BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN, Kaduna
Director General Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Mohammed Lukman has cautioned against politicising the planned sack of over 21,000 public school teachers in Kaduna State who failed competency test conducted by the state government.
In a letter titled ‘ State of Education in Kaduna: Issues and Politics to the Kaduna State APC Stakeholder, he averred that politicizing the matter is synonymous to politicising the future of our children.
According to Lukman who was a governorship aspirant for Kaduna State in the 2015 general elections on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) “We can disagree with Mallam Nasir on many issues but on the issue of fixing public education, we need to exercise restraints.
“Many of us, if not all, wouldn’t have been where we are if not for the privilege of access to good quality public education. We are all products of public education on accounts of which we are globally competitive. This is not the case with our children.
“Our children are in most cases products of private education and hardly competitive locally. Looking at these scripts, there is no question about why this is so.
“We can disagree with the approach of the state government, but the way to go is not to politicize this matter. We must do all we can to support the state government to get this reform right.
“Those politicizing this matter, including labour leaders need to make public declarations about how many of their children are attending these schools. We need to come to terms with the reality that governance is not popularity contest.
“On the part of Mallam Nasir and officials of the state government, I will commend them for taking up this matter but appeal for restraints against making public commentaries that would indulge those seeking for cheap publicity” he said.
The letter reads in parts: “May I therefore start with the declaration that I am a loyal member of our party, APC. I strongly believe that contestations in the party and society are very healthy and needs to be promoted in order for our democracy to grow.
“My view however is that we need to see the bigger picture. Our politics must not be driven by narrow demands for recognition and the privileges that come with it. I know it is easy to say but very painful to bear.
“Manifestation of this conceptual eclipse in the way we conduct our politics clearly means that we are still trapped in the old political culture of individuals exercising entrepreneurial hold on party machinery and political contestation is all about that. Once this is the reality, it will be a vicious circle. It was the reality that consumed PDP. This is one reality that undermined party building and so long as that is the orientation, our politics will be unstable.
“We just need to return to basic principles of building the party. The principles that drove the merger of opposition parties between 2012 and 2014 was basically about making some fundamental sacrifices in order for us to be able to build the strength to defeat PDP.
“But we need to also recognize that victory in 2015 election has not completely removed those threats. As things stand, we risked creating the opportunity for our own defeat simply because we hoodwinked ourselves into believing that we are popular, no matter what.
“Alas! We are popular to the extent of our selflessness. The depth of our tolerance for one another will be a major determinant of our capacity to build our party and prepare it for 2019 electoral victory.
“Those of us swimming in the pool of conceptual eclipse can continue to delude ourselves but 2019 is fast approaching. I only hope it will not be too late before we realize how bad we have demolished ourselves.
“My big appeal is that Mallam Nasir needs to come down from his present irreconcilable pedestal. This will require strong acts of forgiveness on both sides. We can’t continue like this” he stressed.
“In making this appeal, Mallam Nasir and all officials of the state government need to first and foremost recognize that they are serving under an APC Government. This therefore requires that they must do everything possible to open themselves up especially to party members.
“What is the value of being in the same party but not being able to access officials and representatives of governments produced by the party? The challenge is to be able to manage the expectations that come with that.
“On the other hand, all of us who are members of the party need to accept the reality that the state government is our government, no matter what Mallam Nasir and other officials of government would want to claim. We should be ready to relate with the government in the same way we relate with our children no matter their behavior and conduct.
“The important thing is that our party, APC, must serve as the vehicle for moving our state and nation forward”.
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