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By Erasmus Ikhide
I advised Governor Alhaji Umar Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State two weeks ago to build prisons across the length and breadth of the state for failing to build schools for his people or for abdicating in his contractual obligations to educate Kano citizens, create jobs and empower his people.
Only this week, however, the governor heeded my counsel to truly build prisons for the 3 5million out-of-school children in the state who are of school age. He will also be building additional swathe of prison walls for the one million parents of the beggars on the streets of Kano and those roaming the entire Nigerian forests in the name of cattle herding.
“Children begging on the street instead of going to school will be arrested and their parents arrested and charge to court for prosecution because begging is not our religion. Begging is not Islam. Those children who are begging will be arrested and their parents will be taken to court for allowing their children to be begging instead of attending school.”
“We hope you as development partners when we are being accused by mischievous people; we want you to come forward and defend us. Anything we do for the development of education, if we receive undue criticism, I urge you to demonstrate and we will give you protection. That is the only way we can get a change. Otherwise, all that we are doing will remain theoretical.” Ganduje added.
The governor, who stated this during an interactive session with UNICEF Youth Advocacy in Government House, said his administration and that of the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II have concluded plans to send a bill to the state House of Assembly to that effect.
In a few months from now, as a matter of speaking, the number of prisons in Kano State would have out-numbered the elementary schools in the state. Kano will now be wrapped around with prison walls to the point that there wouldn’t be space to build Primary and Secondary Schools to educate the illiterate majority who the northern elites manipulate for religious and political purposes. Kano State can then be famous, in a matter of time, as a state with enormous prisons!
Such is the naivety of Governor Ganduje who will use N300 million Naira to pay for the bride prices of 1,500 illiterate would-be parents of the next generation of Nigerian northern leaders without basic education, former or informal training, other than being professional beggars on the streets of Kano or elsewhere in southern parts of Nigeria.
It is either that the Kano State Ministry of Education, Science Technology and Innovation deceived the governor on the state of education in Kano or the governor himself suddenly realised — pretty too late though — after my counsel to him to revisit the collapse basic education system in his state.
In December, 2018, Kano State Ministry of Education, Science Technology and Innovation disclosed that the state has the highest number of out-of-school children in the country with over 3 million of them hawking, begging, and roaming the forests.
On that occasion, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, stakeholders in basic education, teachers, Principals of secondary schools and the Commissioner for Works, Engr Aminu Wudil, who was overseeing the Ministry of Education then were all in attendance.
Beyond mere rhetorics and empty promises, there are no significant efforts made to date on the part of the governor to retool the virtually collapse public school system in Kano. No policy guidelines or legislation whatsoever were put in place to address Nigeria’s growing illiterate population currently put at over 60 million persons with over 90% of that domiciled in northern Nigeria.
It’s too early in the day to believe that Governor Ganduje is serious about his commitment to fixing the problems of child and adult literacy conundrum that is sinking the state. This is because he failed in his earlier promise to revamp the old cattle ranches located in many parts of the state with modern technological facilities that will restrict the movement of Fulani Hersmen across the country as much as allow herders to breed their cattle in conducive environment.
It’s not only Governor Ganduje that has failed his people. As the governor himself rightly said, if successful governments in the state have proscribed hawking, begging and herding of cattle during school hours, the state wouldn’t have been convulsing on the yoke of mass illiteracy.
Even though it’s already late under the administration of the present government, the of people Kano and the country at large might still heave a sigh of relief. It might also be another deceit from the tricking governor.
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