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OPINION

Bauchi Education: The Big Leap That Must Be Consolidated

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There is a fundamental need to always take stock of the deliverables of our democracy. Proper stocktaking is what gives legitimacy to the opinions we make concerning our democracy and governance.

Given the frenzy with which analysts quickly make a shred of elective public office holders, the need to beam our searchlight on the workings of government is imperative. It gives credibility to one’s opinions and indeed oneself. When this is objectively done, one can make a verdict and even make recommendations – after all, we are all partners in business of governance.

Firstly, it is instructive to make clear that pre-2015, the reality of neglect, disrepair and utterly corrupt state of Nigerian education sector did not spare Bauchi State. In fact, like many of the northeastern states, Bauchi was one of the victims of the barbarism visited on Nigeria by insurgents.

This exposé therefore, seeks to identify what has changed over the past three years – what steps has the government of Gov Mohammed Abubakar taken to put education back to its pride of place.

As a man thoroughly educated, the governor called for an assessment of the state’s compliance with the National Policy on Education at basic, post basic and tertiary levels. The revelation was heartbreaking and heartwarming. Heartbreaking because the state education sector suffered needlessly from poor judgment – Bauchi lagged far behind than could be excused. The situation, terrible as it was, was heartwarming because it presented a platform for the citizens of the state to experience what leadership truly entails.

With a sharp drop in allocation to states from the Federation Account, the situation presented the governor with a robust opportunity to prove his mettle. This he did.

At the time the administration of Governor Abubakar took over in 2015, Bauchi was facing an acute inadequacy in manpower both at management and lower levels. Added to this was a general insecurity in our schools. This itself was a huge challenge.

As if the trouble bedeviling our education was not bad enough, the teeming population of young people willing to further their studies was faced with exorbitant charges during registering for their preferred SSCE examinations. This is apart from unavailability of sufficient modern learning materials, equipment and laboratories.

The present administration promptly stimulated the Education Ministry to follow through on the state’s policy on provision of qualitative and functional education.

Efforts justified; to salvage the situation, the Governor Muhammed administration showed the entire world that he was ready to accord education the attention and prominence that it deserves. And in 2016 budget, education received 20 per cent of the total fiscal year.

Knowing that funds, if not properly managed, can very easily miss its intended targets, the ever-strategic governor, trusting in the ability his Deputy, appointed him as Commissioner of the Education Ministry.

One of the immediate benefits of Governor Mohammed led administration to the good people of Bauchi state, is the offsetting of over two hundred million naira outstanding school fees for the Bauchi students who are on state scholarships at the Igbinedion University, Okada in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 sessions. Bauchis would recall that the innocent students sent by the state under an MoU to study BSc Nursing, BSc Pharmacy and BSc Medical Laboratory Sciences were left virtually stranded by previous administration. The prompt intervention saved not just the students, but our parents and indeed the state from further embarrassments.

On Collage of Legal and Islamic Studies Misau, the college received an intensive face-lift. Massive renovation of the administrative block was carried out and a comprehensive installation of air conditioning system within the institution.

Prior to this time, the college’s utility vehicles were almost all immobile. The urgent intervention saw to their repairs and overhauling.

Another answered prayer for the academic community was the administration’s decision to invite and Resource Assessment Team from Bayero University, Kano for possible approval for the commencement of B.A. and B.Ed degrees in the college. This became a success story; the school secured the approval. This success was promptly followed by the procurement of state-of-the-art equipment for the institution’s Centre for Education Technology. With the purposeful leadership of Governor Abubakar, the college attracted goodwill from far and wide including an 18-seater bus donation from the Bauchi SDG’s office.

Moving forward, the Governor Abubakar led administration successfully completed the State University’s faculty of Agriculture in Jamaare.

The Misau campus of the Bauchi State University also received a significant intervention as its perimeter fence was tastefully completed.

As a man with a high sense of socio-economic justice, Governor Abubakar has completed the construction of the permanent site of the Bauchi campus of the State University.

After converting the Bauchi State Institute of Education, Kangere to a full-fledged College of Education, the government of Barr Abubakar secured the requisite NCCE (National Commission for Colleges of Education) approval for the commencement of thirteen programs in the 2015/2016 academic session with a takeoff of population of 3,197 students. This is followed by payment of all outstanding monies in land compensations to beneficiaries.

At Aminu Saleh College of Education, Azare, four additional undergraduate courses have been approved by the Senate of the University of Maiduguri, increasing the number of courses available to thirteen for undergraduate courses; four each for postgraduate and diploma programs. It is instructive to note that the school came out clean from the reaccreditation visit by the National Universities Commission, NUC. By the records available in JAMB website, Aminu Saleh College of Education has now become one of the most sought-after institution within the NCE cadre in the country. Truly, leadership is everything.

To salvage the human resource crisis that rocked the Bauchi State College of Agriculture, Governor Abubakar appointed 16 academic and 30 non-academic staff for the college while promptly rehabilitating the college access roads. The college also breathed a fresh air as the student’s dormitories were comprehensively renovated. Renovated also are the veterinary clinic and milking parlour, the college boreholes and water lines.

There is also the procurement of 40 classroom seats and 320 laboratory stools for students and their tutors. The college was also fenced and brilliantly landscaped. It has been a massive overhaul.

The impact of Governor Abubakar Muhammed’s sterling leadership is equally being felt at the Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Abuchi. Students’ hostels were tastefully renovated.

Access roads constructed and portable drinking water provided. The school also now enjoys electricity like never before.

By force of love and passion for education, the Governor ensured the polytechnic secures the approval of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, ATBU, for the commencement of some degree programmes in technical education in affiliation to the University.

As evidence of Abubakar’s tireless efforts, over 60 course have accredited by the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE. This is in addition to the reaccreditation of NCE courses from the National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE.

For those who are familiar with the paucity of funds in Bauchi state and its attendant straits, how the man Governor and his team was able to steer the state out of the woods in terms of education is a phenomenal experience. Having then served his people so meritoriously as a very hard worker, Governor Abubakar deserves a goodwill of a second term from his people.

After all, one good turn, they say, deserves another.

– Bogoro wrote in from Bauchi



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