By Abdul Umar Farouk
I read some criticisms and debates on the Kano state government infrastructural development achievements of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on the social media. I was not at all shocked or surprised because it was more of making efforts by some few individuals to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. The critics polished their criticisms with what every liberal mind will call half truth.
They were asking whether flyovers, underpasses and light rails are what the Kano people really need forgetting that the fast growing population requires such infrastructure to prepare for the immediate future.
Anyway, it is agreed even by the critics at least that progress has been achieved as far as infrastructural development is concerned in Kano. They have nothing to say but to try to show it as not what is required. However, they were demanding for human development, making efforts to depict that nothing is being done or achieved in that sector.
The issue here is that of preparing for a smooth future through both infrastructural development and human development of Kano. The reality is that any society that has attained developmental progress has done that as a result of both human and infrastructural development. This is the path being taken by Ganduje. There is nothing more than education as far as human development is concerned. It is through education that the status and advancement of societies are determined. It is also through education that social, economic and political advancement is achieved.
In the last two decades in Nigeria it has been made known several times by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reports that almost 60 percent of the poverty in Nigeria is in the North. This is not because the North has a larger population than both the South and East put together but because it lacked the required educational development when compared with the other regions. It should be understood that population is wealth and is called “human resources”. It is only through education that population can properly be made more useful and not a liability. What more would be expected of Kano that is approaching over 15 million in this new decade?
It is based on this fact that Governor Ganduje should be praised for taking a giant stride towards eliminating liability in the population of Kano state by simply making education free and compulsory in the state through a revolutionary process in the sector. It is now the political will of the leaders in the state and the social responsibility will of the people of the state that can make this a reality.
It is now left for the Kano people to support this effort of the Governor to ensure that they free, emancipate and alleviate the North from poverty through supporting the free and compulsory education in the state and setting example for other northern states which should also be emulated by them.
His government on its side has started on a good footing through the provision of learning materials including books and uniforms.
Unfortunately, the advent of the global pandemic of COVID-19 has further destabilized the education sector in the country because schools have been closed down for very long and academic activities brought to a standstill. But with recent developments, it is hoped that schools might subsequently come to open for learning activities to resume.
In anticipation of that, Governor Ganduje has introduced a system through which all schools in the 44 Local Government Areas in the state will undergo massive renovations of all dilapidated structures. In order to achieve this, N880 million has been released for that, with every of the 44 local government areas receiving a whooping N20 million support funds to ensure renovation of the schools structures. This is just to enhance the learning environment and do away with dilapidated structures. Indeed this is an excellent political will by Ganduje to make the free and compulsory education policy in the state a reality.
Each Local Government Council would be given N20 million through Community Promotion Committee (CPC) to execute the renovation project within three weeks.
Ganduje had stated that his administration has accorded utmost priority to education as a bed rock to societal development and is indeed proving it.
According to Ganduje, his administration had provided a blueprint for financing education, some of which include the allocation of 26% of the annual budget of the state to education.
Also, his administration had made sure that 5% of the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is spent on education, adding that 5 percent of the statutory allocation of the Local Governments also goes to education financing, under the Education Trust Fund.
Also, two percent of every contract awarded in the state is declared to education with a view to improving its quality, aimed at moving the state forward. All these are channels and sources for which funding has been determined for education in the state.
Also, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), believes that the recent plans by the Ganduje administration for funding the renovation of all primary schools in the state would improve the quality of primary education. SUBEB also made public that Ganduje has so far constructed 407 classrooms and renovated over 700 classes. The government had built 460 toilets in various schools across the state, adding that over 200 boreholes have been constructed in the schools spending over N3. 4 billion on renovation and rehabilitation of schools, classrooms and provisions of furniture in all the schools.
More so, this is in addition to engaging 8,000 volunteer teachers and spending over N200 million for procurement of instructional materials.
He also engaged the services of Community Promotion Committees to serve as platform through which people of the communities as well as philanthropist can also contribute in the educational revolution of Governor Ganduje. This is a revolution in the education sector to be reckoned with.
What is there to criticize or condemn in this kind of a giant stride towards achieving the required educational status for the state? Hence, what is required from those using half truth to condemn is their own social will to ensure that the free and compulsory education is a reality in the state.
This indeed is a revolution worthy of emulation by other Northern states as a means of utilizing the verse human resource in the region, a blueprint brought to bare by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
Abdul is the SSA on information to the Governor of Kano state