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Even You, Father Kukah?

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Even You, Father Kukah?, by Hassan Gimba

Most Reverend Mathew Hassan Kukah, Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, is a catholic priest that burst onto the public domain as a reverend father. Reverend Father thus stuck to him like a second skin. Whatever official progression he achieved in his calling, he has remained a reverend father in the minds of many, including yours truly.

I had two favourite writers in the New Nigeria Newspapers of the 1980s whom I regarded very highly. They were Malam Ibrahim Sulaiman who wrote on Fridays and Kukah who wrote on Sundays. I even had to be cutting their pages and filing them away for future references.

They were intellectual giants even then, and one did not even have to profess the same religion with any of them to understand them. You marvel at their writings whose fluidity entranced, and you came out more educated – irrespective of the degree of your religiosity or leanings. They wrote for the emancipation of man, body and soul. They were tremendous and patriotic with the oneness of humanity oozing out of their words. Their works were the works of patriots.

I have an irredeemable belief in the catchphrase “once a patriot, always a patriot”. But patriots have a short fuse, and they suffer no fools. They are generally not satisfied with happenings in government and around them. But that is the way of the world; humankind is never satisfied with its now. And this is why the world keeps developing. Positive minds recreate the world positively, and evil minds evilly.

Sometimes, in frustration, a patriot, like any other patriot, says things he may not mean or what people may construe wrongly. But sometimes, herd mentality takes over a patriot’s thinking and the vagaries of time diminish his shepherding qualities, and he becomes the shepherded. Victimhood mentality sets in. He becomes paranoid, seeing him and his “people” as being at the receiving end due to a conspiracy of authority or a people.

In his later years, when he should be a voice for all, Bishop Mathew Kukah kept diminishing the quality and quantity of those he speaks for. And once one opts into talking for a segment of society, even if a religious one, one risks becoming an emotional pedagogue. The danger of standing on the pulpit of emotional demagoguery is that one views everything from a subjective perspective. One will no longer be objective or assume the universality of humanity as sacrosanct.

Such is the position my respected Kukah finds himself in. Many people are bashing him for “calling for a coup”. But did he? No, he didn’t. Some believe that by inference that was where he was pointing towards. However, since I am not in the business of lip reading, I want to hold that it was not what he meant. He just said that were a Southern Christian the president, and not Muhammadu Buhari, there would have been a coup with the myriad of problems we are experiencing now. But again, is that so? That could be a speculative exercise.

He was among those who played significant roles in legitimising Buhari’s 2015 coming by being one of those who advised the incumbent to concede. Surely, winning the election was enough to legitimise his coming to power. However, despite popular votes, every incoming government wants specific sectors and individuals to stamp its approval on its emergence. If this is so of even the most autocratic regimes, how much more of a democratic one seeking universal acceptance?

That notwithstanding, by saying there would have been a coup were the president somebody else, he betrayed an emotion that should not have been there. Would there have been a coup against the Goodluck Jonathan government if it was headed by a northerner? You may recall that the service chiefs were virtually all Christians. And we had security problems as well.

Well, you may say, but the problems weren’t as dominating as they are now. And this is because you are speaking from the benefit of hindsight. After all, you saw yesterday and know today. During Jonathan’s era, the thing to understand is that the cry was also “we never had it so bad” just as today’s cry. Yet we were hopeful that tomorrow would be better, and that was why we rejected Jonathan and opted for Buhari. But so had it been throughout human history. Most of the time, it is “we never had it so bad” and hope for better days ahead.

I recently listened to an audio clip of the sermons of the late Kalarawi, who was an Islamic scholar loved for his jocularity in his teachings. From the clip, one could deduce it was around 1992. He was lamenting that a litre of fuel was “now four naira and radio battery (a pair) 80 kobo!” he cried that the world was coming to an end! To Malam Kalarawi and people of the era, that was as bad as it could get because they had never had it that bad up to that time. The argument whether there would have been a coup now with a Southern Christian as president remains academic. It is the same as inferring that there could have been one were a president of Northern Muslim extraction been in charge during Jonathan’s era. And Kukah, of all people, should have known better.

