The history of northern Nigeria will not be complete without making reference to Daura, the ancestral home of the legendary Bayajidda, the founder of the Hausa nation in the country. Although Daura occupies a place in history books and thus became famous for centuries, there were no landmark facilities and structures to show for it. However, a visit to Daura revealed that the town is fast changing, particularly in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s second tenure. The ancient town is witnessing exponential face-lift, with monumental structures and projects springing up in all parts, making it metamorphose into a cosmopolitan city. Daily Trust Saturday reports that it has been the trend for leaders at all levels to give preferential treatments to their hometowns.
Abeokuta and Otuoke in Ogun and Bayelsa states respectively are examples of towns that witnessed tremendous changes because their sons ruled the country. Otuoke, for instance, which is made up of seven villages, would probably have remained obscure if not for the emergence of its son, Dr Goodluck Jonathan as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Within a short time, Otuoke witnessed monumental infrastructural development. Notable among the infrastructures are the Federal University, Otuoke, the Dame Patience Jonathan Square, Comprehensive Cottage Hospital, community town hall, St Stephen Anglican Church, built and donated to the community by Gitto Construction Company, and others too many to be mentioned, built by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as well as commercial buildings.
In Daura, Katsina State, the home town of President Buhari, while some of the projects, including schools, hospitals, empowerment facilities and the rest, are direct intervention from the federal government, others are products of corporate social responsibility from organisations, agencies, companies, and perhaps, contractors. Some of them are also from the state government.
Notable among the federal government-financed facilities in Daura are the Nigeria Army 171 Battalion base and the Nigeria Air Force Response Wing, the Federal Polytechnic Daura, Air Force Reference Hospital and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Centre.
In terms of corporate social responsibility, there are gigantic projects like the University of Transport, which is being built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), facilitated by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. Others are Children’s Hospital by Belema Oil Producing Limited, 400,000-litre capacity solar-powered water project by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and Belema Oil, in collaboration with Jack-Rich Tein Foundation, as well as an e-library by Sir Emeka Offor, just to mention a few.
There are other projects like the 50-bed capacity maternity centre built by First Lady Hajiya Aisha Buhari, the Muhammadu Buhari Model School currently under construction along Kwangwalam road, School for People with Disability, and the Muhammadu Buhari School for Science and Arabic Studies, along Kano road.
Also, major and minor streets in Daura are being constructed with asphalt and concrete drainages. The project is expected to cover almost all the streets, and a significant percentage has already been completed.
Expectedly, the projects taking place in Daura have raised eyebrows. While some people are of the opinion that it is time for the ancient town to shine, whether with Muhammadu Buhari at the helm of affairs or not, others think otherwise, saying that other parts of the country also deserve developmental projects.
An analyst who did not want his name in print said, “Honestly, there is serious political patronage. One cannot dissociate what is happening in terms of projects in Daura with the fact that Buhari is the president, but with all sense of sincerity, anyone that knows him will tell you that he would never ask for all these projects to be sited in his hometown. Those who bring them might have their political motives, and the president will not reject them.
“Remember that Buhari was military head of state between 1983 and 1985 and Daura did not get such projects. He was elected president from 2015 to 2019 and all these things were not seen. It is only now in his second tenure that we began to see all these things happening,” he said.
A source from the Daura Emirate Council also said, “It is true that we are getting many projects, but I assure you that many are coming without the knowledge of the president. It could be done because of him but really not on his request.
“Let me also remind you that when a former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, was asked why he developed Minna, the Niger State capital during his regime, he said that if all presidents and heads of states would develop their towns, we would have many developed communities in the country,” he added.
It is our time – Daura residents
Some residents of Daura who spoke with our correspondent expressed happiness over the developmental projects in their hometown, saying it is their ‘time to shine’ as other towns got theirs in the past.
One of the residents said, “Alhamdulillah, in recent times we are really developing. However, there is economic hardship, but that is universal as it affects other places.”
Asked whether it is not selfish to site all the projects in Daura, he said, “Other leaders in the past developed their own areas and we did not get such projects at that time, so it is our time. Under this administration, before we got any project, a lot had been done in the southern part of the country.”
Muhammadu Rabiu Hussaini Daura also said, “We are really grateful to the Almighty Allah for bringing all these projects. We are also grateful to President Buhari, the Katsina State governor, Aminu Masari and the Emir of Daura and members of his council for their doggedness and determination. We have seen development, including the polytechnic, the university, road constructions and massive youth employment.”
Responding to a question on why only Daura has such many projects, to the disadvantage of other places across the country, Daura said, “Whoever said so is unfair because there is no part of this country that this administration is not doing one project or another. Anyone that says so is only saying it out of enmity.”
Also, Alhaji Aminu Daura said, “This is something we did not imagine, even in our wildest dream, but Alhamdulillah, it is happening in reality because of our son, father and brother, President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Alhaji Aminu did not also see it as selfish for Daura to have such projects in a short period of time, saying that Buhari had said he was for everybody and for nobody. He said such projects started in the South before they trickled down to the North, just to avoid such insinuations.
Again, Ali Rabe Tailor said, “These major projects are located here considering the fact that this is the hometown of the president. And we are very happy that they are happening now.”
He sees it as a coincidence that the projects are coming during this administration, saying that God can develop a place at any time, whether through politics or any other means.
Malama Labba Musa said she was happy that the projects are taking place in Daura. She was, however, worried that some youths are still not employed. She added that other places are also benefitting from the developmental projects of the Buhari administration.
But Sahaba Sule Baure said, “Alhamdulillah, our youths are getting employed in the police, army, immigration and the rest. We also have roads. As we speak, potable water is running in taps everywhere, and we are getting cash support from the government.”
She added that all the insinuations of selfish location of projects in Daura were just wailings from political opponents.
Furthermore, the head of the Department of Political Science, Umaru Musa Yar’adua Unuversity, Katsina, Dr Kabiru Musa Yandaki, said one could not separate the rapid development taking place in Daura with the fact that Buhari is at the helm of affairs.
“The question is: When he was not the president, was Daura not known? They knew that Daura existed but nothing of that nature happened. So, obviously, all these projects were taken to Daura to impress the president.
“Remember that among other projects, there are army barracks, Federal Medical Centre and University of Transport; why not take some of them to Funtua, Malunfashi or other places in Katsina?”
He said that when Buhari was military head of state, his main focus was war against indiscipline; therefore, he did not focus on infrastructure. But when he was in the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), there were projects that Daura benefitted from.
Asked whether Buhari was the one who gave the directives for the projects, Dr Yandaki said, “I don’t think he would do that. I am not partisan, but I know that Buhari is not selfish. The projects were done to get closer to the president. And no one will even care to investigate how much was spent on the projects because they were done in the president’s hometown.”