By Sani Sabo
When His Excellency, Alh. Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya took over the mantle of leadership as the Executive Governor of Gombe State, one of his most primary concerns, was how to reinvigorate the education sector, which was in near collapse stage.
Not only the educational standard was at its lowest ebb, but also basic infrastructures needed to enhance teaching and learning for both teachers, pupils and students were either in dilapidated forms or in most cases not even in place.
The situation was so alarming that His Excellency had no any other option but to declare a state of emergency in this most important sector. A committee was however setup to look at ways and means on how to resuscitate the ailing and fast decaying condition of the sector and not sooner than the committee submitted its report that a new Schools Universal Basic Education Board known as SUBEB was inaugurated, with a clear mandate to meet headlong in ensuring its rapid resuscitation.
The Schools Universal Basic Education Board under the unrelenting leadership of its Executive Chairman Mr. Babadidi and ably assisted by Dr. Shu’aibu Umar, PM 1, Dr. Abdullahi Abubakar Kumo, PM 2 and my humble self set to work, with the primary objective of breathing fresh impetus into the realm of activities in the education sector.
It should however be concurred that nothing would be achieved if structures were left in dilapidated form because both teaching and learning would not be conducive, therefore with this in mind, an inspection team was appointed to go round all primary and secondary schools in the eleven local government areas and assess the true condition of things and quickly report back.
It was then discovered that most schools especially those in rural areas were in abject neglected forms and needed immediate rehabilitation, which necessitated the Board to as a matter of great urgency, awarded contracts to competent contractors for quick intervention and subsequent rehabilitation of all the affected schools.
For example, the Primary School in Dudei had no existing structures for comfortable teaching and learning. Most sympathetic, was that maize and guinea corn sticks were erected, known as “Gidan Kara” which served as makeshift classrooms, but with the quick intervention of SUBEB working on clear directives, as mandated by His Excellency Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, parents, teachers and pupils now have a clear reason to smile, because modern school structure has since took over, which was constructed within shortest possible time, coupled with new classroom desks and sundry furniture to match. Teachers and pupils can now sit comfortably under good structure, away from either the blazing sun, harmattan cold or rain when either season begins.
Walan Dutse, Bwoza and Lilik all in Southern Gombe, which had schools in dilapidated condition and in most cases non-existing classrooms in the past, but despite difficult terrains encountered that were both mountainous, undulating and hard to maneuver, these did not stop SUBEB to reach out and ensured the rehabilitation of the schools, including the construction of brand new classrooms and furniture, were fully effected.
More to this, it was yet another sad experience At GJSS and GGSS Kuri, where both the complete school structure, students’ hostel, staff quarters and dining hall were in near collapse and utter dilapidated condition, but as SUBEB stepped in, all the structures were rehabilitated, including modern amenities and state of the art teaching equipment to aid both teachers and students.
Also the Secondary School at Lakanje, which at our visit, was a shadow of its former self, was soon rehabilitated and similarly upgraded, so as to meet up with the needed requirements of modern educational and sundry standards.
Most delightful was the conversion of Almajiri School in Kwami to a standard Teacher Training College by the Alh. Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya administration and to our pride USAID, which is an American agency for international development had since shown interest to partner with SUBEB in ensuring that it becomes the best teacher training college in the entire Northeast sub-region.
It is therefore imperative to enumerate in clear perspective that the new leadership of SUBEB, which continue to receive full cooperation of His Excellency Alh. Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has never rested on its oars in order to meet up with the set standard as spelt out by the Executive Governor in satisfying the yearnings and aspirations of parents for quality education for all children in various schools across the state and this SUBEB has not forgotten, but working assiduously to justify the mandate given to it, so that our collective aim, aspirations and expectation squarely meet up with the desired context of the overall objective parameters.
It is therefore pertinent to take note that since the inauguration of the new board membership, some seven months ago, SUBEB has constructed and rehabilitated more than 400 classrooms across the eleven local government areas, which is an unprecedented achievement and hopes to do more in the next two years, so that within the shortest possible time no single school will be left neglected.
In making sure that it justifies and continues to earn the confidence imposed on it by His Excellency, Alh. Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, the leadership at SUBEB is not leaving any stone unturned in areas of monitoring and supervision, to make sure contractors handling projects awarded them, do the right thing, so as to deliver within specified time frame, entered therein in the contract agreement.
Is is also worthy of note that teachers of both primary and secondary schools under the aegis of SUBEB have become the main focus, having being spelt the riot act, more so to those teachers who in the past had formed the habit of absconding from their duty post, which has contributed immensely to the drastic fallen standard of education in the state.
With the go ahead it received from the Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya administration, it is not going to be business as usual, because going by the imposed state of emergency in the education sector, any teacher found not adhering to the new policy, will be dealt with severely. So far, sanity, discipline and dedication have since being restored in all primary and secondary schools across the state.
Therefore, it is not going to be an overstatement to point out here that the Alh. Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya administration in concert with SUBEB are winning like never before in the collective desire and effort toward repositioning the Gombe State education sector, so that our pupils and students can compare favourably with their contemporaries, anywhere within and outside Nigeria, which is the cardinal principle of SUBEB, as well as the best edifice of historical legacy of this administration that would last for a long time.
Hon. Sani Sabo is the SUBEB’s Permanent Member III and writes from Gombe.