John Alhassan Kamba

I was in primary 2 in 1960 when Nigeria got its independence. I was among those that lined up at the ceremony in Zuru and waved a small flag in obvious jubilation. We went home with a flag and a plastic cup each with the inscription “Happy Independence”.

I was in the second set of pupils that graduated from the Native Authority Day Primary School (now Sami Gomo MPS) Zuru in 1965. The first set graduated in 1964. I went to Niger Provincial Secondary School Bida (now Government College) in 1966. My school number was 669. It was during our second week in that school that the first military coup that killed Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna of Sokoto) and others happened.

When we returned after 1st term holidays in April 1966, the school had been renamed Government Secondary School Bida. It became Government College Bida the same year. I was in the 1st set of NCE (Tech) teachers that graduated from Kaduna Polytechnic in 1975, thus the 1st set in Northern Nigeria. I was President of the then North-West Students Association of CST, Kaduna Polytechnic 1973/74.

We were interviewed for appointment in Kaduna by a team from CSC Sokoto a month before our final exam and subsequently given appointment with effect from date of interview not date of reporting for duty. On my first posting in 1975, I was placed on a salary grade level 07 which was the beginning of the senior cadre. My monthly salary was then N97. Yes, ninety seven, less than N100.

I bought my first car at a little more than N2,000 in 1975 when there were less than 10 cars in my town, Zuru. You could buy a brand new car for about N2,000 then. In 1979, then only 26, I was appointed Vice-Principal and had my first ever flight when I attended a course in Italy. I became Principal in 1980. Same year, I bought a new air-conditioned car for N7,600. I started a building with a ton of cement (20 bags) then costing N140 in Zuru. In 1985, I flew from Sokoto to Kaduna at N53 (fifty three Naira). A return flight from Sokoto to Lagos was then N189 (one hundred and eighty nine Naira).

I could go on.

How things have changed today.