COVID-19: Support The Needy With Palliatives

 

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim

The coming of coronavirus, months ago, has put the people of Nigeria into yet another difficult situation despite the tough times being witnessed already.

Unfortunately, this coronavirus pandemic brought about physical distancing, resulting to lockdown in many parts of the world and movement restrictions in some locations. Due to the novel coronavirus, businesses have been shut down and millions are recorded as losses daily.

As such, labourers, small and household entrepreneurs find it hard to survive. There are poor people who don’t have foodstuffs in their houses. They feed their families with wages earned on a daily basis. They work before they earn. These are the categories of persons in need of assistance from their fellow human beings, not only from the government in this instance.

People are said to have suffered in some locations due to hunger caused by the imposed lockdown in some states of the country as part of the measures put in place by the presidential task force on COVID-19 to contain and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. As such there is an urgent need by individuals, groups and governments at various levels to bring help to humanity by providing food or palliatives otherwise known as relief materials to at least the vulnerable people in the society, if not everyone.

We, as human beings, have our various roles to play for the betterment of our society. In order to stand up altogether, we have to, start with the little we have. It is needless to say that we are waiting for wealthy people to start helping the needy. We all should start.

To stress how important it is to help one another, especially in times of difficulty, the religion of Islam teaches and encourages the acts of helping one another; giving special care to the less privileged, orphans etc.

Our efforts of serving humanity through foundations whose main purposes should be helping orphans and the weak ones are paramount. We can plan, coordinate and distribute foodstuffs for thousands of poor households with support drawn from various individuals.

It is true that our future depends on our vision. We have to work for our future right from now. The Nigeria we want is possible if only we are ready to change our attitudes. We can reach our peak if we are ready to start implementation and shun lamentation.

Without coming together, in other words, brotherhood, we cannot succeed in the future. Therefore, we will keep under-developing. We have to stand up and walk the talk. We still have time, the sun is not yet down.

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim writes from Gombe state.

 

Traffic Regulations: The Federal Road Safety Commission Should Do More

Towards the end of February 2020, FRSC Corps Public Education Officer, Mr. Bisi Kazeem said that FRSC will no longer condone plying roads with two passengers on the front seat of commercial vehicles across the country. He stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja. I was happy when I read the news but it should have come earlier than now. But it is better late than never. Still, the FRSC should do more. Saying this will not be enough. They have to implement it along other laws too.

I am writing this because I was a member of Road and Environmental Safety Club during my high school days. And also had represented Gombe High School in the national safety competition 2017 at the state level where my school emerged as the champion. So I think I know something small about safety on our roads that if shared will be of benefit to the public.

I am not saying that the FRSC corps are not doing their job. We all know that they give their contributions whenever accident occurs. And this is one of their mandates. However, they should have to ensure more safety on our roads. We know that in some states like Kaduna, Kano, Gombe and etc have KASTLEA, KAROTA, and Marshalls to aid MTD in regulating traffic within cities.

Daily, lives and properties are lost on Nigerian roads. It is known to almost those who ply Nigerian roads using commercial vehicles that two passengers are carried on the front seat. Doing such discomforts the passenger in the middle if not both of the two. Most importantly, the driver in some cases finds it difficult to change gear if the car is manual.

Driving in Nigeria is turning to something one does the way he likes. Despite the fact that the Nigerian Highway Code clearly stated how one should behave while using the road. The Highway Code stated that a road user should assume he is the only sane person on the road. Going by this, if everyone will adhere to it, less accidents will be recorded.

However, designing highway code by FRSC is not enough. We know Nigerians and people in general don’t like abiding by laws until they are forced to. Also, it must be taken into consideration that it is not every driver that can read. Therefore not all drivers have read the Nigerian Highway Code. So there is a strong need to enforce traffic laws.

I know FRSC can do more and so FRSC should do more. FRSC should go beyond working in cities, telling drivers to fasten their seat belts. I will like to suggest that they should go to parks and ensure that all passengers officially disembarked on their designated places and the vehicle is not overloaded.

From Kano-Zaria, for instance, drivers overload vehicles before plying road. Even as small as golf, not even the wagon, they put two passengers in the front seat and four in the back seat. One is left in a dilemma on where he should sit because both of the two are not going to be comforting.

Notwithstanding, even as far as Kano-Gombe and vice versa they carry two passengers in the front seat in Sharon and golf wagon vehicles. The distance, time of the journey doesn’t concern them. All they care about is to get money. Safety may not be their concern as well.

The most annoying of all is a situation I witnessed where a golf wagon driver conveyed three passengers plus him, making a total of four in the two front seats and the same number in the back seat with others inside boot. That’s not just the point I am trying to make but the way the driver was discomforted and of course everyone in the vehicle. His have to be given more attention because he was carrying people’s lives and not animals. How would the seat designed for driver be occupied by two persons while moving on a highway? I think even the person that sits there should be arrested by FRSC if caught and not only the driver.

This habit, before is known amongst okada riders. They can carry four in one and they don’t care. The rider too looks not comfortable from the way he sits on his bike’s tank, holds the handle bar. Like that he rides hiding from traffic officers now MTD not thinking that he and his passengers are doing that at the risk of their lives and not MTDs lives.

I will implore on FRSC corps to go beyond what they are currently doing now. It is one of their mandate to clear obstructions on highway roads as stated in the Nigerian Highway Code. But they don’t fully implement it these days. And people are using this opportunity to cause unnecessary traffic jam for the majority on roads by displaying their goods for sale, selling sugarcane on the road, wrong parking amongst others.

