The prolonged foreign medical trip undertaken by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and his absence at the ministry are currently affecting key policy direction at the Federal Ministry of Education, top officials of the ministry have informed SaharaReporters.
Officials highlighted the lack of thoroughness in several appointments at agencies of the ministry, including the National Examinations Council, and the tendency of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to proceed on another strike due to the pending issues between them and the government.
Officials also noted that several tenures of some heads of agencies are billed to end this year and the task of shopping for worthy replacements for recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari should ordinarily fall on the minister who is has been away.
One of them said, “The Chief Executive Officer of the National Library of Nigeria will be rounding off (his time) in July. The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board will be rounding off by end of the year too. The Universal Basic Education Commission and even the Tertiary Education Trust Fund are key agencies that need worthy replacements and monitoring.
“Nigeria is grappling with school abductions and Federal Government Colleges in the north are becoming endangered environments; where is the policy redirection of the Federal Ministry of Education in all of this?”
“With the highly qualified education personnel which Nigeria boasts of and several professors who are well versed, what stops the Presidency from allowing the minister take good care of his health, while a replacement is announced? Who is speaking for the challenged education sector at the Federal Executive Council meetings? No one. The minister of state is a former lawmaker. What does he know about the education sector?”
SaharaReporters had on June 17 reported that Adamu was battling an undisclosed ailment in Germany and had been away from the country for months.
SaharaReporters learnt that the key ministry lacks adequate coordination as the Minister of State for Education, Emeke Nwajiuba, and the Permanent Secretary, Sonny Echono, now take all critical decisions.
Some top sources at the ministry had said Adamu was down with a kidney problem in Germany, while others said the 67-year-old minister from Bauchi State has cancer.
Checks by SaharaReporters confirmed that Adamu had not been on any official duty for most parts of the year.
On May 27, the Federal Ministry of Education inaugurated a “Safe to School, Be Seen, Be Safe” initiative to ensure the children’s safety in and out of school.
Adamu was represented at the occasion by the Minister of State for Education, Nwajiuba.
On June 15, the Federal Ministry of Education established the National Research and Development Foundation Draft Executive Bill Committee, with a call on members to propose legislation that will ensure robust knowledge.
Adamu was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Echono.
On June 20, Adamu was said to have approved the takeoff of the Federal Polytechnic, Orogun, Delta State, to commence academic activities in September 2022.
Adamu was again represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Echono.
SaharaReporters had learnt that Adamu, being a close ally to President Muhammadu Buhari, may continue his tenure from the sickbed even as critical educational policies, directions, and interventions are lacking in the country due to the absence of quality leadership.
SaharaReporters had on September 7, 2020, reported that Adamu was in a hospital in Berlin, Germany, but it is not clear whether he is at the same hospital presently.