By Maijama’a Adamu
We were once laughing at Governor Murtala Hammayero Nyako，Baba maimangoro. By we I mean his close aides and associates.
He authored four publications, two of which he titled Letter One and Letter Two, the others were christened Missive One and Missive Two.
We were laughing out of amusement at the extraordinary efforts he was exerting on those publications. Many of us didn’t bother to read even a page from the four publications. I did. Not so much out of passion, but to acquaint myself with his pattern of thought and policy direction as a salesman for his government.
The publications were the intellectual version of his revolutionary vision toward a technology based engagement and empowerment of the teeming youths in our dear state.
The Farming Skills Acquisition Centers were prototypes of excellence were the agricultural instincts of our people were sharpened. They were told to reduce farm size for more yields.
Ironic right? Yields are about plant population not farm size. You don’t need three hectares to cultivate one million plant population if you can accommodate that in one hectare with appropriate spacing. You got to know good seeds matter and timely planting of fertilizer. You may opt for zero tillage and still have good yield.
We got to know much about artificial insemination and crossbreeding for effective cattle husbandry. When they make noise today about ranching we know where ranching succeeds it’s not our type of breeds they ranch.
Ranch our type of breed and you know your are ranching yourself into poverty through multiplier effect of inefficiency.
We got to know about oxegenifying the fish pond for maximum yields and allied effects. We saw pride not shame in farming.
Nyako believe the most crippling challenge to agricultural is ignorance. He set off to substantially eradicate the poverty of knowledge that beset the farming populace.
He once told us about a cattle farm in Germany managed by a couple and making more money from the cow dung than from the yields of milk and beef.
Dung means the cow shit! They were collecting the dung into a chamber and converting it to energy because of its high gas content. They energise their farm from it and have so much excess power to sell to the national grid. Such is the power of knowledge.
Once in my irrigation farm we had need for fire and we hadn’t any matches with us. A young Fulani boy picked a dried cow dung and placed it on the exhaust pipe of our water generator. It generated smoke and next we saw the dung glowing with fire. He has the raw knowledge of it but knows nothing of upgrading the knowledge to serve a higher human purpose as is the case with those couple farmers.
We had the Vocational and Technical Training Centers and the Technical Skills Acquisition Centers equipped with German technology and managed by German expertriats and certified Nigerians training our youths in automobile repairs and maintenance, electrical electronic expertise, computer and lnforTech among others.
Admissions were competitive with all admitted candidates captured into government payroll as SAs receiving monthly stipends. At the end of prescribed training program job fair would be held where technology based companies were invited to showcase the graduands and their expertise for possible job openings.
Those were sustainable programmes with human faces that spelt out a future of dignity for the youths.
I remember the utter amazement of former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Ewela when we took her on assessment tour of the facilities. She expressed deep joy stressing that the projects could serve as excellent models for the poverty alleviation program of the federal government.
The Nyako model of youth engagement was unique, focused, intellectually modelled and practically based and pragmatic. It’s a missing link to youth development.