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I HAVE RETURN TO SCHOOL TO ACQUIRE TEACHING QUALIFICATION: ZAMFARA COMMISSIONER

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Infrastructural deficit, shortage of man power and lack of quality of human resource were among the major problems confronting educational sector in Zamfara State. These problems are considered as the bedrock of the state poor performance in terms of WAEC and NECO. The present administration of Bello Matawalle in Zamfara has time without number alleged that, the problems are inherited and that his administration is mapping out strategies to address this issue through mass school renovation and creating enabling environment for teacher retention. To shed more light on what the government is doing, Zamfara State Commissioner for Education Ibrahim Abdullahi Spirow was hosted by Thunder Blowers Online News Medium at its head office in Gusau where these and more issues were extensively discussed. 

What is the estimated  number of teachers in public secondary schools under your Ministry?
Well we have various categories of teachers under the state payroll. We have those working under the Primary Education Board, we have those working at the tertiary under the Directorate for Higher Education and those working under the secondary school system managed by the Teachers service and female education boards and those also under the Science and Technical Education Board. And those under my control are the teachers recruited by the Teachers Service Board and Female Education Board and their number is up to 6,585.
How many of them are qualified?
With the exception of 712 teachers all the remaining are qualified. They are qualified because they have the minimum teaching qualification which is the NCE. But like we used to argue it is not just simply having the minimum qualification that matters, the capacity and ability to teach also counts a lot. Like I told you during the previous interview, we had a scenario where we met someone with Bsc. Ed but could not teach some secondary school students satisfactorily.
What is the estimated  number of classrooms we have in those schools vis-à-vis the estimated number of Students available?
The number is not appreciable and believe me we have a lot to do to increase the number considering the volume of population of the students. We have met infrastructural deficit and we will work towards enhancing these infrastructures so that student/teacher ratio will be met on established standards.
   

   

