Sokoto State Governor, His Excellency Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has advised youths to see the nation’s current economic challenges as an opportunity to become self-sufficient and reliant without recourse to destructive and defiant behaviours.
The Governor pointed out that the country’s economic situation was an avenue for youths to be innovative towards national and self development. Tambuwal while endorsing the Nigerian Student and Youth Corps Discount Card, said the discount card could not have been introduced at a better time. Adding that the initiative has taken cognizance of the nation’s economic challenges.
The card, which is also known as ”Naija Green Card” was designed for students of tertiary institutions and youth corps members to provide discounts for various goods and services for card holders across the country. The initiative within 6 months recorded 3,421 merchants and partners in 21 states and over 4000 card users nationwide; whilst providing between 5 to 50 percent discounts to identifiable Nigerian students from all tertiary Institutions and youth corps members.
“This is a highly commendable initiative that will benefit our students and youth corps members. Not only that, initiatives like this have a very big role to play in the development of States and individuals. It is for these reasons that as a government (after you might have sensitized the business community in Sokoto State) call on our students from Senior secondary 111 and tertiary institutions to take up membership of the card,” the Governor said.
He also urged Nigerian youths to emulate the sponsors of the card, saying the current economic challenges should awaken creativity and innovation in them rather than criminality. Tambuwal described the ”NAIJA GREEN CARD” initiative as highly commendable, timely and very well thought out. He said he is not surprised that this is coming from the initiator, Hon Bimbo Daramola, having noted all his quality representations and contributions whilst in the House of Representatives and Daramola’s flair for embarking on initiatives that are novel also with the capacity of benefiting huge number of people.
It is against this backdrop that the current takings of Governor Tambuwal, can be situated. Like the biblical Solomon, who neither asked for money or riches, when God asked him to make a choice, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, has not left anyone in doubt about his preference for his people while in office. He seems to sleep and wake education.
Precisely in December 6, 2015, after the State Executive Council (SEC), meeting, the Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Saidu Umar, announced the declaration of a State of Emergency on Education. A flurry of activities had emerged before and more have followed after to give impetus to this drive, an indication that the governor means business in making education the foundation of the state’s development architecture.
From proposing a bill criminalizing parents that refuse to send their child to school, to injecting 500 teachers into the educational workforce; from signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Teachers Institute (NTI) to train teachers in the state, to engaging in peer review mechanism, such as studying the Kano State girl-child transport programme and the Ondo State School free shuttle programme and to the setting aside of one per cent levy for every contract awarded in the state for funding education, the true picture of the governor’s vision and strategy is becoming more apparent day-in, day-out.
Ostensibly to ensure that biting poverty pervading the country is not a barrier to this pet project, the Governor, recently caused the free distribution of 8,000 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) forms worth N44million to indigent students seeking admission into various tertiary institutions across the country. He has also commenced the building of a teacher’s village, while introducing a package of special incentives for teachers in rural areas, as well as ensuring prompt payment of the school fees of indigenes of the state studying in various institutions in Nigeria and abroad.
While other state governments are not paying salaries or owing the workforce, Tambuwal’s unrepentant youth development-friendly disposition was seen to be extended to corps members in the state by increasing their monthly ”allawy” (allowance). It is on record that no other state government has done so.
Empirical evidence shows that these are initiatives that reflect best investment decision for deepening youth empowerment and development. It’s in this context that his open endorsement and adoption of the ”NAIJA GREEN CARD” can be situated in furtherance of his passion and sensitivity to the youth and young demography.
Okegbemi Olusoji Festus is an Editor/Creative writer at campustori.com, A digital media Executive and a known Social Media Enthusiast.