The return of Adamu
The House of Representatives, on July 10, expressed its displeasure over the cancellation of this year’s West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu.
The Minister had alluded to the COVID-19 pandemic as excuse, a decision which contradicted an earlier signal sent out by the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba.
Adamu’s decision was made public in a tweet, on July 8, by Tolu Ogunlesi, President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide on New Media.
“Minister of Education has just announced that schools under the control of the Federal Government will not be reopening for the forthcoming WAEC exams. Says WAEC should suspend exams and urges State Governments to toe Federal Government line. This is not the right time to reopen,” Ogunlesi tweeted.
But expressing displeasure over Adamu’s decision, the Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, accused him of not consulting with critical stakeholders.
Ihonvbere said: “The House Committee disagrees with the Honourable Minister and believes that reconsideration is urgently needed to save our educational system…”
Other critics have since knocked Adamu’s position, with many branding the move as one that is poised to cause a great set back on the country’s already shaky educational system.
Already, indications that his moves may have created divisions within the polity are clearly manifest in the purported support that nineteen northern Commissioners of Education extended to him a day after his pronouncements. Their southern counterparts have since responded differently, insisting on going ahead with the exams.
The fault lines are evident in the decision of the Southwest States of Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Lagos, Ondo and Oyo to mobilise schools in the zone and present them next month, August, for the WAEC exams. They spoke under the umbrella of DAWN (Development Agenda for Western Nigeria) Commission. And, this came even as the Adamu-led Education Ministry, on July 15, reiterated its position that federal schools would remain shut and forgo the WAEC exams.
Is Adamu bothered about the rising tension within the education sector? And, will he succumb to the pressures coming from the Julius Ihonvbere committee and others? The days ahead, perhaps, hold the answers.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“So many HND holders have contributed or are contributing very meaningfully to the development of Nigeria but the discrimination that is put on them, that if you reach Level 14 you cannot go any further than that, places some kind of disadvantage not only the holders but on the country as well.”
Answer: See end of post.
Two other stories
NDDC house of corruption
The Senate, on July 9, sternly condemned the alleged N81 billion financial misappropriation leveled against the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, while declaring open an investigative Public Hearing by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the Investigation of the Alleged Financial Recklessness in the NDDC, noted that such act was unacceptable.
Represented by Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice, Lawan said: “The NDDC is an important statutory agency that is supposed to improve the lot of the Niger Delta community. It is, therefore, unacceptable to hear about inappropriate use of resources, or outright financial recklessness.”
The Senate had on May 5, set up the ad hoc committee to investigate the IMC of the NDDC over the alleged N81 billion scam. Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Olubunmi Adetumbi, noted that the probe was not meant to witch-hunt anyone or groups as alleged by some people, but to reposition the Commission for the betterment of the Niger Delta people.
Over the years, tales of financial corruption have trailed the Commission.
Like Senate, the House of Representatives also has a committee probing the alleged graft issues within the NDDC. It is pertinent to note that the oversight functions are as enshrined in the constitution.
The expectations of Nigerians, therefore, are that the probes must be thorough, fair and devoid of witch-hunt. The nation is watching with rapt attention.
Still on sexual harassment law
Members of the Red Chamber of the National Assembly, on July 7, passed a bill, specifically, to protect students in tertiary institutions, across the country, from sexual harassment.
The Deputy-Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, sponsored the bill following the consideration of the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
According to Omo-Agege: “We have to protect our daughters from predators.”
While making his presentation on the legislation, the Chairman of the Committee, Opeyemi Bamidele, made a shocking revelation when he averred that contrary to the claim of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), there were no extant laws that can sufficiently address sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.
Bamidele said: “This legislation is meant to address the incidence of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions only, as there are other laws that address sexual offences in respect of persons under the age of 18 years such as the Child Rights Act 2003.”
Though this important legislation may be coming late, it does hold an opportunity to address the never-ending scourge of sexual harassment in our tertiary institutions.
It will be interesting to see how Omo-Agege and his committee works to deliver on this bill. Will he be able to sufficiently get the buy in of many of his colleagues and other critical stakeholders who might argue that there are just too many laws existing already to check incidences sexual harassment? Time will tell.
Answer: Ahmad Lawan
Senator Ahmad Lawan made the statement when he was a House of Representatives member in 2006. He was speaking in his capacity as the then Chairman of the House Committee on Education after he attended a meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo on reversing the restrictions Higher National Diploma holders face from rising above salary grade Level 14 in public service, unlike their university graduate counterparts.
By John Chukwu…
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