Prof. Hamafyelto Calls For Equality In Geographic Distribution Of Higher Institutions in Adamawa

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Prof. Stephen S. Hamafyelto University of Maiduguri has called for equality in the geographical distribution of higher education institutions in Adamawa State.

Also, he urged the Federal and State Government as well as National Assembly members representing Adamawa South Senatorial District to confront the difficult challenges of providing the benefits of democracy to the people. These benefits include access to quality education, healthcare, economic opportunities and so on.

The University of Maiduguri Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology remarked that if not addressed in time, the social and economic implications of the inequality would hamper developmental goals of any government.

He disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday noting that Adamawa north has five institutions of higher education; central zone has six while the south zone has only one institution.

Speaking further, he noted that fair enough, some of the institutions came into being by political influences of the people who sought for their establishment in the designated locations, while some of the institutions were sited with overriding public interest of people of the state, some have mere political undertone for siting them.

He stressed: “For example, Modibo Adama University, Yola was first established as a campus of University of Maiduguri by the former Vice-chancellor of the University, Prof. Jibril Aminu. He did not consider taking it to Song his home town. Same thing with former Gov. Boni Haruna who established our famous Adamawa state University, Mubi. Despite lack of higher institutions in Michika his home town, it was sited in Mubi.

“The over-concentration of higher education institutions in certain regions of the state has created a variety of troubling consequences. One is the widening of educational divide, with those living in areas with fewer institutions having fewer opportunities to access quality education.

“This may lead to a cycle of inequality where those with less access to education will have fewer opportunities to succeed in life. The southern zone with only one higher institution portends education bias exacerbated by palpable lack of interest for the pursuit of higher education by many youths who completed secondary schools in the zone. This situation is likely to cause employment gaps.

“The demand for civil servants, public servants, military, paramilitary and other work force at state and federal levels may leave this zone with fewer right caliber graduates that may qualify for appointments thereby putting the zone at disadvantage if quota is anything to contemplate.

“In terms of employment of staff in these institutions, it is common practice to have certain category of staff drawn from the immediate community. By this, the community enjoys some level of economic advantage.

“Development certainly comes with establishment of these institutions as infrastructure and human capital development also increases exponentially. The distribution of higher education institutions should be driven by the needs of the people not by the political agenda of the governing party.

“By putting the people first, we can ensure that the benefits of education are available to all, regardless of their political affiliation or the party in power. It is common knowledge that Adamawa South is predominantly PDP, making it difficult to have any dividend of democracy if we toe party affiliation and affinity.

“One solution could be to establish new institutions in areas that are currently underserved in Adamawa state. In this case, if members of this zone seek for establishment of a University, College or other institutions of career awarding they should not be denied.

“Universities, colleges and other career awarding institutions are the places set up for higher learning. This is one reason people seek to have universities, or colleges established in their communities.”

Furthermore, he recalled that in 2019/2020 the Senator representing southern senatorial zone presented a bill for the establishment of Federal University of Education, Numan, Bill 2021. The bill passed first, second and third readings. Lately, our National Assembly Representative and Senator squared up efforts to cut out what will cause potent development through the bill.

“What everyone in Numan Federation expected was that the bill will be assented to by President, Muhammadu Buhari, because of the assurance given by even the former Senate President whom our team met to solicit support. This never happened.

“The proposed establishment of another university in Hong is a positive step, but it does not address the broader issues of education gap and inequality that have plagued this region for so long. Rather than simply adding another institution to the mix, the national assembly should focus on addressing the first bill on this subject-matter.

“It seems highly unlikely that the sponsor of the bill was unaware of the previous passage of a similar bill. The question is why they chose to re-introduce the bill despite the previous passage and what they hope to achieve by doing so. It appears that our senatorial zone has become a “Pawn in someone’s game”. Or may be because the zone has no “Knight in Shining Amour.”

“The recent memo by Chief Barrister Hon. Kwamoti to the Clerk of the House is a powerful example of the urgent need for action on this issue. It is unfortunate that the only visible presence of the Federal Government in our area is a bridge and a prison to incarcerate offenders who were initially deprived of quality education. Is that not sufficient an education gap.

“I would like to encourage our representatives at the national assembly to confront the difficult challenges of providing the benefits of democracy to the people. These benefits include access to quality education, healthcare, economic opportunities and so on.

“It is important you take the high road and not engage with people casting aspersions on you concerning these bills. You may wish to try to set the records straight with calm and rational response just like you did with the memo to the Clerk,” he concluded.