It was the famous American actress, Lily Tomlin who said “the road to success is always under construction.” Indeed, Tomlin had in mind the Katsina State government when she said that. The infrastructure revamp, particularly in road construction by the Katsina State government in recent times bears the testimony of a government on a mission to accomplish.
It is an established fact that the challenges of access road and functional infrastructures have remained the issues confronting Nigerians both in the urban and rural settings. Analysts have contended that having good access roads linking major towns and villages along with other critical infrastructures like electricity, water and good health care delivery system in towns and villages will undoubtedly reduce to the barest minimum the rising incidence of rural-urban migration.
Perhaps it was in appreciation of the need to ensure the provision of infrastructures generally and road infrastructures in particular to towns and villages across the state that the Katsina State government rolled out its rural-urban development drive with aggressive emphasis on road construction.
Katsina State just like most states of the federation, especially, those of the north- west in Nigeria is mostly agrarian with large livestock that needs good markets.
As should be expected, having effective and network of roads that links various communities is seen as the needed impetus to boost trade in farm produce and even the livestock for which the state is widely known.
Perhaps the realisation of this and consciousness of the fact that effective land transportation of which good road is a factor contributes in no small measure towards boosting the economy was what informed the Katsina State government’s investment in road infrastructure.
Indeed, road projects in the state which is part of the overall rural -urban development efforts of the state government have continued to played significant role in opening the state and boosting intra-state transportation as residents now have array of choices to make as far as road transport is concerned. Most recently, President Goodluck Jonathan during his two-day visit to the state commissioned 48km six-lane ring road that surrounds the entire Katsina municipal.
The six-lane ring road is one of the numerous road projects constructed across the state by the government under the current leadership of Governor Ibrahim Shema.
President Jonathan during the commissioning challenged political leaders in the country to see politics as being about infrastructure development and creating an enabling environment for business to thrive. He hailed the foresight and infrastructure drive of the governor and said that he deserved commendation for completing such a massive project at a time government was experiencing paucity of funds.
Specifically, the six-lane road which has added to the beautiful scenery of the state capital comprised street lights, power lines and water supply. The six-lane road project is largely seen by many as highly futuristic as it has opened the state capital to both present and future expansion.
Apart from making it easy and pleasurable to get around and out of the state capital, the road project which is complete with street light, borehole and pipe borne water at every two kilometre, is indeed, a sight to behold.
Governor Shema while speaking at the commissioning of the 43 kilometres Kankara-Ketare-Gora-Malumfashi road recently disclosed that his administration constructed over one thousand kilometres of roads across the state in three years.
“We are determined to provide all the needed and indeed conducive environment for business to thrive in all the nooks and crannies of the state and since good road network is one of such conditions necessary to boost economic activities, government will not rest on its oars to provide roads linking all our towns and villages,” Shema said.
Shema said the roads were constructed as part of measures to boost transportation in the state and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to open rural communities and noted that no fewer than two hundred and thirty eight road contracts had been awarded in the last one year as part of government’s commitment to ensuring accessibility to all the nooks and crannies of the state.
The state Commissioner for Works, Transport and Housing, Mr. Abdulazeez Isa Kaita disclosed that no fewer than 2199.84kms of roads had been constructed across the state by Governor Shema, since assuming office in 2007.
“The roads constructed in Katsina State by Governor Shema, if lined up can stretch from Katsina to Lagos and back. Of course, this is a clear demonstration of a leader’s commitment to engender growth and development through effective road networks.
“These roads were constructed at the total cost of N70 billion, representing a good investment in order to attract investors into the state and provide a good transportation network for the people which in the long run will boost economic growth.
“Scores of communities that have for long had difficulties of access roads now have good road network linking them with their neighbours and by implication, the outside world. Increasingly, more rural roads are being constructed through the rural development efforts just as urban roads are being up graded” Kaita added.
The works commissioner insisted that the current administration of Governor Shema has constructed more roads than all previous administrations in the state joined together adding that development of critical infrastructures remained the focal point of the Katsina state government.
THISDAY learnt that over three hundred communities, most of which were hitherto impassable with vehicles, have been linked following the construction of rural roads.
A resident of Rawayau village, Malam Abdulhakeem Musa, told THISDAY that “before the construction of this road that links us with Charanchi through Ganuwa, going or coming into to Rawayau village was a herculean task. Some residents who work in the city come in once in a year, except when it becomes very necessary but all that is over now.”
Interestingly, the road projects were evenly spread in all the three senatorial districts of the state with each of the seven old local government areas of Funtua, Malumfashi, Mani, Kankia, Dutsinma, Katsina and Daura, having double lane township roads that has added to beauty of these cities.