Sunday, December 9, 2007

Commending Zamfara State Government on Education

The last time I wrote anything about Zamfara State in th Nigerian newspapers was in 2001 when the then Governor Ahmed Sani Yeriman Bakuri allocated N18m or N80m there about for the purchase of turbans to pupils and students. I was in the United States doing a Fulbright fellowship. I remember sending an article in the New Nigerian condemning the action while arguing that bthere are more important things to do in education rather than buying turbans. The turbans were not bought for whatever reason and nothing was done to improve the education sector, except perhaps the new scholarship scheme (which was handy for politicking). Even the scholarship scheme was selective because I know PhD candidates that were not given a kobo by the Yarima administration.

Few weeks after the swearing of Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi as the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, we begin to see schools being fenced, new classrooms being built a befitting NYSC camp being built and so on. That gave us some hope that this man is interested in the education sector. We crossed our fingers and kept praying. The Hausa have a saying Ba a saurin yabon dan kuturu sai ya tashi da yatsunsa.

Suddenly in the daily Trust of Wednesday, December 5, 2007 a caption “Education tops Zamfara’s N76.5b budget” captures my attention with such a magnetic pull that surprised me. The report said “education sector got the lion’s share of 26% of the total budget” this was because according to His Excellency Governor Shinkafi “having taken into consideration the significance of this sector in our desire to attain meaningful development, we decided to give education the highest share…” he intended to build more classrooms, hostels, staff quarters and generally improve the quality of education.

This is a welcome development and good tidings to all the indigenes of the State and indeed to all responsible people of Nigeria. In fact, ASUU would be highly delighted to hear this. ASUU has been struggling for the allocation of 26% of the Nigeria’s annual budget (to be done in phases) since Abacha, here we are, a State government out of its vision, just doing that without anybody formally asking her to do so. This is commendable.

Now, the government has shown its willingness to support the education sector, the governor has also promised in the same report that total implementation of he budget will be ensured. The education sector of the State is in shambles, there just too many problems that discussing them here will be tantamount to waste of time. In view of that I wish to call on the State government to organize a stakeholders meeting on education, it should invite all its indigenes that teach in the Universities and other institutions of higher learning, educational administrators and others to seriously discuss the problems and strategize on how to handle them. It can borrow from Bauchi and Jigawa States and have a committee that can help the State develop a Strategic Plan for education. I was part of the Bauchi State effort and therefore willing to help my State.

We hope that the Government would conduct a baseline survey in order to establish a benchmark that would serve as a basis for monitoring the progress it sets to make in the coming years. This amount of money that would be invested must yield sweet fruits. Mahmuda, we wish you Allah’s guidance and assure you of our unfailing support.

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Kano, Kano, Nigeria
Dr. Yusuf M. Adamu is a Professor of Medical Geography at the Bayero University Kano. He is a bilingual novelist, a poet, and writes for children. He is interested in photography and run a photo blog ( All the blogs he run are largely for his hobbies and not his academic interests. Hope you enjoy the blogs.