Thursday, March 12, 2015 8:52 am
Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo was on the hot seat on Monday when dons at the Bayero University Kano (BUK) quizzed him on President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
According to the Daily Trust, the dons who were mainly principal lecturers, tongue-lashed the administration.
Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo was at the Bayero University Kano to commission eight projects and lay foundation for four others embarked upon by the federal government at the university but took time out to interact with the principal officers and former vice chancellor of the institution.
Held at the Senate building of the institution, the interactive session which was attended by the crème de la crème of the university was set rolling by the minister of education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, when he asked the gathering to assess the performance of Jonathan.
“As you all know the focus of this administration in the area of education is on two areas: These are increasing access and improving quality. Whether we have done well in these areas or not, the cream of lecturers here are going to score us after the vice president delivers his address on the sector,” he said.
The microphone was then handed over to the VP who spoke for almost an hour enumerating the successes of the administration from one sector to the other thus deviating from the ‘curriculum’ set by Shekarau who introduced him to the dons.
He started the speech by disclosing the amount the federal government expended on tertiary institutions in Kano including on those owned by the Kano State government. From there he moved to agriculture, transportation, power and climaxed on the administration’s fight against corruption.
The vice president rounded off his speech by saying that the transformation programme of the administration has put the country on the path to success, one that will make it compete with countries like China and Qatar in the nearest future.
On roads construction, Sambo said the present administration has constructed a total of 20,000 kilometres of roads across the country and that the dredging of River Niger has been completed. After the long speech, Vice Chancellor Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed who moderated the session introduced the principal lecturers to Sambo.
In introducing the lecturers, Rasheed said most of them have been professors for close to 30 years and that they have contributed their quota in the development of the country’s education sector.
At first, the perception was that the dons will praise-sing the administration as they are federal government employees. To the shock of the people in attendance, however, the first speaker, Professor Kabiru Ahmed thumped down the administration, saying the lackadaisical attitude of the Jonathan-led administration has exposed pensioners in the country to untold hardship.
“I retired from the institution about a year ago but my pension has been hanging. I went to Abuja and I was told that the federal government has not released fund for disbursement to pensioners. The last time the CBN released fund for this purpose was nine months ago,” he said.
With this, he said the lives of the retirees who have laboured and toiled for the country has been turned upside down.
“This means that pensioners have no means to meet their needs; this means that the pensioners have no income and this poor vulnerable group has been left suffering in silence,” he said.
Throwing the next punch was Professor Garba Ibrahim Sheka of the Economics department of the institution. He told the vice president that they have failed in the fight against insurgency.
His words: “Some of us are not happy with you people especially with regards to the handling of the Boko Haram. Chad, a malnourished country comes to our aid and they are succeeding.”
Our correspondent observed that the vice president’s posture changed but that did not stop the dons from dishing out their reservations on the government.
The VP was also queried on the depreciating value of the country’s currency, the naira, which a professor told him if not checked would jeopardise the country’s growth.
“I don’t know how the federal government allowed the naira to fall to the least value ever. It will negatively affect the growth of the country in all sectors,” he said.
The session did not end without the dons talking about the forthcoming elections. The vice president was asked about the veracity of reports that plans are on to sack the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega.
“Everything in this country starts from rumour. Now reports of the impending sack of INEC boss have been dominating the media. If he is sacked at this moment, it will not be good for the country,” a professor told Sambo.
On his part, Dr Jibril Isa Disso of the Department of Special Education said the president has failed to assent the physically challenged persons’ bill.
“You said you people have done a lot but we the physically challenged persons have been left out. Our bill has been in the presidency for long and it has not been assented,” Disso who is a visually impaired person said.
Apparently to stop the bashing, it was announced that the vice president will only respond to the first set of questions and after it the interactive session ended.
Responding, Sambo said the federal government has done a lot in tackling the insurgency and that only few local government areas are being occupied by the insurgents.
“I’m surprised that a professor like you will be saying this on our fight against insurgency. It is not that our securities are just sitting down but they are partnering with their colleagues in the neighbouring countries, hence the success we are recording in the fight,” he said.
On the plan to sack Jega, he said there was nothing like that, saying the report is being spread by mischief makers.
“I don’t know Jega, I think I met him only when he came to defend the budget of INEC and I don’t want to be close to him so that he will be free in discharging his duty. He was not ready when the election was postponed. The issue of security only dominated the reason for the postponement,” he said.
On the physically challenged person’s bill, he said: “It is not long that the presidency received the bill. Before the bill leaves the National Assembly, it takes month and we got it two weeks ago or so. But I’m assuring you that we will sign it and we will ensure its full implementation.”
The session ended on that note but it was clear that things had not gone the way the organisers of the event had wanted it.
*Reported by Daily Trust