J-Power: Jigawa in reverse gear, By Adamu Muhd Usman



A worker, is a person who performs labour for his living, especially manual labour and a civil servant, is the one who is employed or hired by the government to perform regular office or other duties, and in return, he receives salary as a form of compensation.

The civil service is the engine room and the servants are propellers of the government. Enough manpower and its capacity to perform make governments efficient. Human capacity is a central enabler of productivity. Its absence or shortage and incapacity result in a certain failure and stagnation of society in all aspects.

There is accordingly the pressing need to enagge enough, capable and qualified or professional staff for effectiveness, development and progress in all governmental sectors.

What accorded me chance to make the above analysis is the present situation in Jigawa state. Recently, the Jigawa state government made a grudging move by engaging 4,500 youth on casual basis to teach. And heaven has not known peace since then. All sorts of drums and trumpets were recruited to foul the air in the name of celebrating a political gesture (called J-Power) that is now found to be totally lopsided against the poor.

The J-Power is supposed to be an initiative by the Jigawa state government as its own social investment programme, probably conceived to mirrow the federal government’s N-Power.

Governor Badaru Abubakar created or initiated this programme in which graduates, HND, NCE and diploma holders were selected across the 27 LGAs in the state on the basis of favouritism as alleged by many people across the state. This is especially so if one checks on the social media where there was a loud cry of politicisation, and very severely so in the selection of the beneficiaries.

The J-Power is to be in three sectors: J-Teach for the educational sector, teachers were recruited to teach in schools; J-Health, for the health sector, medical or health personnel will be in this section, while J-Agro is for agricultural sector.

There are many unanswered questions regarding the mode of operation of the programme. They include:

  1. Would those recruited be on permanent or casual engagement? But this is now very glaring and clear, that it is not permanent but casual engagement. Incredible!!!
  2. Are education and health, these two critical sectors, not compromised?
  3. Furthermore, from the pension board submissions and other governmental agencies and parastatals reports from 2015 to date, there were about nine thousand (9000) people who retired in Jigawa state and only five thousand (5,000) or there about people got employment from 2015 to date; yet no plan for their replacement only this casual engagement through ‘J-Power’ Oh my God !!!

Which kind of empowerment or casual work is governor Badaru talking about? Excellency please think twice. Is education and (health) the domains to score this cheap politcal point? Was His Excellency taught by distraught and frustrated young casual workers when he was attending public schools decades ago? Or is the education of our younger ones and children not on his priority list to prioritise employing teachers? What on earth is a casual doctor? Jigawa, oh my Jigawa, don’t go in reverse gear please!

Some people are of the opinion that if it is a casual engagement, at the end of your tenure you will confirm them as employees to leave the incoming governor in 2023 with crisis of workers and their welfare (salaries).

Your Excellency, there is need to employ workers in Jigawa to replace the retirees in order to get more money for the pension contribution account. If no worker is employed, how do you boost the pension contributory account? In the next few years to come the retirees may not have their gratuity and monthly pension allowance when due as it has started now.

This brings the issue of delay of retirees’ benefits in Jigawa. Even those who were compulsorily retired got their gratuity after many months of waiting, and in some cases even a year or two. Why? Because no adequate fund to settle them due to lack of active contribution.

One of my friends who suffered deformity was forcefully retired; which ideally, his benefits ought to be ready or paid immediately but he spent over eight (8) months without his salary been paid and his benefit not yet paid. Please how can he and his family do? How will he source the money for his medical treatment? How will his children attend school? How can his family feed themselves? Or even pay house rent? etc.

HE Governor Sir, this goes beyond politics. Please think twice. Do the needful and employ from the jobless hundreds of thousands of youths roaming the streets, not just part-time engagement (J-Power).

Please save our people, save our state and save our future and Jigawa’s future. Thank you sir.

Adamu writes from Kafin-Hausa, Jigawa state