REVISITING TAMBUWAL’S STATE OF EMERGENCY ON EDUCATION
Over five years since the declaration of state of emergency on the education sector by the administration of Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal some mind-boggling questions have surfaced on the Sokoto State political firmament.
There is currently a sharp division between those who think the administration’s declaration of state of emergency has achieved the desired objectives and those who believe that the Tambuwal government has merely been on a motion without movement mode ever since. Sandwiched between these two extreme views are those who have been in doubt about whether Governor Tambuwal meant business when he declared a state of emergency in the first place. There is one school of thought that is already disappointed that despite five years of activity by the state government in this sector, such efforts have seemingly amounted to motion without movement.
The plethora of reactions on the workability and non-workability of the policy in spite of the 3% monthly deductions from the salaries of all civil servants in the state is still raging on the court of public opinion and the odds seem to be increasingly stacked against Tambuwal, as politicians in Sokoto State continue to take him on, over the matter.
According to the governor’s fans, Tambuwal has taken a number of steps to ensure that the impact of the declaration is felt by people of Sokoto State, with the latest being the inauguration of special intervention committee headed by Sultan Abubakar the III.
The appointment of the Sultan of Sokoto to head such a committee that would oversee how funds deducted from workers’ salaries would be utilized, appears not to be yielding the desired results. However, recent revelations by the committee that it has expended over N800m on construction and renovation of schools has further raised dust .
According to the committee while briefing Governor Tambuwal, it has constructed and renovated new blocks of classrooms and provided water and solar power to various schools in the state. The committee gave the list of schools and the local government areas, namely Sokoto South, Sokoto North, Gwadabawa, Illela, Rabah, Silame, Isa, Shagari, Bodinga and Tambuwal.
Our correspondent, who was in Sokoto last week to report on the level of work done by the Tambuwal administration through the committee, revealed that the facts on ground did not tally with the records provided by the administration in the public domain.
While some of the projects were yet to even commence, many were half-completed and some had their roofs yanked off by breeze, for which some members of the affected communities blamed the contractors for using substandard roofing sheets in areas with lesser number of trees to check the force of the winds; or use comparatively better quality of roofing sheets instead.
When our Correspondent visited Bagida village of Tambuwal local government, where the committee said it has completed a block of classrooms, nothing was seen at the site to suggest that a new building has been erected.
There are also some empty computer laboratories in some completed or renovated schools, suggesting that an inspection by the committee is still necessary and a feedback would hopefully douse growing public concerns.
A cross-section of respondents in the affected communities have called on the State government to allow the monitoring and evaluation directorate in the State to go round the designated locations and make fresh recommendations to the State government, which has already been handed over the projects by the intervention committee as completed edifices ready for use. An ardent PDP supporter, Ibrahim Shehu Alkammawa expressed hope that Governor Tambuwal would follow-up on the intervention project by ordering fresh supervision of the projects one-by-one “in the interest of accountability.”
However, the chairman of Sokoto State’s opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Isa Sadiq Achida, has taken a swipe at the administration for what he described as the non-workability of the State of emergency declaration over five years afterwards. He argued that though the deduction from workers’ salaries stand illegal as the legitimate timeline for the deductions has already lapsed, it is still ongoing.