A Hausa adage: “Idan baki ya san abun da zai fada, bai san abun da za’a fada masa ba”, resonates clearly the uncomplimentary comment by Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in a media chat recently. The former governor carelessly insinuated that Gov Abdullahi Ganduje’s administration has no value and recourse for educational development of Kano State. He also used the opportunity, as usual, to pamper his so-called foreign scholarship scheme.
One then imagines how and why Kwankwaso decided to use public funds to sponsor PhD/MSc candidates to study sociology, religion, public or business administration abroad while the Bayero University Kano (BUK) has, for many decades, been known as a centre of excellence for such and other courses.
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What is more astonishing is Kwankwaso’s claim of paying all the bills for the beneficiaries’ fees, accommodation, upkeep, etc. However, the claim is far from being the truth.
If anyone is to claim credit for the said scholarship scheme, it would be His Excellency, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. This is because after assuming office in 2015, Ganduje’s government discovered that Kwankwaso left behind a debt of over N7bn of unpaid tuition, upkeep and other expenses related to that scholarship. This burden was as a result of the late hours’ scholarship programme initiated by Kwankwaso just to frustrate the incoming administration.
However, despite the economic recession and numerous other debt issues inherited, Ganduje paid off the over N7 bn; allowing all the scholars to graduate successfully.
Just recently, the governor approved and released N401m to offset another inherited debt in Cyprus. This is in addition to other debt settlements in local universities such as Alqalam University, Katsina.
Contrary to Kwankwaso’s claim, Dr Ganduje has so far revolutionised the tertiary education system of Kano State in all ramifications. His achievements are unparalleled and second to none across the 36 states of the federation.
Unlike Kwankwaso’s shoddy scholarship, Ganduje came up with a unique and transparent approach in the prestigious Kano-France scholarship programme.
In a bid to ensure the welfare of the Kano-France scholars currently undergoing PhD and MSc programmes in France, Ganduje has made another giant stride. He recently approved and released over N110m as upkeep and maintenance for the scholars.
This will go a long way in sustaining the conducive atmosphere under which the scholars conduct their research. This laudable gesture of His Excellency is also to ensure that no scholar gets stranded on a foreign soil.
Under this scheme, qualified lecturers from Kano State-owned tertiary institutions are being sent to study PhD and MSc programmes in top universities in France. This initiative is exclusively an arrangement between Kano State and France.
While Kwankwaso left almost all courses in the Kano State-owned institutions without accreditation, Ganduje took up the challenge and has succeeded in securing full and interim accreditations for all the programmes run by these institutions.
Ganduje has also done marvelously well in the area of infrastructural development in the tertiary education sector. Numerous lecture halls and theatres, road networks, CBT centres, students’ centres and laboratories have been provided by this administration across all the post-secondary educational institutions in the state.
This is in addition to prompt payment of local scholarship grants to thousands of students studying in Nigerian universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions. Ganduje has diligently paid off the backlog of outstanding local scholarship grants amounting to hundreds of millions that accumulated since Shekarau’s tenure.
Kano State is currently experiencing a gigantic storm of development in all areas in a bid by Ganduje to maintain the state’s status as a business and educational hub in Nigeria and Africa.
Dr Usaini Akilu Jarma is a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Kano State Governor on Higher Education.