Even though that traffic offenders know where FRSC corps operate and therefore avoid such zones, FRSC should be changing operation location time to time in order to deal with traffic offenders.

We all should know that when our roads are safer, there will be fuller life. So safety should always be first. FRSC and all road users have different roles to play. FRSC are therefore urged to do all the needful.

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim can reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com

17th March, 2020

Open Letter To Honourable Members And Other Distinguished Leaders

Dear Honourable Members/Distinguished Leaders,

As Nigeria celebrates 59 years of independence, I decided to share this open letter to all of you so that we would do the celebration in a grand style. I am writing this open letter to you as a young Nigerian. Let me state from the onset that I am not referring to any person in any position of power but everyone. Below are some questions I would like you to shine more light for us.

When you emerged as the winner in the recent elections held, we thought you would be more helpful and acquire more governing traits. We thought you would carry everyone along, whether he or she voted for you or not. Because you are now a leader. A person like you is someone that his people need to be proud of. We thought you would bear in mind that you are representing your people, not your pocket, family, and relatives alone. We thought you knew that you are standing for people’s interests, not animals.

Dear Honourable leaders, you would not tell me that you are unaware of the falling standard of education in Nigeria. What are your efforts towards raising it? Or haven’t you made any attempt to curb it to the best of your ability? Don’t tell me that you never organize an essay writing competition, Quranic competition and any other competition in an attempt to figure out the best young students among your people in order to inspire and motivate them by giving them scholarships to study in polytechnics, colleges, and universities ranging from home to abroad?

Don’t you know that there are best performing students from poor families but they could not afford to further their education? If yes, what did you see in living your people illiterate? How many classrooms/libraries have you built with your pocket money not even funds allocated for that? Or do you want to tell us that you cannot do that but you can buy mansions here and abroad, buy exotic cars and expensive attires? If an Emir, HRH Alh. Abubakar Shehu, himself could build a school and a hospital, what prevents you from doing that?

Distinguished leaders of our time, is like you are portraying a clear difference between you and your early predecessors. If no, why don’t you care about your people’s health? Or do you want to say you are unaware of mothers that faced difficulties during delivery or have even died? Why do you run away from here whenever you are sick? Is it that you don’t trust the workers or you know that there are no good health facilities? Then what effort are you making to reduce the number of children dying of poor health in Nigeria, as a leader? Do you ever move a motion on health? Why? Is it because you are in Abuja, let the poor die? Ordinary common primary health care center (PHCC) lacks solar whenever there is no power supply at night and other equipment, why? Is it the resources we don’t have or what? But you have millions to spend on musicians, political campaigns, and other unnecessary things.

As a serving leader, do you come to your constituency on a monthly basis to see your people, their social amenities and hear their problems? The most important area of concern is water. Does your constituency have pure pipe-borne drinking water? If yes, fine. How long would it take you to drill boreholes? How much would it cost an honourable person like you? Do you want to tell me you cannot afford that? Okay, where is the allocation for that? Can’t you drill 10 boreholes in your constituency in a week if you wish? If you have thought of poor electricity, why won’t you use the solar system? Don’t you have boreholes in your houses? Why should your people continue to drink water from the same place as their animals? Do you do the same? Is it not a shame on you as a serving leader with the given mandate to lead, allow your people to carry buckets roaming in search of water? Is Nigeria not supposed to have this at 59 years of independence.

Your excellencies, in my place, I always cite an example with one, Alh. Ibrahim Sulaiman who is not an elected leader like you but he drilled borehole and distributed it to neighbouring houses. Why can’t you do this?

Even in terms of electricity, we should have passed this level. Whenever I listen to news about a country, celebrating a long time without power failure or interruption, I wish it is my country. Why don’t you pay attention to electricity? Is it because you have generators and solar panels? Or is it because you don’t live here? Don’t you know that with electricity our economy will be boosted, many people will not be unemployed, many people will be eating food? Or don’t you want to end unemployment? How many jobs have you created? Did you build any factory? If yes, keep a good job but where and when for the benefit of your people?

Another question here is do you care to construct and repair roads linking villages to the city? Or is it that you don’t care because your cars know not potholes?

What are your efforts towards attaining a united, just and corrupt-free society?

You may wish to answer this as a leader as you may one day campaign for return to this or another seat. May be with the answers, you might still be voted in depending on how good your answers are.

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim can be reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com

1st October, 2019

Should Children’s Careers Continue To Be Ruined?

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim

How the falling standard of education in Nigeria keeps growing bigger by the day worries me whenever I see how Asian countries like South Korea and China had advanced in terms of technology. How? – through government investment in education. They had achieved their enrolment in schools.

I am writing this piece to express my concern for education because it is necessary.

We should know that we are in a period when developed nations no longer rely on natural resources like oil, their attention is on how to boost human resources (talent), an example of such country being China.

We at Nigeria know how our economy is fluctuating whenever the price of oil drops in the international market. So, if our government really wants to diversify our economy should turn to the education sector.

Then, we would become whatever we want in the world. I’m not saying that the government should neglect oil but also give cause for concern to the educational sector. What they did was a way of lifting the falling education standard. Education is children’s top priority.

Should children’s careers continue to be ruined by incompetent teachers?

Should every Thick, Tom and Harry teach in public schools? Education holds children;s future.

