Sabon Gari is boxed in the heart of a spiralling city of Kano, uncared for, like a no man’s land, being given the least attention by the Kano State government, yet this is one of the most important places in the entire Kano, caged in the middle, in its space that it has always been, and it cannot extend and expand out of that space, it cannot grow like the city itself.
As I sat down upstairs in my hotel room, the new pyramid built these days in Sabon Gari, squeezed in between other buildings as they try to utilize space as much as possible, I stared completely at freedom, caged in a small place and space like this, freedom neglected because it is different and comprises of different and diverse.
Freedom neglected because it doesn’t conform. It is the freedom and brings everybody here, the good, the bad and the ugly, side by side, unjudgemental of each other, a church beside a brothel, a residential house by a huge beer parlour, rich beside the poor, junkies just in front of people who are very sane, think of it all, it lives in harmony with its direct opposite here and even the Yoruba Mosque finds it more comfortable to be located here away from the volatile city of Kano, in this place Kano sees as Soddom and Gomorrah.
Sabon Gari is one of Kano’s most important tourist attraction. It is where everyone new to the city comes to hang out, it is one place people outside Kano ask you to visit before you leave, yet it is completely being neglected by the government, bad roads, bad drainage, and it smells of an outcast, but this is all because of the politics of Kano.
If Kano State government fixes the streets and drainage of Sabon Gari, it will be to their own interests, Sabon Gari is still in the city of Kano and is Kano, it is not outside Kano, so if the government fixes Sabon Gari, it will be fixing Kano. No matter how they try to ignore it, one cannot ignore that fact that this is the heart of the city.