The Senate yesterday confirmed the appointments of the former Governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and three other ministerial nominees and charged them to make the best use of the opportunity by adding value to the system.
Other ministerial nominees confirmed by the Senate after about two hours of screening were Mr. Adedayo Adeyeye (Ekiti), Dr. Abdul Bulama (Yobe) and Dr. Stephen Oru (Delta State).
President Goodluck Jonathan had on June 4, this year, forwarded the names of the nominees to the Senate and urged the parliament to expeditiously confirm the appointments.
While answering questions from senators on his assessment of the 6-3-3-4 education curriculum which formally took off in 1986 during the military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida, Shekarau said the curriculum had failed to yield the desired intention, moreso that the idea of skill acquisition during the first three years of secondary education by pupils has not been effectively implemented.
He explained that the skills’ acquisition aspect of the 6-3-3-4 curriculum which, according to him, was conceived in 1976 with the implementation of Universal Primary Education (UPE), was accompanied by the importation of introductory technology materials between 1979 and 1982.
According to him, if skills’ acquisition for junior secondary school pupils as conceived had been effective, it would have created rooms for self-reliance and self employment among its beneficiaries.
“Part of the way out for our dear country on the problem of unemployment which breeds indiscipline, unrest et cetera 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,” he said.
He also explained that as a result of the collapse of the idea, students who ordinarily should not have proceeded to the senior secondary school, had to force their way there and ended up either dropping out of the higher institutions or turned out to be unemployable graduates.
“We have to address the problem of unemployment from classrooms. When we begin to train people for industry or government right from the classroom, the problem of unemployment will be solved,” he said.
On his defection from All Progressives Congress (APC) to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which a senator perceived to be selfish and a failure of ideological beliefs, in contrast with the instances he cited in foreign countries, Shekarau disagreed, saying defections in Nigeria were rather dictated by some political circumstances which made defection imminent.
According to him, such developments are normal because Nigeria is still at the learning stage of democratic rule. He argued that the United States’ democracy after which Nigeria’s civil rule is patterned, had a worse experience at its flowery stage.
He blamed Nigeria’s political instability on military interregnum which he said obstructed democratic growth.
“In comparing Nigeria with the US, we have to be careful. We are still in the learning process. If the system we had in 1960 had been allowed to go through the process without intervention from the military, we would have had some consistency and continuity by now. United States did more badly when it started. Overtime, we will get it,” he said.
On his part, Adeyeye in his response to a question on whether he shared the common view that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) should be scrapped, differed completely, saying it should rather be strengthened because it provides Nigerian graduates with the opportunity to have cross-cultural experience.
According to him, the scheme as envisioned in 1973 and implemented till date, has helped to promote the unity of Nigeria in so many ways.
After the screening and unanimous confirmation of each of the nominees, Senate President, Senator David Mark, charged them to promote national interest above ethnic or party’s interest.
“We hope that whenever they are given portfolios, they will see Nigeria as their constituency and not their states or political parties,” he said.
Also yesterday, the president forwarded the names of Mahdi Daura (Katsina), Sheba Abayomi (Ondo) and Jonathan Awofisayo (Osun) to the Senate for confirmation as members of Federal Character Commission (FCC).
He also announced the re-appointment of Aliyu Mohammed as a member of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and prayed the Senate to promptly confirmation the nomination. He said the appointments were in compliance with Section 153(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.