Many Nigerians have distinguished themselves in scholarship in foreign jurisdiction so much so that they are holding one strategic offices or the other in their adopted countries in the United States of America, Europe and Asia.

One of these many good educated Nigerians happens to be the Sokoto state born but Nigerian based automobile designer- Mr.

Jelani Aliyu who works with one of the biggest car manufacturing firms-General Motors.

Few months back in far away New York, in the USA, stories in the mass media filtered in that this gentleman from Sokoto state, North West Nigeria has been credited with achieving a revolution in car designing going by the fact that he recently designed a state-of-the-art electric car beautifully named Chevy Volt.

This achievement by this young Sokoto boy was made at the General Motors plant in Detroit, the United States of America.

When this beautiful news broke, I ran into the Sokoto state governor Ahaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko somewhere in the nation's capital and one of the issues I raised with him was the fact that a Sokoto State born Nigerian based in far away United States has made Nigeria proud with his high quality creatively designed electric car and he immediately expressed joy but reassured me that the educational developmental blueprint that his government has designed and is currently implementing will in no distant time produce several Jelani Aliyus in the diverse fields of learning especially in the special sciences.

He invited me to undertake a study of the provisions of this educational masterplan and match them with the facilities on ground in Sokoto so as to convince any doubting 'Thomas' that indeed an educational revolution has been going on in Sokoto state in the last eight years under his watch.

Being a man of few words who believes so much in action, the Sokoto state governor after tasking me with this assignment proceeded to attend to other pressing state functions.

I took my time to request for detailed information from the Sokoto state office of the Senior Special Adviser on Media and the quantum of verifiable data I received were so overwhelming and the import of all these volumes of information correlated with factual verifiable structures and facilities on ground, goes to show that indeed the government in place in that state vales education of the youth so much and has indeed done so much that could as well be considered to be revolutionary in this age and time.

From my investigation thus far, education has been acknowledged to be the bedrock of any society and the All Progressives Congress Government of Sokoto State is widely reported to have attached great importance to this sector that within few period in power the sector has witnessed unprecedented improvement and significant milestones.

There are records to show that the first major decision the state government took was the public declaration of state of emergency in the educational sector as a last ditch effort to save the system from imminent collapse due to prolonged periods of neglect.

In substantial compliance with global best practices, the Sokoto State government reportedly committed between 27-30% of the state budget in order to revitalize and reposition education in the state.

Realizing that the key step to take in repositioning the near-moribund educational system was to ensure the total transformation and aggressive capacity building of the field workers who impart knowledge on the students- the teachers and part of the overall incentives introduced was to make it a practice that teachers no longer use their money to buy basic teaching materials.

As part of the state government's resolution to provide qualitative, accessible and affordable education to the citizens, it immediately embarked on rehabilitation and expansion of some selected secondary schools; purchased and distributed science and technical equipment to all secondary schools in the state.

Other measures taken by the Wamakko's administration were purchase and distribution of relevant textbooks for all subjects; purchase and distribution of computers and accessories to some selected schools.

Since a journey of one thousand miles begins with a step, the Sokoto state government under Governor Wamakko considered it imperative that the school system being in serious need of adequate, qualified and professionally competent manpower, decided to embark on thorough bred recruitment of additional teachers and provision of vehicles for monitoring and inspection as well as equipping classrooms and hostels with furniture.

In line with the universal fact that a reading nation is a great nation, the Sokoto state government invested great amount of financial resources to erect and equip modern day state-of-the-art libraries in some selected post-primary schools and equipped the Education Resources Centres with necessary facilities to cater for primary and post-primary schools.

The Sokoto state government also provided the enabling learning environment in order to improve the rate of school enrolment by providing additional incentives such as ; increasing the  feeding allowances by 100 percent, thereby ending burden on parents, which also increased attendance by 40 percent; increased Scholarship allowances by 100 percent; settled the  registration fees of indigenes studying in various higher institutions of learning at N120 million at the inception of the administration and this amount has tripled in view of the surge in the number of sokoto indigenes who get admissions into tertiary institutions.