Going by the standard of teacher/student ratio, where are we?
Like I have told you, the number is not appreciable and I don’t want us to go deep into it but like I told you, the condition is not appreciable 
What are your plans for restructuring of these schools considering their comatose status?
Arrangement is ongoing, we have engaged consultants and we have mapped out strategies for the mass renovation and reconstruction of the whole public schools in the state. This Covid-19 has brought a lot of things to a stand-still and we are just waiting for things to open proper so that we can start doing the right thing. We have plans for it and we shall work harder to achieve many things within the shortest possible time.
How much do you think your government needs to invest to restructure these schools to expected minimum standard?
We don’t have an estimate of what exactly we need to rehabilitate and upgrade the standard of these schools. But like I said earlier, their condition is in bad shape and we need to do something urgently to address the infrastructural deficit. By the time the consultant finishes the estimation we will know exactly what we need as a whole. Again you need to remember that, the funds are not available.
It was reported that, in the whole of Zamfara State, you don’t have up to 15 mathematics teachers, same thing with Physics and Chemistry how true is this?
It is not true and we need to correct this insinuation. Based on the available record we have, in Gusau Zone alone, we have up to 50 teachers of mathematics, 12, in Mafara zone, 8 in Anka and 16 in Kaura Zone.
As for the Physics and Chemistry teachers, Gusau Zone has 15 and 20, Mafara Zone has 5 and 5 Anka Zone has 5 and 4 and Kaura Namoda Zone has 11 and 13 teachers respectively.
We have shortage of course, but we have to agree with the fact that, the number is beyond that level we are projecting but our government is doing its best to recruit more teachers. In fact the Executive Governor has approved our request for the recruitment of more teachers. As soon as Covid-19 pandemic is over we shall commence the exercise
How are you going to address the challenges of teacher quality in Zamfara?
When we came on board, we met a lot of challenges especially with regards to teacher quality and we agreed that, before we crash we have to create an avenue where we will continue to enhance the teacher quality especially through training and retraining. We have so many plans for the enhancement of teacher quality and like I
told you, this Corona Virus is the major impediment in our plans for the development of the education sector.
We will create opportunities for our teachers to proceed on in-service training  and for those without minimum teaching qualification, they will be given the opportunity to go to teacher training institutions and get themselves trained.
Let me tell you, as a Commissioner for Education, I have challenged myself to go back to school and acquire the basic teacher minimum qualification. I am now a student of National Teachers Institute NTI, Kaduna and my reason is to go back and get teacher training certificate and I will continue to create an enabling environment to all the teachers in the state who do not have any qualification to get one so that we can collectively work to enhance the system 
It was observed that, day-in-day-out, teachers in Zamfara state are leaving the service of the State government due to poor remuneration, what are you doing to address this issue?
It is true that, teachers are always opting out for alternative job outside teaching profession but like I told you in our previous programme, any teacher who has the interest of teaching at heart must not abandon the teaching job for anything else. But also we have to understand their reasons for the frequent exit and off course it is due to poor remuneration.
When we came in as a government, I met the Governor and intimated him of my initiatives to map out some allowances to be paid to state teachers simply in order to motivate them and based on that, he instructed us to come up with the initiative. 
At ministry level we have advised the Governor  to come up with a certain allowances for teachers posted to remote areas, called BUSH ALLOWANCE. We also advised him to create earned academic allowance to motivate the teachers and attract the best brain. So we are awaiting his approval in that regard. We also advised him to build houses for teachers. In that regard he has already started. A company called  ASF has been awarded contract to build teachers lodge in some local govts at the cost of 186, 345,890 in the state.
What is the general conditions of boarding schools in Zamfara State?
Actually our boarding schools are in a very bad condition and we are not saying the immediate past administration did not do anything, but considering the huge sums they claimed they have spent, and believe me, what they left for us is something very unbelievable. We have mapped out our plans for the renovation of all the public schools and before this Covis-19 started, we were to move to the sites and step-by-step we shall renovate and upgrade them.
Take for example, of the Government Day Secondary School, Birnin Ruwa, when we came in, we met that the immediate administration had already awarded contract for the renovation and upgrading of the school and the contractor had already abandoned the site after collecting huge amount of money and we shall invite him to know what actually happened.
It was learnt that, students are running away from enrolling in public boarding schools because of lack of conducive environment, how true is this? And how are you addressing it?
Yes our enrolment at the boarding school has dropped before we came due to the poor nature of infrastructures in these schools but believe me, we are changing the story because our enrolment has now increased and we are working towards improving the standard of the infrastructures. Within our first tenure, we shall work very hard to enhance the condition of the infrastructures in all our boarding schools in Zamfara State.
People are accusing you, the policy makers of taking your children away from same public schools you are supposed to develop, why are your children not enrolled in the public schools?
I cannot deny that, children of those in the position of authority are in private schools but the fact of the matter is that, we are trying to fix the system to make it in conformity with the best of the public interest.
We met a system that is almost destroyed and we believe what we met on ground is not a functional system that could give better result. But my Governor is actively doing well, we have a good plan to rescue the educational system of the state and we are planning to do so many things just that, the Corona Virus is making things very difficult. But as soon as we are off this pandemic, things will surely pick up
When do we look forward to seeing the children of Zamfara Governor and those of Commissioners enrol in to the public schools?
As I speak to you, my first child is in the public school his name is Alameen Ibrahim, My two senior daughters Nussaiba Ibrahim Gusau and Nabila Ibrahim Gusau are students of Command Girls Science secondary school Gusau.
 So I have much value for this system and I believe in it and as State Commissioner for Education I am assuring you that, we are going to fix the system to the best of the public interest.
As for the Governor, I
can’t say exactly because I don’t decide for him but like I said, the Governor is a teacher, and he believes in the public system of education and he will promote the system to the best of his ability
What is the general condition of the Unity Schools system in Zamfara State?
The Governor has distributed 2000 mattresses at the cost of 12 million to unity school kotorkoshi. He also renovated the school at the cost of 55million naira
We are planning for total renovation of all the Unity schools and make them effective as they used to be before.
Have you visited Unity School, Gummi when you come in?
I have not visited Unity School, Gummi yet but I  am aware of its condition and I had a plan to visit the area before this pandemic started. But within the shortest possible time, I will visit the school and see things for myself and I assure you, we will continue to give this exchange programme the attention it deserves.

