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Kano As future Headquarters Of Poverty In Nigeria

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Kano State

 

 

By Comrade Mahmud Shawai

 

Kano State is a great state in West Africa, which its history could be traced back to the 7th century or less than that according to historical checks. Kano is the commercial nerve center of Northern Nigeria, its motto is  “Centre of Commerce” in Nigeria.

 

Kano produced gigantic business tycoons in the past and is still producing.

Late Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, a grandfather of African richest man, Aliko Dangote was an indigene of Kano State,  a renowned business tycoon who was into the business of “kola nuts and groundnuts,” until his death he was the wealthiest man in West Africa.

 

Alh. Aliko Dangote GCON is an indigene of Kano who is a  business magnate and philanthropist. He is the wealthiest person in Africa and the richest Black person in the world.

 

With these two people and many others not mentioned, we can conclude that Kano State is a center of business not only in Nigeria but, in the whole African continent.

 

Unfortunately, the Kano of today is not what it was in the past. The riches and prosperity are continuously diminishing though, the pace differs with the state’s Democratic leadership.

 

A Nigerian based Researcher Malam Ibrahim Ado Kurawa has said “Kano has 7.22 Million poor people together with Jigawa.”

 

He further stated that  “Kano is the home of the first textile industry in Nigeria. Now Kano has 7.22million poor people along with Jigawa with its 5.05 million poor they contribute 15% of Nigeria’s poor people with less than 3% of the National Economy” (Nigerian Tracker).

 

It is obvious that if adjustments are not made these figures will keep multiplying until we reach the apex of poverty and become the epicenter and headquarters of poverty in the country.

 

Five factors that lead to the deterioration of poverty in Kano State.

 

1.Unexpertized Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA), Operations: The Agency was established in the year 2011, within the jurisdiction of controlling road and traffic-related problems. But today, the agency is literally a Semi Revenue Generation Department, which focuses on extortion instead of educating the folks on the dos and don’ts of the traffic.

 

Observations show that KAROTA stops a significant number of people from coming to Kano state for business due to their oppressions and intended traps against commuters.

 

2.Insecurity: Insecurity today, in Northern Nigeria becomes a daily routine that we sleep and wake up with, more especially terrorism/banditry, kidnapping, and Boko Haram.

 

This led a significant number of people to leave their homes and investments for survival and most of the wholesalers in these states come to Kano for purchasing goods.

 

3.Bad Governance: Kano State is also suffering from poor governance whereby, most of the political leaders are engaging themselves in programs that will promote their names publicly, maximize their wealth and achieve their personal whims without considering the outcome of that particular event.

 

Succinctly, the state is suffering from the deadly fever of misrepresentation. The  State Internal Revenue Service is always and promptly going after businessmen regardless of being small scale or large scale businesses, but unfortunately, the folks don’t get the feedback of what has been generated monthly, talk less of knowing where the revenue is allocated to.

Lack of transparency and accountability as well as misplacement of priorities gave a big blow to the state.

Just as recently, the federal government shared money to various states according to their transparency, accountability, and sustainability in a program named States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainable Initiatives.

 

Sokoto State which was rated the poorest state in Nigeria in 2021, by the National Bureau of Statistics, has the highest share of approximately six billion and six hundred million, while Kano State that happens to be the “Centre of Commerce” collected the lowest allocation approximately one billion and seven hundred million.

Muhuyi Magaji steps in to address foreign scholarship crisis in Kano

4.Youths Low Self-Esteem in Modern Businesses: Kano youths of today dwell in their past in terms of business, most of them have the low self-esteem to compete with their counterparts in other regions of the country. Most of the Northern youths do not know how to promote their personal businesses on social media as well as improving and maximizing their businesses through educating themselves online to reach the International standard.

 

5.Youth Competition in White-collar Jobs:

The economic growth and development of every society lie on the shoulder of businesses. No, any humble and trustworthy civil servant can compete with businessmen in terms of riches, but most of the youths of today use to abandon their personal businesses and seek jobs under governments and companies.

