Out of School Children in Northern Nigeria: Hold Governors Accountable – Emir Sanusi
By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said that state governors across the North are to be held responsible for the increasing rate of out of school children in the region.
Sanusi, who was not happy with the situation, told the governors to quit if they can not provide education for their citizens.
The Emir, spoke in Kaduna on Wednesday, during the “Northern Nigeria Traditional Leaders Conference on Out-Of-School Children” organized by Federal Ministry of Education Commission, Universal Basic Education, National Commission for Mass Education and Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development in collaboration with UNICEF.
According to the royal father, “if we are going to discourse education we have to be very frank. The emirs do not provide education. We have elected politicians who are not been held accountable for what they are supposed to do. And they did not want us to talk about this.
“When you are elected governor of a state, you aren’t elected to become a preacher. You were elected to deliver education, healthcare, nutrition and development. And if you cannot do that, you have no business been a governor. And until we begin to have this honest conversations in the north, until we begin to tell ourselves the truth, we wont be able to tackle this problem.
“As a country we have to face the reality that we have not given the attention to the education which we supposed to. For example, take the budget of the Federal Government of Nigeria, in 2018 seven per cent budgeted to education as compared to target of 26per cent.
“The budget for education at the federal level is N605,000 billion out of this, 435 billion is recurrent, 61 billion is capital and 109 billion for UBE.
“We all know that this is no where near enough to address the educational problem. But the problem is more serious than that. In income 2018, the minister of petroleum announced that we are spending N1.4trillion annually on petroleum subsidy for which there is no budget. We are spending this amount annual to subsidize on petroleum , but we can give only 100bilion for basic education. How are we going to fix education?
“If we really want to talk about fixing education, we have to address the issue of misplaced priority by those who are responsible for delivering education.”
He laments the dwindling nature of education in states in the north, saying, “we have a state in Northwestern Nigeria , where in 2017 only 184 children sat a National O level examination. Only 24 of those children passed in the entire state. Where has all the money gone; that is supposed to be spent on education, If you can produce only 24 students in your state?
“And in this same state in 2018. less than 30 children registered for the common entrance examinations.”
Sanusi, expressed worries over the way governors in the region are handling funds meant for development, adding that they spend money on sending people to Umrah rather than invest in education, that he said, is wrong.
“In 2000 I wrote an article on a government that sent 300 scholars to hajj. We are all malikis’ here. Imam Malik said it is prohibited, unlawful to take money from the treasury to sponsor a poor man who has no money for hajj.
“Any one who takes one kobo to sooner people for hajj is stealing, it is not an act of piety but we do it all the time.
“If we must get it right, two things are very important, first language. Our national education policy makes English language the only language recognized for education, this is a grievous mistake.
“If you look at reports by UNESCO and world bank, all this institutions have made it clear that if you start teaching children in their mother language, you reduced the Raye of repetition, the rate of drop out and cost of education.
“Educational policy has to be looked at, English is a language, but you don’t need English to teach medicine, agriculture, mathematics and you don’t need it be a nurse or midwife.
“As a very first step, the federal government should open up the space and encourage the use of Arabic and indigenous language usage up to university level.
“It is so bad that if you have admission for B .A Hausa, in the Nigerian university, you cannot start if you don’t have Credit in English.” The Emir, added.i