It is public knowledge that this country is broke, and is the reason the governments both federal and states hold to explain why things have not been going well since this dispensation started. People are feeling it hard but keep calm, hoping things will be alright since we are in the era of CHANGE and Buhari is behind the wheels. If this country was this poor before, it’s not known much as when at the inception of this administration let it all bare; exposing the level of the sabotage that had been done;the frightening amount of money being siphoned; and,highlighted the groundwork that needs to be done to fix the system.
There is no better time than to assess a good manager than now. To make sure the limited resources are well managed for the above given reason, the federal along with some serious state governments introduced the idea of cutting the cost of government, which led us to having at the federal level the number of ministries and ministers cut down to a manageable size; Single Treasury Account introduced; Single Digit Budgeting System adopted;as well as other measures taken,all to make sure the scarce resources are not spent on unnecessary expenditure.
All these because of the faith I have in the president taking into cognizance the good will he and his party enjoyed during the campaign and the expectations people have on him is understandable. While we are exercising patient with the slow pace of the government(s),our state, KATSINA, has earmarked whooping 309 million Naira for renovation or construction of a new Hotel in Daura, the country home of the President, Buhari; ostensibly to cater for the needs of the guests that would be coming to see him while in Daura.
As expected, the project is generating intense debate among the people of the state and some Online Tourists as the media aide to the state governor Maiwada Danmalam would like to call critics of Masari from other states. It really calls for assessment not even because of our need fora hotel but from the perspective of a people with daunting needs and demands but having limited resources to solve them all at a go. In this kind of situation we have the option of being careful with our spending or be reckless with our limited resources and go home hungry.
To start with; if the project is because of the guests that might be coming to see the president while in Daura then the aim is defeated. There are two categories of the guests here: 1) those thatwill come for official meeting with the president and I think Abuja is the ideal place for them to go since is where his office and official residence are, and not in Daura, and 2) those that will come just to greet the president and lobby forfavours. For this second category, they are on their own and aren’t the responsibility of the state government to look after their comfort, and for the former category, if there is need for a Nicon-Hilton-like hotel in Daura, then federal, not state government, should build it.
What is the state of infrastructure in Daura town and even in the whole of Katsina, including the state capital? I mean the hospitals; the roads; the transport system; the education and some other basic infrastructure? We should understand that the so called presidential guests do not only need a hotel suite for accommodation but other infrastructures that will make their stay well at ease. What if one of the guests, an expatriate for that matter, falls sick and the state of the art equipment at Daura General Hospital couldn’t cater for his healthcare need at the time? He will have to be rushed to the neighbouring Kano state since none of Katsina public hospitals is standard enough even by Nigerian benchmark to satisfy his immediate healthcare need? In essence, it means, if these other infrastructures are not in place, it’s close to uselessness having a modern hotel in the town. This whole hotel construction is for the luxury of presidential guests alone we should understand, not about the service of Katsina people whose money is allocated for the project. If a Marxist scholar is to analyse this whole scenario he will surely give it a class difference treatment. But this is for another day anyway.
And for those who argue that it’s not just a project but as well a capital investment out of which the government will be making profit will well have to understand that; if the president finishes his 4 or 8 year tenure having it in mind that he lives in Kaduna, what will then be the fate of the multi-million naira hotel project? Would an ex-president continue to attract friends from all over the world to his home town after leaving office? If yes, then Otueke would have been a Jerusalem or in the case of Minna, a Mecca of themselves. In fact their phones may even stop ringing as revealed by Ruben Abati, the former president’s media aide. President Buhari lives in Kaduna and visits Daura only occasionally and I don’t think he will relocate to Daura when his tenure expires.
The question at this juncture is; who will lodge in the hotel and how much profit will the government make after the president’s tenure? Would she, the government, even have the money to maintain it thereafter? If it’s a capital intensive investment as they want us to believe, why not invite private individuals or companies to make the investment? Those familiar with Business Studies would tell you that, if the area is worth investing in, investors like Dahiru Mangal will not wait for the government to invite them; they would have by now built a world class HOTEL in Daura. But hotel is only needed for 4 or 8 years and for the luxury of some people, and after all the lavishing, will come the regret.
My opinion is; this sum should be spent on Daura infrastructure. Yes! All of it should be spent on Daura town, but for nothing other than in improving the city’s overall structural needs and services as home town of the president. If a state of art hospital is builtin Daura and man by world best medical personal for instance it will benefit both the presidential gusts whom we so much care about at the detriment of the general public whose money is going to be used for their (guests’) comfort and the general public whose standard of living Buhari pledges to improve and for which reason he also traduces mechanisms for reducing the cost of government.
Our money should not be meant to be spent on some people’s well-being while we go to hospitals and receive poor healthcare services. Who knows if this is not created simply for some contractors in the state to smile their way to the bank and later share the proceed with their benefactors as some people in the state insinuated?
I will surely withdraw my opinion if president Buhari publicly approves of this project. It could just be the handiwork of some state political actors who will do this, thinking it will please the president;known or unknown to them that the president abhors reckless spending. MASARI then has a choice to make; between managing a scarce resources based on our priority needs or be reckless and crash politically. Was Shema right to say that “GOVERNING KATSINAISN’T A TEA PARTY AFFAIR”? Allah Rayan JiharKatsina