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Opinion

My Vision for Jigawa State (III)

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Mustafa Sule Lamido

 

By: Mustapha Sule Lamido

This week, I want to start by thanking all the people of Jigawa State for their show of support and particularly those who have been following us as we share our vision for the state. I am especially humbled by this gesture and I will use it as an inspiration not to disappoint you if given the chance. Over the past four weeks, we have received more than 25,000 direct responses, observations and criticisms; some of which we are still studying for necessary action. Please keep them coming. But while you do that, endeavour to collect your PVC or register if you havent.

As I mentioned earlier, today’s discussion will centre around education which will be our topmost priority if elected. Out of the top 10 most educated states in Nigeria, 7 are also the most economically developed. This means that the surest route to development is education. In a nutshell, our education plan is ambitious, broad and comprehensive. We have designed programmes in place to transform Islamic, western, mass and special education at the basic, post-basic and tertiary levels.

Alleged N109 Billion Fraud:Suspended AGF Remanded In Prison

That this will be the first communication in which we will be making substantial commitments regarding policy implementation and capital project development requires that I reemphasize our earlier commitment to the unity of the Jigawa people. As such we will not be executing projects based on the previous tradition of emirate quota system alone, but rather base on the real needs and aspirations of the whole Jigawa people without discrimination. If elected., one tool we intend to use for such unification is education.

If elected, we aspire to touch every aspect of education, but it will be done in phases. While we may be able to accomplish some, we will lay a foundation for others to continue. In summary, we will work to for the standardization of Islamic Education and remodeling of the Almajiri system. Others are general reform and upgrade of educational infrastructure; free girls/ women education up to tertiary level; strengthening mass education and nomadic literacy; special scholarship for professional programs and first-class graduates and improvement of teachers welfare.

Because of its cruciality, all appointees that will head the education sector will be comprehensively scrutinized. People must prove to have understood our vision as well as possessing their own unique initiatives to improve upon it before they will be appointed. The education ministry is one that I will not rush or consider only political reasons in appointing a commissioner; I will rather take my time to allow competent people to show interest, be interviewed and then given the opportunity.

We will Insha Allah empower the quality assurance units of the education ministry and agencies at state and local government levels to ensure improved service delivery. I will personally be briefed periodically on the impact of our reforms on the quality of education as we progress. I will be going round schools regularly to see for myself the level of compliance to standards in teaching, learning and general education administration. A special servicom unit with a special representative from the governors office will be created to report all public feedbacks on the development of education. We are not going to joke with education.

All things being equal, education will get the highest budgetary allocation in our administration and we will encourage the Local government Areas to do so. Because no amount of money spent on education will be too much and government alone cannot handle all the burden, our government will establish the Jigawa Education Trust Fund (JETFund). This fund will seek for donations and funding from philanthropists, business men, contractors, NGOs and even ordinary citizens and the monies will be used to improve education while ensuring transparency and accountability. The JETFund will be jointly managed by the state government and a Board of Trustees whose composition will be from Jigawa elders.

Starting with basic education, there are currently 2,490 primary schools scattered across 1,154 district villages and towns in the state. Together with teachers and other stakeholders, we will start by assessing the conditions of these schools before embarking on the renovation and upgrade of the dilapidated ones among them which will be done in phases starting from the worst. This will lay a solid foundation to have the trend continue in geometric progression. Our hope is that in 4 years majority of the schools will be in improved condition. In each federal constituency, we will Insha Allah build a world class model Primary school that will be a symbol of excellence. With time, this will be extended to at least one per LGA.

As we renovate and build more schools, the demand for manpower will also increase. We are fully aware that one of the biggest challenges for existing schools is shortage of personnel. To address this, we will retrain and redeploy redundant civil servants to the classroom. We’ll ensure that all NYSC members deployed to schools do not abscond. We will also introduce the Volunteer-Teacher’s Scheme to recruit fresh unemployed but qualified graduates on temporary basis. While doing all these, we will be designing a masterplan for sustainable adequacy of manpower in the education sector. Part of this is by making the teaching job very attractive that people will be rushing to join and those in will be hesitating to leave God willing.

Our secondary education needs attention. Currently we have 571 Junior and 269 senior secondary schools. Compared with the over one million Jigawa students who need secondary education, we can consider them as grossly inadequate to serve the teeming population. Over 3 million Jigawa citizens are less than 15 years old and 50% of them have attained secondary school age. Selected Junior secondary schools will be improved and upgraded to senior secondary schools while new ones will be built periodically. In each senatorial district, we will Insha Allah build a mega international standard Secondary school that will take care of all Science, Arts, Commercial and Technical subjects.

Islamic education has gotten a lot of attention since the return of democracy in 1999 in Jigawa State but more needs to be done in this regard. Currently, most Islamiyya schools operate independent of government supervision, in fact only a little fraction of them is even formally recognized. Our vision is to give them the same priority as western education. With the help of Islamic scholars and other stakeholders, we are going to embark on standardization of islamiyya curriculum as a foundation to the complete formalization of Islamic education in the state. If God permits, we shall have a policy to guide the operations and strengthening of islamiyya schools across the state.

In my next article, I will give highlights of my plans for girls/ women education; revival and strengthening of mass education and nomadic literacy; special scholarship for professional programs and first-class graduates and improvement of teachers welfare.

Gobe ta Allah ce
©Santurakin Dutse

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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