From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
Last week, about 98 delegates across Nigeria converged in Kano for the 75th Assembly of the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON). Part of the activities of the Delegates Assembly was a Project Tour conducted by Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Wednesday.
The all-day tour, which had no trace of boringness, but glaringly impressive, left most of the delegates who had not visited Kano before or had taken long since they visited, wondering the magic wand Ganduje is using to achieving so much, in the face of biting economic crunch.
One of the delegates who opened conversation with this Reporter said he was “dazed” at the level of infrastructural development in Kano, having visited the ancient commercial city six years ago.
According to him, “my brother, I must confess that what I am seeing today is unbelievable. I may not be wrong to say that Kano is being under-reported in terms of infrastructural development. I was here six years ago for a Seminar. Then, I took time out to move round the metropolitan city, and I can vividly recount the level of infrastructural development at that time.
“Coming back to this same city today, I have seen a rapid development. I have seen unprecedented infrastructural revolution. I have seen uncommon commitment of a Governor who truly have the interest of his people at heart. Look at what we are seeing today…fly-overs, under-pass, interlocks, roads, hospitals, modern markets, and array of social amenities befiting of a mega-city.
“I have also heard of a number human development programmes. I have heard of youth and women empowerment programmes. I have heard of skills acquisition centres. I have heard of local and foreign scholarship programmes being sponsored by this administration. I have heard of the free, compulsory primary and basic education programme, I have heard of many giant strides in the health sector. And I want to ask you, ‘where is Ganduje getting all this money?”
The conversation continued for so long as he kept on expressing surprise mixed with admiration of a Kano he has come to behold once again. The day was quickly getting dark, but there were still dozens of projects yet to be visited. The delegates did not show any sign of tiredness. There was food to eat, and water to drink, at intervals. But they were so impressed at all the projects they toured, an experience which no doubt, gave most of them a new definition of Kano.
Among the projects toured by the BON delegates include the Bukavo Barracks Under-Pass Flyover located along Katsina Road, Murtala Mohammed Hospital Flyover, Panshekara/Madobi Under-Pass Flyover, Alhassan Dantata Bridge which is the longest in northern Nigeria, Dangi Round-About/Under-Pass/Fly-overs recent commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, Kano Economic City still under construction, Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, Ultra-Modern Cancer Center, Ultra-Modern Dangote Skills Acquisition Centre billed to be commissioned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo by November, President Muhammadu Buhari Under-Pass/ Fly-over under construction, Sheikh Karballah Flyover, among others.
At every project site, Ganduje took time to explain how it will impact positively on the people resident in the state and Nigerians, at large. He also answered questions on the motivations and usefulness of those projects to Kano, its development as a state, and the well-being of the people.
While at Dangote Skills Acquisition Centre built by his administration, he told his visitors that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is billed to commission it by November. According to the Governor, “by November this year (2021) the Nigeria’s Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo will come to Kano to commission the center. Operation will commence fully with five hundred trainees that will be splited into two groups. This centre is completed 100 percent by our administration.”
He added that infrastructure and human resources development are part of his administration’s commitment in boosting socioeconomic status of the state, pointing out that, “to ensure sustainability of the skill acquisition centre, the management of the center is going to be handed over to the manufacturers of the machines. They will arrive at the end of this month from Europe. Alhaji Aliko Dangote whom we named this center after has already paid for their upkeep in US Dollars for six years,” Ganduje said. According to him, “the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has visited the facility last week and promised to give accreditation to the center.” Speaking on admission into the Centre, Ganduje said, “to make the center more Nigerian, 60% will be reserved for Kano people irrespective of their social background, religion and culture as long as you are living in the state Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba you are qualified. The rest of 40% is going to be shared among the 36 of the federation federal capital territory FCT included.” The Governor said N5.5 Billion was spent so far for the project, adding that, “technicians and instructors were employed. By the second week of this month training will commence.”
Impressed by what he saw at he Untra-modern multi-billion Naira Kano State Cancer Treatment Centre, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) Chief Osita Okechukwu, described it as a ray of hope cum succor to people living with cancer. He exclaimed that, “there is a renewed hope of survival after treatment at the cancer center.”According to him, “cancer was perceived as an ailment without cure, but with the kind of center being built here in Kano and the type of equipment supplied by the Kano state government, there is hope for cancer patients to survive the life threatening ailment.” He commended the Kano state government for taking the gaint stride.
Ganduje told the BON delegates that for speedy and timely completion of the project, there was a huge downward payment to the contractors handling the facility, “we paid over 60 percent down payment for the equipment, which will not be affected by inflation because we anticipated that long ago. And then for the building, we paid 50 percent.” He said the management of the cancer treatment center would not be business as usual, adding that, “anybody who works in this center can never go on strike.
The center will be managed by private professionals.” He said the project would be commissioned by President Mohammadu Buhari early 2022, “latest by the First quarter of next year the Nigerian President, Mohammadu Buhari has agreed to come and Commission this center.”
The Project Manager of the construction company, handling the project who conducted BON delegates round the large favilities, described it as, “a unique one in Nigeria.” According to him, its operations theaters were located in a single place, unlike many cancer treatment centers across the country with their theaters located outside the treatment centers. He further stated that a research center was also incorporated in the complex to ease studies on cancer, adding that, “not even the cancer treatment center in the Lagos University Teaching hospital has this type of unique arrangements.”
However, The AUTHORITY reports that the 75th BON Delegates Assembly held at Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano, ended peacefully.Mr. John Ugbe of Multichoice emerged the BON Chairman after a keen, but free and fair contest. The chairman of the Electoral Committee, Shola Omole, who declared the results said Mr. John Ugbe polled a total of 63 votes to win the election.
He said the second contestant, Mr. Godfery Ohabonwa of Multimesh limited scored a total of 35 votes. The total vote cast by the delegates from across the country were 98. “With these figures, John Ugbe of Multichoice has been duly elected as the next Chairman of BON,” he declared.
In his acceptance speech, the new chairman of BON, Mr. Ugbe said he would reach out to every member of the organization and bring them together to move the organization to a greater height, adding that, “I thank everyone for voting me and I will do everything to make the organization a strong one for the benefit of all.
As I said during the manifesto, I will vigorously pursue the issue of capacity building for all members for them to be well trained and equipped for emerging issues in the broadcast industry.” In a Statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammed Garba, Governor Abdllahi Umar Ganduje described the emergence of Mr. John Ugbe of MultiChoice Nigeria, Africa’s leading Entertainment Company, as the winner of the chairmanship position BON as victory for the broadcast industry.
Ganduje hailed as peaceful. He charged the new chairman to work with relevant stakeholders to move the broadcast to greater heights particularly in the face of emerging global challenges. Ganduje noted that the coming together of public and private broadcast organisations is a good omen for the industry at a time Nigeria it is undergoing technological transformation.