When he was appointed Minister; to oversee the nation’s education sector in 2015, Prof. Adamu Adamu, “has no deep knowledge about the sector”; this is in reference to his latest “confession”. However, armed with his passion for success and a burning desire to reposition the education sector, he set out for tremendous landmark of achievements in the industry. This fervour and the crave for success led him to consult and engage the experts and professionals in the sector for ideas and sustainable roadmap that would place Nigeria’s education sector on the same pedestal with the best practices in the international arena.
In recognition of the urgent need to reposition the education sector as a vector of development, progress and prosperity, he sets the production of well-educated and skilled workforce as a central pillar of his programme. To achieve this, he embarked on a transformative journey that was aimed at making quality, accessible and relevant education available at all levels. Prof. Adamu Adamu, the longest-serving Education Minister in the country so far, has not only satisfactorily fed his craves with fulfilments and wonderful achievements, he has also elevated the quality of education in the country to an admirable radar of excellence. It is therefore, with mixed feelings that I bid farewell to an industrious, a visionary and outstanding Minister of Education who has served the country dexterously with an utmost sense of dedication and distinction.
It will permanently be on record that during his tenure;
he made an indelible mark on the education sector in the country, particularly in the areas of innovative and technical education;
the Ministry of Education succeeded in setting a roadmap for repositioning of technical education in the country;
he developed a robust and sustainable technical education system that would cater to the needs of the economy and equip young people with the skills needed to compete in the global labour market;
the Minister initiated various programmes and policies aimed at collaborating with stakeholders in the public and private sectors for the purpose of providing opportunities for students to gain practical experience and exposure to the real-world scenarios.
As I reflect upon the remarkable contributions of this silent achiever, I am compelled to mention that Prof. Adamu Adamu demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the national growth and development in the following areas:
1. *Recognition of the immense potential of technical skills and empowerment*:
One of the outstanding accomplishments of the outgoing Minister of Education is the unwavering dedication to revitalizing and recognizing the immense potential of technical skills. This is aimed at empowering individuals and driving national development. He also championed numerous initiatives that were tailored towards prioritizing the enhancement of technical institutions and curriculum development. The minister facilitated the acquisition of practical skills and ensured that Nigerian youths are equipped to excel in various technical fields.
Under his leadership, he strived to achieve a significant transformation that makes our technical institutions becoming hubs of innovation and excellence. The minister’s vision to bridge the gap of skills acquisition in critical sectors of the economy did not only empower countless individuals but also boost Nigeria’s competitive advantage on a global scale. Through the establishment of partnerships with industries and international organizations, he fostered a symbiotic relationship between education and industry, leading to the production of highly skilled graduates who were ready to contribute meaningfully to the nation’s development.
2. *Appointment of Deserving Heads for Tertiary Institutions*:
Another remarkable aspect of the outgoing Minister of Education’s legacy is his fervent commitment to transparency and fairness in the appointment of institutional administrators such as Vice Chancellors, Rectors and Provosts across the country. He recognized the importance of placing competent and dedicated individuals at the helm of affairs in these institutions. This he did to ensure effective leadership, good governance and meritocracy. He implemented rigorous selection processes by removing undue political interference and restoring confidence in the appointment exercise. Through his efforts, highly qualified professionals with genuine passion for education were allowed to lead. This was done to usher-in, an era of dynamic leadership in Nigeria’s educational institutions and paving the way for a new generation of capable and dedicated leaders who will shape the future of our educational system.
The impact of these appointments reverberated across the education sector, as Rectors worked tirelessly to improve the quality of education, enhance infrastructure, and promote research and innovation. The Minister’s steadfast commitment to ensuring capable leaders were appointed further cemented his reputation as a champion of progress and excellence. The repositioning of the sector and specifically, the appointment of competent Rectors across board are enduring legacies that will continue to shape the educational landscape of Nigeria for years to come. The outgoing minister’s impact, no doubt, has been felt by countless students, educators, and professionals, who have benefited from his visionary leadership.
As I bid a heartfelt farewell to a remarkable leader, a visionary and a true champion of education in our time, I honour him with immense gratitude and admiration. I adore his tireless advocacy for quality education, his emphases on innovation in teaching methodologies, curriculum development, educational infrastructure and incorporation of technological and digital literary in the classrooms.
It must also be noted that the Minister spearheaded initiatives to enhance teacher training and welfare, recognizing that teachers are the bedrock of our educational system. He understood that investing in our teachers and providing them with the necessary tools and support is crucial for nurturing a generation of well-rounded and competent individuals who will drive our nation forward. Prof. Adamu Adamu understands the significance of building bridges and fostering synergies to address the multifaceted challenges facing our educational system.
Having been blessed with such uncommon feats on the tasking assortment, it however, wrenches the heart as observed from his signing off remarks. Yet, he expressed his disinterest to partake in the new administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Prof. Adamu Adamu is retiring from servicing the humanity at a time when his experience and guidance would be mostly needed to crystallize all the yeoman’s job he did for eight straight years.
As he retires to reflect on his service to humanity, especially as the longest-serving Minister of Education, I wish him well in his endeavours and do hope that his successor will continue the good work that he has started. The Nigeria education sector is such a critical sector that requires visionary leadership and I trust that the incoming Minister will rise to the occasion and take the sector to greater heights.
Dr. Kadiri, Kamoru Oluwatoyin, the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Offa, Offa, Kwara State, writes from Offa.