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HOW CP YUSUF KOLO IS CHANGING THE SECURITY  NARRATIVE IN ZAMFARA STATE

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Monday Editorial

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It has become clearly imperative for this medium to blow the trumpet for the newly deployed Commissioner of Police Mr. Yusuf Kolo who since his deployment has helped change the security narrative about the genuine fight against armed banditry in the state.

 

The deployment of this experienced Police officer has no doubt assisted greatly in improving the security situation of Zamfara state especially the stellar measures he adopted which are increasing social and economic stability in the state.

Reading about his CV and the career he has built in the service of the Nigeria Police Force, it has no doubt raised the hope of the people because for sometimes now Zamfara people had been agitating for deployment of capable Police officer who is vast in terms of security management and fighting insecurity.

 

For sometimes now, Thunder Blowers had carefully observed that, there is effective patrol and surviellance along the major highways in Zamfara State From Gada-Biyu Round about to Bimasa the Zamfara border town with Sokoto, one may clearly understand that this fine Police officer and gentleman Mr. Yusuf Kolo is ready to deliver his best to the restoration of security architecture  in Zamfara state.

This strategy is also effective at the Gusau-Kaura-Namoda and  Gusau-Gurbin Bore border with Katsina and Gusau-Tsafe-Yankara highways respectively. Within the capital city of Gusau again, there are various check-points mounted within all the strategic positions of Gusau and criminality has really reduced to the barest minimum.

 

It is evident that, there is serious stop-and-search operations in all the strategic locations in the state. and the recent arrest of some miscreants involved in various criminal activities is a clear indicator that, things are getting better with the new Police Commissioner’s arrival.

 

It is on record that, since his  assumption in office there has never been a major armed banditry attack in Zamfara except that of Zugu which took place at the bridge of his taking-over of the mantle of leadership of the State Police Command.

His tour of the divisions and formations across the state and his interaction with the officers on Duty Posts has really risen the hope of the people of the state. More importantly, the visitation to the traditional institutions and his engagement with them which had surely manifested in his recent achievements recorded.

 

We were keenly apt at the manner at which the Police Commissioner is personally moving round the streets of Gusau at the dark of the night to monitor the conduct of the operations of his men. His pictures are all over the social media moving with the other galant police officers working with full force to ensure that people slept with their two  eyes closed.

Residents of  areas of Gusau and outskirts including Damba, Tsunami, Mareri and  the rest are all grateful to this visionary tactical Police officer Mr. Yusuf Kolo for his commitment to ensuring that their hearts are at rest. For instance,from Lalan  to Damba,the level of Police enforcement along that area in the night is adding to the relative stability of the people.

 

What inspired people more is the manner at which the Police Commissioner Mr. Yusuf Kolo has effectively but tactically engaged the Nigerian Bar Association to develop strategies on how to jointly speed up the administration of criminal justice system in the state.

Our prayer is for the Police Commissioner to passionately sustain the momentum and continue to work hand in hand with the critical stakeholders to double this commitment, It is indeed wonderful and promising if the momentum is sustained.

 

Our conclusion on the steawardship of Police commissioner Mr. Yusuf Kolo is that his achievements speak volumes that he is matching his  academic credentials, his experience with these practical achievements.

 

We at Thunder Blower wish  you all the best as your partners in the fight against crime and insecurity in Zamfara  State.

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ONLY GENUINE MECHANISM OF RECONCILIATION CAN ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF APC IN ZAMFARA

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By virtue of the reconciliation we are all part of Governor Bello Matawalle family and he needs to treat all of us with justice and fairness. It is only justice and fairness that can guarantee solidarity and peaceful political atmosphere.
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Hon. Abubakar Yanware is a die-hard supporter of the former Governor of Zamfara Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar and a strong stakeholder in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in Zamfara state.

He was among the APC aspirants that contested for the State Assembly post from Tsafe and wanted to contest the APC Primaries for 2023 elections with the current Deputy Speaker of Zamfara Hon. Musa Bawa Tsafe before the APC reconciliation dashed away the hope of  people like him.

He shared his perspectives with the Managing Editor regarding the political reconciliation in the Zamfara APC and raise his concern on matters arising and also shared his perspectives on what is to be done to ensure that the party remains strong and united.

