The new world (Jigawa State), located in the Northwest geo- political zone of Nigeria was created out of Kano State on 27th of August1991 by the then military dictator, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. The state, a predominantly Islamic state with over ninety-nine percentage (99%) of the state being Muslims shares borders with the Niger Republic and other Northern states like; Yobe to the North-east,Bauchi to the South-east and South, Kano to the South- West and Katsina to theNorth- west.
The new world (Jigawa State), consisting of majorly the Hausa/ Fulani is blessed with rich cultural heritage which is mirrored in their mode of dressing, marriage, festivals, food, music and dance et al. The state is a mainly agricultural state with large land area for farming of farm produces ranging from wheat, millet, maize, beans, groundnut, cassava, soya beans to mention but few. When talking about States with places of attraction, Jigawa State cannot but be included in the number as it is a sight to behold with monumental places of interest like; the Baturayi bird sanctuary, Hadejia walls, Emir of Dutse palace, Birnin-kudu rock paintings etc.
The culture of the land though archaic is sometimes enviable to a visitor to the state courtesy of the sweet reminisce of ancient days it brings. Howbeith, it is worthy to note that this culture, not minding how good it is has hampered some sectors of the state and has led to the retarded growth and development of the state.
The administrative head of the state(Governor) in joint effort with the Honorable Commissioner for health of Jigawa State; Abba Umar Zakari had done laudably well in the health sector of the State through the visible feats of meaningful inputs into the health sector of the State to care for the well-being of citizens of the State. Nevertheless, it is not only expected of Paul to plant but also of Apollo to water what has been planted.
Just like the political term ‘ Accountable leadership, Responsible citizens’. The Governor of the State in conjunction with the Ministry of health had played their parts by being accountable but it is quite unfortunate that some citizens have not lived up to expectation on their parts as responsible citizens to bring to fruition the efforts of the State government on health with the presence of some age-long cultures which ought to be long forgotten that pose some health related dangers on the people, Women especially.
Early marriage; an acceptable norm in the State, has greatly dealt a cruel blow on the female folk thereby sending many to their early grave and leaving some in unending pain and societal emblem of stigma. Imagine a young, budding girl of 12 married off to a 50 year old farmer as the culture allows, who to make matters worst, has four wives already.
The poor girl whose reproductive organs are still in the formation stage is impregnated by her father/ husband figure with no proper ante- natal care because of illeteracy and ignorance and unfortunately have complications in delivery which made her a victim of Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF), an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina that results in continuous and uncontrollable leaking of urine through the vagina which was due to the early intrusion into her fragile, immature reproductive organs leaving her oozing a pungent smell.
According to research, one of the major reasons for Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF) is child marriage which is a predominant scourge in Northern States. This is not to say that VVF does not exist in the Southern and Eastern States but the Northern figure is visibly alarming because of the high rate of CHILD BRIDES.
Although, the State Government had established hospitals in every Local Government Areas of the State, the rural dwellers have not equally been benefitting from this largesse as a result of the considerable distance between their Hamlets to the town where these health centers are situated. A visit to a Fulani settlement a stone throw to my place of primary assignment ( PPA), revealed that, pregnant women are sent to live with relatives in the town once they are near delivery to forestall any mishap that might result from the long journey to the hospital for delivery. This is not too good.
Excess child bearing is another heartbreaking norm in the state especially in the rural settlements. One woman bears at least ten(10) children yet, still counting. This unhealthy health practice will to a long way expose these women to a great degree of health complications. Something needs to be done.
Education; a universally accepted catalyst to the growth and betterment of any society is not 100% seen for what it is in some parts of the State. The culture of the land has so much rub off the educational system and method of teaching in schools thus retarding the advancement of education in the state. The government of the State has done considerably well in rejuvenating the education sector of the State, however, the massive knowledge gap between the rural and urban areas cannot be overlooked and the inequality in the distribution of facilities that facilitate effective learning.
Early marriage is a cankerworm that is silently relegating education in the state, 65% of girls are married off in their teens cutting short their dreams and aspirations of becoming meaningful members of the society in the future as a result of the cultural belief that females should not be left to stay long in their father’s house before they are married off. It is also believed that education is not for the female child, too much education is not fit for a girl child who to them should be married off at a ripe age to start bearing children.
The environment does not allow for contemporary methods of teaching like field trip (escortion), laboratory methods and audio- visual methods that facilitate effective comprehension and Students participation because of the absence of power supply to power electrical equipments to enhance teaching. For over 60 months, in some Local Government Areas of the State, particularly Gagarawa, they have been living without electricity. How then will children from these parts of the State measure up to the standard of their counterparts in other States enjoying the goodies of technology with the help of electricity?
