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|How Niger State Is Managing Funds- Commissioner For Finance by InoutNaija(f): 9:03pm On Oct 03, 2021|
Interviewer: My guest on this edition of the program Footprint is someone who has seen life from various dimensions. He is the Ajiyan Nupe. He is the Niger state Commissioner for Finance, Alh. Zakari Abubakar. You are most welcome to the program, Sir.
Alh. Zakari: Thank you very much.
Interviewer: A lot of people know that you are from the popular Usman mai Dariya house. But tell us more about yourself.
Alh. Zakari: Well, first of all, my name is Zakari Abubakar. I am the son of Alh. Abubakar Ndawuya Zakari who is a son of the Mai Dariya family. I was born in Bida but went to school in Kaduna and Gusau and then Kaduna and then Kano where I attended Bayero University where I had my first and second degrees and then I went to Ahmadu Bello University from where I had another Masters degree. Ever since I have been working.
|Re: How Niger State Is Managing Funds- Commissioner For Finance by InoutNaija(f): 9:04pm On Oct 03, 2021|
Interviewer: You have double MSc?
Alh. Zakari: Yes I have an MSc in Land Resource Development and an MBA Finance. I started work with Niger State civil service in the Ministry for Economic Planing, then it was Department of Economic Development under the Governor’s office during the administration of Mallam Awwal Ibrahim, the present Emir of Suleja. Thereafter I left and went to Nigeria Agricultural and Cooperative Bank popularly known as NACB. From I went to commercial banking, Islamic banking and so on. I left banking in 2009 to join Niger state again as MD, Niger State Agricultural Development Project and then was elevated to a Permanent Secretary in 2011 and posted to the Ministry of Agriculture. In 2013 I was posted from the Ministry of Agriculture to Niger State Planning Commission as the Permanent Secretary. In 2015 I was posted from the Planning Commission to Ministry of Finance as the Permanent Secretary.
Interviewer: Indeed you have vast experience. Let me take you back a bit. Talk to us about some of your contemporaries especially from primary school. You didn’t tell us much about your primary school.
Alh. Zakari: Well, I went to Primary School, Gusau. I started in Kaduna actually and completed in Gusau. One of the contemporaries listeners would know is the former IGP, Idris Kpotun. We were in the same class with him in primary school. Then you’d recall that it was North Western State, and a lot of us who were from Niger and of Nupe extraction were together in Gusau. Incidentally, this Kpotun was at the wedding of my daughter. That was from a long relationship from primary school. We kept on through the university. He went to ABU and I went to Bayero but during holidays we got together. I think he is the one listeners can recall.
I went to Federal Government College, Kaduna. There, one of my contemporaries that listeners might know is Abdulkadir Muhammed who is one of the children of the late Techno popularly called Akmo. He is an architect presently lecturing at Baze University, Abuja. A number of schoolmates I’d say would be Ndagi Wali, retired Perm. Sec., he was a schoolmate at Federal Government College, Kaduna. We have Kudu Muhammed. He is also at Federal Housing Authority and a number of them from Niger state.
Interviewer: From your childhood is there any incident that each time you remember it, makes you say, I’ll never forget this in my life.
Alh. Zakari: (Laughing) That is a difficult one. It very difficult in the sense that when Allah has blessed you with a long life you live by the day. You thank Allah for each day and you take the lessons of the day and move on. Many of the incidences, if you keep in your memory they might clog your days ahead. However, I would remember that my admission into Bayero was very, shall I say, surreal. The late Professor Alkali was the coordinator of the School of Preliminary Studies. And I just walked into his office and asked what’s the problem and I told him, ‘Sir, I have sat for the entrance for this university and I passed but I have not been admitted.’
He laughed and asked, ‘How do you know?’
And I said, ‘I know passed.’
He said, ‘How do you know you passed?’
I said, ‘I know I passed.’
He pulled out the result sheet from his drawer. I didn’t even know it was there and said, ‘What’s your name?’ I mentioned my name. He asked where I sat and I told him Government College, Bida. He checked and said, ‘Ok, come back 3 o’clock for your letter. It think that was a turning point in my life.
|Re: How Niger State Is Managing Funds- Commissioner For Finance by InoutNaija(f): 9:05pm On Oct 03, 2021|
Interviewer: Let’s talk about your teachers especially from secondary school. Are there teachers that each time you remember their contribution in your life you keep appreciating them?
