The Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Goodluck Jonathan’s nomination of former Kano State governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Mr. Adedayo Adeyeye (Ekiti), Dr. Stephen Oru (Delta) and Dr. Abdul Bulama (Yobe) as ministers.
The chamber grilled the ministers-designate on various topics on the state of the nation, defections, Nigeria’s educational policies as well as the revitalisation of the power sector. Shekarau and the new ministers agreed that an urgent review of the country’s education curriculum remained the best way to tackle unemployment, poverty and insurgency.
Shekarau, a two-term governor of Kano State, lamented the high level of unemployment in the country which he linked to the disruption of the Universal Primary Education policy by the successive military administrations in the country.
He maintained that the issue of skills acquisition for Nigerian students at the first three years of secondary education as envisioned in the 6-3-3-4 curriculum should be revisited by government and effectively implemented.
Asked by Senator Adamu Gumba on his views about politicians defecting from one political party to another, Shekarau justified the development as a normal practice, saying there had been some inconsistencies in the polity. “The issue of changing political parties, if you read the history of the Americans too, they did worse than what we are doing at the stage at which we are. Ideologies are not imposed, it is an ongoing process.
“Education is the progressive discovery of ignorance. Gradually, we are learning, we are trying to develop. Ideologies will become institutionalised by themselves. These movements (defections), I don’t totally agree that all the time they are for personal interests. They are dictated by circumstances of the political development around the environment you are in. I am sure with time, ideologies will be institutionalised,” he said.
He also identified the immediate fixing of the power sector by the government as a critical factor that could assist in solving the problem of unemployment.
On his part, Adeyeye urged the Federal Government to retain the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and called for the scheme to be further strengthened as a veritable vehicle that would catapult Nigerian graduates from their localities to other parts of the country.
Bulama suggested the use of electronic voting system but that it should be test-run with bye-elections.
After their confirmation, Senate President David Mark urged the ministers-designate to see the country as their constituency and not their states or political parties. “We hope that whenever they are given portfolios, they will see Nigeria as their constituency and not their states or political parties,” he said.