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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Re: Kano Govt: A Rendezvous With Recklessness And Executive Rascality – By Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa

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I read with utmost bewilderment an article titled: “KANO GOVT: A RENDEZVOUS WITH RECKLESSNESS AND EXECUTIVE RASCALITY.”  My greatest surprise is that such a piece of trash is coming from a journalist with self-acclaimed intellect and versatility like  Bala Ibrahim. This is what we see in the Fourth Estate of the Realm when veterans who ought to hold on to  objectivity are subjected to the whims and caprices of the drowning opposition elements, after eating fat from portions of state funds embezzled by their paymasters while in-charge of the affairs of the state and the commonwealth of the people.

Having dined and wined with the immediate-past administration of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who has a number of cases of fraud and corruption to answer,  Bala Ibrahim will be the least person to see anything good in the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) administration in Kano, under the able leadership of His Excellency, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf (Abba Gida Gida), the people’s Governor.

Does Bala Ibrahim actually understand the workings of government and governance? This is one question begging for answer. I do not want to go into judicial pronouncements, but the point I want to make clear is that  the issue of Kano Emirship is straightforward with the repeal of the Kano Emirate Law (2019), enactment of Kano Emirate Law (2024), which gave Governor Yusuf the POWER to abolish the five Emirates and return Kano to its glorious and historic position of one EMIRATE (this is the wish of the good people of Kano state). The re-appointment of His Highness, Emir Muhammad Sanusi 11 did not also come to anyone as a surprise because his dethronement and consequent banishment by Ganduje and his co-travellers was done out of malice.

Now calling for the arrest of dethroned Emir Aminu Bayero was only done for public good as his entrance into Kano, shortly after his dethronement posed a serious security threat which is being managed up till today. Governor Yusuf remains the Chief Security Officer of Kano state, and no sane leader will fold his arms and watch Kano snowballed into a state of anarchy without taking action.

Again, the demolition of buildings and structures illegally acquired by former Governor Ganduje, his family and friends was an exercise carried out in good faith. It was an exercise pegged on the efforts to recover public property from the hands of very few individuals who believed  they can pocket public funds, structures and resources and get away with them without giving a wink. We will not be deterred by propagandists like Bala Ibrahim doing the bidding of their paymasters, at the detriment of the welfare of the good people of Kano state and the socio-economic development of  our dear state.

Indeed, it is childish of Bala Ibrahim to keep mentioning the rift between the Deputy Governor, His Excellency,  Comrade Aminu Abdulsalam Gwarzo and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, which has been amicably settled by the two leaders. Who does he want to impress. In times like this, it is common for leaders to have misunderstanding, and also move on after ironing out issues. Now, who is Bala Ibrahim to query the Deputy Governor over his intention to apologise to the NSA in the spirit of brotherhood, and as a devout Muslim?

 

Bala Ibrahim’s, “rendezvous with recklessness and executive rascality,”  will only gain weight and acceptance in the figments of his own imagination, when he has refused of appraise the uncommon achievements of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf, even in the face of needless distractions by the weakened and frustrated opposition elements.

Recently, Governor Yusuf declared a State-of-Emergency on education in Kano state. This action was taken to revive the state’s education sector which was killed and almost buried by the immediate-past administration. In that occasion, Governor Yusuf made certain revelations on the state of our ailing education sector and what the government is doing to salvage it. Radical but practical measures are being taking to reposition education in our State.

There is no gainsaying the fact that our beloved State is witnessing an alarming proliferation of out-of-school children, (with the current figure standing at 989,234 children of both genders), a situation that threatens to rob an entire generation of their right to education and a brighter future. The statistics are grim and the faces of these children, devoid of the promise of learning, haunt us as a collective failure. Our schools, which should be sanctuaries of knowledge, discipline and growth, are in a deplorable state. Dilapidated infrastructure is a common sight—roofs caving in, walls crumbling, and classrooms that can no longer provide a safe and conducive learning environment. The
lack of instructional materials further
compounds the problem, leaving our teachers and students to struggle with outdated and insufficient resources. Above 4.7Million pupils are sitting on bare floors to take lessons while about 400 schools have only one teacher for all classes subjects and all pupils. Rather than building more classrooms and providing basic furniture in the schools, as well as hiring more teachers, the immediate-past administration chose to butcher the land belonging to those schools, in some places demolishing classrooms to create space for shops. Those schools that they could not sell, they closed them down and got them vandalized

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The encroachment of public school lands and the conversion of these vital institutions into private business premises is an affront to our communal values and a direct assault on our commitment to public education. This reckless appropriation of educational spaces for commercial use is unacceptable and Governor Yusuf is ready to stop it no matter whose ass is gored.

