Pupils from Michika LG won the finals of a reading competition organized for Local Governments in Adamawa State under the ‘Strengthening Education in the North-East Nigeria States (SENSE) Project’ promoted by the Atiku Institute for Development (AID) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Adamawa State’s Universal Basic Education Board (UBE).
Pupils/contestants from Michika contested against their counterparts from Numan, Tongo and Yola North as President Margee Ensign attended the competition on June 28 at the Waziri Adamawa Hall on AUN's North Campus. AUN Founder and former Nigerian Vice President, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, sent in a goodwill message while representatives of the Lamido Adamawa and Haman Bachama added color to the occasion.
President Ensign expressed delight with the progress recorded by the SENSE project.
"When the Founder asked me to return from the United States of America, I thought about educational projects like these that will improve life not only for young people but for many people in society. I want to appreciate everyone and especial Dr. Liman, who has grown a small project into a big one. It has had an enormous impact in this region, and we will do even more now. Because of projects like these, one million books have been distributed, which I consider a huge achievement.
AUN exists for projects like these, for education is the foundation of society. During this pandemic, Nigeria has seen even more children out of school, and these children are the future of this country. Therefore, I will do anything I can to expand this project.
Congratulation, students: be a great light. I see great hope, and I know you are the future leaders of this big and important country".
In his goodwill message, HE Atiku Abubakar described the competition to promote educational development in the country. "Due to the decline in the standards in education in our country, we decided to come up with this program to foster the advancement of knowledge in our state and nation at large".
In the first round of the contest, Numan scored 25 points, Michika 26 points, Yola North 26 points and Tongo 24 points. Michika and Yola North then locked horns in the next round, and the pupils of Michika finally won the contest. Prizes and cups were presented to the contestants, including those from other local governments who had taken part in the qualifying rounds.
The representative of His Royal Highness, the Hamman Bachama, Dr. John Gamsa, who spoke on behalf of the representative of the His Royal Highness the Lamido Adamawa, said it was vital to acknowledge the contribution of those who understand and appreciate the importance of education, and who sacrifice so much to bring it back to the Adamawa community.
"I am very grateful to the former Vice President of Nigeria Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for bringing America to us in our community; and to Her Excellency Ladi Atiku Abubakar, who started it all. I will not forget the teachers who have impacted the pupils, and USAID for all you have done, I will like to see other primary schools in other local government areas participate in these projects so that the children there will know that they have a great future ahead of them and Nigeria will be one.
Dr. John ended by quoting the saying, "if you want to destroy a people, you get their language first, get rid of the language and get in another language".
Her Excellency Ladi Atiku Abubakar, in her speech, said to the pupils that they were all winners: “The [winning] position was just given to encourage you. I am not surprised that the girls are more than the boys among the contestants, because it is said that you educate the nation when you educate a girl child”.
A statement by the Chief of Party for the SENSE project, Dr. Audu Liman said the major objective in organizing the competition is to help learners practice their Hausa language reading skills while involving parents in supporting their children to learn and read. The reading competition will contribute to achieving a key indicator of the SENSE activity, according to Dr. Liman.
Reported by Gabriel Blessing