EVIDENCE OF WHAT SEEMED UNCOORDINATED governance, played up, when two ministers in the same ministry, sang discordant tunes on crucial national policy issue.  It was between Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; and his Minister of State, Education, Emeka Nwajiuba. The issue has been, when or whether, schools should reopen, to enable final year students, sit for West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE 2020 session.  

On Monday, July 6, during routine media briefing by the President Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State, Education, told the nation that West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, for 2020 session, would commence August 4, and conclude September 5.

His words: “From the 4th of August to the 5th of September. Parents please take note. Last week, the PTF chairman announced that school facilities will be available for those who want to go into revision classes. As soon as we conclude WAEC, we will take up the NABTEB and NECO exams.

“The idea is that we have a month from now till then. Those who can and those who are willing, the states who are willing should make their schools available for their children to revise. We’ve done the most we can to talk with our representatives at WAEC and this afternoon, we confirmed dates allotted for the exams will be from the 4th of August through to the 5th of September”.


Wednesday, July 8, two days after, Minister of Education, Adamu Ademu, told journalists, in Nigerian State House, Abuja, after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, presided by President Buhari, that there were no immediate plans for students to resume school and participate in WASSCE.  Which means the announcement for school resumption, made by his Minister of State, Education, Emeka Nwajiuba’s , becomes inconsequential.

“Our schools will only open when we believe it is safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the incidence of the infection is going up in the country. I just want to make it clear. We will not open soon for examination or for any reason, unless it is safe for our children, even WAEC. WAEC will not determine for us what to do. Schools will remain closed.”

Adamu added: “I will also like to use this position to ask those states that have already announced reopening. I appeal to them. I think it is not safe. I feel responsible for all children, not just those who are in Federal Government controlled schools. Please let’s save our children from this”.

Adamu’s position is clear and convincing, on course, and in the  right direction. It seemed more of a national policy direction, than earlier announcement by Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State, Education. He said WAEC would not determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria. And appealed to state governments that have announced school’s resumption plans to rescind the decision.

Further, Adamu said he would “not mind Nigeria losing a whole school year than exposing our children to danger.” Major stakeholders and parents in the country would, likely, stick with the minister’s position. Exposing Nigerian children to the danger of COVID-19, at this time, would be the most heinous and disastrous decision any government would take.


Large percentage of Nigerian schools, especially, public school are not conducive for learning, even before COVID-19 pandemic.  No good sanitation. No good toilet system. No running tap water. Too congested for learning – where children, in some public schools, are up to 30-50 pupils in a class.  Such environment would be breeding ground and spread for COVID-19. No too much of a difference are noted, between public schools and some private school.

Beyond these, crucial critical consultations with stakeholders, such as, Private School Owners, Parents Teachers Association, PTA; Nigeria Medical Association, NMA; as well as, WASC representatives in Nigeria, would have taken place. And all actors agreeing to, strictly, adhere to the national directives on COVID-19 protocols for reopening of schools.

Reopening schools, for whatever, reason, according to the Minister of Education, Adamu Ademu, should be considered, only, “when we believe it is safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the incidents of the infection is going up in the country.  I just want to make that clear.”