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WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE ON-GOING RECONCILIATION IN ZAMFARA APC?

Well, people have their own ways of assessing a political situation or rather have their different ways of reacting to a situations especially when issues involved politics and political developments but for me, there are more to see than one can understand about the Zamfara APC reconciliation.

The leaders namely former Governor Yari, Governor Matawalle and Sen. Kabiru Marafa may be entering into the peace deal with all sense of sincerity because they may want to bring an end to the lingering crises in the APC, but that may not be a true reflection of the mindset of their supporters.

And remember, they have a limit to which they can influence the same spirit into the minds of their supporters because decision-making in politics goes with the perception of the game players here I mean the party supporters.

So, the leaders of the APC in Zamfara, especially Governor Matawalle and former Governor Yari need to take time and make review of the progress recorded from the reconciliation and begin to reach out to their genuine supporters.

I will say this with clear voice our supporters from the site of Yari the former Governor still have reservations with this reconciliation arrangement within Zamfara APC and something very urgent needs to be done to save the party from collapsing.

FROM YOUR PERCEPTION, IT SEEMS MANY PEOPLE WITHIN THE APC ESPECIALLY FROM THE CAMP OF YARI AND MARAFA HAVE NOT ACCEPTED THE RECONCILIATION?

This is the reality of the situation many people have reservation about this Zamfara APC reconciliation and our leaders need to accept this as the true reflection of what is on the ground and begin to reach out to their supporters.

I am not part of those objecting to the reconciliation and all my supporters are with the reconciliation move hundred percent because I make sure that the moment the political reconciliation was perfected by our leaders I came back home and put my house in order by appealing to my supporters to forget the differences and join hand with the former Governor Yari in the new move.

But I am telling you, many of my political status across the (14) local governments especially those from the camp of former Governor Yari can not convince their supporters to accept the peace initiative entered into by our leaders and this shall be seen as a big problem because you cannot be relying on uncertain political structure to win election.

The feedback we are receiving from the communities is that people cannot be forced to continue to accept decision in the APC without them being properly consulted and this is the exact problem with the current arrangements entered into by our leaders, and for me, their resistance is a concern that need to be addressed with all sense of urgency.

BUT ARE YOUR POLITICAL LEADERS ESPECIALLY FORMER GOVERNOR YARI AWARE Of THIS DEVELOPMENTS?

I am sure he must be aware because he has ears to the ground and I believed from the exit of strong party men like Maibuhu Gummi and rest the former Governor must understand that all is not well with the reconciliation move within his camp.

The Governor, on the other hand, must understand that Yari is facing resistance from his supporters because steps that are supposed to be taken to ensure justice and fairness to all party members were not instituted.

Former Governor Yari may not speak this out for some strategic reasons but as wings to the politics of Yari we have to say this with all sense of modesty that politicians from Yari camp need to be accommodated so that their supporters can feel a sense of belonging politically.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU WANT GOV. YARI TO DO IN MANAGING THIS TYPE OF SITUATION.

I think the former Governor has done his best because since when the political reconciliation started he has been taking steps to ensure that his supporters are contacted, and I know how active he has been working to ensure that sanity is restored within his camp.

I believe it is not enough because time is not on our site and campaign will soon start and there is strong need to reach out to the people because the resistance is really telling bad of our political chances.

Recently, we have lost many people to PDP, and it is not to our best interest politically and all these are happening because there are no extended consultations with the members of the party at the grassroots.

If it means the former Governor should form a committee of consultation, so be it because it is important we get this problem addressed before the main campaign started.

WHAT DO YOU THINK, GOV. MATAWALLE SHOULD HAVE DONE TO SUPPORT YARI CAMP WHO ARE MOST AGGRIEVED IN THIS ARRANGEMENT?

The Governor needs to open his government and accommodate those serious hands from the camp of Yari so that they can have a sense of belonging politically.

By virtue of the reconciliation we are all part of his family members and he needs to treat all of us with justice and fairness and it is only justice and fairness that can guarantee solidarity and peaceful political atmosphere.

We knew the Governor may be facing similar challenges from his camp also, but that is the spirit of political reconciliation because the arrangements shall be “no-winner-no loser”.