 

Recommendations

  1. The state’s leadership should create a sustainable economic team that will be designed base on merit and not on political compensation
  2. There should be a continuous awareness for youths to embrace skills acquisitions and endure in nurturing their small businesses till they reach an appreciable stage.
  3. There must be synergy between large scale businessmen and small scale entrepreneurs. The former should have sympathy over the latter.
  4. Leaders should know that the offices they are holding are privileges for them to control and manage the wealth of the led, not fundamental rights to maximize their personal wealth.
  5. KAROTA, should be restructured and coordinated to operate within its jurisdictions.

 

Comrade Mahmud Shawai is the chairman North -West Youth Awareness Foundation

Opinion

US-Israel Decades Strategic Partnership

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Idris Sani Dagumawa

 

Idris Sani Dagumawa

The relationship between the two countries started 75 years back, where America declared their support for Israel 11 minutes, after the official declaration of Israel State. America supported since from the start. The idea of the formation of a Jewish state started in the late 1800, where it is called “Zionism”, a movement believed that providing a safe space for the Jewish community will bring the end of the suffering they faced around the world, fueled by the events in World War II. In 1948, the declaration of a Jewish state came to life, on the land that was previously own by the Palestine under the British control. America was one of the front liners to accept Israel as a state, because US at that time doesn’t have a defendable ally to do its bidding in the 1990s, so they needed an ally in the Middle-East, in that case having a strategic partner at that time has become imperative. And so far, the relationship has proven effective to the both countries and also serves their national interest, America has a major strong hold in the Middle-East where it can obtain its information from in the region and Israel has build its self to the one of the strongest country in the region in terms of economy, elite military personnel, science and technology, agriculture and many more, and I don’t see it ending in the nearest future.

Israel started gaining its momentum during the cold war, where the fight for influence between US and the former Soviet Union in the region emerges. After the declaration of Israel state 5 of the Arab League countries went to war with Israel, which it manages to engage while still lobbying for support from the Western state. It finally gets the support it needed in 1962 during President Kennedy’s administration, which in 6 days it regains its lost territories and concur some regions from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. After that, Israel builds a fortress of information gathering, and obtained information from its neighboring countries and channel it back to America, which compensate the US handsomely.

Another gain for Israel is, they made alot of money from the US since the second World War, America gave money to Israel more than any other country. About 260 Billion Dollars in total which Includes economic aid, but now it gives money only for military purposes, 3.8 Billion Dollars is given annually as part of a deal sing by the Obama administration, it helped Israel build one of the strongest military in the world. But funds are given out with an agreement of, it has to be spent on American own companies in that way the money keeps going back to the US, it is kind of a gift given with right hand and collecting it back with left hand. But what makes the deal more favourable to Israel is, no any regulations so far is attached to how they use those military gears, we all know that there are rules and regulations surrounding how America’s fighting gears are to be used on only defensive purposes, but for Israel, it is a different approach where we seen alot humanitarian crises, war crimes, and human right abuses happening between them and Palestine. Israel is basically given a free pass on how it chooses to use it is military resources be it in a good way or otherwise.

Another factor to be considered is the internal politics of America, which basically a politician being a pro-Israel gives you an upper hand in getting elected into office. The existence of America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and others, which are pro-Israel lobby groups, and happens to be the one of the major campaign donors and sponsors for the US public elected officials. They promote policies that helps shape the future of Israel. What normally happens is when a policy is brought up, it is normally weight against America’s foreign policy if it favors, then they go for but if it is the opposite? it has to be dropped.

