How Daura people are being misrepresented

By Abdussamad jibia

This morning I was confronted by a video clip of a legislator from Katsina state. The young man, who may be in his thirties or forties depending on his body type is supposed to be representing Daura/Maiadua/Sandamu Federal constituency in the House of Representatives. By implication, this man is one of the two people representing President Muhammadu Buhari in the National assembly. Without doubt, like most of his types from the North, Fatuhu Muhammed rode on the back of Buhari to convince the unsuspecting people of Daura, Maiadua and Sandamu that he will support Buhari to change their lot.

The man, who unfortunately is a member of Committee on tertiary education in the house rose to ask his colleagues to agree to tell the executives to sell public universities and retain the Polytechnics. His reason is that “we are having so much problems with ASUU”. He did not elaborate on the word, “we”. Is he referring to the people of Daura, Maiadua and Sandamu, in which case we should ask him the method he used to determine their opinion? We know that ASUU had recently embarked on nationwide parleying with Nigerians at which it explained it’s position and listened to parents’ views as major stakeholders. How many parleys did Fatuhu hold with the masses of Daura, Sandamu and Maiadua to have arrived at this opinion?

Or did “we” in Fatuhu’s submission refer to the committee in which he is only an ordinary member? We shall then ask, where is the report of the committee which would show the homework it has made to arrive at this position? Why is he the one presenting it, when, like he acknowledged in his incoherent submission, the Committee chairman was present?

While reacting to the clip, a colleague from Daura noted that Fatuhu is a nephew of the President. If that is true, the rest of us may wish to know, does “we” refer to the extended Buhari family? We know that some of Buhari’s children were educated outside Nigeria even when he is sitting in the villa as an elected President. Is it the opinion of Mr. President that public universities in Nigeria be privatized so that the “edupreneurs” who buy them would make them as good as those attended by his children in the UK? PMB is a key stakeholder in Fatuhu’s constituency but he has only one vote.

What is the “so much problem” that the Fatuhus know about ASUU that the rest of Nigerians do not that led “them” to conclude that the “best solution” is to sell the universities? I know many Nigerians who criticize ASUU for one thing or another but none of them has spoken so strongly about “privatizing” public universities like Fatuhu did. I am sure that in addition to myself, other Nigerians would love to know this problem that can only be solved by selling our universities.

For any arising matter that requires the attention of lawmakers, I would like to note that there are three questions a member like Fatuhu would ask before taking a position.

The first question is, how will it affect my people? Did Fatuhu ask this question? Poverty is one factor that characterizes our life in the far North. Daura emirate is one of the worst hit places in terms of poverty, hunger and backwardness in formal education. For example,for many years people from other parts of Katsina state rush to rural local governments in Daura emirate to look for hajj seats as in most cases the people there cannot fill their quota of hajj seats due to the high level poverty. If Government closes down its primary and secondary schools in Katsina state, one can be rest assured that majority of our children, and especially those from rural local Governments like the ones Fatuhu is representing, will not go to school. Right now, many children from the North are at the mercy of their state governments to pay for their WAEC and NECO registration. Then, how can a person representing such people rise on the floor of the National Assembly and advocate for the commercialization of education? This is silliness at it’s peak.

The second question is, how has this problem been solved in similar climes? As a legislator has Fatuhu taken time to find out how Malaysia, for example, is able to run it’s public universities and make them among the best? Today, no one goes to a private university in Malaysia except those who are not academically good enough for public universities. Malaysian lecturers are among the happiest set of people in that country. Why are our politicians so lazy to simply read or travel in order to help their people?

For anything a person wants to say, whether or not such a person is a legislator, they would always ask, how will it be received by other people? Regrettably, Fatuhu is so inexperienced to even discuss with his colleagues a priori, which explained why many of them were shouting him down when he was saying it. Of course, there is nothing wrong in being controversial if one is sure of one’s position and has sufficient facts to support it. Unfortunately, the legislator did not prepare adequate arguments to back his position which explains why he immediately sat down the moment his colleagues began to boo him. Did he not ask his “we” of their reasons to believe that the problem of ASUU is so much that there should be no public university in Nigeria?

But who do you blame? Just Fatuhu? I blame the political parties who nominate and send people without preparing them. Although seminars and retreats are organized for legislators from time to time, the emphasis is usually not on the knowledge. Otherwise, we would not be having people like Fatuhu.

Fatuhu as an individual is not worth my pen. I don’t write to vilify individuals. My concern is for the poor people of Daura, Sandamu and Maiadua who are being misrepresented.

Prof Abdussamad Umar Jibia


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