What he did is a way of raising the standard of education in Nigeria.

NUT, train your members to enhance the quality of education in Nigeria. Going on strike is not the solution.

NLC, go and see how children are learning in public schools. Education is the best legacy the government can give to the masses.

Let’s all join hands in building Nigeria.

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim writes from Gombe State. He can be reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com

28th February, 2018

Education in Nigeria Can Be Salvaged Using El-Rufai’s Model

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim

Education in Nigeria can be salvaged if Nigeria’s leaders take their kids to public run institutions. The falling standard of education in Nigeria continues by the day due to numerous reasons. There is an urgent need for our education standard to be raised. It is unfortunate that up till now, some students of public schools hardly learn in conducive environments and hardly receive adequate knowledge needed because not all of their teachers are qualified to teach. And even the non-qualified ones are inadequate.

In many public schools today, you will find classes where most students sit on the floor with some on the available seats. But experts say if the children of the chairman of that local government area were to be in that public school, the situation would have been different.

You could find many public schools today whose structures might look okay from the outside, but who do not have proper fencing. As a result of this, stubborn students easily escape from the school before closing hours.

But if a governor should enroll his son in a public school, his education commissioner does the same, the SUBEB chairman does the same, and the principal of that public school does the same, do you think the situation would remain the same? Do you think the standard of Nigeria’s education will continue falling? If no is the answer, then this idea would be a welcome development and should be used as a means of improving the falling standard of education in Nigeria.

There is no chief executive of a country or a state that will allow his child’s future to be ruined. He won’t. Whenever teachers’ union are on strike, quick and serious action would be taken because the chief executive won’t like to see his children every day at home because of a problem he could solve very easily.

Likewise the other officials of highly placed positions mentioned above. In fact, they would satisfy all the striking staffs’ needs before they even embark on a strike. And these regular and unnecessary strikes will be curbed.

Not only this, all the required learning materials (textbooks, computers, etc) needed in public schools would be provided and no one will divert them because his/her child is one of the beneficiaries. This is because if he does so, he cheats himself indirectly.

Apart from this, good pipe borne drinking water, conducive learning atmosphere, furniture and employment of qualified staff would be ensured in the public schools. The teaching staff will also do their best in discharging their duties because there is an offspring of the chief executive there. The teachers’ own children will not also be excluded. Hence, it is not only the children of the poor that are there. Everyone will mind his business and do his job without laziness, lateness, and wickedness.

This same procedure, if taken at the federal level, students in Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions would be happy and graduate on time.

Let there be the president’s children, the minister’s children, the professor’s children and other children of His and Her Excellencies across all the public schools/universities and the quality of education in Nigeria would be boosted.

Assuming that the son of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the son of the Academic Staff Union of the Universities’ head, the son of the minister of education, the children of top government officials and the children of all the first class emirs are in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Bayero University Kano (BUK), or University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), the recent ASUU strike wouldn’t have lasted for months.

Or do you think that all these people listed above don’t love their children’s future? It is that love that made most of them send their children overseas for study.

Hence, for Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai to enroll his son in a public school, Kaduna Capital School, on Monday September 23, 2019, this is indeed a welcome development.

Although it has generated a lot of comments from various sections of the society, to those who wants the improvement of the standards of education in Nigeria, this development is considered as a way towards improving the falling standard of education in the country.
The governor’s son is a primary pupil. Whatever he learns, he would tell his father or mother. By so doing, they will get to know the quality of education their son and others are getting in the school. If it is okay, they commend the teachers for job well done. But when they are not doing their work well, it will be easy for the governor to take action without waiting to hear from the television, radio or social media. Information reaches the appropriate authority directly.

The enrollment of El-Rufai’s son in a public school is a fulfillment of a promise he made earlier on in 2017 when he said “I will by personal example ensure that my son that will be six years of age in 2019 will be enrolled in a public school in Kaduna State, by God’s grace.”

This showed that Nigerian politicians can fulfill their promises. It also showed that the habit of this day’s politicians of not fulfilling promises is coming to an end. And that the blueprint for lifting Nigeria’s standard of education is for our leaders to enroll their kids in the public institutions.

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim can be reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com

6th October, 2019

The Nigeria We Want

BY MUHAMMAD AUWAL IBRAHIM

While growing up in Nigeria, we learned that we are lagging far behind in terms of agriculture, education and information technology. Why? It could be as a result of bad governance, laziness and selfishness of our leaders. Should we not try to produce good leaders, become more caring, work harder, and become selfless, Nigeria would deteriorate to something else worse than present Nigeria.

The Nigeria we are living is far from the Nigeria we want but we all hope to get there. How we are reaching there matters. Is it by folding our arms and watching? Is it by sitting down and looking or by laying on our beds to sleep? Let us tell ourselves the truth. We all know what should be done. We all know that those countries laughing today had really worked hard and made sacrifices before they could now (today) enjoy. They did not reach there by just mere wishful thinking. But was it through a revolution? No, never. It is a crime. Revolution is not in any way and can never be the way out for Nigeria. However, there are peaceful and constitutional ways.

It is no gainsaying that it is not all Nigerians are doing what they ought to do. Instead of planning for a better future, the future is being killed. It is very sad. There were days when national dailies headlines were about the call for revolution. There were so many debates even on social media platforms. Is a revolution what we need now in Nigeria? This is what we should have asked ourselves first. Revolution is however not the best for us.

