You may recall this announcement from last week…”‘DA RUWANA’ SUMMIT: Starting tomorrow Sunday and into Monday…a leading Kano NGO, Kano LEADS…is convening a Roundtable tagged ‘DA RUWANA’ (‘It Concerns Me’) to discuss socio-economic problems afflicting Kano and the Greater North – and many are they.
Well, it has happened, alhamdu lilLah. I participated as Rapporteur and as Moderator rolled into one. One of the Chief Rapporteurs was Kabiru M. Gwangwazo (firstname.lastname@example.org), journalist and Columnist (Ripples, Friday Vanguard) and publisher of Pyramid Online, who summarised the two-day event for us. His report:
This two-day event, hosted by Kano Leadership Enlightenment and Advocacy for Development Initiative, known as Kano LEADS, with the #DaRUWANA (‘It Concerns Me’) slogan, attracted a galaxy of the Who’s Who of Kano, from all sectors and interests. A team of intellectuals, professionals, experts in their chosen fields were corralled and kept indoors all day for the 48 hours the event ran. It addressed issues of importance to Kano and Kanawa and, by extension, Arewa.
On the first day, Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi II at his erudite best, delivered the keynote address. He was obviously so pleased with the focus of the NGO that he rode into the venue with a bevy of his District Heads. Among Sarkin Kano’s Hakimai at the event was the Sarkin Shanun Kano, a former top Bank CEO, an economist and former university lecturer who proved he’s still with it. This is in spite of the turban he’s been sporting as Hakimin Rimin Gado He, along with many other, participated throughout the duration.
Kano LEADS has been on for nearly two years. It has successfully changed the narrative of notoriety of recent years that Kano is a state where no one cares about what happens at all, save for Government, political parties or politicians. A weekly radio programme, DaRUWANA, has been on air every Sunday on Freedom Radio since late 2016 and has tackled issues of common and current concern to Kano, Arewa, and their people. On this programme, experts are interviewed, including people on the streets on issues of the moment. And at the end of the day, all commit to say Yes, DaRUWANA (‘It Concerns Me’)!
At the Roundtable, a new model is presented where a SECTORED Cluster Concept was articulated. Nineteen Sectors were proposed and presented the end of the two-day programme, including specialised clusters. Those who attended, in their hundreds, from the list of carefully selected Kano stakeholders were asked to choose clusters of choice and competence. And they did.
They clustered and began the outline of subsequent engagements after talks and lectures by experts on Education, Governance, Leadership, Traditional Institutions, Mai-Unguwa, Health, Agriculture, Commerce, SMEs, Industry, Poverty, Almajiri, Rape, Drugs, Infrastructure, Power, Solid Minerals, Women and Law and Security, among others. These are problems shared across Arewa.
The most engaging aspect of the two-day event which has been painstakingly planned for nearly six months, is the apparent buy-in and the unanimity for an Elite Consensus if Kano is to return to those days when Kano was a commercial and industrial hub. Days when Kano led the nation in socio-economic experiments; setting up the State Primary Education Board later adopted by other states and subsequently the Federal Government. Days when Kano led in integration and accommodation as a melting pot of cultures. Days when Kano first declared May Day for workers, and abolished the ‘daily-paid’ system of wages, raising the minimum wage to a then unprecedented N105 (one hundred and five naira) monthly salary. All these were later copied by other states and the FG.
The captains of industry, the military and police top brass including Generals, IGs and DIGs, paramilitary top guns and professors, top medical practitioners who participated, plus the cross cutting profile of lower level citizens of Kano keen on taking it out of the depth of despair and moving it to the next level said it all: that there is hope yet for Arewa and Nigeria too, as Kano, the Giant Laboratory of social innovations, finally reawakens.
The clusters finally handed over their destiny to the great and good men and women, numbering more than 100, who had been assembled to lead from the front, selected for their ability, pedigree, competence, status and what-not. It is envisaged that this shall be the Giant Step towards the Elite Consensus repeatedly pointed to by key speakers and discussants at the colloquium.
There have been numerous efforts in the past to rejig Kano back to what is always referred to as its past glory as nostalgically envisioned in our embedded communal memory. We have had Kano Foundation and Kano Forum. We still have many groups working in special sectors. Some on drugs, some on Almajirci, the itinerant Qur’anic school education. The Almajirci here has so far not transformed from its staid form of centuries even when other Muslim parts of the world have since transcended the outmoded and conservative form we still operate with all its attendant ills and drawbacks.
A major difference between the Kano LEADS effort to reset the clock for Kano is that whereas most previous efforts are led by Government, this one is driven by the people. Whereas most other past efforts by the people were driven by a given politician or two for subjective partisan ends, this one encompasses all interests. This is evident in the vast input and buy-in from all political interests.
Many who’d not otherwise sit on the same table are now on the Kano LEADS platform. Yet again, unlike many previous efforts to get Kano, the laboratory that has spawned many novel experiments adopted in the North, nationally and internationally, the Kano LEADS DaRUWANA move is not a closed shop.
The Kano LEADS NGO is populated by enlightened Kano elite, public servants, businessmen and women, scholars, and people from all walks of life. The old and young, some in their twenties, a few well over 60 and of course a huge swathe of the active in-between are all on the rolls of Kano LEADS. As part of its activism, Kano LEADS was galvanized into taking an interest in projects and, more lack thereof, over the years in Kano and the North. The deplorable deterioration in the economic status and social wellbeing of Kanawa, with an estimate population of almost 20 million, led to the convocation of the summit to brainstorm and outline possible options for reclaiming and ‘owning’ the State of Kano and properly realigning it onto the essential development trajectory to return it to its status of pacesetter in all noble and progressive facets of life.
One interesting aspect of this initiative is that, for the first time in recent memory, this mission is led by a woman – Barr. Aisha Ibrahim Dankani, MFR mni who, as President of Kano LEADS, has marshalled all of us men to reawaken, and to reawaken Kano, and Arewa. And women are very serious people, as Kano LEADS has now shown us.
Kano has not yet forgotten the Open Letter LEADS wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari when he visited Kano recently – Aisha signed the letter asking the President to do something about Kano’s eight large earth dams requiring Federal Government attention for irrigation; the Kano-Kaduna end of the Railway Modernisation when the Lagos-Ibadan end is up and doing; need for more Federal Medical institutions; need for Federal intervention in water supply; need to uplift Aminu Kano Airport; need to complete Kano Western bye-pass and repair of Kano-Kaduna road to be at par with the well-funded Lagos-Ibadan road; need to revise N-Power; need to seriously address drugs menace; and a call the President to give Kano a Legacy Project for the two million votes ‘donated’.