Zamfara State is encircled by intractable problems that include banditry, unemployment and poverty among its teeming youths. There is, therefore, an urgent need to provide a lasting solution to the menace. With the coming to power of the current Dr Bello Mutawalle-led administration, there is so much optimism and expectations from the people who hitherto suffered from bad governance and neglect. One strong remedy capable of addressing the aforesaid vulnerabilities is human capital development.
Human Capital is the knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or group of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods, services or ideas in market circumstances. We have individual human capital which entails the skills and abilities of individual workers and human capital of the economy which is the aggregate human capital of an economy, which will be determined by national educational standards.
Looking at the current situation in Zamfara State, one would see both numerous challenges and opportunities which would serve as a rallying point for both the leadership and the led. And since human capital development is the process of improving capabilities and resources, which are ingredients considered to be the most important for societal transformation, process, there is need for serious administrative commitment, plan and mass mobilization. Administrative commitment would create necessary environment in which the people can learn better and apply innovative ideas, acquire new competencies, develop skills, behaviour and attitude. Mobilization will not only encourage the people to be willing participants in self-development but will also make them see themselves as stakeholders who are responsible for the development of the state.
From the above, it is established that human capital development is vital to the growth and productivity of Zamfara State. But the main focus here should be on education. The modern economy of the world is moving away from crude labour to being knowledge-based. Japan’s investment in education and healthcare made the population to be capable and its economy, one of the largest today. The same scheme could be replicated along with agriculture as the mainstay of Zamfara economy. It’s not for nothing that the motto of the state is: “Farming is our pride.” It is because most of the people are farmers. Education and agriculture can drive the economy into the modern economy where citizens are central.
An intervention programme – PTF-like scheme – could be conceived and implemented whereby bureaucratic bottlenecks and red-tape can be cut to a reasonable level so as to conform to the exigencies on ground. The agency should strengthen our educational institutions just like the PTF did in the education and health sectors. This is in order to fast track the needed policy implementation. A shrewd administrator with a proven record of performance and honesty should be made to head the agency. The agency should be given a significant part of the resources available as their activities must be seen as an emergency. This would create a kind of chain reaction where citizens would subscribe to the idea with much enthusiasm. Zamfara State is blessed with so many brilliant young minds. Unfortunately, most of these bright young guys have decided to leave the state out of utter frustration. If some of those brilliant minds could be head-hunted and mobilized, they can make the state to be more productive on an individual level and through mass organization, which in turn will make the Zamfara to, in the short run, begin to experience productivity and economic gains.
That is why the place of education is of paramount importance in human capital because some level of human knowledge and skills are necessary in order for an organization to accomplish anything. An investment in human capital means investing in education or some form of on-the-job training, to improve workforce quality. Such investments provide returns to the individual as well as to the economy as a whole. Individuals benefit from higher earnings and the economy as a whole benefits from higher productivity. In Zamfara State, we have educational institutions but the problem, just like in other states, is that those instructions do not produce graduates that would become relevant to development challenges of the state. We need, for instance, institutions that would graduate farmers, welders, painters, mechanics, electricians, masons, tailors, shoemakers and other craftsmen. That is, we need our polytechnics to function for the very reason they have been conceived.
Both the developed and developing countries, that are serious with the development, put emphasis more on the human capital development towards accelerating their economic growth by devoting necessary time and efforts. Thus human capital development is one of the fundamental solutions to enter the international arena.
In conclusion, the new Zamfara State government has the golden opportunity to reposition the state and solve the intractable problems bedeviling it through human capital development.
God bless Zamfara State and God bless Nigeria.
Mazawaje Chafe can be reached through 08034662313