Governor Nasir El-Rufai says most of his colleagues in the north will teachers after the 2019 general elections.
EL-Rufai had sacked over four thousand “incompetent” teachers in Kaduna State, a move that sparked reactions across the country with many say may cost him his reelection bid in 2019.
Speaking at the 4th Distinguished Guest Lecture of the University of Medical Science, Ondo state, El-Rufai said the decision to sack incompetent teachers was taken by all the northern state governors, but most of them could not carry it out for the fear of losing the next governorship election scheduled for 2019.
“We have different governors’ fora in the country. We also have the Northern Governors Forum where we share experiences. I can tell you that many of my colleagues from the northern states told me that what I was doing was right. They told me that they had more serious cases in their states, but they couldn’t do anything about the problems,” he announced.
“So I think after the next election, you will see a lot of the reforms happening because many of the governors will decide to do the same thing. It is just that they are not as reckless as I am. We took a collective decision because it was the right thing to do. If you don’t do this, why not walk away from the governor’s seat?
“What is more important to me is education. Many of my colleagues have talked to me in private that they would do the same thing (sack teachers) after the election.”
He noted that in spite of the criticism that greeted his action, President Muhammadu Buhari and some prominent Nigerians commended him for a job well done.
“I am very grateful to Mr. President. He came out clearly and supported what we did in Kaduna. No professor of education supported us. We had to ask ourselves questions repeatedly, if we were doing the right thing or not. But the moment we started receiving support from top Nigerians, we were convinced that we were on the right track,” El-Rufai declared.
The lecture, according to the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Friday Okonofua, was aimed at bridging the gap between academics, policy makers and government officials on what needed to be done to recover the Nigerian educational system to galvanise and ensure the future development of the country.