The North-East governors consultative meeting in Gombe: An apt approach!, by Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani

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Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani
Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani.

The Path

The governors of North-East of Nigeria met in Gombe, the Gombe State Capital on 5th March 2020 to discuss critical issues the geo-political zone is facing. The Governor of Gombe State hosted the meeting in the state’s government house. The governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and the Deputy Governor of Taraba state were all present at the meeting. This underscored the gravity of the meeting.

It was a much welcome event that people from the zone and beyond applauded. For quite sometimes the North-East region of the country which is the biggest geopolitical zone in the country in terms of landmass has been seriously facing the challenges of insecurity which has further weakened indices of development. Today, poverty, disease and fear have taken centre stage in a geo-political zone that has been the epicentre of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgency.

Although, there have been a lot of improvements recently. There is a need for much more from everybody. Especially, those at the helm of affairs.

So, for the governors to have met regardless of party affiliation and other mundane considerations are highly commendable. When I heard of the meeting, I had looked forward to seeing the communiqué in order to extensively study it. I was pleased to have seen the 11_point Communiqué. It has touched much of the areas of common challenges and areas of shared prosperity which, if effectively taken care of could be a grand thing that will go a long way in aiding this geo-political zone and of course, the entire country.

Yes, you are absolutely right! The governors discussed security, I projected you must have apparently pondered over that given the numerous security challenges the country is facing especially, this geo-political zone.

Power? Yes, they discussed power, a grotesque challenge not only in the North-East but also the entire country. But with the vast land, rivers, tributaries, coal deposits and ample sunlight. The possibility of having adequate power supply to run our industries, power our homes, schools, hospitals, recreational facilities, et cetera cannot be underestimated.

Thus, the governors were right and with the political will, it will not be too long to behold some industrial cities springing up. With education, science and technology, the governors’ will be doing the North-East in particular, and Nigeria as a whole a great favour by employing all these and improving them in our day to day activities for the good of everyone.

I suggest their plans for education should include a detailed plan to promote Information Communication Technology. The governors will be doing this zone a great favour by reducing the numbers of out of school children, improving the numbers of teachers in school, improving their welfare and of course, making the learning environment much more conducive.

There were some pictures of a certain primary school that were shared all over social media in one of the arguably most stable states in the North-East. It was an eyesore seeing those pictures! I was appalled and extremely dejected to see such pictures. But then, someone drew my attention that there were much worse realities on the ground. That those pictures represented only the tip of the iceberg. I desperately fought back the tears!

Those saddled with the responsibilities of leading us across the length and breadth of this country should please look seriously into making the educational system better. It will not be wrong for reforms to take place or even complete overhaul of the system. We need vibrant students who will become patriotic and active citizens of this country that will add value to the country. But we cannot get this without quality and well taken care of teachers.

While we all have our share of the blame, government to a large extent should take the ‘bigger and juicier part of the blame’. About five years ago, I discussed extensively with a veteran journalist in Jalingo. He was sad seeing how pupils go to school and come back home without learning taking place either because there was not a single teacher that attended their class or came and left without teaching anything.

The veteran journalist told me he wanted to go to the school and teach on a pro bono basis. I saluted his enthusiasm for getting things right and love for the children. I told him I had thought so too and I would go on a fact-finding mission.

I proceeded to undergo the mission. My findings were astonishing. It is astounding that the school we discussed has ample teachers at least based on Nigerian standards. But a significant number of those teachers do not attend the school. Is it that they are “ghost teachers” or they are just negligent on their duties?

Based on my findings there are many genuine teachers who are just negligent in that school to the extent that they do not go to the school to teach. Something which they are being paid to do.

Those that actually do attend the school many of them sit under one Mango tree where they sell consumables to the pupils and other staff. They also go about discussing people around them when they have a crystal clear obligation to fulfil which they have not done. But still are being paid for that.

We have to be sincere. There is no way that state or any state can thrive with this brazen disregard for official duties that typifies this crucial institution of the state. Imagine this being magnified and its attendant consequences to the development of this country or any nation conceived to seek for development.

Thus, the North-East governors must increase the rate of their vigilance. They must increase the rate of their supervision of essential sectors in order to have the desired result. When they do that, this will be majorly addressed. It is as a result of their failure to do so that I said they are to be apportioned the blame more. None of the governors needs to look far or elsewhere. A close examination within their ranks will help in any of them getting things spot on.

As they are billed to hold the next meeting in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, and the then Capital of North Eastern State which consisted of the current six states in the North East. It is my hope and prayer that such meetings are continued and held regularly with a view to expanding regional cooperation, cohesion, bringing development and building a better Nigeria.

And not for unnecessary and unsolicited regional supremacy battle and unhealthy political rivalry that puts this country so many steps backwards. When we get things right, we will be doing ourselves and this blessed country a very big favour that so many generations to come will be extremely proud of what we achieve, at the most trying moments in our history as a geopolitical zone in this country.

Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani can be contacted on Facebook for further discussion.

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