By Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on Saturday night, 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, also reiterated his desire to ensure that Almajiri 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 leave 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 someone 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 us 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 was 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.
He further appreciated journalists for helping to propagate and disseminate the activities of NCC, while assuring Nigerians that NCC have already solved the problem of receiving unsolicitated messages from service providers, adding that in recent times, over one million complaints received from tele-com consumers were resolved.
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.
Prof. Balarabe who is a Senior Lecturer in Mass Communication Department, Bayero University Kano (BUK), insisted that journalists, as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm deserve better pay packages, just like their colleagues in developed countries, considering the risks and hazards attached to their job.
He, however, advised journalists to adhere strictly to the Codes and Ethics guiding their profession and desist from, “blackmail, yellow journalism and sensational reporting.”
In his welcome address, the Chairman of Kano NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel, Comrade Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu noted that, “today marks a new dawn in the history of our great chapel. What we are witnessing today is the maiden edition of the Chapel’s Appreciation Award ceremony designed to reward diligence, excellence and uncommon achievements in governance, public administration and success in business, arts and other areas of endeavours.
“By the special grace of God, this event will be holding annually. It is our belief that this is a better way to encourage leaders and administrators to put in their best and use their positions to change lives and the society for the better.
“I am pleased to say that my leadership, in line with the oath I swore to, has continued to do its best to ensure the welfare of our members. I and members of my executive have continued to rekindle the hope of our members, as well as instilling discipline and the spirit of unionism.
“It is with a heart full of gratitude that I appreciate our own, the Honourable Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, for his continued support to the progress of the Chapel and welfare of our members. We are also grateful to the Commissioner of Local Government, Mutala Sule Garo and the Chief of Staff, Alhaji Ali Makoda, for the roles they played in the success of this programme.
“Space will not permit me to mention other members of Governor Ganduje’s cabinet who have been very friendly and helpful. I am also grateful to the Kano State Director of Department of State Service and other security chiefs who have been supportive of the success of this programme.
“As the watchdog of the society, we will continue to hold government accountable and ensure that good governance is always in place for the development of the society and good living standard of the masses.
Once again, I welcome you to this programme and I say a big congratulations to the awardees.”
Others who received awards include the First Lady of Kano state, Prof. Hafsat Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for being a Promoter of Women in Politics and Development; Alhaji Isyaku Umar Tofa, for his Humanitarian Services; and Dr. Jamil Isyaku Gwamna , MD/CEO, Kano Electricity Distribution Company, for his commitment to Youth Employment and Empowerment.
Among dignitaries who attended the Kano NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel Award/Appreciation Night 2019 include Senator Barau Jubril; Honourable Alhassan Doguwa; Hon. Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba; Dr. Sule Ya’u Sule, former Director of Press and Public Relations to ex-Governor Ibrahim Shekarau; the first chairman of Kano NUJ, Prince Ajayi Memaiyeton; chairman NUJ Kano, Comrade Abbas Ibrahim; representatives of the state Commissioner of Police, Director of DSS, Comptroller of Customs; Commandant of Nigeria Immigration Training School, Kano; heads of media outfits in the state, among others.