Mr Attahir Esq. in a paper he presented in 2018 in Gombe titled “Restructuring Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and The Way Forward,” cautioned Nigerians about the challenges of restructuring Nigeria and I quoted: The tendency to indulge in corruption is a major factor that retards progress. Therefore, whether Nigeria remains united or not we must restructure our attitudes.

Most importantly, he stressed the need for us to restructure our attitudes first. it is good to have good attitudes. We cannot swallow the bone at once. We have to break it, chew it and then swallow it if we want to. Culture has a vital role to play in our society more especially these days. But it seems like we have abandoned it.

The level of corruption in Nigeria is very high, more especially amongst top government officials and those at the grass root. If there is any factor that has been retarding Nigeria from attaining fast development is corruption. Until honesty and integrity are returned back into our system before things will smoothly move the way they supposed to. In addition, a corruption-free society is needed.

Unity is a challenging factor that we need to reach the Nigeria we want. It is often ignored or maybe it is considered less important. Najib Adamu Usman, a poet, called for unity among Africans. He said so in his Hausa poem, “Wakar Hadin kan Afrika”. Upon his concern, I built this point. Without unity, in other words, brotherhood, we cannot achieve the aims and/or goals of modern governance. We have to wake up from our sleep and do the needful at the right time. We still have time, the sun is not yet down.

Another challenging factor is our literacy level. The level of literacy today is quite low because of the level of our government investment in the education sector is low. That’s why our educational sector is in a sorry state. At this juncture, the government and the educated elites must see investment in youth (the most important pillar of every society) through education as a priority, if only they want the teeming youth to collaborate with them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. There is no country in this world that can develop in the world without immensely investing in the education sector at this time of ours that I can call a digital era. This is in line with what Justice Ayo Salami rtd. said and I quoted: Education is power” in his paper, “how ex-CJNs Sold Our Independence of The Judiciary To Executive”. A typical example is without the education imparted in me, I cannot write this article.

Believe me or not, education in general plays a great role in the moral upbringing of a person. Let’s take a look at some countries that advanced through investment in education. Take for example Japan, Korea, China and the rest of them. Their governments see investment in education as a top priority. The above-mentioned countries are not blessed with many natural resources but they are talented. They used human resources to develop their country. They import raw materials and export manufactured products to other countries. Even to countries bigger than them in age, size and everything. But that isn’t what we are doing, trying to do in Nigeria.

Knowledge should be considered. Knowledgeable can be found in learning institutions. Therefore, institutions should be put in place to teach our younger ones’ leadership traits before it becomes too late to overcome the present challenges.

The Nigeria we want should have good leaders. From the mere look of things here, there is an absence of effective leadership/good governance and the best system of government. These are also some of the problems of Nigeria today. Our leaders are corrupt, selfish and incapacitated to lead. But whose fault? Sorry to say that not all Nigerians can differentiate between suitability and eligibility and legality and legitimacy as Dr Usman Bugaje asserted in a lecture he delivered at Gombe High School in December 2018 in Gombe. At this age of Nigeria, 60, then, it must be a shame on us. The world will laugh at us. Because the differences are very obvious. There is no day that this fire will stop burning since we know the extinguisher hence we are still looking for something else.

We want creativity to flourish in Nigeria. We Nigerians are creative and at the same time, we are careless. Maybe we don’t know. In Nigeria, most of the youth are willing and able to work but unable to find paid jobs. Unemployment is growing bigger by the day yet, there are scarce jobs. Why? We limit ourselves to only one source of employment i.e the government which also generate its revenue from the oil sector.

We want a Nigeria with a digital economy. The world is changing from the oil-based economy to knowledge-based-economy. We have to find our way out by ourselves. We have professionals and elders, why don’t we ask them to counsel us? The sectors we neglected have to be revived. We have to go back into them immensely. Reviving them is a must, if only we want the Nigeria we want.

We the subjects or more preferably the ruled or the led have our various contributions to good governance at our various levels of life. Aside from obedience and compliance with the laws so long as they are not evil and abominable. There are other positive contributions, like constructive criticisms, advising the government on good things and warning against evil as asserted by Prof. Salisu Shehu, in his book Social Justice Leadership Responsibility in Islam and prayer as well. But today we are relentless to all of these. Not all, but only a few of us are doing that.

It is high time we should pray for more peace and security in Nigeria than calling for a riot. It was not too far when we cried daily. Have we forgotten when some of us could not even eat, talk less of farm? And now, some people have forgotten. Is like Nigerians don’t learn their lessons. We prioritise what is less important or unimportant in place of the most important.

Prof. Salisu Shehu, 2016 has identified justice as a very important aspect in any given society. A leader, therefore, must be just. We should pay special attention to this quality before selecting any leader in Nigeria. After this, then we can expect to have a just Nigeria we want.

Competence is another most appealing quality. The ability of a leader to overcome situations and how he handles matters mattered a lot. But do we care about that? We should not just go ahead and select a representative knowingly that the person is not competent. Prof. Shehu & Dr Bugaje have emphasised on the need to select a competent, suitable leader in Nigeria for our betterment.

Our future depends on our vision earlier. We have to shape our future right from now. The Nigeria we want is attainable if only we are ready to change our attitudes in order to survive all the challenges of modern democracy we have been facing. We can reach where we want if we are ready to implement the points expounded earlier in this piece.

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim writes from Gombe State. He can be reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com.

