The immediate past Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, who was sacked from the federal cabinet last month, has joined the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which she desperately tried to break while in office.
According to a report by an online news medium, Premium Times, enquiries at Bayero University, Kano (BUK), where Rufa’i was teaching Education Curriculum before taking up political appointment, showed that although she had returned to the institution, she was yet to commence work because of the ongoing industrial action.
BUK Public Relations Officer, Mustapha Zaharaddeen, said in a telephone interview yesterday, that the former minister had joined her colleagues in the strike.
“How can she teach? She has joined the strike,” Zaharaddeen said. “She has no choice. How can anybody teach? Don’t forget, ASUU national president is from BUK.”
When Rufa’i was asked if she had joined the ASUU strike, she merely retorted, “It is an unfair question. Ask my university.”
Efforts to reach the ASUU President, Dr. Nasiru Fagge, was unsuccessful, as his mobile telephone number repeatedly indicated it had been switched off.
Rufa’i, the first female education minister from the northern part of Nigeria, was sacked from the federal cabinet alongside eight other ministers last September 11.
The other sacked ministers were Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs), Hadiza Mailaifa (Environment), Shamsudeen Usman (National Planning), Ama Pepple (Land, Housing and Urban Development), Ita Ewa (Science and Technology).
Ministers of State for Defence, Power and Agriculture, Olusola Obada, Zainab Kuchi and Bukar Tijani, respectively were also relieved of their positions. Jonathan is yet to replace them.
Before she was fired, Rufa’i, who became education minister in 2011, was a member of the Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswam-led federal government negotiation team, which held discussions with ASUU officials.
However, the government team could not make any head way in resolving the issues that led to the strike, which was now in its third month, until Rufa’i left government.
She had repeatedly blamed her colleagues for failing to call off the strike, despite the concessions made by the federal government.
The former minister returned to her home state, Jigawa, two days after her sack and was welcomed by a large crowd, which had gathered in Aminu Kano Triangle, Dutse, the state capital.
The crowd repeatedly shouted her name in excitement when she arrived at the venue, accompanied by her husband, Ahmed Rufa’i.
Responding to questions from journalists during the reception, the former minister promised that she would return to the classroom the following Monday.
“I plan to go back to my university, I am a professor in education in curriculum studies and I will report on Monday and then take a brief leave to have a kind of rest, but I am going back to the university,” she had said.
Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)