KinNupe is faced with innumerable challenges and problems and the Nupe people, particularly the leaders, seem to be at a loss as which of the challenges to tackle first and which should be tackled last.
But in this present write-up we want to focus our attention on one of the pressing problems of KinNupe which needs immediate and urgent solution, namely, the need for the construction of major trunk roads across KinNupe; the need for the building of bridges to connect these trunk roads across some points in KinNupe; and, the need for the dredging of the River Niger to Baro and the development of the Baro Port into a world standard port right here in Central KinNupe.
But, before discussing these roads, bridges and the Baro Port in details, let’s first note the fact that KinNupe is faced with so many problems of infrastructural and socio-cultural development.
The Many Challenges Facing KinNupe
Most people are today aware of the popular and grassroots Nupe demand for a Nupe State or Edu State. But most are not aware of the fact that the need for Edu State is not the only problem of the Nupe Nation. As much as we do admit that the need for the creation of Edu State is a very urgent and most paramount one for the Nupe Nation, we also maintain that KinNupe and the Nupe people are also faced with many other urgent and paramount challenges which the Nupe people should not lose sight of.
Among these countless other challenges facing KinNupe today are the issue of the construction of trunk roads to link the major sections of the Nupe Nation most especially including the roads to link the Niger and the Kwara sections of KinNupe. There is also the need to construct bridges across the River Niger to connect different parts of KinNupe separated by the River Niger.
Disunity is another major challenge before the Nupe Nation. The Nupe people are divided along many lines including the ethnic, sub-tribal, religious, sectarian or denominational, etc, etc. This problem of disunity needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
But then we need to mark the fact that the Etsu Nupes are aware of this problem of disunity among the Nupes and are, accordingly, working very hard to resolve it. For a start the various Etsu Nupes have, first and foremost, united themselves into a unanimous college or council of Etsu Nupes and they are now working hard at extending this Nupe unity down to the grassroots. Popular, grassroots, unity programs like the Nupe Day, the Emigungi Nupe cultural costume of the green, blue and red colours, for instance, have been recently established jointly by the Etsu Nupes to ensure and foster unity among the Nupe people.
Then there is also the need for the infrastructural development of KinNupe. KinNupe is woefully underdeveloped infrastructurally. But many are of the view that the problem of the infrastructural development of KinNupe can only be consummately addressed and resolved with the creation of Edu State, the Nupe State.
The Bida-Nupeko-Patigi Road
Albeit, and as we have mentioned before, of all these challenges facing KinNupe today we wish to discuss, in this present write-up, the need for the construction of the trunk roads and brdges linking the various parts of KinNupe within and outside the Nupe Nation. We wish to point out the fact that the construction of these roads will bring instantenous development in all its ramifications to the Nupe Nation in general and the Nupe people in particular.
The fact is that the greatest developmental challenge facing KinNupe today is that of the twin problems of the Nupeko Bridge and the Dredging of the River Niger to the Baro Port. These problems are more pressing than even the popular demand for the creation of the geopolitical entity called Edu state.
Let’s start with the Bida-Nupeko-Patigi Road. We will call it the BNP Road. The plan for the construction of this BNP Road has been in the pipeline for long. As a matter of fact the Obasanjo Administration actually began the actual construction of the road but it immediately became an abandoned project the moment it was started almost a decade and half ago.
However the road was graded and connecting bridges and culverts were constructed before the whole projected became an abandoned one. In fact the road was coal-tarred all the way from Bida up to the Sachi general area and it was graded up to Nku and Nupeko before it was abandoned.
The present Jonathan Administration recently approved some 8 Billion Naira for the construction of the road and in fact some serious works have began on the road in the last couple of months.
This BNP Road is the vital link that is urgently needed to re-unite the Nupe peoples of the Niger State and Kwara State since when the Colonial Whitemen deliberately and mischievously disunited and balkanized the Nupe peoples into the cis-Niger and trans-Niger sections beginning in the days of Frederick Lugard ‘The AntiNupe’.
The need to have this BNP trunk road directly connecting the Niger and Kwara sections of KinNupe with a bridge across the River Niger, a bridge stretching from Nupeko in Niger State across the River Niger to Patigi in Kwara State, is a paramount need that the entire Nupe Nation needs to staunchly fight for.
Reasons Why BNP Road Has Not Been Constructed
For so long Nupe people are always saying that there is the need to get this BNP Road, the Bida-Nupeko-Patigi road, constructed, yet this road has remained unconstructed for several decades on end.
