Considering the significant roles played by Abdu Gusau Polytechnic Talata Mafara in Zamfara state, particularly in science and technology as well as entrepreneurship development since its establishment over 30 years ago, SANUSI MUHAMMAD takes a look at the institution, problems and way forward.
The present day Abdu Gusau Polytechnic Talata Mafara has a long standing history that dates back to the emergence of the Staff Training Centre, Sokoto in 1956 which was eventually renamed Staff Development Centre, Sokoto in 1972.
It was the same staff development centre that was later amalgamated with Community Development Institute, Birnin Kebbi and Home Economics Centre, Gusau to constitute an arm called College of Administration Sokoto which formed part of the then Polytechnic of Sokoto state but located in Birnin Kebbi in 1980.
However, the geographical division of the country in 1991 saw the creation of Kebbi from the former Sokoto state. The former Sokoto under the leadership of Col Bashir Magashi thought it is desirable to establish its own polytechnic at Talata Mafara with a view to taking advantage of the existing structures meant for a technical college already there. Still, the College of Administration Farfaru remained an integral part of the proposed polytechnic and served as the temporary site.
The laudable proposal eventually became a reality in 1992 when His Excellency, Mallam Yahaya Abdulkarim signed the bill establishing the polytechnic.
In February 1995, the government of Sokoto state renamed the institution to Abdu Gusau Polytechnic after the Late Engr Abdu Gusau who died in November 1994. This renaming was done in order to recognise him as the first engineer from the former Sokoto state. In October 1996, the federal government created Zamfara state out of former Sokoto state, a situation which necessitated the hurried relocation of the institution to its partially completed permanent site in Talata Mafara as it was not possible legally for Zamfara to continue to sustain an institution belonging to it but located in another state.
By the end of 1996, the institution had completed its relocation paving way for the commencement of the new session (1996/1997) by February 1997. While being grateful to Almighty Allah for making the movement possible, the management and the state government also appreciated the understanding and co-operation exhibited by staff, students, the entire local government and host community at that crucial moment.
It is on record that the staff and students lived and worked under extreme hardship at that time, while efforts were being made to gradually ameliorate the situation.
Abdu Gusau Polytechnic is now a fully-developed institution offering programmes in all fields of human endeavours. This can be testified to when its numerous alumni from all parts of the country are considered. It is now set to meet up with the challenges of universal technological advancements.
Some of the accredited courses offered in the polytechnic via National Diploma (ND) & Higher National Diploma (HND) Courses include Statistics, Science Laboratory Technology, Office Technology and Management. Others are Local Government Studies, Computer Science, Business Administration and Management, Banking and Finance, Art and Design, Accountancy, among others. However, since its establishment in 1992, the polytechnic graduated so many prominent personalities ranging from politicians, military officers, police officers, Immigration officers, Customs personnel among whom is former governor of the state and former chairman Nigerian Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, among others.
The Abdu Gusau Polytechnic Talata Mafara has so many challenges ranging from inadequate accomodation for students to flooding, accessible roads networks, structures, among others. Since its establishment in 1992, the previous governments which include former military administrator, Rtd Col. Jibrin Bala Yakubu who ruled the state from 1996 to 1999, Sen Ahmed Sani (Yariman Bakura) who ruled the state from 1999 to 2007, Alh Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi from 2007 to 2011, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar from 2011 to 2019 as well as the current Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle who has spent three years governing the state, have not done enough for the institution as the college suffered a lot in the area of projects that have direct bearing on students, staff and entire management from the state government.
Some of these challenges mentioned above are the major problems affecting the entire college. If not for the intervention of Tertiary Education Trust Funds (TETFUND) by the federal government, the polytechnic could have collapsed by now.
Majority of the students reside in Talata Mafara Town. Investigation reveals that they lack enough accomodation, a development that affect their studies one way or the other. Another problem is that some of the structures built since its establishment like the deputy rector’s office, Department of Accountancy, Examinations Office to mention but a few are in complete dilapidation. The college also lacks good access roads network to ease transportation for students, staff and entire management. There is also need for total landscaping within the campus to avoid flooding. This can be done by construction modern waterways as the school faces serious problems of flooding due to lack of enough water course.
Some of the students interviewed by Blueprint recently expressed their dissatisfaction over the way the state government had neglected the institution in the area of projects that can engance teaching and learning processes.
“We are not happy at all with the way this school looks like particularly as it is a state- owned-polytechnic and previous leaders have shown lukewarm attitude in providing social amenities in the school particularly good access roads, enough accommodation, waterways, among others.”
In an interview with Blueprint, one of the students identified as Ibrahim Ahmad suggested that there is urgent need for the state government under the leadership of Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle to key into construction of access road network, drainage system, rehabilitation of delapidated old structures, building adequate accomodation for students as well as improving the entrepreneurship for the students to improve their study in the polytechnic.
“The Abdu Gusau polytechnic Talata Mafara needs urgent attention of the state government and I must commend the federal government for its intervention particularly by providing more structures through the Tertiary Education Trust Funds (TETFUD). If not because of the TETFUD programme, this polytechnic would be in a serious backwardness as regards the issue of teaching and learning processes,” he said.
Ahmad further suggested that Zamfara state government should open Annex Campus for Talata Mafara Polytechnic in Gusau the state capital particularly for the part time programmes with a view to boost learning process among indigenes of the state. “If an annex campus opens in Gusau the state capital, it would go along way in having more indigenes to acquire tertiary education easily considering the fact that the polytechnic is very far from Gusau and some people are finding it difficult to travel from Gusau to Talata Mafara local government for their studies due to insecurity and other problems,” he said.
As it is, there is a need by the state government to modify and renovate all the Entrepreneurship Centres in the polytechnic particularly the Centre of Fish Farming and Poultry in order to meet national standard while emphasis should be placed on providing adequate modern tailoring machines at the Tailoring Entrepreneurship Centres in the institution in order to improve entrepreneurship training for students.