By Babayola M. Toungo
The people of Adamawa State and the immediate catchment areas of the Modibbo Adama University (MAU) Yola are now enjoying the full compliments of a university by the conversion of the hitherto Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTech) to a conventional one. This has opened spaces for admissions to many candidates particularly those interested in the social and management sciences.
The opportunities offered by the University to especially the people of Adamawa state are enormous, if exploited, both in terms of admissions and employment. The conversion gave the University the impetus to establish a College of Medical Sciences, which has been in pipelines anyway. As a corollary to the conversion and the subsequent establishment of the College of Medical Sciences, the need arises for a Teaching Hospital which also created another window of opportunity for the local training of doctors and medical personnel.
With the campaign for the 2023 entering its last lap, so many issues are brought to the fore and candidates are rushing to claim credit for the good things that happened to the state and shying away from the negatives. A case in point is the aforestated events. Supporters of A’ishatu Ahmed Binani, the APC gubernatorial candidate, have saturated the airwaves with how she worked day and night to ensure the realisation of the two related events.
We have been inundated with how she worked tirelessly to deliver on them. This is quite laudable. Any politician that will be so dedicated to the welfare of his/ her constituents deserve commendation and their support. But is this the case or there is more than meets the eye? Without taking away anything from Senator Binani, and before I am verbally lynched, I believe it is only fair to situate things into their proper perspective.
If my memory serves me right, the effort to convert the University into a conventional one began in Buhari’s first term when the then Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu compelled all Universities of Technology to stop offering courses not related to technology. The campaign for the conversion proved futile because of the lack of vigour from the state government. With the change of government in 2019, the state government led by his excellency Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri took up the issue. His Excellency Rt Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, on Thursday, August 8th, 2019, led a delegation of eminent Adamawa citizens across party-lines to see Mr. President on the quest to convert the then MAUTech to a conventional university.
The result of that visit is the now Modibbo Adama University Yola (MAU). The National Assembly organised a public hearing on the Bill for the conversion of the University on December 5th, 2019, the governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, massively mobilised the people of the state across party lines, including but not limited to the former Vice President and current Presidential Flag bearer of the PDP, the Wazirin Adamawa, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Governor Boni Haruna, former and sitting ministers, former and current Chief Executives of State and Federal Agencies, Diplomats, Academics, the organized private sector and the representative of the Lamido of Adamawa.
Senator Binani as a legislator from the state played her role by being the face of the Bill in the Senate Chamber and performed better than some of her peers. She deserves a pat on the back for her efforts, but we should give credit where it is due. The same thing goes for the establishment of the Teaching Hospital. While it is true that the Senator presented the Bill for the establishment of a Teaching Hospital in Yola, Senator Binani appeared to either lose steam or interest in the passage of the Bill at a point in time. With the seeming loss of interest by the legislator, his excellency governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri again took up the case. The governor wrote a letter to the president on November 26th, 2021, requesting and making a case on behalf of the people of Adamawa and the Modibbo Adama University Yola, for the upgrading of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Yola to a Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital Yola.
On May 17th, 2022, the Federal Government approved the upgrading of the FMC Yola to Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital Yola (MAUTH Yola) via a Press Release that says: “the approval is sequel to the demand by the people and the Adamawa State Government….”Like I said earlier – don’t get me wrong – Senator Binani deserves her fifteen minutes in the sun for what she did – presenting a Bill drafted by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and being the face of that Bill to the press and the world – somebody must do this, and she had the courage to do it and along the way recognise the political potentialities in the action. But let’s also recognise the critical role that governor Fintiri played in this. He did what others before him failed to do – lead the charge. We should also strive to give to Ceaser what is Ceaser’s.
Toungo, a public affairs analyst writes from Kaduna.