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Opinion

My First Encounter with Nasiru Gawuna, the Humble Deputy Governor

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By Sabo Abdullahi Guri

Penultimate, October 1979, the month we reported to Government Secondary School, Gwaram, which was the beginning of our journey of a lifetime in search of Western education after completion of our respective primary seven certificates.

On arrival at the school, I headed to the staff room for the necessary documentation.

2023 : We ‘ll clear APC Government and its atrocities in Jigawa – PDP

While waiting for the duty master to receive us, a Peugeot saloon arrived and parked in front of the staff room. The driver and an elderly person together with a new student came out from the car, and I heard one of the teachers telling his colleague that another student has reported. I saw a fair complexioned, slim, calm and composed young man within my age bracket alighting from the car.

After the necessary documentation, the duty master asked me to wait for the lanky student who arrived in the Peugeot to finish so that both of us can be escorted to our respective hostels. Thereafter, both of us carried our boxes and headed to the dormitory area.

On our way, I asked him his name and where he came from. He replied that his name is Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna from Kano City, I equally introduced myself and where I came from

That was the day I met Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna in 1979 and it was the beginning of our relationship. Since then, we have maintained this relationship and contact through mutual respect as classmates and friends.

At the dormitory, we were allocated our respective hostels. Nasiru Gawuna was taken to House Seven and I was sent to House Ten, but we were allocated the same class; that was Form One D.

I was appointed the class monitor while Nasiru Yusuf was appointed assistant monitor, and we served as liaison between the staff, school authority and our colleagues in the class.

I remembered with nostalgia that first day, as we also met in class during evening prep, which was observed after every Asr prayers during week days.

When we closed, he asked me to join him and see his hostel. I can vividly recall that when we arrived, he opened his locker and offered me biscuits and a sachet powdered beverage drink known as Treetop. I instantly rejected and thanked him for the gesture, but insisted that I must take.

After staying for some few minutes, he escorted me to our hostel, and on our way, he said he initially got admission at Kawaji Secondary School but his parents insisted that he will go to boarding school and luckily his admission to GSS Gwaram came before reporting to the Kawaji Secondary School.

Gwaram Secondary School was newly established at that time, and our set was the first to be admitted after the school’s relocation to its permanent site in Gwaram, though there were other senior students who transited at both Kauzare and Sumaila.

At that time, incessant cases of bullying and seniority by senior students forced a number of our classmates to transfer to other schools because they cannot withstand the maltreatment, but we stood our ground and endured the hardship.

Boarding school life during our days was memorable, eventful and historic. It was also a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds. As new school and pioneer students that did not pass through the transit system, we were also opportune that the population of our sets numerically was the highest at that time with students from almost all the nooks and crannies of the old Kano State, and others from Kaduna, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and some South Western States.

At that time, classes were not over crowded, as the average number of students per class was between 30 and 35. There were also adequate teaching and learning materials.

Apart from academic activities, students were fully engaged in extra curriculum activities. After school hours, the sporting arena was a beehive of activities after school hours. Even the dormitory side had table tennis facilities within the balcony, while weekends were slated for members of social club, drama society, and many more recreational activities.

With his football and table tennis skills, Gawuna was also an active member of the Boys Scout brigade, and he was subsequently appointed the Scout Troop Commander.

His passion for Scout and ingenuity in commanding Scout parade made us think he might either join the military or police after leaving school. Gawuna mastered the art of rolling scout stick while leading parade and students cheered him up during Scout events at the school.

He encouraged most of us to participate in Boys Scout, he taught parade to both old and new members as a tall and lanky person he was also extremely good in jogging.

In terms of academic performance, he was among the best five students, competing favourably for first or second position in examinations.

Not only that, he was also an active member of the Muslim Students Society. I can vividly remember that Gawuna was among the few of our classmates who initiated the present Gwaram Girls Unity Secondary School mosque which started as prayer area and eventually became the school mosque.

His simplicity made him command the respect of all among our classmates and other senior students. For that reason, he was nicknamed as brothy, meaning a friend and brother to all.

His name traversed Gwaram to Dawakin Kudu Science Secondary School where he completed his secondary school in 1984.

