Education is an essential part of intellectual freedom, and one of its main values is improving how students view, exist in and participate in the world. Education is a social event for most people, it encourages sharing of ideas and experiences among students, which helps students become better members of the community by teaching morals, ethics and community responsibility. Education has both intellectual and economic value.
Education comes in many forms, including trade apprenticeships and formal post-secondary education. Both of these give the students the ability to improve their socioeconomic standing by giving them the tools and skills necessary to get better jobs and to serve their community any way possible.
But, these realities will only remain dreams until the right leaders lead; leaders who understand the value of education and it is part of their core personal values.
It was indeed a tragedy for decades to watch Taraba state leisurely tear itself apart in an untiring death march with short sighted leaders ruling over her affairs. Blood flowed the streets, and under development became the slogan of the state; that great state, the beauty of all states.
Even at inception of the creation of Taraba State, it was promising and full of opportunities and its citizens full of potentials. But, down history lane, Taraba State was decaying and moving backward instead of forwardness because of the half-hearted attitude of rulers that refused to be leaders who had little or no interest for the development of the state. Close to two decades to the year 2015 Taraba was no longer the state we knew, nor the one from the stories we have received. This tragedy was alarming in all sectors of the state, of which education is just one among many.
Also, its pivotal to note, Taraba was a state where tertiary institutions were glorified secondary schools, class rooms converted to hostels after the day’s lectures, a state where in the hospitals patients and doctors took cover from the rain during its season, civil servants afraid to retire because they had no hope for the future, just to mention but a few.
When Governor Darius took over the mantle of leadership in Taraba State, the state was very backward in all things! But, the fact is, since his resumption to office, the Rescue Captain, Arc Darius, has transformed Taraba State within his first few years into that level of social awareness that is too improbable, astonishing and extraordinary to be believed, specifically in the education sector.
Before he was elected as governor, there was a Presidential retreat of the Northeast Economy Development, which took place in Gombe State. It was clearly stated at that meeting that Taraba State was backward in terms of education among many too numerous to mention.
But in a twist of fate, Arc. Darius became the governor of Taraba State.
According to reports by many reputable media houses, the entire state of Taraba was in shambles close to two decades. It was terrible such that one would be lucky if any class had a roof before the advent of Governor Darius. As a result of this shameful misfortune that ensue the education system in Taraba, one would hardly have regular teachers discharge their duties.
When Governor Darius took over, he sat, came up with visible plan that cleaned up the educational system in Taraba to a reasonable stage, thus making it activated to start a leap all over again. Under that first step taken he was able to identify over twenty thousand educational staff that were found one thing. As someone who has solid background from academia, he understood the root course, thus sacking 20,000 teachers as it is the culture in some other states was not the solution. If that was done, it could have been like a political suicide because the state is purely a civil service state.
What the Rescue captain did was to engage consultants. In the process of engagement Taraba State University was one part that was pivotal that needed to be worked upon. The consultants came up with a short, medium and long term recommendation depending on the level of damages over the years.
Their recommendations were in terms of structural collapse and system collapse. The system collapse was more with the Tertiary Institutions even though the physical structures was in shambles too. Thus, part of the outcome of that engagement was training and retraining of staff at all levels in the educational sector; and the retraining was carried for two years.
To start with, within the first three years into his administration, Taraba State was ranked first in the Northeast in terms of education. This was made possible as a result of the governor’s foresight, hard work, ability to manage scares resources and outstanding leadership style.
The Rescue Captain equally built WAEC office in Jalingo and got them a car to make sure that they were functional. The state had less than 20 percent in two years, but it went up to 60 to 70 percent of becoming the first in the Northeast and the eighth in the country. As a result of his resolve to rescue the education sector, he was able to fished out many of the ghost workers. The state now has a truer number of teachers in schools and that has saved the state a lot of money.
Architect Darius has been strongly committed to education, electoral reforms, good governance, initiatives against corrupt practice, socio-economic development, poverty alleviation, peaceful inter-religious coexistence, security of lives and property, freedom of citizens, rule of law and social justice. Thereafter, he launched the 3,000 rescue teachers programme and interestingly 70 percent of them are graduates.
Now, coming to Taraba State University, on his arrival, he brought in a new Vice Chancellor. And from just four faculties in Taraba State University, the Rescue Captain working with his team and the Team from the University, made it now to eight faculties. Not only that, from just having three professors in a whole university, the Rescue Captain has built up the system by engaging over 60 Professors presently. This in indeed laudable! And of course, you can imagine how huge this progress has added dramatically to the university.
It will be accurate then to give an ovation to the Rescue Captain to have done this within the shortest time possible. He was able to do that and many other projects despite the security problems and while battle with court cases respectively. It is a fact that in Taraba State, the whole value chain in education has greatly improved in just three and a half years.
Life is in stages and faces, so also is the process of development in leadership. There’s a saying: “…to destroy is easier than to build”. Thus, if we all must be truthful, a damage made for two decades should not be expected to be corrected completely in four years. The best we should expect is that, there is a clear cut vision and plan to correct it. And such has been well spelt from inception by the Rescue Captain in the master plan for his administration – the Green Book. It’s a small book but mighty.
Governor Darius is an Educationist and knows the importance of growing a university to march all morals and standards as well as not allowing the future to suffer the products of today. In his words:
I’m working to make sure the future is secured by making today certain and all I do and will always do is not minding individualistic interest but putting Taraba first and any other next.
Hence, the few other challenges in the educational sector and the present shot down of the Taraba State University is just but a temporary setback, which after all plans and interventions are sorted out, the management and the students will testify that the Rescue Caption has them at heart.
Governor Darius have plans to industrialise the state, and going by the waves of revolutionary policy initiatives and project implementation under his leadership as the Governor of Taraba State, the focus on the minds of people should be on Darius’s brilliance, ingenuity and versatility in the way he conducts government dealings.
One can then be confident that Governor Darius is towards bringing a complete overhaul in Taraba State Tertiary Institutions, because of the seriousness and total commitment with which he approached the governance of Taraba State.
Written by A. A. Mshelia