By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The former governor of Katsina state, Dr. Ibrahim Shehu Shema, over the weekend explained why he accepted the award of Great Grand Patron of Postgraduate Students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Last weekend, a delegation of Ahmadu Bello University Postgraduate Representative Council, led by its President, Comrade Isah Nuhu bestowed the prestigious award on the former governor.
Dr. Shema said, “I decided to accept the award because the last recipient of the award, Dr. Maitama Sule, was a very eminent personality in the society before his demise.”
He said education was his focus when he was in offices as the Executive governor of he state.
“When I got into office, my focus was to serve the people. Education remains the best legacy you can give to the youth. Education has the capacity to open doors.
“In my mind yesterday, today and tomorrow, education is the best legacy one can give to a child or the youth. When I took up office my focus is to serve, we made it clear that we will focus on education. I remembered taking a trip about two weeks after assuming office to a school, and I found out that two weeks after the school had resumed, student are yet to resumed school. Upon enquiry , I was made to understand that the parents are yet to pay school fees of about N7,000”, he said.
He told the audience during the ceremony that when he got back to his office, he asked for the total amount of all the fees and tuition every child in Kastina state needed to pay per annum.
He said the total amount stood at a little above N400m and his government decided to set aside 100miilion every month.
“At the end of the year, I have N1.2 billion from which N400m was used to pay school fees and tuitions of every student without collecting any kobo from anybody. From that day, we declared education free at all levels.
“Out of N1.2b of our savings, we are clearly left with N800m. Apart from school fees, and another hurdle is external examination fee (WAEC NECO, NABTEB) which stood at N900 million per annum was also paid and every child in kastina state throughout my tenure as the governor of the state was writing all external exams for free.
“We started expansion of school and built over 260 schools and set up a section of girl child education which is the first in the whole country. A special department for girl child education in each of the primary school which makes it convenient for our girls to be trained”.
Comrade Nuhu, while bestowing the award on Dr. Shema, said many indigenes of the state are still talking about the legacies he left behind after his tenure as governor of the state.
In a letter dated 16th April, 2018, the ABU postgraduate students had requested for a courtesy visit and award presentation on Dr. Shema.
Part of the letter signed by Comrade Nuhu reads,”In lieu of the above and many more the council has sought the support of its members and the University Management in honouring you with titled Great Grand Patron Postgraduate Student (GGPPS) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The award was last. Received by Dan Masanin Kano, late Yusuuf Maitama. We see you with this indispensable quality and we will always champion your cause.