By Shola Shittu
The governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, has offered automatic graduate assistant jobs to 38 students of Yobe State University, YSU, who have graduated with first-class degrees in their various areas of study.
The governor revealed this today in a speech at the maiden convocation ceremony of the University in Damaturu, where he was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree of letters for his effort at improving Yobe’s education sector.
Mr Gaidam lauded the phenomenal growth of the Yobe State University, saying it has carved a niche for itself as a reputable citadel for teaching, learning, and research.
“I would like to state that this university has recorded tremendous growth in leaps and bounds since its full establishment in 2009. This growth is visible in terms of infrastructural expansion, human capital development as well as in the academic sphere of teaching, learning and research which has continued to date. Let me stress that whatever achievement we recorded is indeed through teamwork. For this reason, I urge all the stakeholders to continue to work in that spirit”, he said.
Mr Gaidam commended the university management for a good job despite ongoing challenges.
“I wish to take this opportunity to commend the Vice Chancellor and the management of the University for keeping the flag of the prestigious institution flying in spite of some of its challenges.
“I also congratulate the University community on the eleventh-year anniversary of this young but fast-growing institution.
“I equally felicitate with the Chancellor of the Yobe State University, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Ibn Grema, Emir of Tikau, whose installation was made a short while ago.
“I urge him to note that the installation poses a challenge but considering his wealth of experience among other outstanding qualities, he will, as father to the University strive to see that his children, that is the students and indeed the staff of the University excel in every endeavour”, he said.
In the well-received speech, the governor also restated commitment to help the university grow even further.
“We are optimistic that with sustained efforts and commitment, we will realize our aim of making the university a living testimony of the humble contributions of our administration to the educational advancement of our State and the progress of man in the struggle against ignorance, prejudice, poverty and disease.
“Specifically, in appreciation of the strategic role of education as the determinant of economic, social, and political development of any society, our administration has continued to earmark fairly large amount of its limited resources towards the revitalization of education system in our State to its former glory.
“To achieve the desired objectives, we have been implementing free education policy aimed at improving access, quality, equity, and gender balancing by devoting over 26% of our budgetary allocation in 2017 and 2018 to the education sector in keeping with the UNESCO recommendations”, he said.
Speaking on the effort to improve education service delivery in the state generally, the governor said over 4, 000 NCE, HND and degree holders have been recruited to teach in secondary schools.
“This was in addition to the recruitment of over six thousand Diploma holders under the Youth Empowerment Programme some of whom were deployed to primary schools after undergoing training at the National Teachers Institute to serve as auxiliary teachers.
“We have also accorded prompt payment of salaries, promotion, training and retraining of teachers and lecturers including implementation of the Teacher Salary Structure (TSS), high priority”, the governor said.
Giving a breakdown of effort to retrofit secondary education in the state, the governor said: “We have purchased Science equipment and reagents to secondary schools, renovated, expanded, and provided wall fencing to 12 Government Senior Secondary Schools as well as enhanced school students feeding.
“The sum of over N1.5 billion was expended over the past one year on payments to cover registration of over 1000 Yobe State indigenes at the Nigeria-Tulip International Colleges and students of the Remedial Science programme of the University of Maiduguri, Damaturu Study Centre.
“Considerable amount of money is also being expanded to cover payment of NECO, WAEC, NABTEB and NBAIS fees for over 12,000 students annually for Senior Secondary Schools free of charge.
“We took over the responsibility of payment of these fees considering the socio-economic status of the parents of the students. Another feat worthy of mention was the establishment of the multi-billion Naira Nigeria-Tulip International College at Mamudo, where only the best students drawn from all the Local Government Areas in the State were admitted after a competitive selection process. This is a deliberate intervention policy intended to enhance the capacity of our schools to produce qualified candidates for admission into tertiary institutions and Universities”.
Mr Gaidam also spoke about the newly established College of Medical Sciences at the Yobe State University, saying his administration is sparing no effort to ensure it takes off successfully.
“I wish to indicate that in 2017, the sum of over N1.3 billion was released for the construction of building structures, perimeter wall fencing, supply of furniture and equipment to the College of Medical Sciences to address the gap in skilled human resources for Health of the State and training programme will commence soon In-sha Allah.
“The sum of N289 million was expended on sponsorship of twenty-eight (28) lecturers of this University to undergo Post Graduate Studies overseas”, he said.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Yakubu Mukhtar, said the remarkable developments at YSU would not have been possible “without the deep and unwavering commitment of the indefatigable Visitor to the University, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam”.
Mr Mukhtar said although growth was tempered by the scourge of Boko Haram Insurgency, YSU has come a long way from 2006 when it was first established with just a single storey-building to now having more than 110 physical structures.
The vice chancellor listed the numerous infrastructural and academic strides that YSU has made especially from when Governor Gaidam came to power in 2009, saying the University will continue to wax stronger with the support that it continues to receive from the state government.