Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, says no amount of blackmail will change the government’s decision to sack about 22,000 teachers in the state.
This follows the two weeks ultimatum issued to the state government by the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in Kaduna that they would embark on an indefinite strike if the government fails to suspend its plan.
Governor El-Rufai, however, insisted that government will not back down from sacking the teachers who he described as incompetent to remain in the teaching profession.
“Many times, the decisions we take offer us slow political advantages, but we do what is necessary not minding the direct impact on us personally but conscious of the dire consequences of inaction on our people,” he said while addressing members of the State House of Assembly earlier in the week.
“Change is not a slogan to win elections; change represents hard work required to refocus our state on the path of progress,” he added.
The governor said government has been facing threats and blackmail from some teachers, even when it was apparent that many of them were of very low grade.
According to him, this prompted his administration to take immediate action to address the situation, maintaining that there is no going back on the decision.
El-Rufai added that he is not afraid to sack unqualified teachers in the system in order to secure the future of the over two million pupils in the state, even if it would cost him his second term re-election.
“Mr Speaker sir, the APC got elected in 2015 because the people of Nigeria and the people of Kaduna State believe that while that one-time ruling party plans to win the next election, the APC will plan for the welfare of the next generation.
“It is irresponsible not to act when most of our primary school teachers cannot score 75 percent in a class four examination, or to shrink from the edifying workers and pensioners because the ghost workers and others affected will scream and make the world believe that nobody in Kaduna State is being paid salary or pension,” he said.
According to the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board, about two-thirds of primary school teachers who sat for the test, made up of primary four questions, failed to score up to 75 percent in the grading.
The state government, however, said it would recruit as many qualified teachers as possible to replace those reportedly marked for dismissal.