GTB 737 banner Yudala banner

El-Rufai’s teachers and Shehu Sani’s labour unions, By ’Fisayo Soyombo

By News Express on 13/11/2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon

Views: 262

•Fisayo Soyombo
•Fisayo Soyombo

For as long as one is the Governor of Kaduna State and the other is obsessed with unseating him, Nasir el-Rufai and Senator Shehu Sani will never see a coin from the same side. No, scratch that. So long as el-Rufai sees a coin form a certain side, Sani can never see it from the same.

Ordinarily, this is not our problem: the masses, I mean. For those of us who hail not from Kaduna and are not interested in the politics of the North-western state, el-Rufai and Sani can continue feuding for as long as they desire. After all, political disagreements are often not about the people, but about the selfish interests of who gets what. But no longer can we ignore the el-Rufai-Sani feud. Their problem has become our problem.

As everyone probably knows already, el-Rufai is trying to sack 21,700 primary school teachers who failed a test that should have been passed by the average Primary 4 pupil. Think of ‘sack’ here as a ‘Future Definite Tense’: because if you know a thing or two about el-Rufai - from his days at the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and the FCT ministry - these teachers are as good as gone. Even his son, Bello, confirms this, when he recently said: “Let me do what I have no power to do, which is speak for my father. He will not relent or change his mind on this action, no matter what.”

El-Rufai is like that. He operates like a soldier: there’s nothing like ‘come’ after, ‘go’.

This is neither strength nor weakness in itself; it’s always a question of context. It can be a weakness when he is wrong: such as when, out of blind loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari, he talks about ongoing efforts by a group of Buharists (whatever that means!) to ensure that Buhari (as though he has earned it) runs in 2019, when his current tenure has been blighted by long absences from work and a litany of unfulfilled electoral promises. But when he is right, such as is the case with his current effort to reposition primary education in Kaduna, then el-Rufai’s stubbornness is more than a strength; it is a refreshing dose of rarely-seen political will in Nigeria’s public space, where political correctnessnot competence, is the pre-eminent primer of job-related decision-making.

Tackling a problem from its roots

The Nigerian education system is a mess. Very few people would disagree, but employers of labour are best placed to narrate the shocking details. There will always be a few shinning lights: self-motivated people who defy the system to rise beyond the standards of their formal education. But, generally, job tests and interviews are the spots where the obituary of the Nigerian education system is constantly being rewritten.

Many times, when we talk about the ‘falling standard of education’, we focus on tertiary institutions of learning, forgetting that if the primary and secondary levels are weak, no magic can happen at the tertiary level. El-Rufai has done well to deviate from the norm and hit the problem at its roots. When a teacher cannot spell malaria and misspells typhoid as “typhart”, misspells cough as “cought” or defines ICT as “Introduction to Communication Technology”, we all have to be worried about the calibre of “tomorrow’s leaders” we’re raising. And when such teachers hit the streets in protest, hoisting banners such as one that reads ‘Examination is not the true test of knowledge’ despite themselves overseeing exams, roughly once every four months, we all should be hiding our heads away in shame. But some people cannot be bothered; one of such being Shehu Sani, the senator representing Kaduna Central at the National Assembly.

Sani, NUT, NLC

In all these, Sani is “standing firmly” with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) “100 per cent” on their protests last week, in an attempt to force the hands of the state government. Despite stiff opposition from majority of his social-media followers, Sani has been defiant. His arguments, in his exact words, are basically three:Any examination conducted for teachers not by Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN)is invalid; making public 10 answer scripts out of over 21,000 answer scripts makes no sense to any reasonable and rational mind; while people outside of Kaduna are made to believe that it's about 'quality education' or 'next generation', the people of Kaduna know better about the truth behind the façade.

The last two reasons do not at all merit discussion, but there is some truth in the regulatory responsibilities of the TRCN. However, even that argument spotlights TRCN’s complicity in the rot. Beyond organising and collecting money for its professional qualifying examinations, TRCN has been anonymous in any painstaking effort to sanitise the education system since its establishment, more than two decades ago. Given the TRCN’s slumber, nothing precludes the state government from its own intervention.

Sani, NUT and NLC are not the only ones in the opposition camp. Also in it are those who do not want 22,000 people to lose their jobs overnight. How would these teachers and their families survive without a job? Valid concern, but invalid conclusion! Any normal human-being should be saddened by the prospect of such huge job loss, but the lives of millions of pupils will be ruined if left at the mercy of such misfiring teachers. Rather than indulge in pity party, the about-to-be-sacked teachers should take up the option of re-applying for their jobs. They have a few weeks, probably months, to rehabilitate themselves ahead of the oncoming recruitment examination: retraining teachers with such huge elementary deficiencies can’t be the state government’s headache.