In Kano, we have the vast expanse of educational facilities that dotted our landscape including: 7,057 primary schools, 1,148 junior secondary schools, 813 senior secondary schools, and 49 science and technical schools. These numbers, while ostensibly impressive, belie the grim reality that lies beneath the surface. Let us delve deeper, and you will discover disheartening statistics: out of the 42,516 total classrooms available in our basic schools, a mere 22% meet the most basic standards of habitability. Let us pause to contemplate the implications of this revelation. Nearly four out of every five classrooms in our primary and junior secondary schools are marred by dilapidation and disrepair, rendering them unsuitable for the noble pursuit of knowledge.

In our senior secondary schools, the picture remains bleak. Here, less than 30% of classrooms can be deemed habitable, leaving a significant portion of our student population to grapple with inadequate facilities that impede their intellectual growth and development. In our science and technical schools, the bastions of innovation and ingenuity. Unfortunately, the situation here is even grimmer, with less than 20% of classrooms meeting the most basic criteria for habitability. How can we hope to nurture the next generation of scientists and engineers when the very environments in which they are meant to learn are rife with inadequacies and deficiencies?

As part of Governor Yusuf’s commitment to revitalizing education in Kano State, the administration has allocated an unprecedented 29.95% of our 2024 budget to education. This decision is based on the realization that only significant allocation of financial resources would address most of the hydra-headed problems afflicting our educational system, largely centered around under-funding. In his bid to revitalize the basic and post-basic education sub-sectors in the State, Governor Yusuf  restored the upkeep and overhead funds for all secondary schools in the State. This injection of funds will enable the
schools to maintain their infrastructure,
procure essential teaching and learning
materials, and ensure the overall conducive teaching and learning environment that our
students deserve.

Furthermore, in recognition of the pivotal role of practical education in nurturing innovative minds, Governor Yusuf has unveiled  plans for building an additional 300 state- of-the-art laboratories in 100 schools across the state. The provision of these facilities will provide our students with hands-on experience in scientific inquiry, fostering a culture of experimentation and discovery that is essential for their future
success. This is in addition to another 300 laboratories that will be comprehensively overhauled in 100 secondary schools.

Governor Yusuf’s administration is also constructing 1000 classroom across the State within the next academic session. This measure will, no doubt, mitigate classroom congestion that has become a common feature of most of our schools. He has  also directed that all contractors handling inherited abandoned projects in  tertiary institutions should go back to site immediately.

Governor Yusuf’s administration’ has also ordered the reopening of all the boarding schools, that were shut down by the immediate past administration. These schools will be reopened and re-boarded within the next academic year. Boarding schools play a crucial role in providing a supportive environment for students, particularly those from remote areas or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. By reopening these institutions, we are expanding access to quality education and creating opportunities for students to thrive academically and sociallly.

One of Governor Yusuf’s vision statement is to make,  “Every School, a good school.” He  intends to make every public school in the state a good school with decent and standard infrastructure for teaching and learning as well as adequate, qualified and well-motivated teachers and support staff. Already, he has approved for the comprehensive renovation of all primary and junior secondary schools in all the 44 Local Government Council. This renovation will include providing students seats, painting, refurbishing toilets and staff offices. This exercise will be completed in the next two academic sessions. CRC, Kwankwasiyya, Lafiya Jari, and Kano Pro-PA will be responsible for handling minor repairs while Ministry of Education and SUBEB will shoulder all major repairs through competitive bidding.

 

The next statement of vision is: “Every child, enrolled in school.” In essence this is our expression of commitment to clear all out of school children from our streets and get them enrolled in schools. To achieve this, we must first of all provide classroom accommodation to house all the 989,234 out-of-school children in the State. A total of 28,264 classrooms will be built in the next three years across the State. The Ministry of Education and SUBEB will supervise the issuance of the works through competitive bidding while the Ministry for Project Monitoring will monitor execution and compliance.