Lastly religious beliefs contributed alot in making the relationship better, where America’s big portion of voters are Evengelicans or “Born Again” Christians and they made up of quarter of the Americas population. Which in their believe, the issue of of Israel existence is not politically motivated but rather a religious one. But the recent October 7th war on Gaza, has started to change how Americans view Israel, and started to feel sympathy for the people of Palestine. Even the standing order of giving Israel free money to defend itself has started to see some resistance, because the tax payers are questioning the processes. Israel existence reduces the work load of the US in the Middle-East, they do almost all the heavy liftings.

Idris Sani Dagumawa is a Civil Engineer and he writes from Kano

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Opinion

Return of Sunusi: The dilemma ahead

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Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa (Daddy)

The return of Muhammadu Sunusi ll as Sarkin Kano is yet another manifestation of the influence of politics on the traditional Masarauta establishment, which, after all, has always been used and abused by politicians.

Since the British conquest of the Usman Dan Fodio Islamic sultanate in what subsequently became part of today’s northern Nigeria, the enthronement and dethronement of emirs (Sarakuna) have always been motivated by underlying political interests.

Throughout the colonial era, the British would only enthrone aspiring princes deemed the most loyal to the British colonial establishment as leaders of their respective emirates. This practice enabled them to maintain their colonial grip through those proxy-Sarakuna. And since then, successive generations of military and civilian administrators have followed suit, enthroning and dethroning Sarakuna literally at will.

The only shift in this regard is that, in the past, the influence of political leaders would mostly come to play only when a throne became vacant mainly due to the death of the Sarki, when the incumbent governor would influence the emergence of his successor, as it happened in 2014 in Kano that led to the enthronement of Sunusi. However, now that the trend is becoming systematic, it will indeed, if left unchecked, render the reins of Sarauta effectively tenured, subject to the tenure of the governor behind it.

After all, just like his enthronement in 2014 by then-Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and his subsequent dethronement in 2020 by then-Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Sarki Sunusi’s return to the Kano throne remains politically motivated within the context of the power struggle in Kano politics between Kwankwaso and Ganduje, two provincial vindictive enemies hell-bent on finishing off each other.

By the way, as a subservient Kwankwaso ‘boy’, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf himself is a mere fighting tool in the hands of his godfather in the struggle.

Interestingly, Kwankwaso has tactically put his vengeful mission against Sunusi on hold for now, pending finishing off Ganduje and his legacy.

Sunusi incurred then-Governor Kwankwaso’s wrath as a then-Lagos-based bank executive when he kept dishing out disparaging criticisms against Kwankwaso and his government. For instance, in an article he titled “The Kwankwaso Phenomenon”, Sunusi described then Governor Kwankwaso as a “rural aristocrat” who “surrounds himself with provincials and places key posts in the hands of rural elite”. He also compared Kwankwaso’s government to “the classic comedy of the Village Headmaster in a village council”.

Kwankwaso got mad at Sunusi and demanded his sacking by his then-employer, United Bank for Africa (UBA). He threatened to stop his government’s dealings with the bank in case of non-compliance.

Anyway, now that Sunusi is back, it remains to be seen how it plays out between him and Governor Abba, considering Sunusi’s penchant for publicity stunts involving controversial utterances against government policies and wrongdoings.

As much as Sunusi is excited about his return to the Kano throne, the development represents a tricky dilemma for him that also tests his supposed commitment to outspokenness against government wrongdoings.

On the one hand, Governor Abba won’t tolerate his stunts in the name of outspokenness; no governor will, either. And unless he (Sunusi) has, this time around, decided to desist from his stunts to keep his throne, Governor Abba, under Kwankwaso’s influence, won’t hesitate to go to any extent, including dethronement, to deal with him.

On the other hand, his desistance from his stunts would undoubtedly mean the end of the reputation he has somehow earned as an outspoken critic of government wrongdoings.

