Obasanjo visits El-Rufai’s, lauds his leadership qualities
21,780 sacked Kaduna teachers protest against non-payment of entitlements
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday visited Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai and commended his leadership qualities. The visit has been linked to the 2023 presidency, which many tip the Kaduna governor for.
Dr. Obasanjo, who was in Kaduna town on a private visit to Governor el-Rufai in Sir Kashim House, claimed to be son-of-the soil, having lived in Kaduna from 1959 to 1967 and built his first house at the Makera area of the town.
The ex-president noted that he was at the Mogadishu Battalion in Kaduna between 1959 and 1967, adding that his visit to Kaduna was like a home-coming.He described Kaduna town as a melting pot of all the ethnic groups in the country.
Commending el-Rufai’s spirit, he recalled the governor’s spat with the Senate when he was Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, maintaining that then minister was asked to apologise to the red chamber, but he refused due to his conviction.“We need a character like this; a man that you know where you stand with him. Any job given to him will be well done,” the former president added.
National publicity secretary of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Salisu Dawaki, said the visit could be part of el-Rufai’s presidential ambition.He asserted Obasanjo’s role in the country’s leadership.
“Whether we like it or not, Obasanjo is a prominent citizen and no one can become something without him,” he said.On his part, el-Rufai described Obasanjo as a mentor, adding that he learnt many public service skills from him when he served in his government as minister.
Meanwhile, two years after termination of their appointments by the Kaduna State government, 21,780 teachers are protesting against non-payment of their entitlements, especially salaries and gratuity. The teachers, who stormed the premises of Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ), Kaduna State Council, in their numbers, appealed to Governor el-Rufai to urgently consider their plight.
Addressing journalists yesterday, the leader of the sacked teachers, Hassan Isa, said uncountable number of their members had died in the struggle owing to lack of money for food, medicare and others essential needs.
The victims, from the 23 councils of the state, told journalists that before one of them, Abdullahi Gazama, gave up the ghost recently, he mentioned el-Rufai’s name three times and cried “God will judge” in Hausa language.
According to Isa, most sacked teachers were on salary arrears ranging from three to eight months, and even more, before the sack, while outstanding leave grants of 2015, 2016 and 2017 were unpaid.On gratuity, he lamented that it was cumbersome, in the sense that they were told that only those in the service for over 30 years would be entitled to it.
The teachers expressed surprise that el-Rufai had denied owing the sacked teachers, saying that the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and council chairmen owed them. “Some members have abandoned their families because of inability to fend for them and many disengaged teachers divorced by their wives due to poverty, hunger and unable to pay rent,” h added.Isa further explained that though they had NUT as a union, “the union has done nothing to help our situation over time for fear that the individuals who show concern may be victimised by the governor.”