The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of a former Kano State Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Adedayo Adeyeye (Ekiti), Dr. Stephen Orhu (Delta), and Dr. Abdul Bulama (Yobe) as ministers.
The nominees, who were grilled by senators on topical issues, agreed that an urgentb review of the country’s education curriculum remained the best way to tackle youth unemployment, poverty and insurgency.
Shekarau, who is the most popular of the nominees as a result of his antecedents as a two-term governor and former presidential candidate, decried the high level of unemployment in the country which he linked to the disruption of the Universal Primary Education policy by the successive military administration in the country.
The former All Progressives Congress chieftain, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in April, is being touted as the next education minister.
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”.
He said, “The skills acquisition component of the 6-3-3-4 education curriculum started in 1976 with the implementation of the Universal Primary Education and followed up with importation of Introductory Technology equipment from 1979-1982, for skills acquisition by junior secondary school pupils.
“The policy would have to a very large extent, assisted the country in producing self-reliant and self-employed school leavers at that level on a yearly basis if the programme had been implemented as envisioned.
“Part of the way out for our dear country on the problem of unemployment which breeds indiscipline, and unrest, among others in the country is for us to go back to the curriculum by making it to practically serve as catalyst for addressing the issue of unemployment of school leavers right from the classrooms”.
When asked to state his views on the recent gale of defections across the political divide, Shekarau, who appeared calm and confident throughout his screening, said while he believes there was nothing wrong in defecting from one political party to another, expressed the hope that with time, as democracy continues to grow, the practice would be a thing of the past.
He said, “There have 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 (defection) 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 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.
Adeyeye suggested that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme should not be scrapped but rather strengthened to promote national unity and integration.
According to the Ekiti State nominee, the scheme as envisaged in 1973 and implemented till date, has in no small measure, contributed to the unity of the country in so many ways.
Bulama suggested the use of electronic voting system but that it should be experimented with by-elections.
The Senate President, David Mark, who presided over the session, after their confirmation, charged the minister-designates to take Nigeria as their constituencies and not their states or political parties.
He said, “We hope that whenever they are given portfolio, they will see Nigeria as their constituency and not their state or political parties”.
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