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Opinion

Changing The Nigerian Education Landscape: The Bola Tinubu Commitment

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President Bola Ahmad Tinubu

 

By Ahmad Sajoh

The Nigerian Education ecosystem is witnessing a change for the better.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made it very clear right from the onset that his presidency understood that education is the real catalyst for National development. One year after, the progress made in the education sector had been tremendous. Though a lot them are intangible but their impacts are real. Education and knowledge sharing are among the most dynamic aspects of human development. Core knowledge today could become obsolete tomorrow. However, the Tinubu government commitment to quality and access to all are constant. Thus, ending out-of-school children syndrome and providing enablement are key to President Tinubu’s inclusive education template. The Students Loan scheme is a bold step by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ensure that every eligible child gets quality higher education in Nigeria no matter the circumstances of their birth. It’s launch is not only historic but revolutionary. Children who would have been deprived of access of quality tertiary education will surely be availed such opportunities under the Students Loan scheme.

In order to drive the education sector effectively, Mr. President realized that delegating his mandate in that sector requires a driver that will drive it with the precision of a pilot. Thus, in appointing the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education, the president looked for a committed academic from the University as the Minister of Education. If there is a man presiding over our education system that fits the bill, it is indeed the current Minister Prof Tahir Mamman, SAN CON. His entire professional life is spent on promoting learning and knowledge sharing. And because he is a professional in the true sense of the word, he came to the Ministry with a mindset that believes ” *Education without Skills is incomplete”*

Working on the Matching orders of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Prof Tahir Mamman set out to actualize the ” *Education roadmap of the Renewed Hope Agenda* ” The first thing he did in office was to act like a true academic. He set up a panel to study the situation and come up with a comprehensive blueprint for the repositioning of the Education. And he didn’t just involve fellow academicians alone, he mixed them with industry players including long term directors in the Ministry who have a lot of institutional memories. Prof Tahir Mamman understood that every academic study can be enriched by some validation exercises. He promptly set up a two-step validation process. First he established a small team of experts and asked them to explore the study contents and come up with a working document.

That working document which was designed by the experts was ultimately aligned to the education roadmap of the Bola Tinubu vision. It was further subjected to a stakeholder validation process at a retreat in Uyo the Akwa Ibom state capital. Participants include a broad spectrum of industry players including the sub-national governments, international agencies, academics and professionals. It was profound and deep.

As if that was not enough, Prof Tahir held a stakeholder forum in Abuja involving civil society groups. This too was in keeping with the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is concerned about public input into all policies. The President believes that all policies are for the benefits of the people hence the need for public inputs into all policy documents.The end result of these processes is a working document that had an input from different sources with insider knowledge and ” *recipient value understanding”*

The essence of these National Stakeholders Conferences and Strategic Engagements are intended to advance education leadership management, ensure quality assurance in education, promote teacher education and determine benchmarks for creating a valuable education database. These engagements include building valuable partnerships with the private sector in order to build a holistic education system for the country.

One thing that stood out very clearly during these engagements is that the Federal Government’s direct role in Primary and Secondary Education is minimal. As a matter of fact, the Federal government role at these levels of Education are simply policy matters and regulations. Another fact that emerged is that there are more private schools at the basic and secondary level than public schools. Working on the directives of the President, the Federal Ministry of Education set out to remodel all policies at the basic and secondary levels to fit into certain key requirements. One of such requirements which is derived from the Renewed Hope Agenda is universal access to basic education by all citizens. In this case a new impetus was given to ensuring that out-of-school children are reduced drastically and eventually eliminated completely. Another core component of the new education policy is the introduction of skill-sets, as part of the curricular at both basic and post basic levels.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had earlier informed the nation that he is committed to very high standards in education. Leveraging on that understanding, Professor Tahir Mamman started working on new policies that will set standards that may create a competitive advantage for public schools. At the public stakeholder forum the Minister said that ” *by the time our current policies mature there will be no difference in standards between public and private schools* ” that is something we eagerly look forward to. One key area this policy is expected to truly make a difference is in the reintroduction of the skills component in the education system at the basic and secondary levels.

