority should help with ways to encourage people to build multiple storeys instead of making several buildings with one level.
Waste materials shall be adequately recycled. In addition, there shall be a widespread plantation of trees.
What seems a foreboding is the emergence of the modern Almajiri system of education. The situation must be handled properly, for it is a time bomb. The system should be reshuffled and incorporated into the modern education system.
Our lack of trusted leaders pains me the most. But, with good governance, we can achieve something meaningful. It is, therefore, a collective responsibility to make sure we go out en masse on election days to vote for suitable candidates.
The leaders know everything except what the followers know better. Therefore, public opinion shall matter in all governmental policies.
All forms of productive competition, such as agricultural produces and writings (such as this), shall be encouraged.
Happiness and sports are always hands in gloves. The Kano Pillars should utilise the legacy of Golden Stars—a founding member club of Kano Pillars. Golden Stars used to select only players who were squarely passionate about football, not money, fame or anything else. That action made them win 32 out of 36 matches in a football tour they took in the late 1980s across West Africa.
If we keep it right, other things will keep it right. If we brave all the difficulties, it may cause to make this state great: a thrice-blessed Kano is attainable. But it is an accumulation of trouble to think that making Kano great is not a collective responsibility. We have no right to urge greater change until we have tried as much as possible to alter the wrongs beneath our hands. Let us work together to make Kano a smaller edition of the terrestrial paradise.
Abdulmajid Musassir is among the winners of the 2022 “The Kano of my dream” writing competition jointly organised by Muhsin Ibrahim, PhD, and The Daily Reality online newspaper. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.