Mallam Adamu Adamu has confessed that he was a novice in the education sector when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as Minister of Education in 2015.
Adamu, who is the longest serving minister, stated this at a valedictory session with officials and heads of parastatals of the Ministry on Thursday.
He said he was forced to apply wisdom by appointing some professors of education and other good hands, with the help of the officials of the Federal Ministry of Education to enable him to kick off and make progress.
“I didn’t know anything about the education sector when I was appointed Minister except superficially. But when Buhari decided to make me Minister of education, I called some people to assist me in working on policy documents on education because I was a novice in the sector. I shared my idea with them, and they assisted me greatly, and I remain grateful to them for these years,” he said.
The minister appreciated the President, who found him worthy and trusted him with such a responsibility, “even when I was apparently not ready and unprepared for such task”.
He said: “I was busy making recommendations and suggestions to the President on who to appoint into his cabinet in 2015. All of a sudden, he announced my name to my surprise, and that was it. We worked together till 2019.
“In 2019, I approached the President, and suggested that he reshuffle his cabinet because, in the eyes of many, it was unusual in our society for a President to work with same Ministers for four years. Buhari had graciously allowed his ministers to stay in office for four years. Ordinarily, Ministers stay in office for two years before they are reshuffled.
“But I know him very well, and I knew it would be difficult for him to do that. But I decided to make it easy for him by promising to bring people that would do the job better for me and others who served as Ministers in the first tenure,” he said.
“I promised him that I would give him names of competent people from at least 19 northern states. So, I suggested to him to drop all the ministers who worked with him in the first tenure, including me, but I knew it would be difficult for him. But to confirm that I can do the job, I gave him a name from Bauchi state whom I had expected him to replace me with in the cabinet. That was how Maryam Katagun became Minister of the Federal Republic.”
He said he brought her to replace him and somehow, but surprisingly, the President kept her and also kept him.
“Up till now, he never explained to me why he did that. However, I remain eternally grateful to the president for trusting me with such responsibilities. He has shown me love and trust over the years. In 1994, when he picked up assignments in Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), he gave me an offer to work with him as a personal assistant. That was how I found myself in Abuja,” the outgoing Minister said.
Adamu appreciated other people who worked with him, particularly the Ministers of State who worked with him.
He said particularly Goodluck Opiah, who served briefly as Minister of State for Education and described him as a brother whom he worked closely with to achieve the desired results in the education sector.