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Now Is Not The Time To Talk of Separation, By Hassan Gimba

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Now is not the time to talk of separation, by Hassan Gimba

The calls for Nigeria to dissolve into its various parts have never been this high. The call is more strident in the Southern part of the country. In the South East, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is calling for autonomy of the zone, populated by the Igbo. In the South West, there are also such calls. The North, too, is not left out as many stakeholders align with those who think it is not worth remaining in a union with those who no longer want it.

In the South, especially the east, the agitation is so widespread and gaining momentum that it is threatening to get out of hand. The general feeling there is that of people seeking freedom from bondage. Unfortunately, southern agitation is fueled by propaganda which the government could not counter. The skewed information dished out is becoming the truth in the minds of those targeted, those meant to be convinced.

Perhaps miffed by the avalanche of the propaganda, all mischievously and deliberately slanted to achieve certain goals, the North reacted. A section of its elders met and stated that the southeast should be allowed to go. That the north, and indeed Nigeria, is not willing to fight anymore to keep anyone in the federation.

A major aberration is that those who cry about being victims are in reality those who victimise. However, they craftily make it look like they are at the receiving end or there is a grand conspiracy to end their existence on earth. In other parts of the country, they move freely and engage in their activities without harassment from any quarter. In their area, certain people are not as free and they live on borrowed time.

But we have come a long way as a nation. No one should force anyone to remain in Nigeria as a Nigerian. We have to remain together as one in our collective interest. To borrow from a popular cliché, united we will stand, divided we shall all fall.

I have some time ago written that even if Nigeria would balkanise, now is the wrong time, for all our sakes. The best time would have been 1966 and, perhaps by now, we would all have been independent nationalities, each with its peculiar problems and prospects. But now, none of the six geopolitical zones can survive outside Nigeria. Bandits, insurgents, militants and would overwhelm us all. Even the Igbo nation cannot stand on its own if left alone to the arrogance and demagoguery of its anointed secessionist leader.

Even though the Boko Haram insurgency appears to be getting to an end, the truth is if turmoil overtakes Nigeria, the chances that the insurgents will roll out their “caliphate” and become the lords of the north-east are high.

The north-west and north-central probably may go to the bandits and herdsmen who could easily be tempted to join hands with Boko Haram–if they are not under their control already.

The south-east may likely witness fights between groups clamouring for dominance. The group with the most arms and daredevil members may triumph after protracted warfare. Militants will rule the coasts and each group may have its fiefdom. Perhaps the only zone that may move on as a nation-state after a little turmoil may be the south-west. It has a political leadership and is economically better organised. Its youth can respect the elders as well.

The northern elders know the uncertainties and dangers associated with the dissolution of Nigeria now. Despite its bravado, the discerning from the south-east also knows that the upheavals to be witnessed in their zone with Nigeria’s dissolution is better imagined than witnessed.

With all the brave faces being shown by the Igbo living in the North, they know that living in the North is far better than going back to the East. At the height of the Boko Haram killings in Borno and Yobe, two states at the epicenter of the insurgency, many of them that fled back home, returned almost immediately afterwards. The stories they gave of their experiences were horrific. Those of them living at home are mostly the ones bent on seeing that those outside return. Envy? Well, only they and their God know.

With the current situation of Nigeria, it is wise for all parties to sheathe their swords and extend the hand of concord, friendship, and understanding to one another.

Most of those shouting for dissolution are those who have lost out and think they cannot compete favourably with others within the united nation. So they believe they can be lords of the manor at a part.

Let us build the country, make it peaceful and secure. The average Nigerian may not give a hoot who the president will be as long as there will be fairness and justice; and as long as he can provide for his family the necessities of life. This is at the root of the problem.

The masses of people do not hate one another. In the communities where they cohabit, they often live in peace and respect for one another. It is the political class that tries to cause division among Nigerians to profit from the fracas that result. For they know that once the suspicion and contrived conflict among the various peoples that make up this potentially great nation are pushed aside, the people will band together to understand who their common enemies are – those who have systematically appropriated the vast resources of this country for themselves, their families and few associates.

And while they gorge themselves on the people’s commonwealth, seeking to perpetuate their unfair privilege, the masses wallow in the most dehumanizing living conditions one can imagine.

The agitations being witnessed may spread to engulf the country as those ostracised from a reasonable distribution of our country’s wealth for decades will be up in arms, unleashing their frustrations on all of us. If not addressed properly, and when the masses get a uniting leadership, the pull at the country’s seams will increase and thus threaten its very existence.

But the bulk of Nigerians know we are better off together. Even in the East where the call for dissolution has been long and in the west where it just began, most of the intelligent class do not subscribe to a dismemberment; they want a governance arrangement that they feel can stand a better chance of improving the general well-being of all than what is currently on offer.

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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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