Findings by our correspondent revealed that Adamu, a confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari, had made recommendations to the president on the appointment of new CEOs to replace those sacked without the input of his colleague, who is a former vice chancellor and a nominee of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State in the cabinet.
The minister had , at the inauguration of the new heads of education agencies under the ministry, exonerated himself of having hands in the appointments, claiming that they were made by the president. But a source within the Ministry of Education alleged that Adamu might have been running a oneman show at the ministry.
“The minister of state supervises JAMB, UBEC, NECO and other agencies. How is it possible that he would not be involved in the appointment of those he supervises and reports to the president?” the source queried. The cold war brewing between them played out yesterday when Adamu denied knowledge of the recent increment in the school fees of Federal Government Colleges also known as Unity Schools recently announced by the office of the Minister of State for Education, Anwukah.
The minister, who gave the shocking revelation, in a chat with newsmen at the sidelines of the National Education Quality Assurance Handbook’s launch, said the news of the increment from N20,000 to N75,000 was strange to him.
“I am not aware that the Unity School fees have been increased. As the Minister of Education, I am not aware, but I will try and find out,” he said.
While answering a question on the feud between him and the minister of state over the recent appointment of new head of 17 agencies, Adamu claimed ignorance of the development, but admitted to mistakenly failed to acknowledge the presence of his (Anwukah’s) representative during the launch of the handbooks. “I am not also aware that he has been sidelined, but you can go and find out from the source that told you, ” he added.
The frosty relationship between them manifested when Anwukah was observed to be absent at events that attracted the presence of Adamu since those appointments were made.
A source in the ministry blamed the sudden change of attitude of the Minister of State on the way the latter sidelined him on the recommendation to Buhari on those to be appointed to head agencies in the ministry.
While pleading for anonymity, the source wondered if the ministry was no longer properly coordinated for the minister to claim ignorance of a directive concerning the school fees increase that came from the office of his colleague. “Is it possible that he will not be aware of such increase?
Or is it that the ministry is not coordi snated again, especially when the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Folasade Yemi- Esan, confirmed the increment ?” asked the source. To press home his grievances, Anwukah allegedly shunned the inauguration of the newly appointed chief executives.
This was also followed by his conspicuous absence during the flag-off of the 2016 Teachers’ Professional Development Workshop in Abuja on August 1. The event was organised by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC ), which is under the purview of the Minister of State.
Anwukah did not also have a representative standing for him. Speaking on the absence of the Minister of State at the event, which held at Jabi Junior Secondary School, the highly placed source said that the office of the minister was not even aware of the event, noting that Anwukah was in town on that day.
The source, however, disclosed that the two ministers have only shown that they have cordial relationship on the surface as they relate well in the office everyday, but engage in cold war.
“What baffles many of us is that on the surface, it appears all is well between the two of them because the main minister often time strolls down to the Minister of State’s office. “In fact, if he is fasting, he will invite the minister of state to his office to break fast with him.
But it appears that the heads of departments and directors at the ministry have also seen the body language of the two of them, ” the source told New Telegraph. Speaking on the Unity Schools’ fees, the Permanent Secretary, Yemi- Esan, admitted that the Federal Government has increased the fees.
The Permanent Secretary said the increment, which was focused on boarding fees, was to meet up with the cost of running the schools. She said: “The school fees of the Federal Government Colleges has been increased, but not up to the 300 per cent as being claimed.
You must be aware of the reality in the country. “ It is important for the Federal Government Colleges to maintain the students that are there and you must also be aware that these schools are tuition free
What has been increased is the boarding fee, but is not up to N75,000,” she added, just as she denied knowledge of any feud between the two education ministers.