I want to believe that the respected cleric has taken to the mentality of those bitten by the victimhood bug. It is the way of those who for mischief purposes play the ethnic or religious card. The separatist Igbo movement, IPOB, played the ethnic card without success earlier. It did its best to drum up support among gullible Igbos, telling them that insurgents’ killings and those by the bandits were targeted at them. As long as the perpetrator is at large, any imaginable crime in the South is attributed to Fulani herdsmen. It is as if all the tribes are made up of saints and have never had criminals. All this is sentiment whipping meant to pit one or more tribes against one or more others.

Having seen that tribal sentiments aren’t paying dividends, they have now shifted full force to religion. And, unfortunately, with people like Kukah at the wheels. Any Christian who tells the world that Boko Haram and bandits target only Christians is coming from the pit of hell and just competing to be Lucifer’s mouthpiece.

Agreed the monsters execute people in the guise of doing so because they are Christians. They purposely do so to give ammunition to those who want Nigeria to burn in the name of religion. And these fake warriors who get their ammunition from the monsters’ shenanigans use such to attract local and international sympathy. And dollars to their pockets.

But contrary to what they want the world, especially their western paymasters, to believe, the reality belies their words. We should not forget Zabarmari or Auno, Baga, Gwoza or Konduga. Those slaughtered or burnt alive there were Muslims. The five aide workers slain by Boko Haram were Muslims just as Hauwa Liman and Saifura Ahmed, two nurses with the International Committee of the Red cross, abducted by them in Rann, Borno State. The Nigerian government in a press release just said it is “shocked” and “saddened” by the killings.

We should know that for every Christian so killed by them, a hundred Muslims have been killed. For every Leah Sharibu held by them, a hundred Muslim women are in their accursed custody.

However, Mathew Kukah started as a unifier. He was speaking for the fodder everywhere. Perhaps that was one reason some Northern Muslims opened many doors for him, including the privilege of being a columnist for the respected NNN. I know of at least the late Liman Ciroma who facilitated his becoming a writer for the northern mouthpiece.

Many of us who found wisdom in his earlier writings expected him to continue educating us on those marginalised and those not marginalised but “eat” with that term. You see, across the tribes and religions, you find Nigerians who eke out a living through hard work. As unfulfilling as the pay from their work is, these Nigerians provide themselves with everything they need. Well, almost. They secure their environment and provide their electricity and water. They buy their food, pay their bills and see to the education of their children. From the little they make, they also pay their taxes.

Among the cream of society, the top five per cent are people from all the country’s religions and tribes. You can meet even members of the clergy of all the faiths among them. These are people in, or with access to, the corridors of power. The government does for them what the marginalised do for themselves. And they are the ones that benefit from the cry of “marginalisation”, not the oppressed who fight and die for it.

No tribe in Nigeria is marginalised. Indeed, no religion is. All have their fair show of those who suck freely from our commonwealth. And, conversely, all have their ample shares of the downtrodden.

The day the truly marginalised Nigerians from all the tribes and faiths realise this and come together, that will be the day they will get emancipated. Their new self-awareness will give birth to a new Nigeria of peace, justice and fairness. A country that will protect and serve its people that they, in return, will die for her.

We expect the Most Reverend Mathew Hassan Kukah to be with those at the forefront of this enlightenment and march towards building a nation, united as a people, irrespective of where one comes from or turns in prayer.

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Opinion

Educational development in Yobe And Fika old students Association

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Educational Development in Yobe and Fika old students association

By Abba Dukawa

YOBE state had its own bitter taste of the Boko Haram insurgency, which practically destroyed many schools in the state, immediately on the day Governor Mai Mala Buni took over the affairs of the state, he had unveiled his administration’s commitments in improving primary and secondary education in the state. During his inauguration speech on May 29, declared a state of emergency on primary and secondary education in the state. Its apt to quote him , I Hereby Declare A State Of Emergency On Primary And Secondary Education In The State, To Build A Solid, Vibrant And Robust Foundation For The Development Of Education. Government Would As A Matter Of Deliberate Policy Continue To Provide The Necessary Support To Move Education In The State To Greater Heights.”

