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Katsina State And The Quest For A Better Tomorrow

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By Abdu Labaran Malumfashi.

My state, Katsina, or to be more precise, Katsina Region of nearly forgotten memory, used to be the shining light in the north. Those were the days when Katsinawa and Daurawa, in particular, used to be a reference material in terms of positivety in the north.

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But the Katsina state of today is best known for something that is not edifying, and every effort is made for the people of the area not to forget that fact. But those in the forefront of the campaign forgot about the contribution of Katsina yesterday in the development of today.

This brings us to the topic of today, with the question of ‘why expect tomorrow to repair the ‘damage’ made to Katsina by today? By tomorrow, I mean the youth, who are supposed to be the leaders of the proverbial tomorrow, while today stands for the elders.

Today, the progress of the society and the elders was made possible by the past or yesterday, not tomorrow, which is represented by the youth. The youth or tomorrow can only build on what is found on the ground. The task of building or laying the foundation for a good tomorrow therefore rests with the abundant elderly human resources Katsina state is known to possess in every field of human endeavour.

Such fields include but not limited to politics, business, the forces, technocracy at both federal and state levels, above all, educationists and the general work force that is in abundance. We do not have to name those we have because the list is almost endless, and those who have not seen their names on it might feel offended. That is not our intention, anyway.

Unfortunately, in today’s Nigeria, yesterday is always better than today and it is expected that tomorrow will be no better than today for reasons that only we Nigerians can say. But God forbid, is the prayer that yours faithfully can offer for the time being.

Meanwhile, today can repair the damage done to yesterday by starting in earnest and with all seriousness of purpose, the journey to a prosperous tomorrow, since there are the people and the means, abundantly in a big measures, to do so.

The starting point of the journey may be no better than in the field of education, an area where most of the elites, who were made by yesterday, prepare to patronise the foreign ones for their children because they have run down the local (tertiary) institutions.

Those who have the means, and those who have the ideas have to come together and physically build the tertiary schools that are useful for today, tomorrow and the far future for generations to come. That is what is done in the immediate neighbourhood of our dear state.

The institutions must necessarily include universities and polytechnics, where courses such as science and technology, in particular, are taught with emphasis on engineering, computer science, Information Technology (IT) in general, to name just a few of the in-demand courses that will play a significant part in the development of the tomorrow of our dreams and the envy of the rest of the world.

That will be the future, where the purpose of government will be narrowed down to bringing the people together into a country or state, not the provision of the upkeep of a few people in the society as is the case now. That will be what science and technology would make the future to be, with those without the knowledge, experience and know how in these fields left very, very far behind.

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It will not help the state in any way where the individual would rather develop themselves over and above their state, and leave only the state government to erect the needed infrastructure and other services of modern times.

Some of the state governments end up building a ‘big government house’, anyway. Weather old or new, the government house will have no impact on the larger society, but the official use of a few people in the government. By the way, the politicians among the readers of Katsina state descen should know that another state in the north has built a new government house long after Katsina state built its own, if that is any consolation to them.

But the things that are needed at this material point are big institutions, not the unnecessary new government houses that the northern governments seem to be in competition to out do one another in having one. A white elephant project that will not in any way advance the interests of the people in the state, now or in the future, in my opinion.

This seems to be what most of the political elites in our midst are good at, whereas in other places in the same country, their elites are more concerned about and are busy building infrastructure and institutions that will benefit one and all of their people, regardless of social status in their states.

And we always celebrate ‘our own’ for getting ‘undeserved’ honours at home, especially, from our emirs and chiefs, who, of course, award the honours for the money earlier given to them by the awardees, in most cases.

Some of the business people, who are with us are a ‘government’ unto themselves, because they would rather exploit the people than help the government to ameliorate the hardship faced by the less privileged in the society. Many of those among them who sell needed stuff hoard them and later sell at exorbitant prices, to make life even more miserable for the poor.

Of course, others are doing their very best to help the government make life a little bearable for the majority of the population. But their ‘best’ is not sufficient enough to make the much needed impact on the society.

The emirs, chiefs and the ulamas are supposed to be active participants in the campaign for a more prosperous society today and the future, but many of them are themselves busy getting their today now. That is not saying that all of them are not doing what is expected of them.

The ulamas, particularly the Friday (prayer) Chief Imams, often make lengthy sermons for such people to change their relationship with their fellow humans. They are also wont of reminding those people of the truth about death, which requires only the ordinary white shroud to cover and take the deceased to their new but lasting ‘home’. Worldly things do not help the people who are dead, at least by the belief of the Muslims.

The sermons are mostly for the benefit of some of the sellers of petroleum products and the power companies, notably the one that they know in the north western part of Nigeria.

It is therefore the responsibility of all of us, not just the government, to build a better Katsina state for the succeeding generations. One wishes that these seemingly heartless people will briefly go through the difficult moment the poor in the area go through daily.

May Allah help us towards this onerous but worthwhile endeavour.

Malam Malumfashi wrote from Abuja.

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