One other quality of Dr Gawuna was his sharp and good memory of almost everything he came across. He can remember names, faces, and events no matter how long it takes. Our 2020 GOSA 84 reunion meeting in Kano was a good example. He remembered everyone’s name.

During our last Old Boys meeting, which he personally hosted, he interfaced with old friends freely without the routine of his aides as a deputy governor.

Although Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna was in Gwaram Secondary School for only two and a half years before proceeding to Science Secondary School Dawakin Kudu, he always identifies with the school and old class mates from Gwaram Secondary School which was his stating point in secondary school life.

Some of our old classmates that passed the Science School Examination includes Hafiz Muhammad who is now the Special Adviser on Agriculture to the Executive Governor of Kano State Office of the Deputy Governor. They are best of friends and brothers from Gwaram and they went to Dawakin Kudu together and also proceeded to UDUS together. They are like twin brothers.

The rest are Pharmacist Bala Garba Gwaram of FMC Birnin Kudu; Salmanu Isyaku Kiru; Suleiman Talle Galamu Katanga, presently a Deputy Commissioner of Police to mention but a few who are all are presently professionals in their own rights.

Our colleagues who sat for and passed the Science Secondary School Examination to both Dawakin Kudu and Dawakin Tofa left a great vacuum at that time. Almost everyone of us felt their exit from Gwaram because we started together after leaving our respective primary schools. We experienced school life together, we became so intimate and now they have been moved to a new environment away from their old friends.

For Nasiru Gawuna, even at Dawakin Kudu Science, he was exceptional. We understand he was made a Deputy House Captain, a responsibility that was for only senior students. It was like record breaking to see a junior student holding such a responsibility.

Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna as a Deputy Governor can best be described as a bridge builder with uncommon character and discipline.

He is a generous, honest and trustworthy person who can be entrusted with a higher public responsibility, as a loyal deputy governor.

Gawuna is also a reliable, dependable and straight forward individual with wealth of experience in public administration, economics and diplomacy. Indeed, he is a kind of material needed in our present day political arrangement

The recent wedding fatiha of his daughter again proved to many people that indeed Nasiru is a bridge builder. Dignitaries from different parts of the country and beyond were in attendance. Politicians from different political backgrounds were also there to rejoice with him for attaining such a big stride in life. To see the marriage of your biological daughter is a great opportunity for every parent, and indeed Dr Nasiriu Yusuf Gawuna is a making a difference

Sabo Abdullahi Guri Writes from Dutse, Jigawa State

Opinion

Letter To The President On The Re-Introduction Of Subsidy

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Dear President Tinubu

Sir,every Nigerian with rudimentary knowledge of economics will agree with you that fuel subsidy has to go, it has stagnate the growth of our economy over the years,benefitting only selected few.
Most Nigerians have no qualms with subsidy removal,its the approach that was used that we have reservation for. There is no doubt that the removal of fuel subsidy had ripple effect on the woof and warp of Nigeria’s economic fabric. The private sector is struggling to keep up with the reality of the moment and civil servants in public sector are financially incapacitated.
Nigeria’s present consumer price index (CPI), stood at almost 30%, this clearly shows a reduction in the citizens purcasing power. Families are finding it difficult to have 2 meals a day; this will have resultant negative effects on the health of the citizens and may reduce manpower ability to contribute to the Nations gross domestic product (GDP).
Nigeria at this point needs to invest massively in agriculture, to make surplus food available to the citizens at an affordable rate. Agriculture is one of the most subsidized sector of most world power’s economy. United States,Russia and China controls the world grains reserve because of the subsidies available for agriculture and other working policies. NIRSAL is a case study of working policy in Nigeria, its a fantastic government programme that was supposed to transform Nigeria’s agriculture by making funds available to real farmers who produce what Nigerians consume daily,but it could not achieve its objective due to the Nigerian factor.

Yes, subsidy is gone in the petroleum industry, but it needs to be re-introduced into agriculture to make funds available for small scale farmers who produce 70% of the food items consumed in Nigeria. Also, there is the need for more regulatory policies in the agrochemical industry to control sub-standard products in the market and possibly provide tax waivers to reduce the market price of these agrochemicals.

