The empowerment of Mai Shayi

We are fundamentally elitist in both our thinking and idea of development. I really don’t see what you find embarrassing about Governor Ganduje of Kano empowering those tea-sellers, people you think aren’t deserving of such attention.

Government is designed for everyone, for things you consider high and low, for the elite and the masses. What the Kano state government is doing is an understanding of the reality of our society as it is, that everybody doesn’t have to find a place as doctor, as engineer, as teacher, as sociologist, as lawyer or as accountant.

Strangely, the most developed nations are dotted with small-time food entrepreneurs, since government doesn’t have to employ all citizens. Perhaps we would’ve found the wisdom to treat the Mai Shayi as equal to us in accessing government-sanctioned opportunities if he had called himself fancy names the way Instagram-maximizing tailors preferred to be called “fashion designers.” If you think owning a tea shop isn’t as important as those aspects of life you consider more respectable, it’s only because of your parochial orientation of the idea of social growth, disconnection from our social reality, your delusions.

IG Wala: Thank you for this piece. When I imagine the number of Maishayi in Kano State, I arrived at a conclusion that this set of citizens deserve attention. I welcome the idea and commended the initiative. Unless there is report of abuse or embezzlement, one will not condemn it at all.

Abubakar Barde; It may interest you to know that when I was offered a position of Manager at Indomie in kano but declined, the first thing they asked me was how do I increase the number of Maishayi to double the initial number. If one thinks this is not good he should know that private companies are using them to maximize profit.

Isaac Austin Tobi: The question is why the empowerment be limited to Mai shayi. How about the women selling food, those selling Akamu de koria (spell check), Mai Ireke, among other subsistence service providers? The small scale farmers, the local artisans are also waiting etc etc. Real governance by empowerment is just starting.

By Gimba Kakanda

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