KADUNA STATE RELAXATION & RECREATION CENTER - GAMJI PARK DEAD OR ALIVE Inside The 113 Years Old General Hassan Kastina Park
Kaduna State is blessed with a lot of things. Beside the fact that it is a historic city and a centre of learning, it is equally crowned with a lot of grandeur touristy attractions such as the Kajoro hills, National Museum, Emir of Zauzau's Palace, Matsirga Waterfall, St. Batholomew Anglican Church, Sultan Bello Mosque, Kamuku National park, Gamji park to mention but a few.
Taking a look into this ancient park then known as 'Government Garden' as old as Nigeria herself however renamed after the first Governor of Kaduna state, General Hassan Usman Kastina Park'.
This park is one of the founding legacies of Lord Luggard - for the sole purpose of relaxation and recreation (a culture common to the white). Hence the founding of the park along the Kaduna river in 1914 (the same year Nigeria became a sovereign entity and was called (Government Garden).
The famous Gamji park is in its natural flora and nothing is ornamental about the park. The park has healthy benefit as Doctors directs patients with high blood pressure to visit the garden.
Kofar Gamji boast of a lot of attractiveness; Lord Luggard Foot Bridge, It happened that the Luggard footbridge stated at Zungeru in 1904 was dismantled and assembled at the Gamji Park in 1954 which is 50 years later as the purpose is to link the park to the orchid section. The park has a crocodile pond constructed in 1999. Four crocodiles were captured from Kaduna for touristy attractions. History has it that Kaduna derived her name from this creature kada, singular while Kaduna is the plural of kada. The crocs are 17 years old now. A mini zoo that can boast of exotic animals such as Lions, female Ostriches, Bamboo, Tortoise, Porcupine, Jakal, Fox and so on add to the beauty of the park. The animals have tremendously Increased the influx of people both from rural and urban areas it has equally improved educational tourism. River Kaduna is another aspect of the park. It has a lot of tourism potentials that have not been harnessed. The river channel is currently silted and has cataracts...with lots of crocodiles. It might interest you to know that former President Obasanjo trained in this River during his younger days as a Soldier. A swimming pool was built in it in 1945. It was the only swimming pool then in the whole of Northern region. The swimming pool was used to train the West African Frontier Force, WAFF. After the training they were also trained inside the Kaduna River before been send to Britain during the Second World War.
In recent years the park has been bedevilled with a lot of challenges ranging from nature to man. One of which is the scare of public places due to the security challenges in the country. Also, flooding is also an issue during the rainy season. This has in no small measure dwindle income generation of the Kofar Gamji Park. The park also has suffered from poor management as most private investors are not willing to add value to the park but are only interested in maximizing profit. However, recently, the present administration of Governor Nasir El-rufai is gearing towards re-branding the park to make it a tourist delight, thereby improving the economic fortunes of the park.
The park which is a green area of the city will continue to serve as a unifying aspect of the city.
By Peace Uzomah, Kaduna