From my findings from highly competent but independent observers in Sokoto state, the current administration had earlier adopted revolutionary measures such as off setting and finally settling huge registration fees of all Post -graduate students within and outside the country and also consistently made sure that the payment of scholarship allowances to indigenous students at higher institutions of learning across the State at N83 million was made.

Generally, Northern Nigeria is seriously lacking in indigenous medical practitioners and in a bid to create the enabling environment for bright Sokoto state students from mainly indigent families pursue their education passion in the medical sciences, the current administration has since reportedly offered improved scholarship for 30 students pursuing medicine at Albion College London, United Kingdom at N250 million, even as it has sponsored ten indigenes to london for other specialized professional finance related courses at the cost of N33,429,250.

These are revolutionary educational steps that are sure to empower significant number of the younger populations and will inevitably have ripple down effects on the transformation of the state in the nearest future because the best investment for the future is the educational empowerment of the youth.

In furtherance of its determination the government sponsored 25 indigenes to UK and Malaysia to become consultants in the medical fields(medicine); Sponsored additional 59 indigenes for studies at Nigeria Maritime Academy and additional 25 at the African Maritime Academy.

Another batch  of 25 indigenes were sponsored to School of Aviation, Zaria at the cost of N80m.

Government of the day in Sokoto state took the unprecedented step of totally abolishing all forms of tuitions in all public schools including abolition of School fees, examination fees across the Board for both indigenes and non indigenes alike.

In the whole of Nigeria this is only applicable in Sokoto state.

the step seen variously as a healthy move increased students' enrolment by more than 40 percent.

As a child growing up in the early 80's in Kafanchan, Kaduna state, I am aware that the then state administration discriminated among indigenes and non-indigenous students in the provision of scholarship regarding tuitions and other fees but this recent step by the Sokoto state government is the first of its kind and has set the tone for a constitutional reform to make it illegal for any Nigerian to be classified on the basis of where he/she was born in matters concerning benefitting from government funded scholarship.

Apart from abolishing school fees, the Government of Sokoto did not rest on its oars but embarked on Expansion works on 30 secondary schools in the state amounting to seven hundred eighty six million naira which include classrooms, hostels, libraries, workshops, staff houses.

The government Purchased science equipment for schools' laboratories at the cost of N200m just as current textbooks, computers and exercise books to schools worth N172m were transparently purchased.

The Governor's Senior Special Adviser on Media office informed this writer that due to increase in schools enrolment the construction and expansion of schools have become so imperative and therefore necessitated the Construction of new secondary school at Shuni at the cost of N384,244,846 and expansion of Government secondary school Kware at the cost of N172m as well as purchasing vehicles for inspection of schools, at the cost of 72,645,000.

00{Hilux and 8 buses}.
I asked to know how much may have been committed towards these uncommon educational revolutionary steps and what I was told is heartwarming especially in this clime whereby the federal governments in the last fifteen years have always committed less than 3 percent of the annual budget to service the educational sector.

In Sokoto I found out that from inception to date government has spent more than N5 billion on students scholarship, tuition.

welfare packages and other facilities that are enhancing speedy and qualitative learning.

I further stumbled on the following financial breakdown of what have been invested in the sponsorship of Sokoto state indigent students thus: "The administration also spent N85,000,000.

00 to sponsor 200 candidates to Federal Science College, Sokoto, 40 students to Key Science Academy, Abuja and 20 students to Zaria Academy.

Indeed with these and several other practical achievements made in the educational sector, only an administration headed by a good leader with vision would be able to do these for posterity and for the betterment of his society.

Little wonder then that the governor has large grassroots followership.

Mahatma Ghandi stated that; "You must be the change you wish to see in the World", and judging by the quantum of educational landmarks made in Sokoto, it is safe to say that Governor Wamakko is a positive change agent.

Written By Emmanuel Onwubiko

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