27th May, 2020

Ministerial Nomination: Dr. Pantami’s Nomination, Not a Surprise

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim

In most cases, it is not in my interest to comment on the Nigerian political issues. Despite the fact that I was taught government for three years during my high school days and I am currently studying a social sciences course. But the noise making by a noise maker made on ministerial nominee, Dr. Pantami made me to conclude to write and publish this piece. It attempts to educate those who don’t know the system of government we are practising and its features.

Recently, noise was made that ministerial nomination list was yet to be out. Some even went ahead to say this and that are fit and unfit respectively. Now, that the list is out, they are beginning to make more noise. What do they want again? When bad leaders are opposed, then good leaders should be supported. But I don’t know why is someone making noise.

I knew Dr. Pantami a long time ago. I was even opportuned to meet him on several occasions. Apart from meeting him, I later on,started listening to his Tafsir both in audio clips and on Progress and Alheri radio. Also, I read some of his works. “Dr. Pantami: A New Promising Nigerian Leader at NITDA” is an essay I wrote about 6 months ago, highlighting his achievements at NITDA. It is a known fact to all of us in Gombe and Nigeria at large, how he smoothly runs NITDA since from 2016 to date. For this, many people are commending him. We have seen how so many developments were recorded under his leadership. (Buba, 2016) and (Garko, 2019) described Dr. Pantami as “an epitome of boko dole” and “a jewel” in Dr. Isa Pantami’s Appointment As A Metaphor and A Jewel From My Jewel City” respectiveliy.

Dr. Isa Ali Pantami’s nomination as a minister by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR does not come to me as a surprise owing to his well known qualities. Therefore, he deserved it. Isn’t it great to have somebody like Dr. Pantami as a nominated minister from Gombe? What leadership qualities is he lacking? Is it competence, knowledge and/or just? (Shehu) asserted these as some of the leadership qualities in social justice leadership responsibility in Islam. Does the person that holds Ph.D not fit for ministerial nomination? Does the person who recorded so many achievements at NITDA in 3 years not deserving ministerial nomination? Then, who do you think deserves? I challenge that noise maker to provide the names of the persons he thinks they deserve, so that we would compare and contrast.

Every patriotic Nigerian will love to have good leaders heading all the government MDAs. We shouldn’t care whether he is a politician or not. And whether he suffered for a political party or not. What is expected of all of us, is to care to have one who is willing to take Nigeria to a more brighter stage. We should care to have one who is ready to dedicate his time to work towards putting our dear nation to a better and higher step. Whether he is in the ruling party or in the opposition party. That is what is expected from all us if truely we are patriotic Nigerians. It can be considered as selfishness if a person from Gombe makes noise about his nomination. Even if everybody is making noise, the people of Gombe should not. Rather we should commend the president for choosing him and pray may Allah help them.

(Tilde, 2018) in his essay “Pantami as a metaphor”, quoted Dr. MD Aminu in his essay “Dr. Pantami: A Role Model of Leadership in Nigeria” which I also quoted: what Nigeria needs at this trying moments is people like Dr. Pantami to influence the affairs of government. The dirt in Nigeria’s leadership can only be cleansed by encouraging good people to participate in the leadership process to flush it out of its current situation, its wanton depravity.

Similarly, Luqman Buba Umdagaz stated in his essay “Dr. Isa Pantami’s Appointment As A Metaphor” and I quoted: As it is known to many, the president’s biggest battle is the fight against corruption, thus he must have found Dr. Pantami having great potentials in cleaning the mess in the agency.

We are not in a parliamentary system of government, where ministers are only selected from the political party of the prime minister. In Nigeria, we are practising presidential system of government, where ministers can be selected from the ruling party and/or any other party. Therefore, even if Dr. Pantami is not from the president’s party, he can be nominated so long as the president chooses him.

I don’t know why people who don’t know the system of government we are practising and its features comment on Nigeria’s political issues as if they are experts.We are not the president. Why should we be the ones to choose his cabinet? We should allow him to choose his cabinet and wait for the legislators to do their work i.e screening. Deciding on who deserves it shouldn’t be our business. That is the work of the legislators. We should not forget one of our responsibility of supporting the government as long as its policies are not evil and abominable as (Shehu) asserted.

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim writes from Gombe State. He can be reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com.

24th July, 2019

Dr. Pantami: A New Promising Nigerian Leader At NITDA

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim

It is about celebrating a success, a new beginning that’s why I decided to share this essay. I wrote it since January, about 6 months ago. I am sharing this from my archive to show the aptness of Dr. Pantami as a ministerial nominee. Recently, I wrote an essay “Ministerial Nomination: Dr. Pantami’s Nomination, Not A Surprise” first published by (Opinion Nigeria, 24th July, 2019).
Dr. Pantami heads National Information Technology Development Agency since from 2016, when it was a mere 15-year-old agency to date, following his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. NITDA was founded in 2001, vested with the statutory mandate to regulate and develop the ICT sector of Nigeria. It was established by a legislative act (NITDA ACT, 2007). There is no doubt that today, the 18-year-old agency has recorded tremendous achievements under the stewardship of its incumbent DG/CEO Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FBCS, FIIM and the Chief Information Technology Officer of Nigeria. There is no doubt about his readiness, competence, versatility, expertise, traits, and experience. Also, not forgetting his good demonstrations of justice and fairness. He is keen about developing the Nigerian ICT sector.

