EXCLUSIVE: Political Intrigues Threaten Takeoff Of University Of Agric Zuru

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The Governor of Kebbi State Alhaji Atiku Bagudu has been accused of stalling the takeoff of the newly created Federal University of Agriculture, Zuru, Kebbi State.

The Bill to establish the Federal University of Agriculture, Zuru, Kebbi State was sponsored by Senator representing Kebbi South Senatorial District, Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

Our correspondent gathered from political sources that since the passage of the bill establishing the institution, the political camp of Gov Bagudu has been unsettled because they fear that the new political interests in the state would shift in the direction of Senator Na’Allah, who is moving to succeed the incumbent governor come 2023.

One of the sources who spoke to our correspondent, on the condition of anonymity said because of the growing political interests in who becomes the next governor of Kebbi state, Gov Bagudu has refused to allocate land for the permanent site of the Federal University of Agriculture in Zuru to whittle down the growing political influence of Senator Na’Allah.

“The governor has been unhappy since the announcement of the establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture in Zuru. He is refusing to give land for the takeoff of the institution because he does not want the praises going to Senator Na’Allah who sponsored the bill. His thinking is that since it was the Senator who sponsored the bill that led to the establishment of the Federal University of Agriculture, his political profile will continue to grow and since the senator wants to succeed him as governor, he is very uncomfortable about it. He does not want anybody shinning politically in Kebbi. He wants to be the only one that should be at the centre of it all. So anybody that is gaining political prominence, he tries to put down the person at all cost and that is what he is doing by his refusal to give out land for the siting of the new university of agriculture”.

But in a swift reaction, Bagudu dismissed the claims as false describing it as a calculated attempt to discredit his political credentials.

In a telephone interview with our correspondent, a fortnight ago, the governor said the issue was assuming a sad political dimension because “somebody wants to take credit for the establishment of the institution”.

According to him the state government has expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for siting the new university in Kebbi state adding that anyone who is claiming that he is “unhappy” about the development “is wicked and an enemy of the state”.

He told our correspondent that contrary to reports, he met with members of the interim management of the new university, on December 23, 2019 following a formal request by the head of the team for a visit nothing that the visit afforded both parties the opportunity of having first hand knowledge about the new university.

Bagudu said the meeting also enabled both parties interfaced with a view to ascertaining the needs and requirement of the new federal university.

“It is childish for anyone to say I do not want to give land for the permanent site of the New University of Agriculture Zuru. The issue of refusal to allocate land for the university does not even arise because it has not even been discussed. It is mischievous. When the announcement was made, I thanked Mr. President for giving us the university. The state government sent a thank you letter to Mr. President. You will recall that the college of Agriculture Zuru was elevated to the university. On December 19, 2019, the interim management wrote to me for a courtesy call and on December 23, I met with them. During the visit, we asked them of their requirements for the takeoff of the school and they told me that they will go back to the minister and clarity”.

The governor continued “They have not told me what they want, either to takeover everything from the College of Agricuture Zuru. Not even the list of what they want”.

“In the first place, the new university is to takeoff from the College of Agriculture, Zuru, which is a state institution and during the meeting I had with the interim management, the issues we discussed was if they were going to inherit the College of Agriculture with its staff and everything and the issue of land for permanent site was not discussed,” he stated further.

Professor Abubakar Zuru, chairman of the interim management committee of the new university, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, in the course of this report said they actually met with the Bagudu but said that no formal request has been made of the governor in respect of the takeoff of the new university.

His claim was corroborated by the acting Vice Chancellor of the institution Professor Zakari Gwandu who said that though the new Federal University requires a permanent site hinted that no demand for land for a permanent site was made of the state governor.

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