Ibrahim Shekarau, former governor of Kano State, and three others, pass Senate screening for ministerial jobs
| By Vincent Nzemeke | Jul. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
AFTER more than one of anxiety, the Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, July 2, finally confirmed the four ministerial nominees sent to it by President Goodluck Jonathan in June. The nominees were Ibrahim Shekarau, former Kano State governor, Steve Oru, former national vice chairman, South-South chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from Delta State, Abdu Bulama from Yobe state and Adedayo Adeyeye from Ekiti State. They were nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan to fill the ministerial slots of their respective states.
Although many had anticipated a tough screening session for the nominees, especially Shekarau, who recently defected from the All Progressives Congress, APC, the leading opposition party, to the PDP, the screening turned out to be a stroll into the park for them. They fielded questions on a wide range of issues from the law makers and were eventually confirmed without rancour.
It is now a matter of speculation who is likely to be assigned the education portfolio. Incidentally, three of the nominees, namely Shekarau, Bulama and Adeyeye, have had experiences in the educational sector.
Shekarau was a school principal before he became governor, while Buluma has served as a rector in various polytechnics in Nigeria. Adeyeye has also worked as a teacher sometimes in the past. They all agreed on the Senate floor that the country’s educational sector is in deep crisis and in dire need of an urgent intervention. They also said once the education sector was fixed, the problems of unemployment, poverty and insurgency would be tackled with ease.
While answering questions from the Senators, Shekarau, lamented the high level of unemployment in the country which he linked to the disruption of the universal primary education policy by successive military administrations in the country.
He said: “the issue of skills acquisition for Nigerian students in the first three years of secondary education as envisioned in the 6-3-3-4 curriculum, should be revisited by government and effectively implemented.
The skills acquisition component of the 6-3-3-4 education curriculum started in 1976 with the implementation of the Universal Primary Education and followed up with the importation of introductory technology equipment from 1979-1982, for skills acquisition by junior secondary school pupils.
“The policy would have, to a very large extent, assisted the country in producing self-reliant and self-employed school leavers at that level on a yearly basis if the programme had been implemented as envisioned. Part of the way out for our dear country on the problem of unemployment which breeds indiscipline and unrest, among others, in the country is for us to go back to the curriculum by making it to practically serve as a catalyst for addressing the issue of unemployment of school leavers right from the classrooms.”
When a senator sought his view on the defection of politicians from one party to the other, the former Kano governor opined that it was a normal practice in politics. He said, “There have been some inconsistencies in the polity. The issue of changing political parties, if you read the history of the Americans too, they did worse than what we are doing at the stage in which we are. Ideology is never imposed; it is an ongoing process.
“Education is the progressive discovery of ignorance. Gradually we are learning, we are trying to develop. Ideologies will become institutionalised by themselves. These defections, I don’t totally agree that all the time they are for personal interests. They are dictated by circumstances of the political development around the environment you are in. I am sure with time, ideologies will be institutionalised.”
He also identified the immediate fixing of the power sector by the government as a critical factor that could assist in solving the problem of unemployment.
Adeyeye, on his part, suggested that the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, scheme should not be scrapped but rather strengthened to promote the national unity and integration it was intended to achieve. According to him, the scheme as envisioned in
1973 and implemented till date, has in no small way, contributed to the unity of the country in so many ways.
Bulama suggested the use of electronic voting system but that it should be experimented with by-elections. After announcing their confirmations, Senate President David Mark, advised the ministers-to-be, to see Nigeria as their constituency. He also urged them to rise above partisan politics and contribute their quota to the development of the country.
“We hope that whenever they are given portfolio, they will see Nigeria as their constituency and not their state or political parties”, he said.
Although, there is no assurance of the portfolios that the confirmed nominees will be given, it is speculated that Oru might fill the vacuum created by the exit of Godsday Orubebe, former minister of Niger Delta Affairs.