The immediate past Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, who was sacked from the federal cabinet last month, has joined the ongoing strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, which she desperately tried to break while in office.
Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa’i According to PREMIUM TIMES enquries at Bayero Universities, Kano, BUK where Mrs Rufai was teaching Education Curriculum before joining the Jigawa State cabinet in 2007 and later the federal cabinet in 2011, revealed that although the former minister had returned to the institution, she was yet to commence work as a result of the ongoing industrial action. Public Relations Officer of BUK, Mustapha Zaharaddeen, told this newspaper in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the former minister had joined her colleagues in the strike. “How can she teach? She has joined the strike,” Mr. Zaharaddeen said. “She has no choice. How can anybody teach? Don’t forget, ASUU National President is from BUK.” When PREMIUM TIMES asked Mrs Rufai on Wednesday if she had joined the ASUU strike, she merely retorted, “It is an unfair question. Ask my university.” Efforts to reach the ASUU President, Mr. Fagge, was unsuccessful, as his mobile telephone number repeatedly indicated it had been switched off. Mrs Rufai, 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. Mr. Jonathan is yet to appoint their replacements. Before she was fired, Mrs Rufai, who became Education minister in 2011, was a member of the Governor Gabriel Suswam-led Federal Government negotiation team, which held discussions with ASUU officials led by the Union’s President, Nasiru Fagge, who incidentally teaches at BUK. However, the government team could not make any head way in resolving the issues that led to the strike which is now entering its third month, until Mrs Rufai left government, unceremoniously. Mrs. Rufai repeatedly blamed her colleagues for failing to call off the strike despite the concessions made by government.
Source: Premium Times