Fed Uni Funtua: A Scale Through The Ice To A Lofty Gold – By Ismail Abdulazeez
For more than a decade and half since the inception of Democratic rule in Nigeria in 1999, the good people of Funtua Local Government and its environs have for long anticipate for the very day when they will be remembered at the Federal level for an allocation of development and benefits instigating establishment that will improve and change the economic and social fortunes of Funtua Local Government. The neglect of Funtua Local Government in the book of Democratic dividends over a long period of time is absolutely not because the area is not deserving, but because Funtua Local Government all this while has not been fortunate enough to have representatives at the Federal level who have the people of Funtua at heart, and have a firsthand knowledge of what it takes to take Funtua Local Government to a greater height. Today the creator of the universe remembered the good people of Funtua and reward their patience and resilience through establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture and Technology, Funtua.
To start with, let me draw the curtain of this article with a thanks giving message convey to the Distinguish Senator representing Katsina South Senatorial District (Funtua Zone) at the upper legislative chamber, Senator Bello Mandiya for his display of true leadership qualities and relentless efforts to initiate and push through a bill for the establishment of Federal University of Agriculture and Technology Funtua. As a visionary, conscientious and resourceful leader, you have unimaginably proving to be the missing rib that will ignite and light up the candle of rapid development economic and in the entire Katsina South Senator (Funtua, Zone). Where others failed you have succeeded in making the aspirations and interest of the people of your senatorial zone a topmost priority. Senator Bello Mandiya, you are indeed an architect of our glorious fortunes, rising with every opportunity, mastering every emergency and fulfilling every duty. You did not only prove yourself pre-eminently as the man of the hour, but also the unique benefactor of posterity. As a Distinguish Senator, the good people of Funtua Zone will hold your name in perpetual honour.
Also worthy of my prestigious salutation are Distinguish individuals and groups who pulled a giant stride in not only championing the course of action that gave birth to the proposed bill for the establishment of this optimistically glorious University, they also showcase their level of commitments to pursed to any length matters that hinged on the development and prosperity of not only Funtua Zone but the nation at large. In realizing the dream of having this university establish in Funtua, these selfless individuals and groups led a team of more than three hundred (300) concerned citizens across the nook and crannies of Funtua Zone to witness and participate in Public hearing held on 5th December, 2019 under the able leadership of Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Ahmed Baba-Kaita, and also stood their grounds in proving before the kind-hearted Senate Committee more than enough justification to consider the need for the establishment of the proposed University. On the hierarchy of that precious list is benevolent father, elder statesman of high esteem and a cheerful philanthropist, Alhaji Dr Abdullahi Umar Mutallab, Chairman Jaiz Bank; an exemplary monarch in whose blood runs the burning desire to take upon his humble self any responsibility that will amount to a glorious development benefit eluding Funtua, His Royal Highness Sarkin Maskan Katsina, Hakimin Funtua, Alhaji Sambo Idris Sambo; a purposeful forum driven by the ideological stand of pursuing at all cost any development oriented goal that will skyrocket Funtua to a greater height, Funtua Consultative Forum. The list is endless and inexhaustible, so we can only say a big thank you for their courageous commitments to always put Funtua first in all circumstance.
The proposed bill to establish Federal University of Agriculture and Technology in Funtua will undoubtedly be an icing in the cake of realizing the much mouthed economy diversification upon which the economy policy framework of current political dispensation under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari was anchored. The university if established will of course stir up the much need inter-sectorial linkages between the agricultural sector and the other sector of the economy at large, thereby bringing to an abrupt end the long time monopoly enjoyed by crude oil dictating as the mainstay of Nigeria economy for more than four decades. The massive exploration of the non-oil sector, especially the prestigious agricultural sector will go a long way in reducing to a drastic level the heavy overreliance of Nigeria economy on crude oil as source of revenue.
Funtua being the most industrious metropolis in the whole of Katsina state is blessed with abundant untapped human and material endowment that is supportive to Agricultural project of any kind in large and commercial scale to uninterruptedly flourish. Well known for its vast areas of arable land with a rich fertile soil that freely permits the cultivation of cash crops and food crops of any such in commercial quantity, these potentialities put Funtua in an indisputable advantageous position to host a Federal University of Agriculture and Technology of this kind which will go a long way in helping to properly harness the area potentials for national good and development. The fame of Funtua travel far in Nigeria and beyond courtesy of the strategic role the area play right from colonial era till date in cash crops and food crops production such as cotton, groundnut, rice, millet, maize, guinea corn, cassava, potato to mention but few. With agricultural activities taking 80% of the occupation of the most inhabitants of Funtua and its environs, establishing a University that will be an addendum to fully explore the agricultural potentials in the area for national interest.
With the establishment of Federal University of Agriculture and Technology in Funtua, and the presence of Inland Dry Port, this will create a synergy that will serve as a catalyst for trade stimulation which will in turn instigate overall national economic development across the country. The host community is already a hub of agriculture where cash and food crops of different varieties of which the people have comparative advantage over other areas are cultivated. The presence of University Agriculture and Technology will certainly help to boast and expand agricultural production in the area through mechanize agriculture and technologically driven farming system which will further expand sufficiency in food production and raw materials to feed emerging local industries to meet national and international demands, especially in the wake of ongoing border closure to boost local production of agricultural product. This development will in turn put the host community, Funtua Local Government at a strategic position to further attract foreign and local investors into Nigeria agricultural sector, and also promoting exportation of agricultural products in a large scale to improve the revenue base of Nigeria at large. The Dry Port can be effectively utilized to export cargos of farm products from the area to global market to improve Nigeria relevance in the global scenes.
