The Story Of Senator Kwankwaso And The 37 Nursing Students In Egypt
By Malam Muhammad Garba
Last week Thursday, the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation held what has been described as a vilifying fund-raising in Kano state. According to them, they organized the programme to raise money for Kano state students studying Nursing in Egypt. Before the programme, there was a media hype where Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his foot soldiers spent over N15 million in print media advert and radio and television jingles appealing to Nigerians to come and donate to protect the ‘future’ of the said students.
Going by the level of publicity accorded to the event, one would have expected that the very important personalities, including Senator Kwankwaso himself would storm Kano to donate generously for the said students. The reverse was, however, the case as they were able to raise only N41 million! In that well-publicized event, no ex-governor, serving governor, business-mogul philanthropists were in attendance. The said N41 million announced after the occasion was on account of mere pledges made by ordinary members of the Kwankwasiyya Group, which over 80 per cent of it may not be redeemed.
From my calculation, the 37 students in question who need ‘help’ should be demanding for about $300, 000 to carter for their needs in one academic year; now, if they are completing their course in two years—they should be talking about $600, 000! How far can a mere N41 million go to meet up with their financial requirements? This, however, explains the fact that Kwankwaso organized the fund-raising, not for the interest of the students, but to test-run his political prowess; and at the end of the day, it has dawned on him that he is no longer relevant, as people have come to understand his game-plan!
To further put the records straight, in July 2017, the authorities of Mansoura University, Egypt, where about 154 Nursing students from Kano state were enrolled as part of the scholarship scheme sponsored by the state government, sent a signal that 37 out of the students might face suspension, following their inability to cope with the academic standards of the University. The state government got the information through the state Scholarship Board. Following this development, arrangements were made for their return tickets. There were also moves to ensure that they complete their studies in alternative institutions here in Nigeria, since they failed to meet up with the standards in Mansoura University.
For instance, the students were not attending lectures. Their scores were very low. It was recommended by the University that the state government should pay for their studies for an additional year. However, there was doubt that they will be able to pass at the end of the additional year. So, it was decided that they return home after consultation with their parents. We also learnt that some of the 37 students in the same institution went to the extent of assaulting their lecturers. The administration of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is a responsible government. We do not tolerate indiscipline, breach of the law and waste of public funds on those who would not appreciate the privilege of being sponsored to study abroad with tax-payers money.
More so, from the report available to us from the Faculty of Nursing of Mansoura University, the 37 students could not make 2.0 GPA for the two consecutive semesters of 2015/2016 academic year, despite what the report refer to as, close academic supervision and support during their summer semester.
However, twelve among the 154 Nursing students in that university satisfactorily completed their programme in August, last year and they were given rousing reception by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s administration, at least, for making the state proud, while others who are yet to complete their programme are currently studying in the university under the same scholarship scheme, which the Ganduje administration inherited from the immediate-past administration of Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, with huge backlog of unpaid allowances and tuition fees.
It is, however, sad to note that some people are politicizing the whole issue. When the news of the fate of the 37 non-performing students filtered in, it was not a surprise that enemies of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s administration cashed in on it to score cheap political goals! In fact, they seized it as an opportunity to boost their illicit deals of making money through the Kano state government-sponsored foreign scholarship programme. They launched a campaign of calumny against Governor Ganduje’s administration, making those who cared to listen to them believe that Governor Ganduje, personally withdrew the non-performing 37 Nursing students from the Mansoura University!
It is also on record that Senator Kwankwaso hurriedly visited the 37 students in Egypt, held secret meetings with them and took group photographs with them, without the knowledge of the authorities of Mansoura University. Senator Kwankwaso, during his jamboree visit to the unlucky students in Egypt failed to find out what actually went wrong. In his usual manner, he turned the whole scenario into dirty politics; in his desperate bid to vilify the Ganduje’s administration—a venture too hard for him to achieve.
If Senator Kwankwaso truly wishes the students well, one would expect that, with his position as a senior citizen of Kano state, a Senator representing one of the largest Senatorial District in Nigeria, he should have engaged the Kano state Government to find out what really went wrong; or as well, use his constituency projects fund to sponsor the students. He did not do that. Rather, he quickly flew back to Nigeria and took the option of meeting good-spirited Kano citizens in secret, soliciting for funds on behalf of the suspended 37 Nursing students! And when he did not succeed, he now used his surrogates who last Thursday organized a rather mockery fund-raising through the Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the good people of Kano have become wiser. They have under-studied the antics, whims and caprices of Senator Kwankwaso.
When he initiated the foreign scholarship scheme as the Governor of Kano state, Senator Kwankwaso told the world that he had paid hundred per cent of the tuition fees and allowances of the beneficiaries upfront. This was a blatant lie! He engaged consultants who were later unmasked as his errand boys. It is now an open secret that the said consultants managing the funds for the students’ tuition fees and allowances were and still are grand members of the Kwankwasiyya. The Ganduje administration abhors corruption and indiscipline; so, no amount of stampede can force us to subscribe to dirty deals at the detriment of the welfare and wellbeing of the good people of Kano state.
It is, indeed, worrisome as documents and information available to us when Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje took over the mantle of leadership in May 29, 2015, that Kwankwaso’s administration owed billions of Naira to the universities where Kano students are studying abroad. This is just a tip of the iceberg of the indescribable debts left behind by Senator Kwankwaso’s administration, which Ganduje’s administration is gradually off-setting.
In spite of all these distractions, His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, within a space of two years, spent over N4.3 billion on sponsoring students overseas to bag degrees, Masters and Ph.D in different disciplines, as well as paying the backlog of debts that piled up on the scholarship scheme left behind by his predecessor. Late last year, Governor Ganduje presented scholarship awards to nine indigenes of the state to study for degree programme at Al-Azhar University Cairo. Also, 10 Imams have been enrolled for a two-month capacity building programme by the Egyptian government. Notwithstanding the high cost, Governor Ganduje’s administration will continue to help Kano citizens acquire quality education at home and abroad. Early this month, over N300 million was approved for Kano state students studying in various higher institutions across the country.
So, for Senator Kwankwaso and his co-detractors, my advice is that even in the field of politics, there is need to remember God. For the fact that politics is seen by some myopic minds as a ‘dirty game,’ does not mean that you can seize every opportunity to turn white into black. Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje became the Governor of Kano state through the will of God and the popular demand of the Kano masses. This explains why we put the interest of the state and the people first in every step we take which is guided by God. Nobody stays in power forever, but what matters is the legacy you leave behind. Kano is working!
Malam Muhammad Garba is the Commissioner for Information, Internal Affairs, Youths and Culture, Kano State.
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