Yari camp shall be given posts of Commissioners, Special Advisers and Council Sole Administrators that is justice and if this is done many concerns coming from supporters that have made sacrifices for Yari can be addressed.

Many of my readers would be looking at my position to be too primitive, but that is the only way out. If you go to my local government Tsafe, there are many powerful political forces from Yari and even Marafa camps that are abandoned to their fate, and you think this is healthy democratically?

At least certain percentage of appointments need to be sacrificed to Yari camp so that he can be able to step into the heart of his people, but for now, the Governor had to understand that there is no magic Yari can do to bring stability into his political camp than getting his supporters accommodated.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CHANCES OF THE APC CANDIDATES IN THE FORTH-COMING 2023 ELECTION IN ZAMFARA?

My answer to this question may not be different from my earlier position. Let the APC leaders in Zamfara- the Governor, former Governor Yari and rest put in genuine mechanism of reconciliation and be just and fair to their followers. Anything short of this no one can predict the end result of the APC political journey in 2023.

I am saying this because I know the kind of reaction that is coming from the people, and it is only justice that can help resolve the current state of uncertainty in the APC of Zamfara.

We know there are many candidates that are more popular in their respective constituencies, but the reconciliation had dashed their hope and political chances and these candidates are left without any arrangements.

You know this is a fact that those who had the opportunity to secure the ticket were only considered for some strategic reasons of reconciliation, not because they are better than the rest in terms of their political popularity.

YOU CONTESTED FOR THE POST OF STATE ASSEMBLY BEFORE THE RECONCILIATION EDGED YOU OUT OF THE ARITHEMETICS WERE YOU CONSULTED BY THE PARTY ORTHE CANDIDATE WHO HAPPENED TO BE DEPUTY SPEAKER?

Neither the party nor the candidate reached out to me since after the party primaries and it was the same thing with all the other aspirants that were aged out as a result of the political reconciliation.

What I expected the party to do was to set up a genuine reconciliation mechanisms that will make people like us who invested in the development of the party have a sense of belonging.

The implications of what is happening within the APC Zamfara is that people like us will be made to move aside and be watching things as they unfold, since the party does not consider us as stakeholders that are needed to win election.

But the APC needs to know that stakeholders like us cannot be abandoned to their fates because it can constitute a political redline to to the party.

It has been the same complaint all over but I wish the party can see reason why it shall reach out to us and carry us along as critical stakeholders.

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POWER OUTAGE: ZMSG TO FIX BRAND-NEW ELECTRIC TRANSFORMER IN TSAFE

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Zamfara state Governor had deployed a powerful delegation to inspect the condition of power distribution transformer at Tsafe power station on Monday.

The delegation was headed by the State Commissioner for Health Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe, Special Adviser to Zamfara Governor on Urban and Rural Electrification (DURET), technical staff of the Directorate as well as some powerful politicians in the local government.

The Commissioners who listen to the technical brief by the Directorate officials said the Governor of Zamfara Bello Matawalle was deeply worried when he received the news of the power outage at Tsafe and instantly ordered for on the spot inspection of the power transmission station.

Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe said based on the briefing by the DURET, the transformer which is measured at 2.5 (mba) was too small for the power consumption of Tsafe town, and it’s environ.

He said hence it was suggested that the new transformer to be installed be upgraded to at least 7.5(mba) he will intimate the Governor immediately and get the commitment of the state government in making sure that the problem is addressed out rightly.

He assured that the Governor will do what is right for the people of Tsafe local government by fixing brand-new transformer of high capacity since the existing one is no longer serviceable.

Furthermore, he thanked the people of Tsafe for sustaining their loyalty to the government of Bello Matawalle and assured that the government will do all that are needed to making Tsafe people comfortable.

In a remark, the Special Adviser Directorate of Urban and Rural Electrification (DURET) Alh Muhammad Shinkafi commended the Governor for his prompt response to the plight of Tsafe people and urged them to continue to extend their support to the government.

One of the elder statesmen in the local government Samaila Mudi Tsafe commended the Governor for taking the appropriate step of responding to the complaint of power problem in the Tsafe local government area and urged him to speedily fulfilled the pledge so that citizens of Tsafe can have a sight of relief.

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