Adamawa State: A bias for hope

Fintiri.
Fintiri.
Adamawa State: A bias for hope

Babayola M. Toungo

One of the eight-point agenda of the Adamawa state governor his excellency, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, education, a sector hitherto abandoned to atrophy from decades of neglect. With the turning of the sod at Girei, the site of one of the twenty-one Model Schools to be constructed at each of the local government headquarters, the governor is making a profound statement of his intention regarding this all important sector – that education will take its rightful place in the scheme of things. That human capital development is getting an investment that was denied the sector for long. The Model Schools are designed to accommodate a Nursery, Primary and Junior Secondary Schools. The next step in the assembly line is the construction of two Mega Secondary Schools in all the Senatorial Districts. The Mega Schools will then absorb the products of the Model Schools and be feeders to the state’s tertiary educational institutions.

The system is an assembly line of sorts where the products of the nursery schools will automatically transit to the Junior Secondary and then to the Senior Secondary and then to the tertiary institutions – Adamawa state University, State Polytechnic, College of Agriculture, College of Nursing and other federal tertiary institutions within the state’s catchment areas. For want of a better description, I will call this “fixing the education value chain”. If those who will succeed Fintiri at the expiration of his tenure will continue this trajectory, then the state may regain its lost glory in the human capital developement sector. We may be able to recreate those days when students from Gongola state were the dominant group in University of Maiduguri, Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

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I do not want to dwell much on the benefits to the education sector this move will bring; I am rather looking at the economic and social benefits which the populace will reap, considering the quantum of money involved in the construction and equipping of these schools. Taken together with the on-going urban renewal projects in the state capital the amount that the government is expending is humongous, to say the least. The schools alone will gulp something in the region of Sixteen Billion Naira (N16,000,000,000) and the project is to be executed by local contractors, who are expected to buy all the construction materials locally, using local labour. The contract sum for the urban renewal is somewhere in the region of Twenty-Nine Billion Naira (29,000,000,000).

I have been trying to imagine how the local economy will be reflated with even 50% of this colossal amount going directly into the local economy. Imagine the number of people involved in the construction proper and the multiplier effect. The labourer must patronise the ‘mama put’, who must patronise the grain and grocery seller in the market who in turn must patronise the rural farmer to replenish his supplies. This may be visible ones. Most of them must use public transport to get to the workplace, transport goods or even socialise. The petrol dealer and even the petrol dispenser is now brought into the loop.

The number of jobless youths that may be engaged during the construction period may be a panacea to the petty crimes committed by our kids. This will in turn bring down the level of urban crime drastically. Part of the intangible benefits of the projects is the upliftment of young people by offering the necessary space and resources to network with others and learn a trade or profession.

The Model and Mega Schools come with free feeding; therefore, government must patronise the commodity traders/ farmers to ensure continued supply of foodstuff to the school. The government’s intervention through the Adamawa Agribusiness Support – Programme (ADAS) with its credit guarantee scheme for farmers to access agrifinace at single digit interest. A brainchild of the state governor, the ADAS-P will eventually have a profound influence on every aspect of life in the state, from healthcare and education to the transformation of the state from a rural agrarian backwater to a provider of processed agric products to the rest of the nation. The refurbished/ rehabilitated schools (at all levels) will provide the human capital for the anticipated economic boom in the state.

Education is about the only way we can close the gap between the poor and the rich and the development gap with other states of the federation. The governor is targeting to make Adamawa state among the five most developed states in the country by the end of his tenure. With the massive investment he is planning for the education sector and the unprecedented infrastructural development on-going, I believe the target is realisable. That the optimism by many people on the governor’s ability to deliver will not be misplaced.

There will then be reason for one to be biased for hope. agenda of the Adamawa state governor his excellency, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, education, a sector hitherto abandoned to atrophy from decades of neglect. With the turning of the sod at Girei, the site of one of the twenty-one Model Schools to be constructed at each of the local government headquarters, the governor is making a profound statement of his intention regarding this all important sector – that education will take its rightful place in the scheme of things.

That human capital development is getting an investment that was denied the sector for long. The Model Schools are designed to accommodate a Nursery, Primary and Junior Secondary Schools. The next step in the assembly line is the construction of two Mega Secondary Schools in all the Senatorial Districts. The Mega Schools will then absorb the products of the Model Schools and be feeders to the state’s tertiary educational institutions.

The system is an assembly line of sorts where the products of the nursery schools will automatically transit to the Junior Secondary and then to the Senior Secondary and then to the tertiary institutions – Adamawa state University, State Polytechnic, College of Agriculture, College of Nursing and other federal tertiary institutions within the state’s catchment areas. For want of a better description, I will call this “fixing the education value chain”.

If those who will succeed Fintiri at the expiration of his tenure will continue this trajectory, then the state may regain its lost glory in the human capital development sector. We may be able to recreate those days when students from Gongola state were the dominant group in University of Maiduguri, Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

I do not want to dwell much on the benefits to the education sector this move will bring; I am rather looking at the economic and social benefits which the populace will reap, considering the quantum of money involved in the construction and equipping of these schools. Taken together with the on-going urban renewal projects in the state capital the amount that the government is expending is humongous, to say the least.

The schools alone will gulp something in the region of Sixteen Billion Naira (N16,000,000,000) and the project is to be executed by local contractors, who are expected to buy all the construction materials locally, using local labour. The contract sum for the urban renewal is somewhere in the region of Twenty-Nine Billion Naira (29,000,000,000).

I have been trying to imagine how the local economy will be reflated with even 50% of this colossal amount going directly into the local economy. Imagine the number of people involved in the construction proper and the multiplier effect. The labourer must patronise the ‘mama put’, who must patronise the grain and grocery seller in the market who in turn must patronise the rural farmer to replenish his supplies. This may be visible ones. Most of them must use public transport to get to the workplace, transport goods or even socialise. The petrol dealer and even the petrol dispenser is now brought into the loop.

The number of jobless youths that may be engaged during the construction period may be a panacea to the petty crimes committed by our kids. This will in turn bring down the level of urban crime drastically. Part of the intangible benefits of the projects is the upliftment of young people by offering the necessary space and resources to network with others and learn a trade or profession.

The Model and Mega Schools come with free feeding; therefore, government must patronise the commodity traders/ farmers to ensure continued supply of foodstuff to the school. The government’s intervention through the Adamawa Agribusiness Support – Programme (ADAS) with its credit guarantee scheme for farmers to access agrifinace at single digit interest. A brainchild of the state governor, the ADAS-P will eventually have a profound influence on every aspect of life in the state, from healthcare and education to the transformation of the state from a rural agrarian backwater to a provider of processed agric products to the rest of the nation. The refurbished/ rehabilitated schools (at all levels) will provide the human capital for the anticipated economic boom in the state.

Education is about the only way we can close the gap between the poor and the rich and the development gap with other states of the federation. The governor is targeting to make Adamawa state among the five most developed states in the country by the end of his tenure. With the massive investment he is planning for the education sector and the unprecedented infrastructural development on-going, I believe the target is realisable. That the optimism by many people on the governor’s ability to deliver will not be misplaced.

There will then be reason for one to be biased for hope.

Toungo writes from Kaduna.

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