El-Rufai’s neglect of Kafanchan waterfalls highlights everything that is wrong with governance in Nigeria

By Ayo Akinfe

(1) In this photograph are the Matsirga Waterfalls near Kafanchan in Kaduna State. As you can see from its natural beauty and topography, this wonder of nature provides not just a scene of beauty that should be a tourist centre but also a potential source of hydro-electric power

(2) Why we do not have a power station here is beyond me. You just need to locate turbines at the foot of the falls and the strength of the falling water is enough to turn them and generate electricity. Even if it is just 500MW generated, that will probably be enough to provide Kaduna State with 24 hour electricity 365 days a year

(3) One good thing though is that a heritage resort known as the Madikiya Heritage Resort is being developed by a private investor. There are also plans by another non-public investor to build a five-star hotel next to the facility. If well run, such a tourist attraction should be enough to generate enough internal revenue for Kaduna State to manage its own affairs without going to Abuja for federal handouts

(4) When I look at how desperate Governor Nasir El-Rufai was to get a $350m World Bank loan for heaven knows what, last year, I just marvel at the kind of human beings we produce in Nigeria. Surely, attracting private capital to build a power plant at Kafanchan must make more economic sense than getting a loan that will incumber Kaduna State with debts. If the power plant is a runaway success, Kaduna can even sell electricity to neighbouring states and generate revenue

(5) Kaduna State’s three senators rightly opposed the taking out of the loan, for which Governor El-Rufai was very vindictive. He demolished the Kaduna home of Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, representing Kaduna North Senatorial District and made sure Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District was not re-selected as an APC candidate at the last election. Unfortunately, President Muhammadu Buhari did not rein him in

(6) Kafanchan area is one of the scenes of the worst communal violence in Nigeria and it is obvious that the region desperately needs an industrial programme to get its youth back to work. Once a railway town, today, Kafanchan is suffering from the effects of a lack of investment and criminal neglect. Were Governor El-Rufai a responsible man, he would make turning around Kafanchan’s fortunes one of his primary goals

(7) Predominantly Christian, Kafanchan is home to four educational institutions in the Kaduna State University, Kafanchan Campus; Kaduna State College of Education; Kaduna State College of Nursing and Midwifery and the Federal Science and Technical College. These people are hungry for education and if they had responsible state governments, they would not be lagging behind southern Nigeria when it comes to education. Kaduna State as a whole has no business being educationally disadvantaged

(8) When I ponder about this education matter, I wonder how we get round it. If northern Nigeria is educationally disadvantaged, the way to bridge the gap is to come up with some form of reverse discrimination policy. However, when you do that, you end up discriminating against southern Nigerians. Maybe the way forward is for every state in northern Nigeria to have about three state-owned universities to train their indigenes. If Governor El-Rufai can produce say 30,000 graduates a year in Kaduna State and others follow suit, we might end up bridging this gap soon

(9) As things stand, nobody is interested in addressing the education matter because the advantages of being disadvantaged are so great, it remains in the interest of the northern elite to keep their people uneducated and illiterate. All these elite send their children to Ivy League schools abroad, yet the child of the common man is left illiterate. The calculation of people like Governor El-Rufai is simple - If they remain ignorant, uneducated and illiterate, they cannot make demands of us or question the way we run things

(10) As you can see from this Kafanchan example, it does not take a lot to make any of Nigeria’s 36 states work. All you need are imaginative governors. Those of you who have been to Scandinavia will know about the Oresund Bridge linking Denmark and Sweden. Its top bit is for cars and underneath is a railway line. What stops the Delta and Anambra state governors from getting developers to build two or such bridges linking their states? Maybe an Illah-Nzam one and an Asaba-Onitsha one. Just imagine if all the Igbos living in Lagos could travel home by train every Christmas.

Poverty of thought is our biggest affliction as a people!