This BNP Road from Bida through Nku to Nupeko and then across the River Niger to Patigi should have been constructed since the time of the First Republic of the Sir Ahmadu Bello days or even during the colonial era. But there has always been a conspiracy or a hidden agenda by the enemies of Nupe, within and outside Nupe, since the colonial era, to ensure that this road is not constructed.
There are many reasons why the road has not been constructed. A leading reason is that its construction will redefine Nigeria and change the balance of economic, and consequently political power, in Nigeria. We will discuss this in greater details in the following paragraphs.
Another reason is that some Nupe people within KinNupe are not comfortable with the far-reaching economic and political changes that the construction of this road will effect which they feel will not be in their parochial interests.
Many villagers and Nupe peoples within and outside the particular areas and general zones to be affected by the construction of this road are afraid of the drastic and rather unpredictable changes that the construction of this road will bring upon them.
Some other Nupe people, living in other parts of KinNupe, are simply jealous or envious of the great and positive changes that the construction of this road will bring upon the people in its immediate surroundings and not to them who are living far away from the area of the road.
Similarly, a mischievous section of the Nupe elite or leaders also felt that their personal interests will be negatively affected by the construction of this road and they have therefore refused to fight actively at the federal level for the construction of the road.
There are so many other reasons, many petty reasons, that space and time will not allow us to list or specify here.
The Advantages of the BNP Road
There are many advantages that the construction of the BNP Road will confer on KinNupe. A foremost advantage here in that the construction of the Bida-Nupeko-Patigi Road, or BNP Road, will transform KinNupe into the transportation hub of Nigeria.
With the construction of this BNP Road we will see that all traffic from the North to the South of Nigeria and vice versa will pass through KinNupe. This development will, of course, lead to an instantenous and positive economic transformation of KinNupe due to the heavy traffic that will now be passing on transit through KinNupe.
Ever since pre-colonial times KinNupe has been the prehistoric and historic transport hub of ancient Nigeria and the Central Sudan in general. All the commercial and mercantile transportation from across the Sahara to the Atlantic and from Northern Nigeria to Southern Nigeria used to pass through KinNupe before the advent of the White man in West Africa.
It was this role as the singular transportation hub of ancient Nigeria that, in addition to its role as the population powerhouse of ancient Central Sudan, transformed KinNupe into the economic, political and cultural superpower of ancient Nigeria.
KinNupe was the central headquarters, geographically and otherwise, of ancient Nigeria. Everything that goes in and comes out of ancient Nigeria must pass through and be influenced by or processed in KinNupe in those days. KinNupe was the clearing house of ancient Nigeria. And this was simply because all transportation passed through KinNupe in those days.
But then the White people came and, with the power of their Colonial Government, balkanized KinNupe into disunited puny provinces that could not hold at the centre. To further consolidate this balkanization they deliberately refused to link or connect by major roads the disunited Nupe puny states they have created. Imagine there being no any modern road, since colonial times, directly linking Patigi with Bida despite the historical and political significance of these cities in the makeup of the Nupe Nation.
As Professor Idris Abdullahi Patigi will always note, the White people ensured the Nupe Nation is disunited through balkanization to the extent that the cis-Niger and the trans-Niger, or today’s Niger State and Kwara State, Nupe people are made to appear as if they are two different peoples with no any ethnic or tribal affiliations whatever.
This unholy disunity between the two major sections of the Nupe peoples is further abetted, to this very day long after the Colonial era, by the seemingly inexplicable refusal of the post-Independence Nigerian authorities to construct a direct, trunk road linking Bida to Patigi with a major bridge across the River Niger at Nupeko.
But Nupe people have come to the realization that the construction of this road linking Bida to Patigi with a bridge across the River Niger, the Bida-Nupeko-Patigi or BNP Road, is of utmost importance to the overall development of the entire Nupe Nation.
As we have mentioned above, the construction of the Bida-Nupeko-Patigi Road will lead to the passing of all traffic between Northern and Southern Nigeria through Central KinNupe as all traffic will be diverted to this BNP Road which would have become the shortest connection between Northern and Southern Nigeria. This, of course, will simply revert KinNupe back to its ancient role as the transportation – and hence the economic, political and sociocultural – headquarters of Nigeria.
Few people have actually sat down to take a closer look at the far-reaching implications of having this BNP Road constructed; but the truth of the matter is that the construction of this BNP Road will usher in far-reaching changes in the economic and political horizons of Nigeria. It will change the economic and political permutations of Nigeria to the great advantage of the Nupe Nation. And that is why those non-Nupe hegemonistic powers, just like the former Colonial White men before them, who have sat down to take a close look at the implications of the BNP Road have seen to it that it is not constructed to this very day.
