Nigeria’s education minister Adamu Adamu on Thursday confessed that he knew nothing about the sector when he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Adamu was appointed by Buhari as education minister in 2015.
Speaking at a valedictory session held in his honour with the ministry’s officials and heads of parastatals in Abuja, Adamu thanked Buhari for trusting him with such a responsibility that he was not prepared for.
He said: “I didn’t know anything about education except superficially. When Buhari decided to make me Minister of Education, there is somebody here sitting and looking at me; he was the first person I called. He said ‘what do you want to achieve?’ I said I want to achieve good things. And these are my ideas as a learner.
“After that meeting, professors of education were called and I told them what I wanted to achieve and let them put it in writing for me and they (the professors) did. And then we had a document.”
Adamu said he called some people to assist him work on a policy document on education because he was a novice in the sector. He said he shared his idea with them and “they assisted me greatly, and I remain grateful to them for these years.”
Earlier, he said, “I was busy making recommendations and suggestions to the President on whom to appoint into his cabinet in 2015. All of a sudden, he announced my name to my surprise and that was it. We worked together till 2019.
“In 2019, I told the President that it was time for him to change his ministers. But I know him very well and I knew it will be difficult for him to do that. But I decided to make it easy for him by promising to make bring people that would do the job better for me and others who served as Ministers in the first tenure.
“I promised him that I will give him names of competent people from at least, 19 northern states. So, I suggested to him to drop all the ministers that worked with him in the first tenure including me, but I knew it would be difficult for him.
“But to confirm that I can do the job, I gave him a name from Bauchi state whom I had expected him to replace me with in the cabinet. That was how Maryam Katagun became Minister of the Federal Republic. I had brought her to replace me, and somehow and surprisingly to all, the President kept her and also kept me. Up till now, he never explained to me why he did that.
However, I remain eternally grateful to the President for trusting me with such responsibilities. He has shown me love and trust over the years. In 1994, when he picked up assignment in Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), he gave me an offer to work with him as Personal Assistant. That was how I found myself in Abuja.
There were strike actions embarked on by university lecturers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities that went on for months under the supervision of Adamu as education minister.
For instance, on August 17, 2017, ASUU declared an indefinite strike over unresolved issues with the government, which lasted till September.
In 2018, ASUU again went on strike, this time for three months.
It began the strike on November 4, 2018 and suspended it on February 7, 2019, after a meeting between its leadership and a government delegation led by the labour and employment minister, Chris Ngige.
In 2020, ASUU embarked on a two-week warning strike over the government’s failure to implement its 2019 agreement and resolution with the union. Eventually, the strike lasted over nine months after the government failed to respond to their demands.
Again, on February 14, 2022, ASUU went on strike and called it off after eight months even though many of the contending issues had not been resolved.