Fertilizer is a key component of agricultural production which must be made available to farmers at subsidized rate. The e-wallet template used by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina of African development bank when he was Nigeria’s minister of agriculture is a tested and verified framework for reaching out to small scale farmers.

Insecurity is an integral index in Nigeria’s agricultural sector today, there is the need to improve on the country’s security architecture and a synergy should be put in place betwern the proposed agro-rangers and the various security apparatus ( army,airfoce, police etc). Farmers should be able to go about their business with maximum safety and also a viable solution must be worked out to put a stop to farmers/cattle rearers conflict by establishing a symbiotic relationship between both party.

The twelve River Basin Development Authorities can provide the fulcrum for achieving food security, with thousands of hectares of lands,Dams,Canals and other Irrigation structures in their control for achieving an all year round farming. More funds needs to be funneled into these agencies for revitalization and expansion of existing infrastructures.
Nigeria is presently at a turbulent time in its economic history; making food available to the masses at an affordable rate through subsidized agriculture is necessary to extinguish the embers of looming disquiet in Nigeria.
Ibrahim Baba-Ibrahim writes from Ilorin. ibrahimbabaibrahim@gmail.com

08031163326.

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Opinion

Government Panics as Cost of Living Crisis Deepens

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Professor Jibril Ibrahim

 

Jibrin Ibrahim

The Tinubu Administration is a fanatic believer in economic liberalism and market forces. Based on its belief, it cancelled fuel subsidy and floated the naira so that it can find its true value. The naira played its part and has been rising steadily desperately searching for its true market value, which it turns out, is still very far away. The result is a “misery crisis” as food prices rise beyond the incomes of ordinary citizens whose naira is too small to enable them purchase food and hunger and anger spreads throughout the land. The President who always tells Nigerians that he understands their pains then offers a solution and orders distribution of free grains from the Strategic Food Reserves. It turned out the civil servants forgot to brief him that the reserves are empty.

Over the past few weeks, hunger and anger have led to street protests all over the country and strike threats. Our politically savvy President sensing the danger decides that since the stupid market forces are now threatening his turn to rule in peace, he must find a diversion. If you search, you will find. The Bureau de Change operators, the “Mallams”, are responsible for destroying the capacity of the “market forces” he unleashed to bring down the cost of living. He therefore got the EFCC to establish a Special Task Force across its commands, to clamp down on individuals “dollarizing” the Nigerian economy. The gun trotting operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have since Monday been raiding Bureau de Change operators and arresting them all over the country. The task force which was inaugurated by the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Ola Olukoyede, was raised: “to protect the economy from abuses, leakages, and distortions exposing it to instability and disruption”, we were told.

Those of us of a certain age were brought up in an era in which the dollar did not circulate as a means of exchange or store of value and we used our currency, the naira. Did our Afrobeat hero Fela Kuti not do to jail for having dollars cash that he wanted to travel out of the country with to perform in a concert? Then the neoliberals told us it was imperative to allow free purchase and sell of foreign currency. They even encouraged us to open domiciliary accounts in our banks to store foreign currency which government guaranteed will be safe as the ideology of free markets requires the assurance. The Central Bank of Nigeria licensed thousands of BDCs and asked them to trade in currencies. Why the hell are they being arrested today for doing what the law asked them to do? The other panic move is to place the blame on crypto-currency websites for stealing the value of the naira. The issue is that the few people with naira, conscious of its steady and daily loss of value, would seek to protect their asset anyway they can, won’t they?

The fact of the matter is that we are simply not earning enough foreign currency to meet our high demands for imported goods. In so doing, for decades, we have relied on petroleum rent as our major source of foreign currency. Then to our shock, in 2022, the Group Managing Director of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, explained to us in a State House media briefing that most of our petroleum was being stolen so the dollars are no longer coming in. Mr. Kyari blamed various sections of the Nigerian society for being complicit in the theft of millions of barrels of crude oil, mentioning even that make-shift pipelines and stolen fuel have been found in churches and mosques.