In any case it is just a matter of time before this BNP Road will be constructed. The need for it, even for the overall development of Nigeria, is just too overwhelming to be left unattended to forever. Whether others like it or not, one day the Bida-Nupeko-Patigi Road will be constructed and that will lead to the economic and infrastructural renaissance of KinNupe.
Interestingly enough the Obasanjo and now the Goodluck Jonathan administrations have shown genuine interest in the construction of this BNP Road. Infact the Jonathan Administration is right now busy constructing the road. This simply means that the completion of this BNP Road may not even wait for as long as some people have originally predicted. It means that the road will be completed and fully functional in the near future. It means that the Nupe Nation is soon going to become an economic headquarters of Nigeria.
But then we should also mark the fact that the BNP Road is not the only trunk road that KinNupe desperately needs today in order to foster unity and rapid economic growth within KinNupe. Another trunk road linking Niger and Kwara states through Enagi and Lafiagi with a bridge across the River Niger at Cewuru is also very necessary. Then, and of course, the trunk road linking the Bida-Mokwa-Jebba urban centres, which has been in existence, needs to be completely reconstructed into a modern and world standard road since it is also a major link between Northern and Southern Nigeria.
Again, this Bida-Kutigi-Mokwa-Jebba road is also under serious reconstruction right now.
And apart from all these roads, the River Niger needs to be dredged to the point of the Baro Port and even beyond. The importance of an inland Baro Port right here in Central KinNupe for KinNupe, Northern Nigeria and Nigeria in general, cannot, literally, be overemphasized.
The Roads, Bridges and Port
Nothing will bring instant and extraordinary development to the Nupe Nation right now more than the construction of the Bida-Nupeko-Patigi, or BNP, Road, the building of the Nupeko Bridge across the Niger at the Nupeko-Patigi; the building of a sister bridge across the River Niger from Mokwa Local Government to the Lafiagi-bank; the reconstruction and upgrading of the Mokwa-Jebba road and the dredging of the River Niger up to the inland port of Baro.
The benefits these – the construction of the Nupeko-Patigi and Lafiagi-Cewuru bridges and the Bida-to-Patigi and Bida-Mokwa-Jebba trunk roads and the dredging of the River Niger to the Baro Port – will bring to the development of the Nupe Nation are innumerable, variegated and multifaceted.
Constructing the Nupeko-Patigi Bridge and completing the Bida-to-Patigi road and the construction of the Guzhan-Cewuru-Lafiagi bridge across the Niger from Mokwa Local Government in Niger State to Edu Local Government in Kwara State and the construction of the roads from Enagi through Diko to the Lafiagi-Cewuru Ferry-Port and the reconstruction of the Bida-through Mokwa-to Jebba road will instantaneously transform KinNupe into the transport hub of not only the whole of Nigeria but will also, according to the Vision 3:2020 findings of the Niger State Government, transform KinNupe into the transportation headquarters of the whole of the West African sub-region.
Even now that it takes some four hours to travel through the 40km unlevelled road from Bida to Patigi or a harrowing experience of travelling through Enagi and Diko to the Lafiagi-Cewuru Ferry-Port a sizeable portion of the traffic from Northern to Southern Nigeria, particularly from Abuja to Lagos, still prefer passing through these terrible roads – and this is despite the experience of having to cross the River Niger at Patigi or Lafiagi-cewuru through locally made ferries!
By the time the Bida-to-Patigi road, the Enagi-Diko-Cewuru-Lafiagi road and the Bida-Mokwa-Jebba road are constructed and the Nupeko-Patigi Bridge and the Lafiagi-Cewuru Bridge are constructed across the Niger it is clear that the entire flow of traffic from the Northern to the Southern part of Nigeria, and vice-versa, will have to be passing through this Bida-Patigi; Lafiagi-Cewuru and Bida-Mokwa-Jebba roads and across the Nupeko-Patigi bridge; Lafiagi-Cewuru bridge and Jebba-bridge. This simply means that KinNupe will become the transport hub of the whole of Nigeria.
The Future Mega-cities of KinNupe
The construction of all these roads, bridges and Baro Port we are talking about will lead to the instantaneous transformation of the several clusters of the Nupe towns and villages along the Bida-Patigi; Enagi-Diko-Cewuru-Lafiagi road and Bida-Mokwa-Jebba road into mega-cities.
On the Bida-Patigi axis I am talking about towns including Zhima (Jima), Dancitagi, Sati, Gbara, Saci, Kuchi, Nku, Egagi, Nupeko, Egbangi, etc, etc.
