By Olufunke Johnson
President Muhammadu Buhari, has, given his backing to plans by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to sack 21,780 teachers, who failed the competency test conducted by the state government.
The President’s support for the governor came as the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, warned Governor El-Rufai to wait for what it described as ‘mother of all protests’ over the alleged sack bid.
President Buhari, in a speech read at the Presidential retreat for members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Viila in Abuja, said it was tragic for teachers to fail primary school test.
The President said it is a serious situation when teachers cannot pass the exams they are supposed to teach the children to pass. “It is a very tragic situation we are in and this our gathering to me, is one of the most important in this administration.”
According to the President, the state of education in Nigeria calls for serious concern even as he explained the reason for the retreat.
He said further: “The problem is no longer a secret that the quality of education in Nigeria requires greater attention and improvement. “That our country is facing numerous challenges in education and all other sectors as a result of historical abuses, mindless impunity and corruption is not news to anyone. “With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered. “We are determined to turn around the sector for the better. We are already making appreciable progress in this respect. This summit must, therefore, among other things, sharpen our strategies for addressing the challenges of basic and secondary education, teacher training and professional development; technical and vocational education. “The summit must work to enhance quality in, and access to, higher education and other challenges in the sector that will debar us from attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs and be among the top 20 economies in the world.
President Buhari also commended the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for setting the stage for the national conversation aimed at refocusing the education sector not only to overcome the numerous challenges, but also to strengthen the Ministerial Strategic Plan that had already been developed by the ministry.
But reacting to the sack plan of Governor El-Rufai, the leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, which had earlier organized a street protest against the proposed sack accused the governor of mobilizing sole administrators in the 21 local government areas of the state to stage solidarity rally for him. National President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said in a statement in Abuja Monday: “We have credible information that the governor of Kaduna State has directed the sole administrators in the 21 local governments in the state to use the resources of the local governments to mobilize people to Kaduna metropolis to demonstrate in support of his obnoxious policy on the mass sack of workers. “We at the Nigeria Labour Congress condemn the use of public funds for the pursuit of nihilistic and sadistic agenda’’.