By Abdullahi Isah
Rural communities in Nigeria are the most vulnerable societies whereby getting access to infrastructural amenities such as: good road networks, hospitals, clean water, schools and electricity has become an insurmountable challenge.
In Kano state, the level of government presence in rural areas is very negligible, making rural dwellers feel that they are second class citizens who do not deserve modern amenities that make life more comfortable.
Despite billions of naira allocated to the 44 local government areas of the state monthly from federation account, if you go to rural areas you will hardly find tangible projects that merit the amount received.
Due to the policy of keeping joint accounts where state governments take over local government allocation, the money meant for rural communities is being diverted to Kano metropolis, which is dotted by flyovers and underpasses.
Moreover, epileptic electricity supply which is a general problem in Nigeria is worse in many villages across Kano state.
In some villages, electricity may be available only for a cumulative 24 hours monthly for those who have access, a situation that makes life in the rural areas difficult and unattractive to youths.
Poor project execution
Critics assert that various governments, right from Kwankwaso in 1999, to Ganduje in 2018, have introduced various programs for rural people which have not see the light of the day as a result of corruption, favoritism and carelessness.
Nowadays, most rural dwellers in Kano cannot afford three square meals or clean water to drink, making many to troop to Kano city to beg while some little girls who are supposed to be in schools roam the streets hawking.
During the second term of former Kano state governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso 2011 – 2015, he initiated some massive infrastructural development in some rural areas, which include construction of five-kilometer roads in each of the 44 local government areas of the state.
The initiative failed to materialize as most of the projects had been abandoned despite spending billions of naira from the coppers of the state.
As 2019 general election is approaching, the current administration has returned to some of the project site in what is seen as a cynical attempt to attract the votes of villagers who have been complaining of lack of motorable roads and portable water supply for many years without getting proper attention.
When you listen to Radio stations in Kano, the rural dwellers always complain of inadequate road network, which according to them, makes it difficult for farmers to convey their farm produce to markets.
During the outgoing year 2018 some rural communities in Kano witnessed several challenges which include: Cholera outbreak in Dawakin Tofa, Getso in Gwarzo, Bebeji and Dawakin Kudu local Governments areas. Others also affected by the epidemic, include Minjibir, Gezawa, Ajingi, Ungoggo, Gabasawa, Tofa and Wudil local governments areas who also decry lack of portable drinking water, poor healthcare system, and bad roads.
Government doing its best
When asked about the gory tale of the rural communities, Kano state commissioner for rural development Musa Ilyasu Kwankwaso said the state government is doing its best to tackle issues militating against rural development.
The commissioner also highlighted some of the achievements recorded by Kano state government in the year 2018 which include: providing one hundred transformers to rural communities as well as construction feeder roads.
He also debunked the insinuation that government is not doing enough and said the opposition and naysayers are exaggerating the matter in order to tarnish the image of the Abdullahi Umar Ganduje administration.
He added that the state government in collaboration with World Bank will construct 500-kilometer roads in rural areas in 2019.
However, analysts aver that virtually all government initiatives targeted at improving the lives of rural dwellers have failed due to poor planning, corruption and avarice by government officials and their collaborators.
They add that it is unfortunate that, many villagers still fetch water from streams for their domestic use, which led to the water-borne diseases.
And it is not surprising that most of the rural communities in the state have remained rustic and undeveloped all these years in spite of rural development programs launched with fanfare by different administrations.
They therefore advise the present administration to change the narrative by allowing the local government areas to utilize their monthly allocation for the betterment of all.