If one could recall, sometime in October 2016, Dr. Pantami assumed office as the new Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). On his first step, during his inaugural speech he stated that no one should approach him with gossip but all his doors are opened to all staffs, even cleaners for suggestions, ideas and observations on how to develop the Nigerian ICT sector. He stated clearly that his aim of being there (NITDA) is to develop the Nigerian ICT sector. Nigeria is a country with great potentials in IT. He also calls on his staffs to demonstrate integrity, professionalism, and commitment. This clearly portrays his enthusiasm and readiness.

It is apparent that Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami Ph.D, FBCS, FIIM since his assumption of office, in 2016, has sought to develop 7 roadmap (key areas) on which he and his team would focus during his tenure in office: IT regulation, capacity building, digital job creation, promotion of government digital services, local content development, e-government, cybersecurity, and digital inclusion. Even though I am not a widely travelled person, I came to know that digital capacity building centres (DCBCs) could now be found in so many places. Several places including Gombe have benefitted from the agency’s intervention projects. However, not only limited to Abuja and other big cities. Many students have undergone training in each geo-political zone. NITDA’s roadmap is on the right way for national development.

The restructuring of NITDA under the stewardship of Dr. Pantami led to the creation of new departments in the agency: one is cybersecurity department, tasked with the responsibility to coordinate and implement the NITDA’s role under the cybercrime act and national cyber security strategy and the other one is E-government development and regulations department. Dr. Pantami in his speech “Accelerating Government Transformation With Technology: NITDA’s Vision and Strategy” said: Our dream for creating this department is to ensure NITDA plays a critical role in building a digitally transformed government. This can serve as a portrayal of his support to the federal government fight against corruption by facilitating E-government.

About 307 scholarships were given to post-graduate students. The methods followed in giving the scholarship was not new but it’s rarely followed. There was no favouritism given to a region or tribe. Only those who merit, were given as asserted by (Tilde, 2018) This is a clear demonstration of equity in his field of primary assignment, which is rare these days, in Nigeria.

Dr. Pantami has partnered and liaises with several ICT organizations both in national and international levels inorder to boost the nation’s ICT sector. His partnership with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to implement master plan for e-government is a typical example for one. Likewise that of Federal ministry of agriculture and rural development. This collaboration leads to coming up of national e-agriculture project and strategic initiative aimed at making the various datasets of the Nigerian agricultural sector readily available. I purposely stated these to make it more clearer to my reader.
In each occasion he was abled to grace, he made use of the medium to share his vision with other IT professionals and advise the participants to be self-reliant. He emphasised that ICT is viewed as an important enabler of economic growth and sustainable job creation. This is true because we are no more in a stone age, we are in a digital age. He said: “The 50% of the world’s 10 richest people acquired their wealth through ICT while others relied on ICTs to run their business and increase their revenue, they constituted the remaining 50%”. Therefore, Dr. Pantami’s concern is how to diversify the Nigeria’s economy through IT by empowering the half of 70 million youth unemployed and underemployed (According to National Bureau of Statistics) with IT skills since many countries have been developed with IT advancement. For example, the Asian Tigers are now the world leaders in IT. This came at a point that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR wants to diversify the country’s economy.

Oil has been for long holding the country, should we continue to rely on it when the world is changing to an information era? It needs will soon fade, if not loses its value at international market. All Nigerians are aware that whenever the price of crude oil fluctuates, salaries could hardly be paid on time. This happens as a result of over relying on our dwindling oil revenue and neglecting of other sectors. But if the economy is diversified, by the Grace of Almighty Allah we would be free from economic hardship.

Dr. Pantami decries how Nigeria always imports brands from abroad. He emphasises on the need for Nigerians to develop their own brands and even export if possible. He sees the youth as the backbone of Nigeria, so he wants to invest in them. A good demonstration of this is the sponsorship of 16 Nigerian start-ups (through a subsidiary office of NITDA, Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE)) to participate in GITEX, an annual conference and exhibition held in Dubai, of whom one reached the finals. This shows that it is not the talents that we don’t have, it is the adequate platforms and forums to showcase our talents that we are lacking. It is noteworthy to state that, one of them currently employs about 100 Nigerians under him. He is fond of saying “there are no jobs, and there are plenty of jobs”.

Mentorship and encouragement were totally not found. That’s why startUp friday and startUp clinic were introduced by Dr. Pantami to support young innovators. Innovators are very happy now when Dr. Pantami is in office. Don’t be surprised if I say, I didn’t know or hear about NITDA before his coming.

Similarly, according to the DG’s speech on “The Digital Economy: Strategies For Growth in a Connected World”: the agency has provided over eighty (80) Digital Capacity Building Centres (DCBCs) in secondary schools and other tertiary institutions in various locations of the country in the last quarter of 2016 alone. The DCBCs are solar powered centres equipped with computers, e-learning facilities, and connected to internet”. The purpose of this was to bridge the literacy gap between the unconnected- mostly the poor and the connected with their peers and contemporaries in the world.

Stories have been told about high computer illiteracy in Nigeria. I was surprised when one student told me that in their secondary school, it’s not compulsory to offer computer as a subject. I came to confirm all the stories that I was told, the year I sat for my JAMB UTME CBT examination. Some of the candidates could not operate a computer system. It is rhetoric to ask, why? we suppose to compare ourselves with our peers in terms of computer literacy. It pains me when I look at how our mates in abroad, not even in Europe but in our black continent-Africa, handle with computer. Even if we can’t invent, let’s be able to operate it to the best of our ability. But Glory be to Almighty, with the coming of Dr. Pantami to NITDA we are beginning to witness change since both public and private schools are supported with digital capacity building centres (DCBCs).