On the Bida-Mokwa-Jebba axis I am talking of towns like the two Wuyas, Kutigi, Lanle, Enagi, Takuma, etc, etc.
And on the Enagi-Lafiagi axis I am talking about Enagi, Diko, Cewuru, Lafiagi, Tsaragi, etc, etc.
Some of these are already towns with strong urbanisation tendencies and all they need is just a little push to transform them into not just cities but mega-cities.
I have always said that these Nupe towns will grow into mega-cities the sort that we see extending along the banks of the Danube along the length of Europe.
Nupe settlements naturally tends towards urbanisation and the result will be the emergence of an entire Nupe civilisation of mega-cities extending all the way from the Ilorin reaches of Share-Tsaragi extending through Patigi-Nupeko-Bida, Lafiagi-Chewuru-Enagi, and Jebba-Mokwa-Bida to the Agaie-Lapai, Gawu Babangida-Lambata reaches of the FCT the moment these roads and bridges are constructed around and across the River Niger here in Central KinNupe.
Now that simply means that KinNupe will have the largest extension of mega-cities in the whole of West Africa and, of course, with that incredible traffic of the transport from the South to the North of Nigeria and vice versa passing through KinNupe along this roads, KinNupe will become the commercial centre of not only Nigeria but also the whole of West Africa.
Now, don’t think that I am just daydreaming, these are findings that have been systematically worked out by various fact-finding and fieldwork-investigation committees set up by the Niger State Government on its Vision 3:2020 endeavours the findings of which I have been working on behalf of the Niger State Government.
So, I know what I am talking about.
In essence I am saying that by the time the Bida-Nupeko-Patigi road, the Enagi-to-Lafiagi road, and the Bida-to-Mokwa-to-Jebba road are constructed complete with the three bridges of Nupeko-Patigi Bridge, Diko-Lafiagi Bridge KinNupe will be instantaneously transformed into both the transportation and commercial headquarters of not only Nigeria but also the whole of West Africa. This is because KinNupe will be instantaneously transformed into the most urbanised and most commercial region in the whole of Nigeria.
This is the incredible scenario that awaits the Nupe Nation in the very near future…
…. but more dizzying is the scenario of the dredging of the Niger to the point of the construction of the Baro Inland Port!
The Baro Port
The incredible and extraordinary beneficial results the dredging of the River Niger right into the heart of KinNupe and complete with an inland port at the Nupe city of Baro will bring to the development of the Nupe Nation is something so exhilarating to believe that it seems to come straight out of a fairy-tale booklet.
If the Federal Government of Nigeria dredge the River Niger into KinNupe and go ahead to build the Baro Inland Port then nothing – I repeat, Nothing, God Willing – will stop KinNupe from becoming the overnight industrial centre of the whole of Nigeria and the rest of West Africa. Edu State or no Edu State!
It is so simple, even for the unaided investigator, to see that an international Baro Inland Port in the heart of Nigeria directly servicing the FCT Abuja will simply means the immediate shift of industrial and economic balance of power from Lagos to the Central KinNupe area.
It is true that the economy of Lagos today is that of 36 different African countries combined. With the dredging of the River Niger and the establishment of the Baro Inland Port the economy of KinNupe will not only overshadow that of Lagos but will be equal to that of at least 50, yes fifty, African countries combined!…
….Now, don’t you think these incredible extrapolations and projections are enough to initiate a secret plot by any brand of the various Nigerian power clichés or blocs to see to it that the Niger is not dredged into the heart of KinNupe and that the project of the Baro Inland Port is frustrated by all means necessary?
Why did the Goodluck Jonathan administration immediately stopped the dredging of the River Niger to the Baro Port if there are not some powerful lobbies at the federal level trying to influence the presidency against the dredging of the River Niger and the building of the Baro Inland Port right here in Central KinNupe?
It is very true that our Nupe leaders are doing virtually nothing about this Niger Dredging and the Baro Inland port issue; but the truth is that our Nupe leaders are more or less actually powerless in the face of the superpowers who are seeing to it that nothing is done about the dredging and the Inland Port.
When our Nupe leaders spent their time wrongly squabbling over where the capital city of Edu State should be located instead fighting for the creation of Edu State, this is kind of unfortunate and ugly result that you get….
…. If our Nupe leaders have united and fought for Edu State by now we wouldn’t have still been talking about the construction of the road from Bida to Patigi, the Nupeko Bridge, the Lafiagi-Cewuru bridge, the dredging of the River Niger into Central KinNupe and the building of the Baro Inland Port – all these things will have been achieved by Edu State long ago and KinNupe would have long been transformed into the commercial and industrial centre of Nigeria ago.