We were told that between January and July 2022, Africa’s biggest oil producer lost an average of 437,000 barrels of oil a day to criminal entities and individuals who illicitly tap pipelines onshore and offshore in the Niger Delta region. The solution to the problem is therefore clear – stop the oil theft and more dollars will come in. The bigger issue is that for a rentier State, safeguarding the source of rent is an existential problem and simple logic should have prevailed and made the state stop the theft. The underlying reality, as we all know however, is that our political leaders and upper echelons of our security forces are beneficiaries of the oil theft. They have taken the decision to eat the goose that lays the golden egg and move to Dubai thereafter as rich refugees.

There is still an explanation needed for the astronomic collapse of the Naira over the past few weeks. What the hell is going on? The answer, says the research done by Business Day is that we should look at those with a lot of naira – government. Since the removal of fuel subsidy, the Federal and State governments have been receiving massive amounts of naira through the disbursement of money by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). BusinessDay learnt that portions of the funds from FAAC were often changed to dollars by some governments at the parallel market, putting more pressure on the naira. Their analysis shows that from July 2023 to January 2024, the naira depreciated in the black market for the six months immediately after the FAAC shared money to the federal, state and local governments:

“With the removal of fuel subsidy, more volumes of naira are being shared by the federal, state and local governments and some of these monies are changed to dollars at the parallel market.” BusinessDay has asked us to open our eyes from now on. We should note the price of dollars one week before FAAC allocation, check back the price after the allocation and you will see clearly the difference. Let’s all do that and know that those who should go to jail are some of our governors and ministers. President Tinubu, please stop panicking, just look around you and you shall see.

Professor Jibrin Ibrahim
Senior Fellow
Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja
Follow me on twitter @jibrinibrahim17

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Opinion

How Senator Saliu Mustapha is ameliorating the hardships in Kwara Central

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By AbdurRaheem Sa’ad Dembo

It is no longer news that inflation is ravaging the country and it has adversely affected the economic power of the citizens. The surge in the prices of grains and other commodities in the market is alarming and heart-wrenching.

Senator Saliu Mustapha, having been a philantropist and a figure with a good heart prior his ascension to the Senate, understood the implications and consequences of such situations and had, as a matter of urgency, reached out to some indigent households in Kwara Central Senatorial District through distribution of rice and other items in late December, 2023.

Similarly, in mid January,2024 he rolled out NECO, WAEC and UTME scholarships for considerable number of indigent students across some selected schools in Kwara Central. The Chairman, Saliu Mustapha Foundation Education Committee, Prof. Binta Suleiman, who represented Turaki of Ilorin during the flag-off ceremony held at Socrates College, Ilorin admonished the beneficiaries to be focused, dedicated, disciplined and committed to their educational pursuits. She reiterated the commitment of Senator Mustapha to the educational development of his Senatorial district with further award of full scholarship to deserving students among the beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Saliu Mustapha Foundation Education Committee, Yakub Ishowo, explained that the committee initially planned the registration and capturing of the beneficiaries for one week, but was extended to capture over 2000 beneficiaries. Being a member of the committee I can attest to the assertion of the secretary.

Most of the parents of the beneficiaries appreciated the Senator and prayed to Allah to grant him long life and good health. In one of the videos shared by Alhaji Jagunma, one of the parents said they never expected it and that it was enough an evidence that the selection process was devoid of political affiliations and biases. Rather, the emphasis was on those who actually needed it, which were indigent students.

Essentially, the Turaki of Ilorin is much aware of the fact that sharing of food items is a temporary measure to cushion the effects of the inflation at all levels of the society and that the Federal and State governments are working together to ensure a permanent solution that would bring succour to the entire country.

In Mustapha’s philosophy, one should reach out to people in one’s neighbourhood no matter how little, because it would help in alleviating their conditions. One does not have to wait to become a rich person before extending the hand of fellowship to the less privileged in his or her community.

Most importantly,I can confirm recently that Saliu Mustapha has started giving out appointment letters to some individuals in Kwara Central. This will be a continuous thing so that an appreciably large coverage is attained ultimately.

I have always said it that when one’s is fixing other people’s lives, he or she is invariably fixing his or her own life too. According to a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, “we cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs”. This is in tandem with the philosophy of Senator Mustapha, hence he is working tirelessly to build others.

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