Nigeria like most parts of the world is transiting to a more functional form of education that includes hands-on knowledge in a particular skill for every student. This is in addition to literacy and numeracy. The reason of course is that both white collar and blue collar jobs are limited. Students must begin to look beyond being job seekers to job creators. Hence, the new policy of education tilting towards a more comprehensive and functional learning environment than just relying on a theoretical framework.

In the area of research and development, the Federal Ministry of Education under the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration has sponsored 185 researchers, supported 44 teams of 176 researchers and upgraded 24 centers of excellence. The net effect is that about 80 books have been written and published. All of them are tailor made for the Nigerian learning ecosystem. 868 Academic Research journals were procured in addition to 3,118,701 assorted books and 376,262 E-Resources.

The Review of both Senior Secondary Education Curriculum and Tertiary Education curriculum have been undertaken within the last one year. The review emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge, competitive employable skills, skills for digital disruption, development of skills in Positive Based Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics, entrepreneurial attitude and skills, value orientation, and a wide range of critical soft skills for global competitiveness.

Teacher training and advancement are at the core of an effective education system Training of Teachers is considered a core component of the overall education advancement in the country because of the realization that the teacher is the learning process. To this end various programmes have been put in place for the training of teachers. 35,000 teachers across the country have been trained in the use of ICT in the classroom. In addition, 70,674 teachers and non-teaching staff at all levels in various relevant academic and non-academic have benefited from training initiatives, covering Leadership Skills Development, Effective National Innovation Ecosystem, Education Management Information System, Quality Assurance, Effective curriculum development and implementation and many others including early childhood care development.

The Ministry has Registered and certified 40,999 teachers on their TRCN database and a total of 19, 193 licenses have been issued to teachers. 3,535 successful graduating education students across 11 institutions in the country were inducted while the Dual Mandate in Federal Colleges of Education has commenced. This means that there will be Concurrent running of the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) & Degree programmes in those institutions.

The bulk of the Federal Government direct contributions in education are at the Tertiary level. At this level, the Federal Government participates in a number of ways through ownership of Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, regulation and interventions. This way the government is saddled with setting standards and ensuring that Nigerian graduates compete with graduates all over the world. Already it is evident that Nigerian graduates have been proving their capacities all over the world.

What the Ministry of Education under President Tinubu’s government hopes to achieve is to align all Tertiary education activities within a common standard that ensures value addition through skill-sets as the core component of learning. In addition the Ministry is working towards a unified system that encourages synergy and mobility. The new mantra is co-operation rather than competition.

It is in line with this new focus that for the first time in the history of the country, the government released the list of governing Councils for Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education at the same time. The purpose is to enable them to commence work at the same time. Thus, monitoring and evaluating their contributions as policy hubs can be done at the same level using the same key performance indicators (KPIs).

In order to make sure they operate using the same benchmarks developed from the Renewed Hope Agenda and stakeholder inputs, they will be invited to attend a retreat together as a group. The essence is to enable all the council members to know that Tertiary education under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will operate in synergy. There is no superiority or territorial protection. They must all function as units of National development under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education.

One year after, all the frameworks for a robust education roadmap have been put in place. Some of the policies have started taking shape. Academic calendars for all Tertiary Institutions will be standardized with all hiccups such as strikes by staff avoided at all levels. The roles and functions of the different tiers such as Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges Education will be clearly spelt out and pursued vigorously. In the end the Education roadmap will eventually leap-frog Nigeria into the 4th Industrial revolution. The ultimate goal is to change the education landscape of Nigeria for the better. According to Professor Tahir Mamman SAN CON ” _The goal of Education under the Tinubu Administration is to provide for a reformed education sector that provides access to quality education for all and is capable of producing a highly skilled and educated workforce equipped with entrepreneurial skills to break the cycle of poverty and guarantee sustainable economic growth and global competitiveness”_

_Ahmad Sajoh is a member of the Independent Media and Policy Initiative IMPI and writes from Wuse, Abuja

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