Strike: Nigerians kick over education minister's nomination for national honours – Premium Times

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu
Negative reactions have continued to trail the inclusion of Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, in the list of Nigerians to be conferred with national honours by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari had, on 1st October released the names of 437 Nigerians to be conferred with National honours ranging from the Order of the Federal Republic to the Order of the Niger.
According to the list released by Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, the education minister will be conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) alongside the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Ishaq Oloyede and some state governors.
But this has generated negative comments from Nigerians who wondered why the education minister deserved an honour despite his failure to resolve the crisis that has led to the shutting down of activities in Nigeria’s public universities for up to eight months.
University lecturers under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on industrial action on 14 February to demands among others, better conditions of service for its members and better funding for the university system. The lecturers’ union is also rejecting the payment platform being used for the payment of its salaries, arguing that universities are autonomous and should pay their staff.
But Nigerians, including the National Association of Nigerian Students, condemned Mr Adamu’s nomination, saying the lingering strike is enough to disqualify him from such awards.
A member of ASUU’s Rapid Response Team, Abdulgafar Amoka, a professor at Ahmadu Bello University wrote on his facebook page: “University Lecturers’ Strike is in its 8th month and the Minister of Education, Mall. Adamu Adamu, will be receiving a national honour from President Buhari for his outstanding contribution to national development. Job well done. He has now earned an honour and can be called an “honourable” after receiving the award.”
In his personal opinion, the chairperson, ASUU, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto Chapter, Muhammad Almustapha, a professor, said the government’s action appears to be rewarding incompetence.
He said while he does not know why the government decided to confer such an honour on the minister, it is evident that despite spending such a long time in that position, the minister has not performed well enough to deserve the award.
He said: “I don’t know what measure the federal government used to put him in the honour list. But when you look at education in itself, to the best of my knowledge, we have never had a minister that spends so much time at the ministry of education like this minister. So judging by that, I don’t think he has achieved so much that he should be honoured.”
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Giwa Yisa, noted that the government’s action was an insult on Nigerian students whose academic pursuit have been stalled over up to eight months.
“It constitutes an insult on the collective intelligence of Nigerian students both home and in the diaspora that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu under whose nose University students have been home for close to 8 months is to be awarded the National Honours of Commander of the Order of Niger (CON). This singular act of the Buhari’s administration is a clear pointer to the fact that Nigerian students have been taken for a ride,” it said.
Other Nigerians have also taken to social media to condemn the government. “The fact that President Buhari listed current Minister of Education,Mallam Adamu Adamu for National Honors, despite overseeing an ongoing 8 months strike, shows how low this administration rates Education,” Opeyemi Akinyode, tweeted on Monday.
Another user on the social media platform, @princeakinoye01, wrote: “The President has conferred a national honour on Education Minister Adamu Adamu. Since his appointment as minister in 2015, he has witnessed more than 20 months of a strike. What exactly is his legacy that made him deserve a CON?”
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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