From Mustapha Adamu
Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has vowed that his administration will ensure that every child in Kano have unhindered access to free, compulsory and qualitative education.
Ganduje who stated this while receiving the Kano Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Award of Excellence and Appreciation as the Father of Modern Free Education in Nigeria 2019, held at Bristol Palace, Farm Centre, Kano, over the weekend also reiterated his desire to ensure that Almajirai in the state benefit from his free, compulsory basic and secondary education policy, even though most of them are children from neighbouring states.
He described the status of Kano as the state with the highest number of out-of-school children in the country, as a challenge that must be faced and defeated.
According to him, with the free school feeding programne and free education policy in place, all children in Kano now have the privilege to be educated, just as he charged parents to take advantage of the ample opportunity to send their wards to school for a better future.
He appreciated the award bestowed on him by the Kano NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel, adding that, “we are happy that you identified with the heavily-loaded statement we made here in Kano, which is free, compulsory basic and secondary education for our children.
“We are happy we are sending our children to school free-of-charge. We are happy that we are sending the Almajarai to go and learn just like other children. We want to live a legacy; and we believe that journalists are our partners in progress.”
Ganduje who was visibly excited, recalled how he met and recruited his Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, who was two-time President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), into politics.
According to him, “I have been partnering with journalists in all my public life. My present Commissioner of Information was the Chairman of Kano Council of the NUJ when I was the Commissioner for Works.
“Then, I discovered him and saw him as some that can work with me. He climbed up to the position of NUJ Deputy President (North-West), he later become NUJ President, did his second-term and also headed the African Union of Journalists.
“I tell you this story, not because he is working for me, but because he used his wealth of experience to assist me. NUJ is very important and indispensable in the art of governance.
“Journalists are part of governance. You criticize us. You criticize our policies, and you make us get down to work. Sometimes, your reports get us angry, sometimes your reports make us laugh. But in all, you put is on our feet and always remind us of the mandate we have with the people. Indeed, you are partners in progress and we will continue to partner with you for the development of our dear state and the welfare of the good people of Kano state.”
In his remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta who was also honoured for his commitment to Digital Communication and Cyber Security in Nigeria, described journalists as very important professionals that are indispensable to national development.
Danbatta who assured Nigerians that NCC is doing everything possible to ensure that they get adequate services from service providers, confessed that the achievements recorded so far, under his watch at NCC would not have been possible without the partnership, contribution and cooperation of the media.
Delivering his lecture entitled: “Media and Good Governance: Issues and Challenges,” the Guest Speaker, Prof. Balarabe Maikaba, lamented the poor living condition of journalists in Nigeria, and called on the Federal and state governments to take urgent steps to address it.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of Kano NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel, Comrade Ibrahim Garba Shaibu noted that, “today marks a new dawn in the history if our great chapel. What we are witnessing today is the maiden edition of the Chapel’s Appreciiation Award ceremony designed to reward diligence, excellence and uncommon achievements in governance, public administration and success in business, arts and others areas of endeavours.