Dream of recruiting 25,000 ‘qualified’ teachers

El-Rufai deserves ovation, not opprobrium, for his bold move even if, by law, he cannot mass-sack the teachers in question. Respected lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, has already explained how the teachers can be disengaged from service without breaching the law.

But there is an important question no one seems to be asking: from where does el-Rufai hope to harvest 25,000 “qualified” teachers? Apparently, not Kaduna State. To expect quality teachers of that number is to underestimate the rot he is trying to tackle or to neglect its causes. He is well on course to eliminate the cronyism, nepotism and ‘man-know-man-ism’ that helped the endangered teachers to a job they did not merit. But still in place are the mediocrity-rewarding quota system and catchment area guidelines for admission into tertiary institutions, which give education opportunities to not necessarily the best students, and the federal character principle that sometimes hands teaching and lecturing jobs to the least qualified candidates. Therefore, prospective Kaduna teachers who accessed education not because they were qualified to, or who were taught by lecturers that weren’t the most qualified to, cannot be as “qualified” as el-Rufai might be expecting.

This still doesn’t invalidate the governor’s efforts. He is treading where others failed. Adams Oshiomhole attempted it in Edo State without success. He was forced to reverse the sack of 936 teachers, while the planned sack of several thousands more ended up a mere bluff. But Oshiomhole did that in his second term, when, by political calculations, he could risk the people’s uprising.

Nasir el-Rufai is attempting it in his first term; and given the enormous voting power wielded by teachers - with whom the larger civil service workforce is sympathetic - el-Rufai is toying with his reelection prospects in 2019. One thing is clear: Nigeria would be a better place with more leaders of his ilk: governors and presidents who act out their convictions, even at the expense of their political capital.

We will also do well to limit the leadership opportunities available to the likes of Shehu Sani: people to whom political warfare supersede societal advancement, people who wouldn’t hire Kaduna’s “typhart” and “coughting” teachers to train their own kids, but can side with the NLC and NUT if it depletes the armoury of their political opponents.

•Fisayo Soyombo, Editor of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), tweets @fisayosoyombo

Source News Express

Posted 13/11/2017 6:22:55 PM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

 

You may also like...
Messi, Manchester City in talks over £800,000-a-week move...

Presidential Election: Learn from Nigeria’s mistake, Fayose tells...

PENGASSAN, NUPENG back petrol pump price hike

Redeemed Church loses big as Cameroonian President shuts...

Biafra: SERG kicks against labelling IPOB terror group,...

We act in the best interest of Nigerians...

2015: Tony Obuh eminently qualified to succeed Uduaghan,...

Buhari sacks DGs of 23 federal agencies, appoints...

Don’t undermine South-South and South-East, Uduaghan counsels Buhari’s...

Saudi Arabia probes $100bn fraud, detains 208 suspects...

Police captures 22 crime suspects in Kaduna

DSS, PDP plan to postpone elections —APC

 

Latest News What is the worth of a Nigerian migrant’s life? Most ‘wealth’ isn’t the result of hard work Dangote, Glo, Airtel, 7 others battle for 9mobile US budgets $490m to fight HIV/AIDS in Nigeria South-East Governors’ Forum mourns Ekwueme Nigerian economy grows 1.4 pct in Q3 Jealous wife stabs son of ex-PDP Chairman to death over text messages Children worry about poor education, violence, and terrorism; call on leaders to listen on World Children’s Day Journalist escapes death by whiskers as assailants invade residence MRA inducts TETFund into FOI Hall of Shame Ohanaeze congratulates Obiano, mourns Ekwueme CSOs commend military, say OPSH has brought peace in Plateau, Bauchi, Southern Kaduna

 

Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (294,722 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (278,537 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (225,131 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (189,405 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (181,363 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (166,114 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (144,109 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (130,540 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (127,155 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (116,533 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (113,762 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (107,769 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (30) Business (2,773) Business Verdict (26) Columnists (769) Complaints & Requests (93) Enterprise & Opportunities (187) Entertainment (404) Features (510) Global Business Monitor (190) International (1,646) Interviews (138) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (83) News (30,375) Opinion (838) Pidgin (9) Politics (4,113) Religion (648) Sports (1,357) Stock Watch (24) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

UBA mobile app

CBN Words on marble

 

 

Argentina vs Nigeria

 

APO Group Partner

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement



 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

Loss Off Your Belly Fats, Upper Arm Fat and Body Fats In 2weeks Time.. Click HERE To Start Now!

Let us build the most comprehensive online database of worthy and credible Nigerians from all walks of life. It is worth doing!