His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has identified the reason why the Northern part of Nigeria is backwards when it comes to education.
The first-class monarch, who spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at the conference organised by the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation with the theme, “Education in Northern Nigeria: Status, Challenges, and the Way Forward”, said lack of implementation of past recommendations is the major reason for setbacks on education in the North.
According to him, the region would continue to suffer the same fate if the recommendations of previous panels are not taken seriously, or implemented.
The Sultan of Sokoto, who spoke as Chairman of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council, representing 20 first-class traditional rulers, stressed the need for stakeholders in the North to show more seriousness in the area of implementation of recommendations made to accelerate the development of education.
He said the region would continue to organize conferences annually with no progress if actions are not taken towards implementation.
Speaking further, the Sultan commended a former Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, and her team for carrying out another research whose recommendations he tasked the stakeholders to constitute a committee for its implementation to achieve the desired goals.
“That is our problem, implementation. If we don’t implement it, we come back next year for another conference and still talk about the same thing. So, let’s be more serious now because if you have identified a problem, you have half of the solution. Now, let’s look for the other half of the solution so that we can move forward,” Daily Trust quoted the renowned monarch as saying.
Ex-Education Minister Gives Recommendations
In her presentation on the outcomes of the research work done on the current state of education in the North, former Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu, said the report identified the inability to mobilise school-age children, the poor release of funds, inadequate political will, and non-availability of offices for guidance and counselling services as some of the challenges to education in the North.
As part of solutions to the challenges, she listed the recommendations of the research work to include the need to ensure that additional schools were built in the North, school feeding programme be expanded, provision of adequate non-teaching staff, timely payment of salaries, provision of quality and qualitative inspectors and competition in the recruitment of teachers among others, Naija News reports.
In his remark, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Babangida Aliyu, said 50% of teachers in North are not qualified.
He emphasized the significance of the Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) as a minimum requirement for teachers and highlighted that no northern state in Nigeria has 50 per cent qualified teachers, as the minimum qualification required is NCE.
The chairman of the organizing committee and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the foundation, Ibrahim Shekarau, who is a former Kano State governor, expressed that despite the North’s rich cultural heritage, historical significance, and abundance of human resources, it lags behind in terms of educational development compared to other regions in the country.
Shekarau stressed the need for immediate action, stating that the findings were not intended to discourage them but rather to serve as a wake-up call for urgent action.
“Education is the bedrock of any prosperous society, and it is our collective responsibility to address these challenges head-on,” he said.
On his part, the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, emphasized the pivotal role of inspiring and purposeful leadership in driving societal change and development.
The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, said part of the reasons behind the decision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the federal government to remove subsidies and unify exchange rates was to raise funds for investments in critical sectors such as education, saying that it might have become difficult to pay salaries if such actions were not taken.
He suggested that the role of the National Economic Council (NEC) should be extended to include mobilisations of revenue to achieve set goals.
Northerners May Go Back To Their States Of Origin For Job – JAMB Registrar
Speaking at the event, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Ishaq Oloyede, expressed that the number of candidates seeking admission from northern Nigeria is poorly represented.
He indicated that individuals from outside the region are filling the quota of students of northern descent.
Oloyede revealed that he became aware of this issue when he questioned a Vice Chancellor from the South East regarding the lack of admission given to applicants from Cross River and the North.
He said the VC asked him to look at the names of the applicants if they truly originated from the North. Oloyede advised the people of the North to stay in other parts of Nigeria for education and employment opportunities.
He observed that there was a high tendency for people from Northern Nigeria to resign and go back to their state of origin for jobs.
The conference was attended by Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Special Adviser (SAD) on Political Matters, who represented Vice President Kashim Shettima.
Other dignitaries at the event were the Etsu Nupe, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar CFR; the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli CFR; the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman; and the Acting Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Mr Chris Jibreel Maiyaki among others.