El-Rufai Remains Adamant On Sacked 22,000 Kaduna Teachers

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has again vowed not to recall the over 22,000 teachers sacked in the state.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, El-Rufai said the ongoing reforms in the education sector in his state would be sustained. He emphasized that the affected teachers were sacked because they were unqualified based on the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) report he received.

He disclosed that the report showed that 83 per cent of the teachers scored less than 25 per cent in math and literacy exams.

The governor insisted that the challenges confronting the state education sector were that of self-interest.

He said, “They told us that we are going to lose the election if we continue with what we were doing but we said, it is better to lose the election because until we fix this problem, we do not have a future. Nobody should blame the federal government for poor education and healthcare, the state government should be blamed because it is the responsibility of the state.

“It is unfortunate that the products of public schools gave up on public schools. They have allowed unqualified people to be employed in public schools because there children are part of these schools.

“About 58% of the of the teachers they presented to us that were qualified had some contents of fake certificates. Out of the 36,000 teachers that sat for the promotion examination, 2,000 failed. We want to set a standard for our children in Kaduna State and there is no going back on our reforms.”


El-Rufai Reveals He Has No Time To Read Obasanjo’s Long Letter

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, in an interview with newsmen revealed that he hasn’t read the letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, stating he won’t waste his time reading the special statement on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration because it was too long.

Recall that last week Obasanjo had written a lengthy and strong-worded statement where he advised Buhari not to run in the 2019 election, adding that the President should resign, go home and rest.

El-Rufai said he was rather too busy to read the statement but added that Obasanjo was entitled to his opinion.

He said, “I have not. It is too long. I am very busy, but I got the gist of it. President Obasanjo is a Nigerian, he is a patriot, and he is entitled to his opinion just like every other Nigerian.

“The Presidency has issued a response, the party has issued a response, and that closes the matter. We are moving on.

“I believe that President Buhari is the one that will advance the interest of Nigeria and the stability of the country.”

The ex-Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Minister added that his vociferous support for President Buhari was not because he wants to ride on his coat-tail for his own second term as governor of Kaduna.

He added, “I believe that it is in the overall interest of our party and the stability of Nigeria; It is not because I stand to gain or lose anything. But it is because in everything I’ve done since I got into public service, for me the interest of Nigeria comes first.

“God has given me everything through the instrumentality of this country – I don’t need anything as a person but what I need is to see a country that is making progress, that is stable and leave a legacy for our children to build on it.”


Restructuring: El-Rufai Led APC Committee Submits Report

The committee set up by the All Progressives Congress, APC to look into the issue of restructuring has submitted its reports.

The Governor Nasir El Rufai-led committee on True Federalism submitted its report to the National Working Committee of the APC, on Thursday.

The committee in its reports called for more devolution of powers to the states.

The committee urged that the police and prisons be moved from the exclusive to the concurrent list.

According to the report, the state government would be allowed to establish state police to handle certain crimes as well as state prisons.

The committee equally recommended independent candidacy but with a clause that individuals who intend to stand for elections must not have been a member of any political party at least six months to the elections in which they intend to contest.

On local government autonomy, the committee said since “one size does not fit all,” the states should be allowed to legislate for local governments, including creating more councils.

Atiku Has No Kobo In Buhari’s 2015 Campaign – El-Rufai

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has challenged former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, to prove that he funded President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in 2015.

Speaking on a Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service Programme, tagged “Democracy Today”, in Kaduna, El-Rufai said Atiku leaving the All Progressives Congress is not a surprise to the leaders of the party.

He said, “Agreed, in politics if you lose even only one person, it should worry you, but the utterances of the former Vice President that APC used his money who did he give the money to? For me, I know those that supported us with their money and property that we used during election, and I never heard the name of Atiku that he brought a dime. If Atiku said he brought money, who did he give it to? Let him come and say it and how much did he give and what was it used for?

“And, in fact, if Atiku brought money, I ought to know, because I was part of the leadership of the party and during campaign, along with former Governor Rotimi Amaechi. We were at the centre of the presidential campaign. Therefore, we are supposed to know. So, let him mention who he gave the money and how much?”

El-Rufai said: “We in the APC were aware from the outset that Atiku was going to leave the APC back to the PDP in December and we thank God that he left in November.

“Atiku had seen that we in the APC, especially the APC governors, had resolved to support President Muhammadu Buhari to run again in 2019. That is why he left APC since he was only looking for where to contest for president.

“Even in the 2015 APC primary election, Atiku didn’t come second; he was floored by Kwankwaso. So, even if President Buhari decides not to contest, Atiku knows that the APC ticket is not sure for him. Majority of the APC governors have endorsed President Buhari as our candidate for 2019.

“And God has continued to improve the health condition of the President. Each time I see him, I thank God and I still pray that God continues to give him sound health.

“So, by 2019, we are waiting to see Atiku contest; we are waiting to contest against him and see what happens. I cannot lose sleep because Atiku wants to contest because, by God’s grace, this is the reign of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Asked about a large number of APC members who are likely to follow Atiku to PDP, El-Rufai said: “Sure, we know that, we cannot rule out the possibility of some greedy people following him; those that are following material things. But, if people will consider how we can work for the progress of our country, everybody knows that you cannot compare Atiku with President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Bullet Caskets For Thieving Leaders, By Tunde Odesola

Let the dead bury the dead, so said the omniscient being that walked the face of the earth about 2,000 years ago. Here, Jesus Christ was teaching his disciples to focus on the things of the kingdom over earthly worries. But the way humanity frets over earthly possessions, power, burial ceremonies and other various vanities shows that scant regard is given to the teachings of Christ, the son of Mary.

For weird and, or altruistic reasons, man has continued to worry over the preservation and burial of the dead. Science, religion and tradition have had their fair shares in bothering to give a hoot about treating the dead right.

Plastination is a technique developed in 1977 by German anatomist, Gunther von Hagens. The groundbreaking technique is used to preserve dead bodies by replacing water and fats with certain plastics.

In the land of our nearest English-speaking neighbour on the West African coast, Ghana, burying the dead has been upgraded to a shocking level of creative absurdity. Ghana not only boasts of the world’s largest artificial lake, Lake Volta, the Ga people living in the southern part of the Kwame Nkrumah country also bury their dead stylishly like no other people. The Ga in Ghana have a deep belief in the afterlife. For them, death is no finality, life continues hereafter. They believe the dead are much more powerful than the living and that the dead could influence the living. This is why families do everything they can to ensure that they curry the sympathy of the dead. This is why they build fantasy coffins for their dead. A fantasy coffin could be shaped in the symbol of the deceased’s profession, vocation, family totem or favorite object. It is thus a common sight to see a driver being buried in a coffin shaped like a car, or a footballer buried in a coffin shaped like a soccer ball or a boot.

Back home to Nigeria. Going by the primitive acquisition of wealth and hypertensive worry over material possessions by the political class, it won’t be out of place to know in what type of caskets Nigerians would love their political leaders buried when they die. I’m very sure that a cross-section of Nigerians would wish a vast majority of Nigerian politicians was buried in bullet, condom, spear, maggot and padlock-shaped coffins – to show the disdain in which they hold the political elite.

But there is a panacea for the odium against the political class. Everyone in the land knows the cure for the bitterness, poverty, want, scourge, suspicion and hate in the land, though no one is willing to force the pill down the throat of the 57-year-old toddler nation. And Nigeria will continue to grapple with darkness, thirstiness, hunger, diseases, ignorance and high mortality, all because she fails to take the potion called restructuring. The restructuring pill, depending on the manufacturing pharmaceutical company, also goes by the names – true federalism, devolution, resource control, regionalism, self-determinism, equity, etc. But it is one sure cure for our ailment.

Why is it difficult for the political class to restructure the country? The experience of the Editor, The PUNCH, Mr Martin Ayankola, at the Obafemi Awolowo University zoo about three decades ago offers an explanation. The young Ayankola had visited the zoo during his undergraduate days in the 1980s. The striking resemblance between gorillas and man held a fancy for the young undergraduate. So, off to the enclave of the hirsute creatures he went. There, he threw sweets into the steel cage. As the sweets zoomed high up through the air, the eyes of all the gorillas followed them even as they descended right down into the midst of a band of young gorillas having fun on the sunny afternoon. Poh! Poh!! Poh!!! The three ‘Trebors’ thudded on the grass. As if a mischievous gorilla among the band had released a sickening, noisome fart, all the young, able-bodied gorillas, who had been jumping and falling over themselves, suddenly broke up and slunk away, leaving the ‘Trebors’ conspicuous on the grass. Sshwah! Sshwah! Sshwah! Heavy footsteps rustled dry grass somewhere at the rear of the cage. Unabashedly, the living head of the autonomous primate community, a massive 230kg gorilla, sauntered forward, swaying like a content despot. Majestically, he ambled to the ‘Trebors’, picked them up, tried to unwrap one of them, but his stumpy fingers won’t allow such a desire. Brooking no patience, he put the ‘Trebors’ in the hollow of his left palm and snapped them. He opened his palm and still tried to unwrap some of the peppermints, but the wrap won’t reveal its content. Nonsense! One after the other, he tossed the wrapped ‘Trebors’ into his buccal cavity. Only God knows what the taste did to his sense of self-worth, he rose to his mighty feet, let out a frightening guttural cry and rained blows on his chest. Case closed. This is the way of the jungle. Might is right. Though the ‘Trebors’ could go round all the apes if shared equitably, fairness is an alien word in jungle lexicon.

Sadly, this is the way of our political class and the reason why restructuring sounds like a dirge. In the lair, the lion’s share is not the majority of the share, it is the whole share. After having his fill, the king lion leaves the carcass for the rest of the pride.

The other day, I asked my little daughter if she could recite the American pledge, and off she goes: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all.” Ummhh!? Can you recite the Nigerian national pledge, I asked curiously. “Yes, I can,” she replied eagerly. “I pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest, to serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory, so help me God.”

If the words of a pledge were a measure to determine nationalism, the Nigerian national pledge dwarfs the American pledge. Unfortunately, however, the Nigerian pledge offers no promise of liberty, equity and justice, which are fundamental bricks of nationhood, and which the American pledge did not fail to address. May be this is the reason why Nigerian leaders have abysmally failed in restructuring the country and bluntly refused to fulfil their part of the social contract. I learnt at the election petitions tribunals that you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

The ‘point-and-kill’ Oshodi-garage mentality of winner-takes-all among our geopolitical regions over revenue allocation would cease if the nation frees its boundless energies in the regions by devolving power from the centre and sharing it equitably among the federating units. Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, identified some of the problem afflicting Nigeria when he delivered a speech on restructuring in September 2017 at Chatham House, London, lamenting the 53 per cent of national revenue being controlled by the Federal Government while the biggest but maltreated cash cow, Lagos State, and the 35 states of the federation and Abuja share a miserable 47 per cent.

Recalling that some of the most enduring institutions in Nigeria were built by regional governments, El-Rufai said it was impossible for a centralized police force to produce security for nearly 200m people just as he spoke against the exclusive control of over-crowded prisons and ‘unmanageable number of federal trunk roads and railways’.

The governor, who recalled an article he penned in 2012, “A Federation without Federalism,” said that the broad consensus among Nigerians was that ‘our federation had been dysfunctional, more unitary than federal, and not delivering public goods to the generality of our people’.

In a telephone chat with me during the week, Professor of Sociology, University of Lagos, Lai Olurode, said restructuring remained the way out of the country’s myriad challenges, adding that Nigeria’s population was a game-changing asset.

He said, “Every part of the country needs a fair deal. We must emphasize governance, not politics. We must reassure the North, no part should feel threatened. We need to void the administrative waste and greed at the centre, and this would ensure fairness, equity, competition and more effectiveness. Each region would develop and cater for the needs of its people. Abuja is too far away from the people.”

The bleeding scars of Nigeria’s unitary federalism can be seen in the guillotining Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the ratty Apapa Road, the trillions of naira spent to procure darkness, the illusory 2nd Niger Bridge and 3rd Mainland Bridge, intractable erosion scourge in the South-East; the sinful environmental pollution in the Niger Delta, spine-chilling Boko Haram evil in the North, and the general milieu of backwardness across the country.

The time to heal our land is now.

Mr Tunde Odesola was a former Political Editor of Punch Newspaper, now lives in US

Governor El-Rufai’s Politics And Teachers’ Revolt

By Erasmus Ikhide

“Your Excellency Sir, we are not sacking teachers in Kaduna. Rather, we are replacing unqualified people who are unfit to be called teachers to save the future of the next generation.” That was Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s response to his Ekiti State counterpart, Governor Ayodele Fayose who chided him that the sacking of 22,000 teachers in Kaduna State could ignite climatic upsurge in crime wave and other ancillary social vices.

The teachers and the labour unions have been up in arms, protesting against the governor for daring to protest the rottenness in the educational system of the State and his attempt to arrest the drift from total collapse. It’s a case of two protesters: the first is insisting on force-feeding poor contents into students’ minds, while the latter is resisting that giving the best education to the students is the responsibility of trainable teachers. It’s like saying, ‘you can’t very well explain to your students how Newton accounted for planetary motion if you hadn’t boned up your Newtonian mechanics first.

The governor pius stand is hinged on the latest poor showing in the WASSCE performance. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report has it that in September 2016, 158,035 students from Kaduna State took the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, between 2011 and 2015. Only 12.8 per cent obtained credit passes in five subjects or more, including in English Language and Mathematics. Also, the Kaduna State Educational Resource Centre reported that over the same four-year period, out of 135,957 results released, only 19,137 or 14 per cent passed with the required number of credits for admission to any tertiary institution.

The illiterate teachers should have known that Governor El-Rufai who has the penchant for troubleshooting wouldn’t take the poor output of Kaduna State pupils kindly. Early in 2016, the governor embarked on a suicide mission by instigating a legislation that stipulates prison terms for parents who refused to send their wards to schools. The injuries that resulted from it has not been fully healed to date. Several efforts were made by those who are profiting from the poverty of uneducated people.

As if that was not enough, he further went for the jugular by banning street begging, a tradition that is in sick and soak with Islamic foundation of giving to the less privilege, a trade that has made thousands powerful political power brokers billionaire in the state! The illiterate teachers’ fracas with the governor is long expected, given his style of unfriendliness or his usual inability to always convince his people on policy issues since becoming governor.

Governor El-Rufai’s problem is his selfsame believe that his people would always understand his policy and passion for altruistic leadership towards a liberated state through the development of the people’s mind and the ethical restructuring of their mindset. He has been governing in abstract, believing that a “state or nation can not be greater than her own teacher”! He probably want to do justice to humanity, in a clime that views and receives education with contempt.

Poor El-Rufai expected this gesture to be applauded for his decision to replaced these illiterate teachers in a state or country that wishes to be ‘greater than her own teacher’ without clinical educational standards for the development of the human’s mind. Governor El-Rufai is not the only governor to face this tribulation. Those who made such efforts at righting the wrongs in the educational sectors, including his predecessors at their various states were either intimidated out of the policy or voted out of office.

In 2012 the late Governor Patrick Yakowa shocked Nigerians when he said a verification exercise carried out in the state revealed that no fewer than 2,000 teachers secured their appointments with fake certificates. However, he failed to deal with the issue, forthwith. The backlash is the continued poor grades and by extension poor leader at every level of our national development.

In 2013, a report in the state’s ministry of education revealed that of a total of 1,599 teachers selected from across the state who were given primary four tests in Mathematics and Basic literacy; only one of them scored 75 percent, 251 scored between 50 to 75 percent and 1,300 scored below 25 percent. When the same examination was conducted for 1,800 primary school pupils, virtually all the pupils failed the exam! Surprisingly, no action was taken against the functional illiterate teachers by governor Mukhtar Yaro!

Prior to Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s re-election in 2011, he paid an unscheduled visit to a primary school in the state capital where he encountered an illiterate teacher who could not read her own name in an affidavit she deposed to. That prompted him to organized aptitude text for all the teachers across the state. Painfully, Oshiomhole could not implement the outcome of the aptitude text and his threat to weed off the illiterate teachers from the system turned out to be mere threat. He caved in because of his second term ambition.

He later gave vent to that frustration at a town hall meeting held in July 2013, disclosing that from the audit carried out in the state, “We found that of all our primary school teachers, only 1,287, representing 9% out of 14,484 teachers have proper records in our system. 91% have various forms of discrepancies in their records. About 1,379 teachers, representing 11.5% claim that they obtained their Primary School Certificates after they had been employed as teachers. In fact, some obtained their Primary School Certificates not more than two years ago, from the school in which they were employed as teachers.”

Oshiomhole was like his counterparts across the country. They lack the balls to step up to the rot in the educational system and ride it off the plague for political reasons. That is even when the figures of Nigerian out of school number has increased to 13.2 million, yet States and federal governments budgetary allocations to education are far below UNESCO benchmark.

With the poor population of more than 90% in the country, it will be fair to say that Nigeria has not been able to provide effective education to almost 75% of the children roaming the streets. This is an extremely depressing figure knowing that education is the bedrock of nation building or great nations. The time is now to awake ourselves and start to work towards improving our education system.

Part of our drawback as a nation unfortunately, is the fact that Nigeria has been plagued with poor leadership over time, whose education or lack of it cannot develop or move the country forward. They are probably too blinded to know that education plays critical role in deciding both political and economic growth of any nation. They are too bereaved of common sense to be aware that once citizens are educated, they brings fame, wealth and prosperity to the country which help to galvanized the development of any country.

They have no idea that educated populace are less aggressive, as such, the society remains in peace, stable in the long run. Education serves as a unifying tool because educated minds work in similar ways, united by the unique sense of reasoning and almost the same sense of right and wrong.

The illiterates teachers have to be flushed out of the system to pave the way for trainable new set of teachers who will impact actual and true knowledge on Kaduna State students. If Governor El-Rufai pulls through, the up coming generation would forever be grateful to him for his statesmanship. He would be remembered as the governor who sacrificed his political ambition for the future generation. The retention of the illiterate teachers in the educational system in Kaduna State, as it is the case with other states of the federation can only bring damnation to Nigeria now and in the future.

Erasmus, A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos.

Email: [email protected]

Follow me twitter @ikhide_erasmus1

El-Rufai Vs NUT: The Battle For Educational Reforms

By Segun Ojo

From the beginning of civilisation until now education has been the major propellant behind man’s voyage in all spheres of life. We all can testify to the spectacular jump in human knowledge and its applications particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Though, our mediocre education has taken us this far, if we can call where we are far. But how much farther can it take us in an ever competitive world. It is sickening to see that we are bent on making education totally irrelevant to our quest to be counted among the biggest economies of the world.

Looking at the trending educational crisis in Kaduna state between Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, relating to the competency test organized by the state government for 33,000 primary school teachers out of which 21,780 teachers woefully failed the primary four pupils examination organized for them. One begin to wondering ,even asking a rhetorical question that who really is a teacher and who could a pupil be when teachers who were supposed to be a role model for the pupils in primary school, to give basic and qualitative education they deserve, could act so disrespectful to the profession that gave birth to them. …who really is a teacher?

The teacher stands at the most important point in the educational process and must be well versed in the act of teaching. This means that a person called teacher must have acquired the skills required to perform his/her role. A teacher should be someone who had undergone a long period of socialized training and is regarded as a moral instructor, moral educator and a moral model for his/her students. Teaching as a profession has to do with impacting skills, knowledge, information, and attitude among others to the learner. The quality of teachers found in our primary schools goes a long way in determining the quality of pupils from this level of education.

Therefore, teaching cannot be done by just anybody because it involves a body of knowledge being impacted to a less experienced or immature person through conscious and deliberate approach, that teaching as a process requires some knowledgeable personalities, who offer the necessary knowledge and skills to another person. No education can rise above the quality of its teachers.

Developing a functional pool of trained intelligence that will drive the building of a virile nation is a daunting and time consuming exercise which unfortunately never ends. And no country can depend on the human capital of other countries to provide solutions to its development challenges. The critical importance of a locally available highly trained workforce in nation building is undeniable.

And as being posited that a unionist is always believe to be someone who sees reasons to every situation and believes in truth and plight of members in a reasonable manner. Therefore, there is need for the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Kaduna state chapter to see reasons why the 21,780 teachers who failed the primary four pupils examination have not done well to motivate a true spirit of unionism to fight for them but to rather leave the system for the competent and fresh brain to come in, because the hands that build do not destroy and teachers are known as small god who preach knowledge in any society. A house built on faulty foundation cannot stand.

Many things may go wrong between the state government and the teachers but the fact  still remains that education reform is a necessity that all need to embrace, as government, teachers, unionists, stakeholders, parents and other members of the society, qualitative and basic education is as important as the daily meal to any human.

Disappointing, when the NUT Chairman, Kaduna state chapter, Audu Amba was claimed to have said those failed teachers are his members and they have duty to protect them, the question that may come to mind is that, is Kaduna NUT happy with how their members failed an exam that was meant for primary four pupils in the state, or do they enjoy the song of failure people are singing for their members?

NUT should look beyond protecting members’ course but rather think of the children whose lives will be affected in the system. Unionists and teachers are also parents to some children; they should imagine what their notion will be if their wards are being thought by some set of teachers who could not only speak good English but also failed a primary four pupil examination in a larger number. Lord Lugard said if a tree is cut in the forest imagine what your reaction will be if such an act is done to you. A blind does not lead a blind.

Every state of the nation need to go back to the drawing board of education reform because we cannot continue politicizing the process of educational sector and want a better result. Making a reference to some states of the nation who take the lead in the education reform particularly at primary school level, Osun is one of those states who is in forefront for education reform per excellence.

Considering the quality of primary school teachers in Osun state one will have to commend the efforts of the government and the state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for his kind hearted in making qualitative basic education a necessity for children in the state. Construction of ultra model schools with modern facilities for the pupil across the state in order to ensure a conducive learning environment.

What a comparison! There is a need for Kaduna NUT and umbrella body of workers – NLC to give a full support to Governor El-Rufai in his fresh campaign to revive the primary school education from unqualified teachers who could not pass the basic assessment of their pupil. If the teachers and the NUT failed to see any good in what the Governor is doing then they should realize that a blind does not lead a blind.

We Won’t Succumb To Your Blackmail, NLC Tells El-Rufai

The Kaduna state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has said that the union will not be intimidated by the cheap blackmail employed by the government over the group’s peaceful protest against Governor Nasiru el-Rufai’s anticipated sacking of the 21,000 teachers in the state.

In a statement signed by the Kaduna NLC Chairman, Comrade Adamu Ango affirmed that the union has resolved to stand against any act of suppression from the government to its members.

The statement read: “We, therefore, affirm that the Labour Movement will never be intimidated and it will indeed continue to play its historical role of the conscience of society and protector of workers’ rights using all means available to it within the confines of the law,”

“The allusion to violence on the part of our members is a deliberate attempt by the Kaduna State Government to deploy its usual tactics of blackmail which is now known to all and sundry.

“The outdated strategy of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it will not work in the circumstance, as the Labour Movement cannot be cowed and will indeed deploy all lawful and legitimate arsenals as its disposal to resist the unholy attempt to impose the will of an individual against the consensus of an overwhelming majority of Kaduna State citizens (members of the Labour Movement).

“The Kaduna state government as usual, instead of addressing the core issues relative to the impasse between it and the labour movement has resorted to crude propaganda and diversionary tactics by trying to depict a rally organized and attended by the leadership of the entire labour movement in Nigeria as an agitation by 21,000 unqualified teachers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the rally held in Kaduna on 8th November, 2017 was peaceful and same was held in exercise of our members constitutional rights as guaranteed under section 35(1) and 40 of the 1999 constitution which is the grundnorm and all other laws drives their potency there from. Fortunately, in Kaduna State, similar rights have been exercised in support of the state government’s decision to take external loan without let or hindrance.”

Ango reprimanded governor El-rufai for not heeding to NLC advice, saying, “recent events in the educational sector have vindicated the labour movement whose advice to government to utilize the over N10billion expended in the school feeding programme in the development of infrastructures and teachers education/retraining was ignored.”

“The events at the Kaduna state House of Assembly after the rally by the Labour Movement cannot be attributed to the NLC, and same is a replica of the sad events at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, secretariat, Kaduna where supporters of the state government openly attacked law abiding citizens who were there to address a press conference and unfortunately nobody has been prosecuted or is being prosecuted for their participation in the dastardly act,” he lamented.

Ango was emphatic of the fact that the demonstration staged on the streets of kaduna by pupils in public schools was not orchestrated by the Labour Movement.

El-Rufai Vs Kaduna Teachers: “Why Should Our Children Sacrifice For Teachers”?

By Joachim Macebong

Governor El Rufai is a controversial political figure by any standard. He caused a ruckus on Twitter during the Southern Kaduna crisis by arresting the driving force of the movement, Audu Maikori.

This time around, it’s Kaduna primary school teachers that El Rufai is up against. After most of them failed the competency test organised by the Governor, they took to the streets to protest their impending sack.

3 Takeaways…….

Show of shame

Back in August 2013, the nation watched a verification exercise in Edo state where a teacher was unable to read out her age declaration affidavit in front of then Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole. Many people were already aware of the state of Nigeria’s education sector, but the fact that this exchange was captured on video made it all the more powerful, a moment engraved in history.

Unfortunately, that teacher is not the exception; she is the rule in Nigeria’s education sector. Conversations around the sector are dominated disproportionately by the ASUU strikes, but this is a mistake. The real damage to Nigeria’s future occurs at primary school level, where children are unable to get the basic literacy and numeracy skills on which all other educational attainment is built. The reason for that is obvious: poorly trained teachers.

At primary school level, the most important schooling factor is teacher quality. You can’t change the family background of a child, but you can make sure that if they get to school, they get the best teaching possible.

El Rufai’s courageous moves

Considering this, Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s recent moves to improve teacher quality in Kaduna should be met with approval. A Primary 4 equivalent competence exam was conducted for teachers in Kaduna state, and two-thirds failed to get up to the 75% required to pass. Indeed, if you don’t know up to 75% of what a teacher of Primary 4 pupils should know, why are you a primary school teacher?

Such scandalous figures are not unusual. In 2013, the Commissioner of Education for Kaduna State suggested that 1,300 of 1,599 teachers across the state scored below 25% in basic math and literacy, with only one – yes, one – scoring 75%. As this state of affairs is unlikely to have significantly changed in the following four years, it is safe to say that the present administration still battles with these failings.

Opinions on El-Rufai are sharply divided especially on social media, but even his harshest critics may find it hard to fault his education reforms. He is attempting a change that has frustrated other state governors in other states. Accepted wisdom suggests that Kayode Fayemi’s failed re-election bid could be traced to a clash over competency tests for teachers. The teachers felt the tests were the prelude to a mass sacking, and dug their heels in. As elections approached, Fayemi backed down; but it was too late by that time, and the teachers voted for Fayose instead.

In contrast, Adams Oshiomhole, previously mentioned, discovered a similar level of rot. Having initially sacked many teachers, he reinstated some of them as elections approached, ensuring a successful handover to his chosen successor.

Will history repeat itself?

Teacher unions are typically very powerful because they can organise against you at the polls. Unions, in general, protect their members, and the ones in Nigeria are no different, even if it means protecting the worst of the bunch. So El-Rufai’s move is particularly brave considering he is up for re-election in only 18 months.

Expectedly, the National Labour Congress Kaduna Chapter has come out against the move, calling the government’s side of the story ‘propaganda’, and suggesting that the teachers found wanting were trained by the government. In fact, protests have been staged across Kaduna.

But this claim does not hold up to scrutiny.

As mentioned above, in Ekiti, the teachers didn’t even take the competency test, to begin with, and turned on Kayode Fayemi as a result. Unions display resistance to any sort of change, and the result, in this case, is to hold millions of children back from their potential. They know that many within their ranks are not up to the necessary standard, but place those substandard teachers above the wider interests of society.

El-Rufai is the latest governor to come up against this tendency, and if he succeeds, his fellow governors may find the courage to do what is required. In spite of this, the NUT in Kaduna has promised a total strike if the teachers are sacked.

Speaking proudly, the NUT chairman in the state, Audu Amba, said, “They are our members and we have a duty to protect our own.” But why should our children foot the bill for their protection?

Source: StearsNG

Kaduna Teachers Fail Primary Four Exam

About 21,780 out of 33,000 teachers failed the primary four test administered to test their competence by the Kaduna State government.

The state is therefore shopping for 25,000 new teachers as one of the plans to restore dignity and quality to education.

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State unveiled the planned recruitment when he received a World Bank’s delegation in Kaduna on Monday.

“We tested our 33,000 primary school teachers, we gave them primary four examination and required they must get at least 75 per cent but I am sad to announce that 66 per cent of them failed to get the requirements.

“The hiring of teachers in the past was politicized and we intend to change that by bringing in young and qualified primary school teachers to restore the dignity of education in the state,” the governor said.

He stressed that teachers would be redeployed across the state to balance the issue of teacher-pupil ratio.

“We have a challenge with the teacher-pupil ratio in the urban schools; there is concentration of teachers that are not needed.

‘’In some local government areas, it’s a teacher pupil ratio of 1-9 while in some places it’s 1-100,” he said.

The governor said that in a bid to improve the education sector, the school Directors decided to enrol their children in public schools starting from this academic session.

Speaking earlier, the World Bank representative, Dr Kunle Adekola, expressed appreciation to the state for investing in education and for the priority given to the girl child.

“This state has demonstrated and supported us to achieve our goals,” he said.

Adekola said the Bank would invest N30 million in Rigasa Primary School, which has a population of about 22,000 pupils, as part of its support for the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Education Intervention Fund by the World Bank and other collaborative development partners, is rendering support to about 13 Northern states and a state from each of the other four geopolitical zones of the country.


Why We Postponed Kaduna LG Elections – Electoral Commission

Chairman, Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission, SIECOM, Dr. Saratu Dikko, said the postponement of the Chairman and Councillors local government elections was done to amend some portions of the electoral law to allow e-voting.

She stated this at a meeting with political parties and civil societies at the commission’s head office on Monday in Kaduna.

Dikko said, “It is impossible for local government election to hold in Kaduna State this year, but hopefully by next year.”

She explained that the need to conduct a free, fair and credible election necessitated the introduction of the e-voting, which if achieved, would be a model to emulate in the country.

“For now we would do the sensitization at wards and local government areas with materials that will teach the electorate how e-voting works. We apologize to Kaduna people for the postponement.

“It was not intentional but they should rest assured that their votes will count under the e-voting system,” she said.

Dikko-Audu explained that before announcing the date for the election, they had anticipated the amendment of the law would have been done and assented to by Governor Nasir el-Rufai.

“SIECOM is independent of interference, but we operate within the laws of the land. The existing law doesn’t allow us to use e-voting, unless there is an amendment of existing law and assented to,” she added.

On when the elections would hold, she explained that it solely lies on the state House of Assembly.

Representatives of political parties who spoke separately, queried the commission’s decision to postpone the elections, wondering why it hastily announced the date for the elections.