Alh. Zakari: Yes, my Geography teacher, Mr. Ayodele was a very... how do I say it? He starts the day with a quiz; so everyday you go to the class you get tested. We were the first set of the school and, in terms of subjects, Geography was the best. Almost everybody passed. So yes, he has been a remarkable one. And I think also my English Language teacher, Mr. Ayina. Then my English teacher in Primary school, Mallam Taliya Gajere. These were very astute teachers.
Interviewer: Talking about very good teachers, Sir, English very good, I must confess. Look at what’s happening in the society now, if you check, the standard of education seem to have fallen. What do you think is responsible?
Alh. Zakari: I think we have left the basics and we tend to be in a hurry. The basics are exactly what the foundation are of any subject. And you don’t concentrate on anything but the basic concept of that foundation. So if you find yourself in a situation that you don’t know and you rely on the foundation and the basic concepts then you will get it right. Take English language for example, if you understand Lexis and Structure of English, and you understand your tenses and all that, then you will know how to construct sentences naturally. The other thing is that we become experts even before we learn. There’s a need for us to be patient.
But, talking about formal education, I think we have a lot to do at the Primary level because that is where the foundation is. Much of what you see today of those that have succeeded is not even sometimes Secondary school, but Primary school. I was joking with a friend who incidentally is from Niger and of Gbagi extraction, and I told him, ‘Look, why don’t we start teaching at some level in our native languages?”
Maybe then we would get the best scientists. If you take China, they don’t teach science in English in China. They teach science in Chinese. In India they have been able to mix it, their own language and English but they basically teach in their language because the level of understanding you get at that level is high. So while you want to teach English, French, Arabic and the likes so that we can engage with the world, for us as a society, we need to look home and engage our people in the language they speak everyday because anything you learn in school has a practical dimension so that they can relate to the practical dimensions of things.
|Re: How Niger State Is Managing Funds- Commissioner For Finance by InoutNaija(f): 9:06pm On Oct 03, 2021|
Interviewer: Do you have anyone you can call your role model?
Alh. Zakari: Sir. Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto.
Interviewer: What are the things you cherish in him?
Alh. Zakari: Selflessness and the fact that he had a vision and was selfless.
Interviewer: You have been in politics, Sir, what would you say is the major challenge in politics.
Alh. Zakari: I have to be a politician here but I have to be direct. I think there is a tendency for us to see politics as politics in itself rather than seeing it as a means to achieving a desired or a certain goal be it development. Even if it’s a personal ambition that you have, it must have a meaning that translates to what can benefit society. You don’t just go into politics because you want to be Local Government Chairman or be the next Member. Now, when you want to be Member, what exactly are you going to do when you get to that place? These are very important things and this is what I believe is lacking in our system.
Interviewer: Base on your travels, if you check, Nigeria is not where it really has to be. What do you think is the problem based on what you have seen in other countries?
Alh. Zakari: Discipline and being law-abiding. Law-abiding transcends everything. As a Muslim you know that discipline is the key. The five daily prayers that we undertake every day is part of the discipline of Islam. There are prescribed times for it. There are times you’re supposed to get up and pray, and if you fail in that then there’s a failure. Also, faith is key. And going by the rules. The fact that we have failed to go by the rules has led to what I’d call skepticism. People do not believe that the system can deliver what would benefit them. So they result to self-help, and that brings chaos.
Interviewer: If you have the opportunity to reposition the Nigeria’s politics and democracy, what would be your recommendation, Sir?
Alh. Zakari: Discipline, vision and being selfless. You’re in politics it is not for you. It is for the people. And you discipline yourself so that people will get that benefit and you be the example of what you want people to be.
Interviewer: Ok. Let me talk to you as an individual, not Niger State’s Commissioner for Finance. If you have an opportunity to invest, what sector of the economy would you invest your money?
Alh. Zakari: (Laughs) Education.
Interviewer: Why education?
Alh. Zakari: Because that is where we need it most. See, this is what they say: if you want to kill a society, kill education. And I think that’s where we need the most quality so that when people come out of qualitative education, they can impact the rest of society and rest of other endeavors for today and tomorrow.
|Re: How Niger State Is Managing Funds- Commissioner For Finance by Mynd44: 9:08pm On Oct 03, 2021|
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