Nigeria: Adamu’s Lack of Empathy for Students

Notes for File

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, last week failed one of the basic qualities of a good leader by demonstrating insensitivity and lack of empathy when he met with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).

The students, who were demanding an immediate end to the ongoing strike by ASUU had stopped at the National Assembly, demanding to speak with the leadership of the Assembly but the security operatives on the ground shut the gate against them.

The protesting students then decided to take their protest to the Ministry of Education and demanded to speak with the minister, a request that was granted

At the meeting with the minister, President of NANS, Sunday Ashefon, demanded an immediate end to the ongoing strike and attributed the minister’s insensitivity to the plight of the students to fact that his children were schooling abroad.

But the visibly angry minister said he was disappointed with the NANS leadership, adding that the government had done what was expected of it since the commencement of the strike.

“I must begin by telling you that I am very disappointed if this is the way you want to put your case across to us,” he said.

He then staged a walk-out of the meeting.

The protesting students shut the gates of the ministry for hours to deny the minister and workers of the ministry entry and exit. They marched round the building chanting songs such as “Adamu must go”.

Despite the combative nature of the students , many had expected the minister to show understanding. But this was not the case.

While many were not surprised at the minister’s action since it is part of the characteristics of officials of the Muhammadu Buhari’s government, others were however shocked that it came from Adamu who claimed to have the solutions to the challenges in the education sector when he was a newspaper columnist.

Few years down the line, and under his watch, the sector is in a complete mess and frequently buffeted by strike. Simply because he was challenged for having his children school abroad while Nigerian students are made to receive a raw deal at home, he walked out on them. Empathy is one essential attribute of leadership. Sadly, it is in short supply among the Nigerian leaders.

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