Why Yobe is deboarding public schools – Deputy gov

Why Yobe is deboarding public schools – Deputy gov

Governor Mai Mala Buni and Hon Idi Barde Gubana were elected as governor and deputy of Yobe State in 2019 and reelected in the 2023 general elections governorship polls. Deputy Governor Gubana, in this interview with Daily Trust Saturday, speaks on why the government is deboarding public schools; efforts at tackling insecurity and the achievements recorded by the administration in the last five years, among others.

 

You came to office in 2019 as deputy governor of a state that was affected by the Boko Haram attacks. What is the situation now and what would you say are your legacies in the last five years?

While the legacies are many, we just want to mention a few in some sectorial areas. Our major achievement is peace. The backbone of each government is to ensure that it provides peace and safeguards the lives and properties of its citizens.

With his coming on board, Governor Mai Mala Buni, with the support of the immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari, down to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and with synergy with various stakeholders we had among our security architecture, the security challenges have seriously been reduced.

Security experts made an analysis where they revealed that Yobe State is 75% secured, compared with other states in the country. So, this is among the legacies of Governor Mai Mala Buni’s administration for which it will be remembered for having restored and sustained peaceful co-existence in the state.

Other legacies are in empowerment programmes, education, agriculture, and health. All of these sectors received special treatment from Governor Mai Mala Buni who is passionate about the development of the state.

Let’s talk about education; some of the state-owned schools were destroyed by the insurgents, have you renovated them?

You can recall that Governor Mai Mala Buni declared a State of Emergency on Education immediately after our swearing in and you have seen the changes. The results of Yobe State students in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) clearly show the improvement of education in the state.

He established model schools to decongest the students in other public schools. I remember Arikeme primary school in Potiskum LGA which had more than 20,000 pupils, but now they (students) have been divided into various schools, and many more.

Most of the schools destroyed by the insurgents are now renovated or reconstructed by the state government in collaboration with local and international partners to actualize the dream of Governor Mai Mala Buni who says children deserve better education.

The issue of out-of-school children is one of the challenges facing the Northern states. Yobe is one of the states that Boko Haram says they must halt the system. What are you doing in that regard?

Yes, the issue of out-of-school children is obvious in Northern Nigeria, but in Yobe we are changing the narrative because for girl child education we created new Government Girls Day Secondary Schools in almost all the 17 LGAs in the state.

The dropout of girls from schools is now under control; we have many of them in schools from SS1 to SS3. Before this system, most of the girls dropped out of school because the schools were far away from their homes. They usually stopped at JSS 3 as they were not able to complete their secondary education due to economic hardship. But now, with the establishment of these schools at their doorsteps, many of them are enrolled in these schools where they can go and come back home.

Also, Governor Mai Mala Buni graciously approved the deboarding of secondary schools, where schools in all the 17 local government areas have secondary schools operating daily. That has allowed most of the dropout children to continue with their education and we are making more effort to ensure that we improve on the standard that we are doing.

If not for this system, the dreams of so many students would be halted because they would not be able to continue with their studies as a result of economic hardship which is understandable across the country now.

We also employed over 2,000 teachers to fill the vacuum created by retirements in our schools; and a plan is on the way to recruit teachers who will be teaching in our public schools where medical doctors, engineers, and lawyers would be produced.

Yobe State College of Agriculture in Gujba has been in Comatose after the Boko Haram attacks that killed some students. What is the status of this school? 

You know, after that incident, we relocated the college to one of the Government Girls Secondary Schools here in Damaturu. The structures of the college are not habitable up to now and we would not spend government money in a place that is not fully secure yet. 

The State Ministry of Higher Education had discussed with the Gujba LG stakeholders who were hosting the college before the unfortunate incident, they have secured about 10 hectares in Yadin Buni to construct a new college even though the TETFUND now is planning to start construction in the new site.

The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has earmarked over N200 million to reconstruct the College of Agriculture Gujba, and we have written to them that this temporary site is a Government Secondary School that was occupied by the college.

We have made all necessary plans for the new site of the college in Yadin Buni to ensure that the school is fully constructed with all classrooms, accommodation and equipment.

What is the government doing to empower youths, so that terrorists would not hijack them as a result of lack of employment?

We established the Ministry of Wealth Creation, Empowerment and Employment Generation; we consider the economic rejuvenation of the people as key to promoting self-reliance across the state.

Several empowerment programmes were initiated to support our teeming unemployed youths. We have supported some of them with cash for small and medium-scale businesses – men and women, orphans, widows, and vulnerable persons are considered for the empowerment.

All these measures are taken as part of the state government’s recovery plan to support the less privileged, and the businesses affected by the decade-long insurgency in the state.