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The next statement in the vision is: “Every student, an engaged learner”
This requires the provision of modern, state-of- the-art teaching support services and tools. To keep pupils in schools and attentive in their classrooms, we would commence the distribution of one-meal per pupil per day in all primary schools. This would be a joint effort between state government, local government, development partners, philanthropists and host communities. Already, the Community Reorientation Committee (CRC) of the state has been directed to commence preparation and the hiring of cooks for the home-grown school feeding program. We would also re-introduce the distribution of free uniforms to all primary I pupils in all our primary schools.

During his  tenure, His
Excellency, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso selected some private Universities  across the country where scores of our students were sponsored for their first degree. Although these students graduated with good results, the immediate past administration refused to settle their tuition fees and left them for four years  without being able to participate in the one year mandatory youth service scheme. Governor Yusuf  has settled all the tuition fees and  they have collected  their certificates. The Universities include:  Bells University Otta, Crescent University, Abeokuta, ABTI University, Yola, Igbenidion University, Okada and Al- Qalam University, Katsina.

Governor Yusuf adminstration met
a backlog of liability of examination fee to the tune of over N1.3billion which have been  paid and got Kano State students registered for NECO and NBAIS. Alhamdulillah! This year, Goverjor Yusuf administration has approved for the payment of NECO and NBAIS registration fees to the tune of over N2.9Billion for 121,597 students that have four Credits in their Qualifying Examination in our public schools. This is apart from restoration of foreign scholarship programmes where Kano indigenes are currently doing their second degree studies in India, Egypt and other parts of the world.

Relating to health, Governor Yusuf administration has restored the Hasiya Bayero Pediatric hospital. The renovation of Nuhu Bammalli, Bela, and Nassarawa Specialist hospitals are ongoing. The free Pediatric and Maternity care programmes have also been restored. The Murtala Specialist hospital has been renovated. Ambulances have been distributed across the 44 Local Government Areas for easy movement of patients to hospitals across the state. Indeed, hospital renovations and restorations contribute to healthcare infrastructure development. Free Pediatric and Maternity care aligns with adequate health service delivery. Ambulance distribution supports emergency healthcare.

In human capital development, Governor Yusuf has restored the free weddings sponsorship. Over N4 billion was allocated for procurement of palliatives which are shared to the less privilege people across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state irrespective of political and religious affiliations. Islamic study schools have been reopened. Technical Colleges and Skills Acquisition Centres have also been reopened. It is important to note that free weddings and empowerment programmes contribute to social well being of the people, palliative allocations addresses economic vulnerability, while re-opening of educational and skill acquisition Centres align with human capital development.

In infrastructural development, Governor Yusuf has commenced renovation and construction of abandoned roads across the state. Street lights have been restored in streets across Kano metropolis, bringing down the wave of crime and as well, beautifying our great state, particularly in the night. Governor Yusuf has also commenced the construction of two mega flyovers that will ensure traffic decongestion and give Kano its pride of place as a mega commercial city. The administration is also ensuring renovation of many government infrastructures and restoration of clean and portable water supply. There is no gainsaying the fact that infrastructural development contribute to economic development. Street lights enhance urban infrastructure, while adequate water supply aligns with sustainable development.

Space may not allow me to mention all that have been achieved in agriculture, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive, establishment of the state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) under the state Bureau of Statistics, strengthening the Kano Bureau of Statistics to report monthly inflation rates and consumer Price index, updating of the social register, overhaul of the state civil service, prompt payment of civil servants salaries and pensions to pensioners which recently earned Governor Yusuf award as the best pension-friendly Governor, recruitment and training of over 2, 600 civil servants, among others.

There is a saying that, “any government without criticism is dead before it begins.” Governor Yusuf’s administration’ welcomes and appreciates  criticism, but frowns at critics like Bala Ibrahim who are always induced by slices of bread laced with butter and a cup of tea with too much sugar. I urge him to take a deep look at Governor Yusuf’s uncommon style of governance and  imagine how it will restore the lost glory of Kano within the next four years, and beyond.

Sunusi Bature Dawakin Tofa is the spokesperson to Governor Yusuf/ Director-General, Media and Public Relations, Government House, Kano

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