This declaration declare a state of emergency on state education is an admission that things are not where they are supposed to be. It means that the familiar perception of the problems that confront the state and must be creatively challenged.

To be fair government cannot be completely blame for poor educational facilities; but the communities and Old Students association, in they own right, has a vital role to play in the supporting alma mater while communities also nedd to support government efforts in , delivery and improvement of education.

Politics aside there is need for Old students association need to pay back what the government offered them during the good days instead of politicize alleged lack of decent educational facilities in some schools in the state.

HMB’s administration recorded tremendous achievements greatly in health care delivery to schools, roads, agriculture in spite of the security challenges in Yobe state. Yobe State is home to about a third of Nigeria’s 13.2 million out-of-school children. In order to improve and encourage pupil’s enrolment in schools in the state HMB’s administration partner with the Federal Government for the implementation of the Home Grown Feeding Programme.

The administration has made a significant landmark in revolutionising the educational sector in the state Buni convened the state’s first education summit to proffered solutions to the sector past track his administration goal in the development of the state education sectors.

Like it or not the administration has increased school enrolment in the state, Some structures burnt down by the Boko Haram insurgents renovated, establish two model primary schools and two model junior secondary schools in each of the state three senatorial districts to expand access to education by the school age.

Hundreds of schools have so far been rehabilitate, new ones in the local government councils affected by the insurgency and other local government area of the state have been constructed in line with the state of emergency declared by the administration on education. Also new Model schools were constructed in Damaturu, Gashua, Potiskum, Geidam, Nguru and Buni Yadi all Buni’s administration effort to provide conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning.

Thousands teachers have been trained and retrained to enhance manpower requirements of the schools and thousands fresh teachers has been employed despite state with lean financial resources. administration procured and distributed over N1billion text books, laboratory equipment and chemicals. Classroom and office furniture were procured and distributed to schools across the state. State higher institutions also not left out in spite mountainous challenges facing the state, the administration has greatly support the state owned tertiary institutions to be centres of academic excellence, and also to produce adequate, trained and qualified manpower to serve the state and beyond.

In view of the great loss suffered by the education sector from insurgency, the administration is determined to move the State away from an educationally disadvantaged to an educationally prosperous one. Buni’s administration already partner and seek for special intervention from the Federal Ministry of Education, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET Fund), International Organizations to support Yobe state government in its commitment to rebuilding education in the State.

In my view, on recent video posted on social media by Fika Government Secondary Old Boy on School facilities; is nothing but looking for cheap popularity. In deal society, communities and Old Students Association are complementing govenment’s efforts, in providing educational facilities in their immediate environment like what peoples seeing in the southern part of the country. It should be a good for Fika Old Students Associations to be bipartisan not to be critical to government efforts. It would be a great insensitivity for them to blame the state government on decay of school facilities. What support they offered to their alma Mater in they capacities as Old Boy of Fika Governor Buni’s deserve commendation for his concern on education, especially at the all levels.

To be fair without Government alone cannot provide educational facilities to all state own schools as there is need for total support of School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) and Old Students association, in every communities. Fika Old Students Associations and other alike Old Boys forgot even before HMB secession to power in May 29/2019, the insurgents has destroyed many educational facilities in the state making many pupils to abandon schools for their safety. In spite of this challange Governor Buni has displaying his political will toward the educational development across the state.

Undeniably Buni’s administration take proactive steps to rehabilitate and equip to standard at least one Science Secondary School in each senatorial zone in the State. Community and old students association has a vital role to play in the provision, educational facilities and improvement of education, peasants, government, traditional and religious leaders everyone has a stake in it.

Dukawa can be reached at abbahydukawa@gmail.com.

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Opinion

APC Congress: Why There is No Descending Voice in Borno

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APC Congress: Why there is no descending voice in Borno

By: Yusuf Adamu

The All Progressive Congress, APC in Borno state has shone that unity among party members following the meeting held today at the multipurpose hall of the Maiduguri government house is a clear indication that the leadership under governor Babagana Umara Zulum is carrying everyone along on the decisions taking to shaping the future of the party in the state and to have others emulate the good example from Borno state.

