Lockdown: As the siege is lifted on Kano…



Ganduje



It’s commendation for Governor Abdullahi Ganduje as he lifted the lockdown imposed on the state over Covid-19 pandemic. BASHIR MOHAMMED writes on the mood of the city.
Anyone keeping a constant tab on recent events that led to the 83-day siege on the ancient city of Kano under a perpetual lock and key owing to the Covid-19 pandemic can attest to the fact that the ever-sprawling commercial city has lost its steam and caught in the grip of  business and economic stagnation.

Courtesy of excessive media hype coming from the International press with the local media outlets joining in the fray at making the pandemic more deadlier than any other worst pandemic in history, states government all over the country, including Kano, were forced to close shops as a precautionary step.

Governor Ganduje has noticeably maintained his cool in the face of the pressure mounted by his die- hard critics that he must dismantle the lockdown even at the time when his fellow governors were yet to effect  such a decision, taking into consideration the fact that ending the siege prematurely may ultimately spell doom for the state.The governor had undoubtedly taken the bull by the horns in mobilising experts and notable gurus in the medical field in confronting the deadly menace headlong, opening  various isolation centres to  deal with suspected cases of Covid-19 and those already infected by it, as a result of which tremendous successes were recorded. Having been known to be compassionate in almost every dicey situation, Governor Ganduje effected   the decision to ease the biting effects of the lockdown which kept many households incommunicado, with high profile markets and places of worship under lock and key; knowing too that  allowing the siege to continue endlessly would worsen the condition of the people.


Why Ganduje lifted the siege


The lifting of three months siege which sent many businesses packing and brought peoples’ movement and vehicular traffic at a standstill, except those on essential services, came on the heels of the earlier promises made by the governor when he visited traders at Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi Market to supervise a fumigation exercise where he also addressed them on the real situation of Covid-19.It was the governor’s contention that effecting the total lifting of lockdown depends on the level of compliance from every nooks and crannies of the state which entails the constant use of hand sanitisers, maintaining social distancing and wearing of face masks which would lead to a reduction of cases reported on a daily basis by the medical authorities saddled with the task of containing the spread of the  virus.

Speaking at the Africa House of the Government House, Ganduje said his government was fully convinced that there was appreciable reduction in the deadly menace stressing that the decision to maintain a  partial lifting of the lockdown was not meant to  strangulate people and perpetuate their hardship.He said, “We have observed with satisfaction that the magnitude of the spread of Corona virus has reduced to a considerable extent. We therefore effected our decision based on our findings from the medical authorities we have assigned  to handle the job. We also want people to know that we have introduced a safety net  ranging from use of hand sanitiser, observance of social distance and wearing of face masks.”  He however stated that the mobile courts established in the wake of the lockdown would not be disbanded as they would  prosecute offenders who fail to observed the laid down protocols especially with regards to the wearing of face masks. He added that  schools would be reopen only on the directive of the federal government.He also added that his government has introduced a curfew from 10:00 pm to 4:30 am for strict compliance while directing civil servants from Grade-level 12 and above to resume their normal work in addition to directing markets and all places of worship to be back in full swing.

The governor further revealed that about 190 Almajiris had been confirmed to have tested positive after undergoing rigorous test  affirming that as soon as necessary arrangements were completed, they would eventually be flown to their respective states of origin in few days.


Commendations


With the Kano lockdown totally lifted, commendations have inundated the media space across all the 44 local government areas of the state in the face of the fact that he had taken a decision to lift every citizen of Kano from the bondage of sitting idle at home.
In the words of Malam Aminu Idriss Fagge, a Kano-based public affairs commentator, ending the lockdown at this material point in time has become necessary for businesses to pick up and the economy to rebound in the state. He stressed that with the booming commercial nerve centre in total economic stagnation, the quest for generating revenue for the state would only remain at the level of rhetorics.He pointed out that even the most developed world has seen the need to re-open its frontiers for businesses as remaining in the fog would be inimical to their economic interest. He affirmed that countries that had opted to remain under a perpetual siege ultimately lose their grips.”America is a shining example that has taken the decision to forge ahead and begin to live with Covid-19. Even though hundreds of people are dying, they have decided to forge ahead.

Something must be done to keep the economy moving. If the great powers have effected such a decision, it would be foolhardy for the weaker ones to remain reticent.”If we are financially bankrupt, where do we go  seeking external debt relief or intervention? Whether we like it or not, we always rush to the western creditors for relief. We must buckle up and fight for ourselves in the competitive economic sphere. This is the crux of the matter,” he said.”Look at the commercial and economic status of Kano in the northern part of the country, Kano is a melting pot in the  parlance of business. Thousands of people from every part of the country troop into the city to transact business. If the city is commercially dead, what would be the end result? I have to really applaud the decision of Governor Ganduje in totally lifting the lockdown. To me, was a good decision.”Those criticising the governor with no justifiable reason are crying wolf where there is none. We can never move and progress when  selfish and parochial interest  becloud people’s judgment. It is high time we began to think out of the box,” he said. Sounding in a similar vein, a trader in Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi Market, Alhaji Musa Maikanti, commended Governor Ganduje for being compassionate in taking the eleventh hour decision to dismantle the 83-day siege in order to bounce back to business. He added that re-opening all the markets in Kano would give the traders a sigh of relief.According to him, the lockdown has completely  killed many business enterprises and put thousands of traders in pain and strain leading to their total bankruptcy. He  stressed that with the billions of naira dismally lost to Covid-19, many prominent business men including the enfeeble ones would never rebound easily.   “We have to look at the issue of revenue generation drive. Government at all levels must source for revenue to  survive. Without strong revenue base, it would be difficult for government to continue with its projects on ground. Kano is a typical example. Ganduje has embarked on high profile infrastructure which entailed huge financial commitment. The need for using Internally generated revenue is paramount,” he further revealed.”We must commend the governor for taking a wise step in ending the lockdown.  Some people are not happy in one way or the other because politics is involved. Many people would like to use it as a bargaining chip to smite the personality of Governor Ganduje. Whatever one would say, it was a step we commended and applauded,” he  remarked.

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