Still On President Tinubu’s Obsession With The North : Kashim/Ribadu are Northern elites, By Gidado Ibrahim 

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In the next one week, the President Bola Tinubu-led Renewed Hope government will be a year old. He hit the ground running with concatenation of reforms which were roundly applauded domestically and globally. I must submit that these reforms came with some measure of pains but it’s like a woman who must pass through labour to know the joy of carrying a baby. In other words, if there’s no pain, there won’t be gain.


Thank God that most Nigerians took it as the necessary sacrifice to reposition Nigeria for the greater good of all. Today, the initial ‘painful’ steps are beginning to yield series of dividends.


Last week, the Federal Government launched an ambitious multi-year Accelerated Senior Secondary Education Programme (ASSEP) targeted at overhauling school infrastructure, modernising curricula and integrating virtual learning technologies.


The initiative, according to Vice President Kashim Shertima, is a major policy drive to bridge the gaping educational divide in the country, beginning from the North-East region. As the Vice President explained at the unveiling of the initiative in Bauchi, “the comprehensive, phased programme aims to rapidly upgrade secondary education across three core pillars, including enhancing access to tertiary institutions, imparting market-relevant skills, and upskilling teachers to stay ahead of disruptive innovations like artificial intelligence.”


Under ASSEP’s umbrella, the government will stimulate high-quality instruction, incentivise STEM achievement, revamp dilapidated classrooms to modern specifications, and cultivate an enriching academic environment through innovations like quiz competitions, exam coaching camps and intensive teacher training.


Implementation of the initiative will be divided into phases – addressing urgent needs first, followed by infrastructural groundwork for expansion, before ASSEP’s comprehensive scaling across the region. This programme demonstrates Tinubu’s love for Northern Nigeria, especially North-East that most people believed was marginalised by previous administrations.


Before Tinubu assumed office in May of 2023, North East, the epicenter of insecurity in Nigeria, was on fire from the activities of Islamic State for West Africa (ISWAP) and Boko Haram. Families were bleeding from the daily loss of loved ones. Additionally, Zamfara State almost brought the country to a standstill, to the extent that the last election was almost marred by insecurity.


That was what Tinubu inherited. He immediately deployed every government machinery to the troubled zones. One Year into Tinubu’s government, evidence, it is said, is the end of arguments. Today, the whole of North-East lays in peace, tranquility and quietness. Not even the sound of a knockout. Zamfara where banditry became a pain in the ass of every Nigerian is now quiet.


Despite these conserted efforts, it now baffles me where the accusation of neglect is coming from? What’s the justification for accusing President Tinubu of neglecting a region he has just deployed massive federal government resource to quench the fire he did not ignite. The North-East Governors’ Forum on Saturday raised concerns that the region had been neglected. The governors lamented what it termed the federal government’s absence, saying it is overwhelming.


Curiously, the communique signed by the governors that did not mention or take into cognisance how insecurity in the North-East has almost disappeared is unfair. The North-East governors should have commended the president for a job well-done on security.


Constitutionally, the greatest priority of any government is security of lives and properties. Jumping over insecurity to start providing capital projects would have amounted to putting putting the cat before the horse. Now that the administration is almost done with security matters, the president and his team are turning attention to real-time infrastructural development.


In any case, who says Tinubu has neglected the North-East? Apart from ASSEP launched last week, as we speak, by tomorrow, Friday, May 24, is going to be the nationwide groundbreaking for phase one of the ‘Renewed Hope’ Cities and Estates project and four states of northern Nigeria will be the beneficiaries. In fact, two North-East States will be launched as follows: Friday, May 24, 250 housing units at Renewed Hope Estate in Gombe and on Saturday, May 25, 2024 in Yobe State. Similarly, 250 housing units at Renewed Hope Estate in Katsina will be launched on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, while 500 housing units at Renewed Hope City in Kano will be launched on Thursday, May 23, 2024.


This initiative follows the program’s official launch by President Bola Tinubu which began with a 3,112-unit housing project in Karsana, Abuja, in February 2024. These projects demonstrates Tinubu’s commitment to the North and fulfillment of his romise to turn the country into a huge construction site and unlock the potential of the housing sector to create jobs, catalyze economic growth, and contribute to the $1 trillion economy, while boosting national development.


Except for the purpose of witch-hunting, no fair mind will accuse President Tinubu of neglecting any part of Nigeria. He has demonstrated a pan-Nigerian neutrality. For instance, recently, after a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention, the president ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tons of maize, millet, and other commodities in strategic reserves to address the rising cost of food in the country.


Additionally, seeing the purity of Tinubu’s motives, coupled with the efforts his team is making, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria has committed to releasing about 60,000 metric tons of rice to the markets.


Let me also state here that despite untold pressure from other parts of the North, President Tinubu went to the Northeast to pick his running mate, Kashim Shettima and later the National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu. Howelse should a leader demonstrate love for a region?


Under the Tinubu administration, the abandoned Abuja-Kano federal high ways is seriously being considered for completion. The Zungeru Hydro/Electric Dam, and prosecution of Mambila Hydro/Electric Dam rats are under construction after abandoned for years. There are also plans to revive northern textiles industry, while tannaries are also receiving attention to boost industrialization in the region. The Abuja-Keffi road is also under serious construction. The Abuja Metro rail line is also close to commissioning.


As a son and prince of the North East soil, I have since joined other top professionals from the north East to hail the president for bringing our son, Senator Kashim Shettima, to work with him as vice president. He also appointed Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, another North East son, as his National Security Adviser. The VP and the eagle-eye Nigeria’s chief spymaster should organize a thanks given celebration in Bauchi for the Kolmani oil drilling project. Very soon, the North East will become an oil-producing region.


We also thank President Tinubu for ensuring that North East Development Commission is fully funded, and now the establishment of North West Development Commission is in the pipeline. Ese o Baba Tinubu! All the questions Nigerians should be asking the North is: have they released food items and other palliatives ordered by the president? North should, as much as possible, ask questions about the infrastructure development initiative of the Renewed Hope administration in every aspect of the northern states.


Instead of turning a blind eye to all the President have done to restore peace in the North-East, I think the best way to engage meaningfully is suggestion by the North-East Governors Forum that the Federal Government should implement the extension of the 330KV transmission line from Makurdi – Gassol – Jalingo linking to Adamawa – Gombe – Bauchi and the extension of the 330KV line from Kano- Bauchi- Yobe, linking to Borno.


Needless to emphasise that though Nigeria runs a federal system, the components cooperate to advance the common good. The North-East Governors Forum should support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu more as he works hard to lay a solid foundation for a new Nigeria.


Let me seize this opportunity to commend President Tinubu for appointing my brother and Special his Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, as the Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Action. While this has demonstrated the confidence the president has in him, I urge the presidential spokesman to keep up the good work he is doing in projecting the administration exactly as it is, a government of the people.


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