The examplary demonstration of the stewardship of the governor Zulum administration and advices from party leaders like the former governor Senator Kashim Shettima, senators representing northern Borno – Abubakar Kyari and Senator Muhammed Ali Ndume of southern Borno as well as members of the house of representatives and stakeholders have spoken well of the party as it prepares for the coming Congress.

The outward demonstration of maturity and agreement that gives birth to peaceful meeting of party members is an indication that APC in Borno state has come of aged and standing as a true democracy. It also shows that, the governor has been leading the right way of leaders who are selfless in the discharge of their responsibilities.

The fact that there was no descending voice true out the cause of the meeting and even after is a positive indications that all those who are representing the party in leadership position both at the state and national levels has the stake of charismatic leadership that speaks volumes on the delivery of people trust and confidence repose on them.

The meeting has brought light to the cravings for equality among members and understanding among followership that makes APC thick under this democratic experience. The respect and total commitment exercise by members has gone steps further to bring out the best that any democratic governance can offer. This also has brought the fact that the consensus which was agreed upon today is heart warming and politically energizing is the making of a greater APC in Borno state.

  • Yusuf Adamu writes from Maiduguri

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Opinion

The Rot in Education Predated Governor Buni, By Hassan Gimba

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The Rot In Education Predated Governor Buni, by Hassan Gimba

I recently watched a video clip made by an old student of Fika Government Secondary School in which he showed how dilapidated the school is. It was first sent to me by a retired federal permanent secretary and later by a former minister of the federal republic. Among many others who sent the same clip to me is a friend who is a professor and a dean in Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and another who is a state commander of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency. That means the video clip has gone viral.

Many of those who sent me the clip asked whether it was true. Some suggested I bring it to the notice of the Governor, His Excellency Mai Mala Buni. I appreciated all of them and thanked them for their belief and confidence that I would bring it to the governor’s notice.

I have not met and discussed it with the governor–yet–but I am sure he must have seen it by now. I am sure because I know he has his ears to the ground and has one of the best feedback mechanisms among the governors of the nation.

My take on the video is deep, as I explained to some of them who expected me to say something. Their unuttered query was like “being a journalist who knows the governor for ages and reports his activities, you must know something”. Therefore, tell them something without holding brief for those really responsible, I have to.

The rot in education in Yobe State has eaten deep over the years. Perhaps right from its creation. Anyone who listened to the video would attest to that. The videographer’s first sentence gave him out as someone who was unfortunate to go to a Yobe school in the 1990s, as he said, when education imparted was half-baked. Throughout his lamentations, his rendition suggested someone who needed further teaching to redo the WAEC in English, at least.

But people believe that once a message is conveyed, then language can be blown to smithereens. Well, his message was loud and clear, but our concern here is the quality of education he got in the 1990s. Meaning the poor quality of education in Yobe predated the emergence of Honourable Mai Mala Buni as the governor of the state.

Therefore, aware of the decay in the state of education, Governor Buni’s first act as governor, pronounced before he came down from the podium on the day of his inauguration, was the declaration of the State of Emergency on primary and secondary education. He followed that up by hosting an Education Summit on the 1st of July, after which he set up a Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Professor Malah Daura, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri.

To prove that it was not mere propaganda, that year he allocated to the education sector the largest share of N22.853b or 21.08%. In previous years education had very low allocations.

See attached graphs.

Reversing decomposition is not an effortless task. There are worse schools than Fika, in Yobe, unfortunately. Almost all the schools had not only dilapidated structures, but the absence of such when he took over. Typical examples are schools with structures meant for about 2000 but harbouring over 20,000 pupils.

However, from 2019 to date, he has rehabilitated and expanded many of the schools in the state. Fika and others in a similar state of disrepair are on the agenda and I am privileged to know that already the process for their rehabilitation has been kick-started. Meanwhile, he has built from scratch 14 new schools comprising seven mega and seven standard model schools, with each having 24 classrooms.

While the video clip is an eye-opener, it is also an indicator of how intense the atrophy in education in the state is and for how long.

But if we should be fair, the rot predated Governor Mai Mala Buni’s ascension. Again, to be truthful, he came intending to better education in the state and he has started.

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