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AN OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY, DR. AGBU KEFAS THE GOVERNOR OF TARABA STATE

Your Excellency Sir, I extend warm regards to you. I am writing to express my concern and passionate appeal on the reflections of Takum king...

Gov Kefas Sets The Right Tone In Taraba!


  Ray Morphy  

This last week, the youth of Nigeria were abuzz with a cheering news from Taraba State! Governor Kefas with one stroke of the pen slashed tertiary school fees in Taraba by half. By this singular gesture, he has lifted a great burden from both parents and students.

 

And this is in consonance with the first schedule of the Nigerian constitution which puts citizen wellbeing as the first priority of government. That governor has demonstrated a will to serve and to put citizens of his state first.

 

In this era of crushing cost of fuel, falling naira and stagnant wages, governance must have a human face. This is what Gov Kefas has done and this column salutes him. It is early days yet, but he has our admiration for this first step in progressive governance. Not many governors understand the role of human capital in economic and social development.

 

By slashing fees, Gov Kefas has simply improved the capacity of Tarabans to flourish and grow through education. With that fee reduction, those who would have dropped out will now continue schooling and those who hitherto could not afford education, will now enroll. His action is indeed a refreshing breath of fresh air. He has taken the bull by the horn despite the many challenges he must face as a newly elected governor. He could have come up with the usual litany of excuses, but he chose to put the people first!

 

 

Dr Agbu Kefas, the governor of Taraba State, took this Commendable action during an impromptu visit to Taraba State University, Jalingo. During the visit, the governor instructed the University to implement an immediate 50% reduction in school fees, effective from the upcoming academic session.

 

This action of the governor in cutting down tuition fees when other state governors are increasing tuition fees shows a leader who understands the role of education in development! This reduction has come as a huge relief to parents who have children in the university at a time when the economy is in dire strait and the situation exacerbated by the astronomical increase in prices of goods and services in the country following the removal of the fuel subsidy.

 

 

A few days after slashing University fees, Agbu Kefas, again, declared primary and secondary school education free in Taraba state. He made the declaration on Friday, 7 July at the Ebenezer Primary School in Wukari. According to the governor starting from the next academic session, primary and secondary education in Taraba State will be free. He stressed that it is the government's responsibility to bear the expenses and that students should not be subjected to any fees. Also, he stated that apart from fulfilling a campaign promise, the hardship occasioned by the removal of the fuel subsidy has made the move imperative. Fuel subsidy removal had been used as the excuse to increase the cost of government services in many states across the country, but to Kefas, governance is about ameliorating the challenges of subsidy removal for the poor and low income earners.

 

The benefits of what Kefas has done by making education accessible are many. Not only will Taraba youths individually benefit from receiving education, when it comes to income, career advancement, skill development, and employment opportunities, the state and country receive benefits of education as well. Societies with higher rates of degree completion and levels of education tend to be healthier, have higher rates of economic stability, lower crime, and greater equality. The future of Taraba is therefore assured. This is worthy of emulation.

 

 

These acts of the Taraba Governor should be emulated by other state governors. Very many states have turned their state universities to revenue generating organizations, a situation that should not be. Some state universities are competing with private universities in charging outrageously tuition fees, thereby denying their own people access to higher education. Even in America, state owned or state promoted universities charge low and subsidized fees.

 

As for the free primary and secondary education, the benefits are enormous. Don't forget that it was Chief Obafemi Awolowo's free education policy that gave the Western Region head-start in several sectors in Nigeria, a preeminence that the South West is enjoying up till today.

 

Culled LEADERSHIP Newspaper

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