Kano Needs a Counter Reaction to the Resurgence of the Shiekhs

-Safiya Bulus

Women dancing without Hijabs, all and sundry taking the streets of nomansland, that was the ecstasy that visited Kano when Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso made his second coming to kano’s Government House. As a religious minority who’d lived through eight years of injustice and conservatism, I knew the fortunes of Kano were about to change under Kwankwaso. Eight years of waste, economic sabotage in the name of religion, had reduced Kano to a laughing-stock of the cities in the Sahel. It had all but yielded its place to Niamey when Kwankwaso staged the miracle of 2015, and saved our great city from oblivion. Despite the Bokoharam insurgency and the crippling incompetence of Goodluck Jonathan, under Kwankwaso’s second 4 years, Kano witnessed a resurgence we never thought we would see.The rule of law became paramount, no longer would imams shiekhs of pastors scream hate from every pulpit. Hisba, the dreaded organisation that went around arresting young people every Salah was put down in its place, bars and night life flourished and investors flooded our streets. Four years more of Kwankwaso, and we will be making fun of Lagos, but it was four years we thought we had, after all Ganduje was Kwankwaso’s deputy, but we were wrong.

Christmas 2017 marks 2 and half years of the decline of progress in Kano. Under Ganduje, Kano has all but relegated back to the days of A Daidaita Sahu, were state resources are used to service an illiterate elite as the malams get a free reign over state policy. In a bid to checkmate Kwankwasiyya, Ganduje is compromising on the difficult gains recorded during Kwankwaso’s second 4 years. His administration is rolling back the wheel of social progress while at the same time imposing a regime of taxation that is crippling businesses all over the state. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against taxation, a tax policy that will see gains in terms of infrastructure and state services will be a welcomed compromise to the ineffectual system we’ve seen before, but a tax regime that delivers little to nothing is not only unjust but profoundly cruel.

A business elite imported from Lagos has today set up shop all over Kano. They, under the banner of private tax collectors, go about harassing businesses. Everyone from the petty keke driver to the major industrialist is not safe. So what are the people of Kano suppose to do? leave Kano at the mercy of a retrogressive government and allow the religious elite to once again have a free reign?

I suggest no. unlike the strategies of compromise , employed by Kwankwaso in 2015, I propose an all out counter reaction to resurgence of the Yan Daidaita Sahu. We must make a clear stand against the creeping and destabilizing use of religion in Kano politics and we must make it an integral issue of the 2019 elections. Our government should not go around trying to strike cheap political points by renaming great suburbs after a few sheikhs. Our government should no longer be allowed to sponsor immams top  hajj or fund religious charities. And our government must take a clear stand against those who sabotage the economic fortunes of Kano by campaign  against multi billion naira investments like the Kano film village

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