KOGI, NASARAWA SENATORS AT WAR OVER SITING OF FEDERAL VARSITY
Following approval by President Goodluck Jonathan for establishment of six federal universities in the country, Senators from Kogi and Nasarawa States yesterday engaged in a verbal war over location of the one for North Central zone quota.
The warring Senators from Kogi and Nasarawa States at different press conferences argued for and against establishment of the federal university allotted to the North Central zone in either of the two states within the zone with no federal university.
In his own address, Senator Smart Adeyemi said Federal College of Agriculture in Kabba, established in 1963 by the late Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, should be converted to a federal university.
However, at a different briefing, two Senators from Nasarawa State, Abubakar Sodangi and Suleiman Adoke said the State, which has less federal institutions, unlike Kogi State, should be granted the institution in the spirit of fairness, justice and equity.
Buttressing his argument Adeyemi said since the demerger of the old Kabba and Ilorin provinces and the creation of the Kogi State, no federal university had been established in the State while states like Kwara, Benue and Niger that were created almost the same time with Kogi had federal universities.
He noted with sadness that over 46 years after the establishment of College of Agriculture in Kabba, the institution was yet to be upgraded while states that had no Secondary Schools as at the time, presently have federal universities.
According to Adeyemi; 'The College of Agriculture, Kabba, established by the late Sardauna, deserves to be upgraded to a federal university in line with other states that were created and which federal institutions have since been accorded the status of university.'
Adeyemi said it would be unjust for him to fold his arms and watch things degenerate, knowing that those in position to advise people in executive positions were usually not honest to proffer genuine advice to enable them arrive at acceptable decisions.
He, therefore, appealed to President Jonathan to help sustain the legacies established by the late Sardauna of Sokoto by ensuring the establishment of the federal university allotted to North Central zone was sited in Kabba since the issue was that of upgrading an existing institution, which would cost the Federal Government less to establish.
In his own remarks, Sodangi said the cup of Kogi State with regard to federal presence was full. He added that such federal projects and institutions included Ajaokuta Steel Company, Itakpe Iron Ore company, Federal Inland Waterways with headquarters in Lokoja, Federal Polytechnic, Idah, Federal College of Education, Okene, Federal College of Agriculture, Kabba, and the proposed Refinery at Itobe, all in Kogi State.
Sodangi further said that Nasarawa State had supported Kogi State in the establishment of federal institutions in the state and wondered why Adeyemi should start opposing establishment of the federal university allotted to the North Central State in Nasarawa State.
According to Sodangi; 'The siting of the university in Nasarawa State has greater advantage to Nigerians, owing to its proximity to Abuja, as it is a known fact that most of the people working in Abuja reside in Nasarawa State. The establishment of the University in Nasarawa State would be an advantage to all Nigerians particularly those in the Federal Capital Territory.'
The Nasarawa Senators therefore advised Adeyemi and Governor Ibrahim Idris of Kogi State to withdraw their expressions over the siting of the proposed federal university in Nasarawa State just as they appealed to them to support the siting of the institution in Nasarawa State as good brothers.
While commending President Jonathan and the Federal Government Committee charged with the responsibility of galvanizing and harmonising views towards siting the University for resolving to establish the institution in Nasarawa State, the Nasarawa legislators said their State was not in any way divided over which of its senatorial districts should have the institution.
'We are not quarrelling overwhich zone the University should be sited in our state. We are ready to give the needed plots of land for the establishment of the university in any part of the State,' Sodangi said.