Dr. Pantami’s skills and leadership traits are indeed worthy of emulation, applauding and commendation both at local and national levels. He is indeed a role model of leadership in Nigeria as described by Dr. MD Aminu in his essay “Dr. Isa Pantami: A Role Model of Leadership in Nigeria” which was paraphrased by (Tilde, 2018). If we all have heads of governmental agencies like him in Nigeria, we would have passed the present level we are today. Dr. Pantami’s opportunity to serve NITDA, a strategic and knowledge-based agency, is a great blessing for Nigeria. Dr. Pantami is a man of the people and for the people. He has become the subject of discussion these days. He is indeed, a visionary leader.

Dr. Pantami is passionate about IT. I am not surprised with the way he runs NITDA. He has vast knowledge in both Islamic religion and in IT (He holds Ph.D in computer information system). This enabled him to know what is apt and right. This can be attested in his short stay at NITDA.

At the end, I pray may he continue to maintain his good leadership traits, may he continue to lead the country’s ICT sector justly. Amin

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim writes from Gombe State. He can be reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com.

31th July, 2019

ABU Sexual Abuse: Prof. Ibrahim Garba (Vice Chancellor) Should Do More

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim

Recently, I read a news published by daily trust online about sex scandal in ABU Zaria. These days, I read several reports on the same issue. I have read how people reacted to the issue. They only concentrated on the sexual abuse without observing the case from all angles. First and foremost, let me start by establishing that both zina (illegitimate sex) and rape are not permissible in islam. Therefore, both should be frowned at and not only rape. Let me state from the onset that it is good to change an abominable act whenever it occurs. No any sensible person will be happy with this animalistic behaviour. What such dishonourable people (whether lecturers or not) are doing in the process of discharging their duties is condemnable. I am writing to inform the Vice Chancellor incase he don’t know which I don’t believe so and those that have never been to ABU to know the real situation from all faces.

When I read the news published by daily trust online, I said it is not sexual harassment if it is in the ABU I know, because I have seen dirty/ungodly behaviours happened in ABU that I have never seen before. It is so sad that a learning institution like ABU that we go to learn and the people that always say that they teach both character and learning are involved in such act. Indeed this is a big shame. There maybe lecturers who are dishonourable in ABU. One can’t deny this because it is a place that gathers so many people from both home and abroad. However, just like staffs, there are undistinguished students who don’t know their purpose of being at the university. This type of Abusites are those who indecently dress and move freely to everywhere and do what they wish in both campus and off campus without the fear of being called to order even though they are wrong. They also hurt others at the same time.

I know we all know that one of our differences with animals (e.g goats) is clothing. So when human beings decide not to decently dress, then they become similar to animals even if not worse than them. The reason why every he goat, follows every she goat in the street is their animalistic nature. That’s why if a lady appears to be an animal e.g goat (by her mode of dressing), their are others who will join her to be goats. This may be the case in ABU. I always argue that there is no way a person will disturb a lady except if she is also interested. And most ladies in ABU appeared to be interested by their mode of dressing. I hope you understand what I mean by disturbance. There is nothing beautiful in nakedness. That’s why when one dresses in good attires, he looks very nice.

As I always say, for everything, there is a basis. The basis for this, is not enforcing good dress code in ABU Zaria. My dear reader, if you have been to ABU or you are in ABU you know what I am saying. There is no way you will allow students to dress half naked, imitating animals and then think that you are not expecting sexual abuse. You should be expecting it even if not from lecturers because they are inviting unnecessary attention of others. Students of now adays are very stubborn so there must be laws to guide them.

Moreover, uncultured Abusites are closing unlawful sex (zina) even if not committing it. Lest I forget, the law of Almighty Allah says we should not close zina. Those in ABU know how male and female greet by shaking hands, know how they hug each other, know how they kiss each other, know how they sit on each others laps freely in public (in a lecture hall). It is so sad that all these are not prohibited. It becomes too bad when a students leader engages in it. Therefore, whether a lecturer harasses a student or not, the students on their own engage in such unlawful sex which is haram. This has been manifested in a report made available online by daily trust on 10th October, 2019 that some students are found pregnant in BUK. I doubt if they were all sexually abused or harrassed

I will only agree that that case was sexual abuse, if the said victim is a saint. However, if she is not, I won’t. Whether you like it or not, some female students paved the way to it by inviting attention through indecent dressing as the case with some Abusites. Let me give you an example, there is no way you would leave your house without fencing, maybe without even locking the door knowingly that there are no guards and then think you are not inviting thieves to your house in this country of ours. Infact, you are sending them a formal invitation, if you don’t know. The same applies to the issue of sex. All the protectives supposed to be there, are not in place. Their absence make you to be attacked very easily.

The management on its own should not have allowed female students dress any how. We can’t say there is no dress code, but it seems to be useless since it is not fully enforced everywhere except in places like senate building. Why? They know that it is improper. On rare occasions, dress mode is checked before me at north gate. On 1st April, 2019, public affairs directorate of ABU released a bulletin on its facebook page, volume:10 no: 17 about dress code. Despite that, female Abusites still come out with armless shirts, short skirts, vest like shirts and their heads uncovered and people are quite as if it is right. This is immorality.

