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I had zero knowledge of education sector before Buhari appointed me - Minister

Adamu is one of the few ministers that served two terms in the Buhari administration.

Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu

Adamu made this revelation while speaking at a valedictory session with officials and heads of parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja on Thursday, May 25, 2023.

The minister is one of the eight longest-serving members of the Buhari cabinet. Since his appointment in 2015, the Nigerian education sector has witnessed no fundamental changes, especially at the tertiary level where incessant strikes remained a frequent occurrence.

Adamu also oversaw the longest strike action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and was often criticised for his alleged lack of initiative to return millions of Nigerian out-of-school children back to classrooms.

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However, his recent revelation suggests that all of the aforementioned challenges in the nation's education sector may not have happened by accident afterall.

In his confession, the minister said he was forced to apply wisdom by appointing some professors of education and other experts in the sector, and coupled with the help of the officials of the Federal Ministry of Education, he was able to kick off and make some progress.

He said, “I didn’t know anything about the education sector when I was appointed Minister except superficially. But when Buhari decided to make me Minister of Education, I called some people to assist me to work on a policy document on education because I was a novice in the sector. I shared my idea with them and they assisted me greatly, and I remain grateful to them for these years.”

Meanwhile, Adamu appreciated Buhari for finding him worthy of a ministerial appointment and for the trust he reposed in him which helped him to steer the affairs of the ministry for nearly eight years even as he admitted that he was apparently not ready and unprepared for such a task.

The Minister said, “I was busy making recommendations and suggestions to the President on who 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.

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“In 2019, I approached the President and suggested that he reshuffle his cabinet because, in the eyes of many, it was unusual in our society for a President to work with the same Ministers for four years. Buhari had graciously allowed his Ministers to stay in office for four years. Ordinarily, Ministers stay in office for two years before they are reshuffled.

“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 bring people that would do the job better for me and others who served as Ministers in the first tenure,” he said.

“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 within the cabinet. That was how Maryam Katagun became Minister of the Federal Republic.”

He said he brought her to replace him and somehow but surprisingly, the President kept her and also kept him.

“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 an 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.”

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