By Alkasim Abdulkadir
One of the most important phrases unifying modern states was the statement made by President Ronald Reagan in a speech to the then Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall, the barrier dividing Eastern and Western Germany. The Challenge was “tear down this wall”. The wall that had become a gulf between brothers; you see walls have always been used by men not only as physical structures but also as metaphors.
From the great walls of China to the walls of Troy and Babylon, to Australia’s Rabbit Proof fence the world has always had mixed feelings when it comes to intimidating walls – from fascination to the feeling of being oppressed. In Nigeria too the city of Kano is famous for its walls; with foundations laid by Emir Gijimasu during his reign from 1095-1134.
According to news reports Gov. Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto is bequeathing to the future governors of Sokoto State and the good people of the state a befitting fence to be constructed at the cost of N772 million. A Daily Trust newspaper report states the reason “In view of the security challenges confronting the nation and the north in particular, Sokoto State government has hinted that it will construct a new perimeter fence round the Government House, Sokoto”.
Former ace broadcaster and now commissioner in the cabinet Danladi Bako further informed newsmen that aside insecurity, another reason was the height of the old fence. Also the pre-cast concrete fence with two high quality car packs will be constructed within four months.
Evidently, on the scale of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we all know that this does not rank very high; but definitely somewhere at bottom of the pyramid.
According to the Statistician-General of the federation Dr. Yemi Kale, releasing the data of the country’s poverty profile for 2010 said Sokoto State had the highest poverty rate of 86.4 per cent. However, the governor has vehemently rejected the appellation of the poorest state. But going by the NBS data, why then should a state with 86.4 percent poverty rate spend N772 Million on constructing a security fence for the government house.
The governor of Sokoto State, presented a budget of N115, 830,000,000, for the 2013 fiscal year it was tagged “Budget of Economic Growth and Peoples Empowerment, it means out of this sum almost a billion naira is going for the construction of this fence.
There are other walls that the sum can build, on the 8th of September last year Governor Wamakko informed a visiting delegation that the devastation that affected 50 villages and submerged 20 others around Rima Basin Dam in Goronyo local government was caused by the release of excess water from the dam, the flood also washed away 4 bridges with one of them impeding access to Usman Danfodiyo University. These funds can be spent in the re-channelisation of the water ways, building of higher embankments and aqueducts to also aid in irrigation farming. Same for other dams like Lugu dam.
N500 million was proposed for the agricultural sector, N272 Milllion less than the great wall, as such the state’s viable agricultural landscape can also receive a boost so that the Sarkin Noma and other 3,000 irrigation farmers in Goronyo and other agricultural settlements in the state can benefit from fertilizer, improved seeds, herbicides and pesticides, storage silos, a commodity security exchange market and above all migrate to mechanize farming thereby resulting in an incremental yield in their value chain thus tearing down the walls of poverty.
In July Governor Wammako made a commitment to construct an ultra-modern orthopedic hospital in Wamakko of the state at the cost of over N450 million. It means instead of building just one he can build another health facility at either Tureta or Tambuwal Local government areas thereby making Sokoto State a medical hub. This will be in order since he has repeatedly said that effective healthcare services remained the state government’s top agenda.
At N3 Million per class room block, the sum for the construction of the Sokoto State government house fence will construct approximately 250 class room blocks. This will go a long way in tearing down the walls of illiteracy by building four walls of class rooms across the state. This will no doubt begin educational regeneration. Alas, if only walls had ears…
Source: Citizens Platform
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