The almajiris (majorly male in their teens) roaming the streets in threadbare clothes, scavenging for food is another menace that is a drawback to the education system and rating of the State. These children who ought to have unrestrained access to education as a dividend of them being part of the members of the society were not given this fair share due to the illeteracy and ignorance of their parents that a male child is expected to fend for himself. An idle hand they say is the devil’s workshop and A hungry man is an angry man. These children who are at the mercy of the street for survival will undoubtedly be willingly enlisted into the dreaded insurgent sect if tipped with a token. One is left to ask this pertinent, heart aching questions, “Why has it become a crime to be born into the world as a male child? Why are these children (The Almajiris) who can grow up to become well meaning individuals of the State and make the glory of the state shine bright even accross the shore of Nigeria if given formal education left on the street to fend for themselves with the harsh hand of the Northern weather meting its scorch on them unabated?
Even the children who were fortunate to find themselves in the classroom were not all the time fortunate to be taught by those exposed to westernization but only the crude method of teaching.
In some cases, these teachers are not to be blame as the only facility to teach are crude and obsolete hence the crude method of teaching. When will this end?
Jigawa State is largely known to be one of the peaceful States in the North with several security measures adequately put in place to safeguard the citizens of the State and avail them to go about their daily activities without battling an eyelid and sleep with their eyes fully closed at night. The security situation in Jigawa State can be aptly described as peacefully peaceful.
Nothwithstanding the tight security situation in the state, it will be good to point out that the unutilised large landmass between each Local Government Area to another in the state can be a strategic hideout for terrorists to lay ambush on the unsuspecting citizens to unleash their devilish venom on them.
The Government of the State has tremendously contributed immensely to the health, educacation and security of the State and should be greatly showered with encomium for this great work. It is only a critic that will see an elephant and say he sees nothing. However, regardless of the unimaginable feat achieved by the Government of the State, there is still more to do to make the work Completely complete as there are still more loopholes that needs to be filled to prevent locust from invading the new world ( Jigawa State).
Having said all these, the underlisted proffered solutions will place the education sector of the State at parity with southern counterparts, revive the almost dead health sector and consolidate the security network of the State if strictly adhered to;
On health, there should be at least, one well equipped, standard hospital and dispensery to facilitate standard delivery of health service to the inhabitants of the Local Government and its environs to reduce mortality rate.
Maternity health care center should also be situated in rural settlements to provide prompt delivery services to pregnant women which will simultaneously afford the inhabitants first aid services in time of need.
Competent medical personnels should be deployed to the hospitals and dispensaries in these Local Government Areas because due to the fact that most of these Local Government Heath centers are devoid of competent personnels.
Citizens should be adequately sensitized by health experts on the dangers associated with child marriage, excess child bearing, cervical cancer, Fistula etc on women’s health.
The almost dilapidated state of education in the state can be resuscitated if adequate learning facilities are provided for schools to create an enabling environment for both teachers and students and enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning.
Capable and competent teachers who know well their onions should be deployed to schools in the state that are devoid of such teachers. It is noteworthy here to also suggest that these teachers should be well renumerated in due time to encourage their morale to passionately impart knowledge on the students.
Re- training services like conferences, seminars and workshops should be given to the teachers (all costs on Government) to widen their horizon and keep them them abreast of contemporary teaching methods, content selection, evaluation strategies and other relevant latest modus operandi of teaching.
Girl child education should be encouraged in the state, especially in the rural areas where this is seen as not important. The community should be enlightened that the girl child is not only useful in za oza room (the other room) alone but should be properly educated to become meaningful individuals in the society which will in turn be a plus to their community.
Female personalities like; Her Excellency, Professor Amina J. Mohammed (Deputy Secretary General of United Nations), Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (Ph. D) (Member, Board of Directors, World Bank), Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, (Formal Minister of Finance), The Late Professor Dora Akuiyili, Hajia Sadiya Farouq (Minister, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development) would not have gotten to this peak and achieve such feats if they had been denied access to formal and quality education or relegated to za oza room (the other room) to warm their husband’s bed, become baby making machines. The potentials of these great women have benefitted their community, their state, their country; Nigeria and even the world at large.
Almajiris should be taken off the streets and enrolled in schools for formal education, being in the street for survival makes them prone to eventually become members of the insurgent sect. They, (the Almajiris), are a time bomb waiting to explode which will in no small way wreck havoc on the state and our country; Nigeria if not taken off the streets and given a better life.
Even the security situation of the State is not secured with these hungry children on the streets who just like Esau, can sell their birthright ( Jigawa State and probably Nigeria) for a bowl of soup due to the painful and unbearable pangs of hunger, thereby causing unrest in the state in connivance with our ‘ dreaded enemies’ BOKO HARAM.
Establishments should be situated on the large unutilised landmass to prevent terrorists from using pitching their hideout on these spots to perpetrate their evil acts.
Intelligent report from citizens to the Government on any suspected foul play on security should be encouraged to forestall terrorists from invading the land.
It is unarguably believed that, the health, education and security situation of a State will to a long way determine the level of output, productivity and success such state will achieve. It is therefore highly expected that a state or country that wants to measure up to standard with neighbouring states or country to meaningfully invest into the health, educacation and security of such State or country.
Definitively, the aforementioned proffered solutions, if strictly carried out, Jigawa State will be nothing but the envy of all States.