For every upright thinking and sane man, saying Funtua local government do not deserve hosting this prestigious university will amount to nothing but an act of insatiable jealous and ill-conceived envy of not wanting to see Funtua local government standing tall among its peers in contributing it own quota to national development. There is no area in Nigeria today that possesses all the potentials and basic requirements that best qualify a community to fully play a host to a Federal University of Agriculture and Technology like Funtua Local Government does possess. The good people of Funtua inherently possess the natural gift of hospitality. The people of Funtua are very accommodative and display in their character high sense of tolerance, i mean the kind of tolerance that promote national consciousness in a heterogeneous and multi-ethnic Nigeria society.
As kind-hearted and accommodative the good people of Funtua appear to be there are few bad eggs in their midst who exhibit the animalistic character of distorting benefit or development oriented project at any slightest opportunity. The privilege accorded to being born and brought up in the heart of the beautiful city of Funtua had afforded me the first hand opportunity to express my concern on this few of people who find pleasure in creating a situation of uprising to selfishly raid down structures and centres that are contributing immensely to the development of Funtua. They are enemies of progressive Funtua and can do anything to ensure Funtua never take the right steps towards its development. They are myopic and shallow thinking conspirators who poison the minds of few venerable youth to get their evil plot acted upon.
Of the bitter truth the disastrous fate suffered by a prestigious private school, Ideal International College Funtua, still lingered in our memory in pains and regret. Although Life did not destined me with the privilege to be a product of Ideal International School Funtua, but i can beat my chest in attestation that Ideal International College as of then is inarguably one of the leading best private secondary school in Funtua, cultivating the best of young intellectual minds in all spheres of life. A couple of friends i know that schooled there are exceptionally brilliant, and have since then distinguished themselves excellently across various tertiary institutions of learning. I was fortunate in 2013 to have worked on a part-time basis with Ideal International College Funtua, before gaining admission into the University. In the course of working there i had the privilege to meet the school proprietor Mr Peter Olutayo Adejola, who shared with me his burning desire to contribute immensely to the development of Funtua, using education as a tool. In his master plan, i saw an ambitious eyes catching blue print which if translated will give birth to a prestigious private University and Polytechnic in Funtua. Mr Peter Olutayo Adejola more than ready to go all length to realize one of the most pressing interest people of Funtua harboured for long. Just when it seems the coast is clear to realize this dream of private University in Funtua, the dream suffered a premature death in the hands of few selfish individuals who irrationally capitalized on misconception and blaze down the entire structure into ashes. In spite the quick intervention of elders like the Sarkin Maskan Funtua, Sambo Idris Sambo, and the rest of influential statesmen in Funtua to amicably iron the issue out, yet mischievous individuals who so much cannot bear to watch Funtua rise to its glorious day truncated the peace accord to resolve the issue. Ideal International School is of course no more today, and we are dearly paying for the actions of those who do not have Funtua at heart. Mr Peter Olutayo Adejola’s glorious ambition to establish a private University in Funtua never see the light of the day.
What we are about to have today in Funtua is a Federal University. This invariably implies that the university is open to accommodating both students and staff from different ethnic and religion extractions who will be new to the host community cultural and religious values. The good people of Funtua therefore have to strengthen more in their level of tolerance and understanding, especially on issues that revolved around religion. To avoid the University suffering similar premature death as Ideal International College, the University if finally establish must be guided jealously in all circumstance. The Federal University should be seen by all and sundry like the master key that will unlock the door to a prosperous Funtua Local Government at large. All effort to reduce the University to an avenue where ethnic or religion sentiments will be promoted should not be welcome at any point.
The quickest way to short lived the growth of a University is by subjecting it to leadership crisis and politicization of management and staffing of such University. Given its Federal nature, the University should not be exposed to the politicking over leadership and appointment a role that has consumed the progression of most Nigeria University overtime. The University by objective is primarily aimed expand research based and innovation in agriculture and technology, which by extension is to contribute to national economic development. It is expected to serve as an institution driven basically be providing educational curriculum that will enrich research in agriculture and technology, and not a premise where political loyalists will be rewarded with appoint for political patronage. If the university must grow and lived to meet its primary purpose, efforts much made to constitute a management team of innovative and academic intellectual minds who understand the rudiments and basics requirement to nurture and help grow a University to global standard. Irrespective of tribe and religion, the leadership of the University should be vested on capable hands that meritoriously deserved to steer the affairs of the University to meet its primary objectives. The good people of Funtua and stakeholders in the host community who fought tirelessly for the attainment of University should form part of the University students, staff and management structure, but however not make the leadership appear a one sided affairs. In constituting the leadership and staff recruitment of the University meritocracy based on Federal character principle should be clearly reflected.
The good people of Funtua have certainly come a long way in their struggle for legitimate and authoritative allocation of values to enhance the overall development of the area, and all efforts seems to be yielding dividends as the hen that lay the golden eggs yesterday is gradually hatching it. In the establishment of this glorious University are avalanche of developmental benefits ready to spring up. The university will certainly light up the candle of massive industrialization, economy diversification, revenue base expansion, employment opportunity and above all human capital development, which will all contribute immensely to national development. The days of difficult struggles and demands are gradually coming to an end for the people of Funtua. The University is a calm after the heavy storm of hurdles. It is a scale through the ice to a lofty gold.
Comrade Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu