With recent reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has thrown his weight behind Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai’s decision to sack 22,000 Teachers in Kaduna State who failed competency test and recruit 25,000 new ones, we believe the “presidential endorsement” will embolden Governor El-Rufai whose decision last week to sack almost the entire Teachers in public schools in Kaduna State has attracted criticism from around the country.
While we consider the President’s endorsement on this issue, as the “master’s stroke” that nailed it in the right track, we however believe there is need for President Buhari to also realize that there is need for such ‘’presidential weight’’ in overhauling the entire Nigerian Public Sector, which includes his Cabinet, and bringing to book all erring public officers that have in one way or the other, not contributing what they are supposed to contribute in moving the nation forward in terms of prompt provision of public services.
Those public officers found not to be performing as they ought to, should be shown the way out to give room for serious-minded persons that would come in on merit only, and nothing else. President Buhari should also realize that Nigerians are counting on his presidential might to address the problems in the nation’s Power sector, as well as our Education sector.
Truth be told and without mincing words, President Buhari is becoming too slow in taking ‘active decisions’ that would move the country forward at an encouraging speed – an encouraging speed that would inspire confidence and trust on the Government, and also attract Direct Foreign Investments in various sectors.
There is also need for the President to start ‘’walking the talks’’ and not only be ‘’talking the talks’’. Actions they say, speaks louder than words. Nigerians should able to trust Mr. President with his words and not for him to say one thing, and be seen to be doing something else. For instance, the President, while giving his endorsement on the Kaduna sacked Teachers, he noted that: “It is a very serious situation, when teachers cannot pass the exams that they are supposed to teach the children to pass. It is a very tragic situation we are in.”
And that: “The problem is no longer a secret that the quality of education in Nigeria requires greater attention and improvement.” But that: “his administration was committed to revitalizing the education system and making it more responsive and globally competitive.” President Buhari even noted that: “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 sector has suffered.”
The question now is, if President Buhari is aware of all of this concerning the nation’s deplorable standard of education, how come in the recently presented N8.6 trillion 2018 Budget, only 7.04% was allocated to Education, which again is much lower than the 26% of national budget recommended by the United Nations (UN) as global benchmark to enable nations adequately cater for rising education demands? How can we make our Educational sector become “more responsive and globally competitive” when the Government have never been able to budget and allocate what is globally accepted to improve standard of education in a developing nation like Nigeria?
And tomorrow, somebody will be wondering why the Nigerian Standard of Education has been on a downward ride for many years to ridiculous oblivion. So, it is one thing for Mr. President and his Government officials to say what they are saying, it is another thing entirely for them to do what is expected of them to move things forward for the Nigerian masses.
Speaking of Government officials, we also expect the President’s might in addressing the MainaGate saga, which remains a serious question mark on the President Buhari’s Government integrity.
Though, President Buhari, who it has been alleged to know about Maina’s return, had responded by ordering Maina’s dismissal and arrest, but there are a lot more questions when we examine the turnout of events that led to where we are with this scandalous issue. For one, why did the Presidency that has posed itself to be fighting war against graft, authorize the pardon, recall and promotion of a top suspect implicated in the looting of pension funds running into hundreds of billions of Naira?
President Buhari was reported to have ordered that MainaGate be investigated and “the report submitted to his Chief Of Staff, Abba Kyari, the same Abba Kyari who reportedly masterminded the reinstatement and double promotion of a wanted criminal. This is the same Abba Kyari who was allegedly reported to have purportedly collected N500 million from MTN management to mitigate its legal punishment for defrauding Nigerians. While MTN top management staffers who bribed Abba Kyari have been sacked, Abba Kyari remains Buhari’s Chief Of Staff (COS).
Like we said before now, there are other ‘red flags’ that have not been addressed wholeheartedly, which suggest that perhaps, the President Buhari’s anti-graft war is one-sided and is being used to make so much noise with little or no results. Many Nigerians wish to ask again why did President Buhari refuse to act on the report that indicted his COS? What happened to the report on ‘Mr. Grasscutter’, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal who allegedly stole millions from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East and was even defended by Buhari?
What of the Ikoyi $43million seizure that involved the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ayo Eke? What about this “MainaGate” scandal that involves the reinstatement of a wanted official accused of gross misappropriation of pension funds? In a situation where it has been alleged that Dambazau did the ‘diplomacy’, while Daura provided the ‘Security’ and the AGF Malami wrote the ‘legal advice’ that got Maina reinstated, the question is, how come nothing has been done to these persons involved in the MainaGate embarrassment?
These are the events that made us reiterate the need for President Buhari to become more ‘proactive’ and promptly ‘overhaul the nation’s public service, as part of his anti-graft crusade, starting with his cabinet. Otherwise, we will keep going round in circles as a nation, and in the midst, some selected few will be smiling, since the status quo is in their favour, but to the detriment of many.
Written by Zik Gbemre, JP, National Coordinator Niger Delta Peace Coalition (NDPC)
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