By: Adamu Muhd Usman
When Sule Lamido took over the mantle of leadership of Jigawa state as democratically elected governor in 2007, the state was at a peak of political, social, economic, educational and even mental degeneration. You cannot imaging the condition of our schools, hospital, roads and other infrastructures
But within a short time, Lamido restored a new ‘social order’ for the people by providing them with decent and acceptable livelihood.
One of the most important things he did was establishment of the Jigawa State University situated in Kafin-Hausa town in order to afford state’s indigenes more access to higher education opportunities without going far away and at less and free cost
Before the establishment of the state varsity, many eligible candidates of Jigawa origin who seek admission into higher institutions of learning in other places failed to get it due to lack of opportunities, hence the warm welcome with which Jigawa citizens received the establishment of the state university, which was named after Sule Lamido (Sule Lamido University Kafin-Hausa)
The varsity was the best of its kind in that part of the country. Lamido put a lot of things in place before he left office. One of the things he did was enacting a law in the state house of assembly to be giving 2% from each of the 27 local government monthly allocation in order to assist the varsity in the running of its activities since there is no running costs and the female indigenes and physically challenged persons benefit free education and the males indigenes pay less than 25% of their registration fees which is nine thousand five hundred (#9500) per session all; in order to give children of the poor (downtrodden) the opportunity to study.
The present APC-led administration under governor Abubakar Badaru gave an executive backing as it is rumoured, to the state house of assembly to snack a law that will prohibits/stops that 2% LGA contribution to the University. Which has passed its second reading and this stage speaks volume like it is an executive bill as some people alleged. This allegation may be true because it is surprising that, no any member objected to this anti peoples’ bill.
To this regard, we are not bothered by this move of stopping the 2% allocation to the varsity since it is it not a noble move and the masses are not been considered but the consequences that will follow after the stoppage give us much concern. These include: Firstly, The free education for the females and physically challenged persons will stop. Secondly, The 75% the males indigenes benefit will also stop. Instead of the #9,500 they will now pay #90,000. Thirdly, also the female indigenes and the physically challenged persons will now pay #90,000 for their sessional registrations instead of free for females and disables and the #9,500 for the male students.
One should bear in mind that this gesture or benefit started since in the previous administration of Dr. Sule Lamido in 2013 but why this government will stop this at this crucial, critical and material time when what to eat is a big problem to even an average person not to talk of the poor masses not to think of this sudden and unfortunate increment?
Bear in mind that, this move whether is genuine or is sentimental or parochial, or sectional or was initiated for selfish aggrandizement it will not only affect Kafin-Hausa town but the entire state since everyone benefit the free education since over 95% students of the varsity are Jigawa indigenes driven from all the 27 Local government areas of the state.
One thing to note is, almost all state universities across Nigeria receive contributions from their local governments. So, why Jigawa case will be different? Despite executive outburst that, the state is financially self-sufficient.
We for long expect the governor to introduce more courses of study that will bring or add more students (population) in the university such as Agriculture, medicine, engineering, political science, public administration etc. Alas! That is on the contrary.
Thank God and thanks to TETFUND for building some faculties in the varsity because for almost six years now the state government did not add a single faculty or course of study since the one that was introduced in the previous administration of Sule Lamido.
If this bill becomes a law, it will be glaring as asserted that, the executive and the legislators don’t have the love of the common man at heart since the free education for the females and physically challenged persons and the #9,500 registration fees for the male indigenes will be ninety thousand naira (#90,000) for all of them.
We appeal to Jigawa governor and the state house of assembly members to think twice on this hubbub move. Its disadvantages are more than the advantages also the school is not financially okay or balanced to take care or sustain itself, withdrawing that 2% will create so many obstacles to the state because it will affect the poor people most (The parents and the students) because many will abscond or automatically stop studying because majority cannot afford to pay this amount (90,000) even the #9,500 how many fair to cope paying this stipend?
When some of them are out of school, they may engage in committing some crimes and they become liability or calamity/dangerous to the society.
Lastly, I appeal to traditional rulers, religious leaders, community associations, youth organisations, labour union and students associations etc to join hands, yes all hands must be on deck in this crusade by praying and appealing to the state executives and legislators to stop this move.
Oh God come to our aid and make it easy for us.
We say ‘NO’ to this anti peoples’ bill.
Adamu writes from Kafin-Hausa, Jigawa state