September 14, 2019

Building Obsession: Skyline University Tower, Kano (Former Bank of the North)

Dolapo Omidire

Originally built as the head office of the Bank of the North, the Skyline University Tower was and still is a depiction of modern architecture from the early days of new Kano.

Building Obsession: Former Bank of the North, now Skyline University in Kano. Image Source: TheHistoryVille
Building Obsession: Former Bank of the North, now Skyline University in Kano. Image Source: TheHistoryVille

Similar to many old post-independence buildings in Nigeria, this property carries narratives for how and where it was developed and that’s why we find it so interesting. For starters, the site where the building stands was once home to some of the large groundnut pyramids of Kano, the agricultural commodity that was a large wealth creator and economic driver for the region and its residents. Locals saw less of these pyramids when oil became the focus of Nigeria’s economy during the 60’s and 70’s.

Example of the large groundnut pyramids of Kano. Image Source: TheHistoryVille
Example of the large groundnut pyramids of Kano. Image Source: TheHistoryVille

Secondly, the Bank of the North Tower, completed in the Mid 80’s, was strategically positioned at the northern end of the Zaria Road to serve as a city welcoming icon for those travelling into Kano from the Southern parts of the country. Though the city is now far more urbanized than it was in the 80’s, the property is still visible from many parts of Kano.

The 23-floor property was designed by architectural firm Ella & Waziri Associates (later M. T Waziri & Associates), who also designed multiple buildings in Bayero University, Kano. Its principal architect, Musa T. Waziri (d. 2011) was made chief architect in the Kano Ministry of Works when states were first created in 1967. He played a crucial role in designing many properties built under the leadership of Audu Bako, the first Administrator of Kano State in the military regime. A few examples include the Bagauda Lake Hotel, Gidan Murtala, Magwan Water Restaurant, Audu Bako Secretariat and Kano School of Technology among several others.

The property’s current occupant is Skyline University Nigeria. It is Kano’s first private University that officially opened in July 2018. The institution is part of Skyline University College (SUC) of the University City of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, which was established in 1990.

During a State’s Executive Council meeting in Kano in 2017, 19 Northern Governors announced the commencement of a capital raising initiative to revive the defunct Bank of the North, however little activity has been noted since then.

Here are photos of Yemisi and I on day 1 and 2 of our recent trip to Kano!

Yemisi and Dolapo from Estate Intel on day 1 and 2 from the recent tam trip to Kano
Yemisi and Dolapo from Estate Intel on day 1 and 2 from the recent team trip to Kano
Building Obsession: Former Bank of the North, now Skyline University in Kano. Image Source: 9Mobile Photo Competition
Building Obsession: Former Bank of the North, now Skyline University in Kano. Image Source: 9Mobile Photo Competition

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