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How Party Primaries Revived Kano’s Printing Economy



Recent investigations by LEADERSHIP Friday have revealed that recent party primaries by the ruling All Progressives Congress  (APC) and its opposition, the People’s Democratic party (PDP) have boosted economic activities in the ancient city of Kano. ABDULGAFAR OLADIMEJI writes on the economic boom

The war of posters, customised t-shirts and fez caps that were displayed during the primaries, indicated that the printing sector was the highest beneficiary of the economic largesse that accrued from the primaries.

The epicentre of Kano printers, spread along Niger, Church and Yoruba roads recorded tripled patronage, our checks revealed.

According to printers, who spoke to Leadership Friday, party aspirants from as far as Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara sent their emissaries to Kano to print their primary elections materials.

The managing director, Showtime Global Media, Mr Shola Ayo, concurred that, the printing industry in Kano recorded unprecedented boom, prior and during the recent primaries in the state.

He said, customised T-shirts, fez caps, customised sacks, banners and posters were in high demand, explaining that standard quality printing services could only be obtained in Kano. He said this prompted the mad rush to Kano from neighbouring states.

In his words,  “To acquire quality flex banners, and other kinds of printing services, those from Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto, they normally come to Kano, so as the primary was approaching, the work load went almost five times bigger, for example, yours truly, had to employ about 30 people to work for me.

“We were working for 24hours, in all departments, production of plaques that were used for awards to people here and there, at a time, we were producing about 50,000 T-shirts per day. Thank God after the primaries, I have placed order for a 10-feet printing machine worth millions of naira, from China.”

An ex-officio, Nigeria Printers Association, Kano State chapter, Aare Ogbomosho, while counting his blessings said, huge amount was invested into printing business by politicians, confirming that, aspirants and their supporters spent heavily on the printing of posters, banners, t-shirts and fez caps.

According to him, during the period, printers doubled their charges and none of the printing shops in Kano was laid idle.

“Some people brought in their relatives to work for them, others their neighbours, journey man people also benefited, we even sublet jobs among ourselves. We are more patronised during primaries than elections proper, because the aspirants are more in number than the number of candidates when they emerge.”

Our checks revealed that, flex banners that usually cost N15, 000 now rose to between N25 and N30000, printing materials also recorded an immediate hike in prices. A printing material dealer, Mr Jeff, revealed that orders for printing material were quickly placed to Lagos to avoid shortage in stock.

A fez cap and T-shirt distributor at Kofar Wambai market, Isa Ali Ahmed, disclosed that the sale of diverse qualities of t-shirts and fez caps recorded an increase during and prior to the party primaries. Isa, who spoke in Hausa language said, “It is true, we made good business, especially on t-shirts and fez caps, the whole market ran out of stocks. Kano was the supplier of these items to politicians and printers from Kano and from neighbouring states, a dozen of t-shirts that sold for N6, 000 was now sold for N9, 000.

A graphics designer and broadcaster, Yusuf Giginyu, informed LEADERSHIP Friday that, graphics designing business pocketed its benefit from the economic boom that roasted party primaries in Kano.

He said, printers largely relied on the services of graphic designers, “We did the art works for the printers, so I am in the picture of what transpired, in the printing industry in Kano, you are right to say it was the highest beneficiary of the economic boom from the party primaries.

Our investigations revealed that radio stations were one of the major beneficiaries of the primaries, as the primaries approached, airtime on radio stations were overbooked.

The radio station operators in Kano backed out from doling out the huge discount that were normally given to customers.

Muhamadu Mansur Ibrahim is the administrative officer of a Kano-based private radio station, Freedom radio. He argued that, though the number of traffic on radio stations in Kano increased tremendously during the primaries, this could not be translated to mean an increased economic boom for the stations, “we also improved on our services, which also cost us money, security and indemnities of staff you have to deploy to render the required extra services, during the period.”

The deputy director, news and current Affairs, Radio Kano, Alhaji Ismail Ammai Maizare, lamented that government-owned radio stations did not benefit from the economic boom.

He said, “Private radio stations, no doubt were the beneficiaries, for the government -owned radio stations, there was no patronage, so for us, in public radio, it made no difference.”

Public transport operators, who spoke to our reporter, conceded to the singular perception that, the transport sector yielded a boom, during the primaries.

The secretary, Kano Line Motor Park, Audu Gombe said, there was mass traverse of passengers between the metropolis and other parts of the state.

He said, “some people working outside the metropolis have to return to the metropolis to take part in the primaries, those posted to local governments outside the metropolis were also returning for the primaries, so we were also busy, during the period.

According to tricycle operators, who were interviewed, the operators were busy conveying passengers from one political gathering to another.

An operator, when quizzed said “it was good business, I made enough to take care of my family, the politicians were always on the move, even into the late part of the night, we were working.

In avoidance of subjudice, hoteliers declined uttering official comments. However, a source who pleaded anonymity, said “the matter of our leadership in Kano is under litigation, if we comment we do not know what will be next.

The source further said, “the primaries did not add any value to us, VIPs who used to lodge had to travel to their areas of electoral interest, those who were to stay back in Kano this time did not, and most of the hotels during the primaries were empty.

Findings unveiled that, food vendors smiled to the banks; they were virtually the sole food service providers at all points of political gatherings.

A popular food vendor stationed at Marhaba cinema, which is known to host political activities in the city, who simply identified herself as Hajiya mama, said her sales tripled during the primaries.

“My dream was cut short, this time, because of the crisis in the parties, Marhaba did not host many events this time, whenever primaries were held at Marhaba, we, the food vendors, and those hawking all types of consumable, normally smiled home at the end of the day.”

The merchants and custodians of dreaded thugs were not excluded from the boom, as various local capones were hired to intimidate perceived political opponents.

A popular thuggery merchant, Dan Goje, told this reporter that he recorded an enviable level of patronage during the primaries.

He said, the service of each thug is pegged at the sum of N3000 per day. “For us we worked for everybody, during primaries, we normally operate from the city of no friend, no enemy.”

While the primaries ended with both victors and losers, there is no doubt that the recent primaries was a boost to the local economy of the ancient city.



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