Renaming FUDMA: An Exercise in Futility – By Comrade Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu
I am yet to recoup myself back from the shock absorb less and heart sinking trauma resulting from recent massacre of fifteen (15) residents of Katsina state. It was yet another episode of heartbreaking attack by bandits on innocent inhabitants right on their farmlands while they tile the ground to seek a means of livelihood. It was so terrifying that I did not take a second glance at the trending video of their mass burial as my eyes soaked in tears.
At the very point of penning down my thoughts in words to condemn and proffer panaceas on the rising level of insecurity in Katsina state, the circulating News of a sponsored bill seeking legislative backing for an act to rename Federal University Dutsin-Ma to Muhammadu Dikko University crippled my thought. The Bill which has reportedly passed first reading at the upper legislative red house chamber was sponsored by Distinguished Senator Ahmad Babba Kaita, Representing Katsina North Senatorial District, and chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
The Bill to rename Federal University Dutsin-Ma to Muhammadu Dikko University is not the first of it kind. A flashback to Thursday 9th of November, 2017, recorded a Bill of exact nature the lower chamber of the legislative House sponsored by the immediate past Member Representing Dutsin-Ma/Kurfi, Hon. Danlami Kurfi. The Bill met a total rejection and never scale through beyond first reading.
Never in my wildest dream and imagination has the thought of seeing a Distinguished Senator of Ahmed Babba Kaita’s pedigree stooping sow low to sponsor a valueless Bill of this nature, especially in the wake of alarming rate of insecurity, abject poverty and penury, devastating condition of healthcare system and vulnerability of internally displaced persons dominantly visible in Katsina state.
I was privileged to meet Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita in person back in the year 2017 at the National Assembly Complex. If my memory serve me well, it was during an excursion tour alongside my fellow Students from the Department of Political Science, Federal University Dutsin-Ma. At that period, the now Distinguished Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita was the at the lower chamber as a member, representing Kankia/Ingawa/Kusada Federal Constituency. After the preliminary session, we had a brief chat with him and some other lawmakers.
I can attest from my short encounter with Ahmed Babba Kaita that he is dedicative, pro-masses, creative, humble and simple down to earth. I have been following up his outstanding and remarkable contributions that are obviously visible, not only in his senatorial district, but also across Katsina state at large. The testimonies of his life touching projects and hope restoring gestures are further indication that he is committed to serving humanity to the very best of his ability.
While I acknowledge Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita’s impacts in transforming the lives of many, I will without mincing words refer to his sponsored Bill to rename FUDMA to nothing but a wild goose chase, conceived out of the Senator’s relentless effort to further boost his fast growing political popularity, especially in Katsina state.
The Distinguished Senator this time around aimed at the wrong target, and such error might timely cost him his political ambitions. It is a backslide for a Senator of Ahmed Babba Kaita’s caliber to stain his political garment with a Bill that lack any socioeconomic impact on the overall wellbeing and living conditions of the people, whose interest the Senator constitutionally protected. It is equally demeaning to the crest and lack of respect for constitutional mandate for the entire principal officers of the upper legislative chamber to entertain a bill that totally lack merit given that the entire country is faced with a more urgent legislation requiring issues above a mere change of institution name.
It is a serious misplacement of priority to dwell legislative efforts on renaming a University that is currently grappling with an unending power tussle and crass calamitous leadership crisis dragging the institution to the pit. If Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita and his fellow Distinguished Senators at the upper chamber are truly seeking a means to write their names in gold on the FUDMA hall of fame, Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita should take advantage of his position as the Chairman of Senate committee on Tertiary institutions to deploy his arsenal into solving the quadratic puzzle of leadership crisis in FUDMA. Otherwise, embarking on renaming the institution will yield nothing positive other than a fruitless effort.
It is understandable that Late Muhammadu Dikko of blessed memory is a figure whose legendary inputs across Katsina kingdom cannot be forgotten in a hurry. His enormous contributions as Emir is worthy of been immortalized to keep his memory alive. But with the Katsina stadium, central market, state Television station, Central Mosque and Secondary school all bearing Muhammadu Dikko, they are more than enough to keep the memory of the late Emir alive.
Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita embark on this fruitless exercise paying little or no attention to the structure and heterogeneous nature of the University. This is a University that houses more than twenty thousands people from different ethnic extUniversity. An attempt to rename FUDMA will only give birth to a more complex problem of ethnic supremacy. The likes of Ahamadu Bello University Zaria, and Bayero University Kano were onl able to maintain the tempo of ethnicity as a Federal institutions with complex ethnic composition, only because they were established with the names they all bear right from inception.
As an Alumni of FUDMA, I cannot help but imagine the damages the renaming of FUDMA will cause on the stability and progression of the University.
The institution has graduated not less than six set of students, majority of which are in the labour market. What will be the fate of these graduates certificates issued by the institution upon the renaming? If Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita insist on naming an institution of higher learning after Late Muhammadu Dikko, I think Federal Polytechnic Daura, which the Senator was at the forefront of its establishment, is the most suitable since the Polytechnic is yet to kick start academic session. FUDMA should be taken out of the equation of Senator’s renaming quest.
It is not longer hidden that Senator Ahmed Babba Kaita doing everything within his reach to lay the architectural foundation of his Governorship ambition through Bill sponsoring and project initiation. The Senator’s unquenchable thirst to strengthen his political frontier that will guarantee his governorship ambition are clearly visible.
However, there are avalanche of pressing areas that are begging for legislative attention beyond renaming of a University. The insecurity ravaging Katsina state is one of those areas. The Senator can initiate a Bill that will pass death penalty on perpetrators of banditry and kidnappings in the state.
With insecurity and the outbreak of Covid 19 in Katsina state, food shortage is looming behind the corner. The Senator can initiate a Bill that will help to improve agriculture in the state, since most inhabitants of the state are farmers by occupation. Abject poverty and penury has placed Katsina state on the top list of poorest state in the country.
The senator can initiate a bill that will birth an empowerment scheme to alleviate vulnerable residents out of poverty line. Banditry have rendered thousands residents of Katsina state homeless. The Senator can equally initiate a Bill that will provide roof over the heads of the homeless. Thousands of children are out of school in Katsina state.
The Senator can initiate a Bill that will make available more schools in the state. The healthcare system in Katsina is in a state of comatose. The Senator can initiate a Bill that will prove medical services in the state. The list are endless. Renaming Fudma is an exercise in futility.
Comrade Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu
Political and Human Rights Activist