To avoid sexual abuse, Abusites must abide by the Islamic law which makes it compulsory on all muslim women to cover their whole body except their faces and their palms. After that, obey the good dress code of the institution and keep praying. By the Will of Almighty Allah, things would be better.

If only, the Vice Chancellor of ABU wants to end sex in general on campus, then more should be done in terms of dress code regulation, monitor the movement of students in some areas at night inorder to prevent people from becoming victims and ensure there is proper lighting system at night. However, sacking of lecturers is not the best solution ABU management could do. We have seen how they escaped the sacking. The Vice Chancellor of ABU can do better than that. So long as the Vice Chancellor of ABU doesn’t enforce dress code, doesn’t provide proper lighting system and doesn’t block some corridors, sex will continue to prevail whether abusively or willingly which are both haram (unlawful).

Apart from the management and the Vice Chancellor, the staffs can also play a vital role by not allowing such uncultured students access their offices and lectures whenever they are indecently dressed. If they can stop late comers from attending their lectures, they should do this. Infact, no one should be allowed into campus, if his/her mode of dressing is indecent.

Now that the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Garba is quiting as ABU Vice Chancellor and having won Vice Chancellor of the year award, I will implore on him to leave a good legacy for us to remember him and for his successor to build on where he stops.

Finally, may Almighty Allah protect us from committing all evil acts, give us the ability to accept the truth and give us the ability to reject lies. Amin

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim writes from Gombe State. He can be reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com

27th November, 2019

IPPIS, ASUU Strike And Covid-19 Pandemic

By Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim

Academics otherwise known as lecturers in Nigeria under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are opposing the recently introduced integrated Personnel Payroll information System (IPPIS) in the late 2019 by the federal government to stop irregularities in Nigerian universities.

The issue has called for so many debates between the latter and the former which led to two-week warning strike. IPPIS has so many benefits to students, unemployed Nigerians and the federal government as the case maybe.

According to the federal government, with the aid of IPPIS, more than 50, 000 ghost workers have been detected. At the same time, students will be happy because the number of sabbaticals their lecturers go for, are reduced. Therefore, this will earn them more time and attention from their lecturers. Because of this said IPPIS, several unemployed Nigerians have secured employment with tertiary institutions.

ASUU on their side are alone. Always repeating that IPPIS is against the universities law. In fact, their national president was saying that there is nothing wrong for lecturers to teach in more than two universities. Claiming that they can borrow and share ideas from other universities. I am not denying these but are students considered. Justice is not done to them in most cases. Some lecturers go for sabbatical and leave their students without giving them proper attention.

Time after time, academics strike in Nigeria is no longer a news. Though ASUU strike is an unwanted break for students. Not all students but serious ones. I am aware of the students that are happy with the strike. Those who jubilated with their friends are happy with the strike, either online or physically are mostly freshers, unserious and those who don’t know the pains of ASUU strike.

Aside from the aforementioned, ASUU said that IPPIS is not the only reason for the strike. They said they have pending agreement with the federal government. One can recall that this has been the cause of several strikes in the past. Nigeria is getting 60 yet ASUU still go on strike year by year except few years.

Although I am too young, but I don’t hear about academics going on strike in other countries. Even in our neighbouring-countries. And at the same time, our colleagues and seniors travel overseas for studies. They travel to Malaysia, UK, India and other countries. Still, they complete their studies within a short period of time. While in Nigeria, we keep on experiencing strikes. It delays studies.

All students are left at a corner as all institutions are closed including polytechnics, colleges, monotechnic, Police Academy, private universities, nursery, primary and secondary schools and etc. Those who are not affected by the ASUU strike initially, are now affected. Coronavirus Pandemic halts everything.

Coronavirus Pandemic out break led to the closure of nigerian universities amidst ASUU strike. And now that ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike, students have no hope to return early even if coronavirus ends. Everyone’s concern now is on Covid-19. Meeting cannot be held between ASUU and the federal government except with digital devices as no physical gathering of many people is allowed in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

In abroad, classes are moved to the internet I.e online. But unfortunately, in Nigeria, nothing like that except in Lagos where they will use electronic media to teach. As time goes on, the unwanted vacation otherwise known as social distancing will elapse without continueuing with studies i.e for those not affected with ASUU strike.

Now, that Covid-19 is in Nigeria, people will believe that it is real. And now should be the high time for us to become more serious. Thousands of lives, are lost globally. The best way to tackle this is to turn to Almighty Allah and seek for His for giveness if only we want to overcome the present tough time we are facing, the coronavirus pandemic and many other things that may come. This is the stand of so many Islamic scholars.

Concerning this coronavirus disease, the federal government didn’t do the needful to prevent it from coming into Nigeria at the initial. Failure to close the airports, borders on time is the first mistake Nigeria made. The “no going out and no coming in” order as contained in the Islamic teachings was not used. The carelessness of Nigerians should stop like this if not, they will keep endangering people’s lives.

I have listened to various Islamic scholars in Nigeria. They include Shayhk Ahmad Tijjani Yusuf Guruntum, Shaykh Musa Yusuf Asadus-Sunnah, Late Shaykh Albani Zaria amongst others talked about the causes of disease out break in Islam. They said that we should repent and turn to The Almighty Allah. They also warned muslims from committing the acts of sin. And also added that we should the follow the advise of health experts.

Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim writes from Gombe State. He can be reached via awwalbinibrahim@gmail.com

30th March, 2020