The difficult economic situation which Nigeria has been thrown into as a result of the declining price of crude oil is now forcing state governors, particularly those whose states are most affected by the diminishing allocations from the Federation Account, to think outside the box.
One of such states is Kano, Northern Nigeria’s commercial nerve-centre, which before now was a beehive of business activities. What has put the state in difficult financial situation is not only the dip in revenue flow; it also has to do with huge financial burden of over N300 billion inherited by the Abdullahi Umar Ganduje administration from the immediate past regime of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Worried by the unpleasant financial situation under which the administration is forced to operate, Governor Ganduje is inventing new ways of building a stream of internally generated revenue flow for the state. One of these is a joint Kano-Lagos Business and Investment Cooperation being mooted by the political leaders of Nigeria’s two most important cities.
The cooperation being proposed, according to sources within the Kano State government, is programmed to be a platform that is geared at working out ways and means of integrating the economies of the two states.
Governor Ganduje, while addressing journalists on the outcome of his recent visit to his Lagos State counterpart, Akinwumi Ambode, provided insight into the nature of the cooperation being forged by the two states.
He said the two states, for a start, are thinking of staging a Business and Investment Summit in Kano that will bring together members of the Organized Private Sector (OPS) and government functionaries from the two states to deliberate on how to turn the huge population of the two states into an asset and big market for the mutual economic benefits of their citizens, adding that technical committees would soon be set up to that effect.
Governor Ganduje noted that both Kano and Lagos are mega cities with similar challenges and opportunities, and both are contending with decayed and overstretched infrastructure, population growth and transportation needs.
Accordingly, he explained that both states are also strategic commercial centres in the Southern and Northern parts of the country, respectively, and important trading hubs in the West and Central Africa countries hemisphere.
“We are sister mega cities with similar challenges in terms of security, environmental sanitation, transport system, unemployment and opportunities for internally generated revenue,” the governor said.
Observers have described the move by the two political leaders as a positive initiative capable of impacting on the socio-economic well-being of the people of the two states.
Jimpat Ayelangbe, a Yoruba leader based in Kano, suggested that the governors of the two states should urgently come up with implementation committee that will actualize the agreements reached, calling on each of the two states to leverage on their respective areas of comparative advantages.
“I believe both states will gain a lot if they capitalize on their huge agricultural, tourism, education, and other resources to pull their citizens out of the massive poverty existing in the two states,” Ayelangbe said.
Meanwhile, Governor Ganduje further disclosed that he used the occasion of his visit to bring to the front burner the need for the Lagos State governor to reconsider his decision to relocate the Mile 12 market in view of its repercussion on the vast numbers of the Hausa community in the state in particular and the state economy at large.
Governor Ganduje said that the call was as follow-up to a recent formal letter of appeal written by him to the Lagos State governor.
“I discussed with my colleagues, the Northern governors, and I initiated a letter to the governor of Lagos State to reconsider the proposed relocation of the market. The letter was copied to all the Northern governors and the Lagos State governor appeared positive after seeing the implication of relocating the market,” he said.
He noted that the Mile 12 market has similarity with Abubakar Rimi Market in Kano because both are populated by traders from all tribes in Nigeria, urging the traders to continue to interact amicably in the interest of national progress.
While expressing optimism that the Lagos State government would allow the market to remain as it is, he assured the traders that the government would also look into issues of insecurity and other problems with all seriousness, urging them to remain law abiding and continue with their legitimate businesses while shunning acts capable of breaching the peace.
Governor Ganduje was accompanied by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Kabiru Alasan Rurum, who was once the secretary general of Mile 12 Market Traders Association and one-time councillor in Lagos State, Muhammad Garba, commissioner for information, youth, sports, and culture, as well as Basorun Jimpat Ayelangbe, a Yoruba leader based in Kano.