The Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, has declared that he is ready to step on toes to achieve the needed transformation of the education sector.

He has equally directed the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to enforce the use of standardised textbooks in primary and secondary schools.

Wike spoke in Abuja on Thursday when the Governing Board of the council paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

He challenged the council to assert its authority as the agency of government charged with the responsibility of approving textbooks to be used in schools.

He decried a situation where worthless books are recommended for use in schools because of perceived relationship with the authors.

He said: “NERDC is responsible for developing the curriculum and should be in the best position to recommend appropriate books, but this is not the case, you must assert your authority and reclaim your mandate”.

In the face of dwindling budgetary provision, the minister advised the council to seek for ways of generating additional funds internally and to prioritise its programmes in line with available resources and objectives.

He further stressed that resources can hardly be sufficient at anytime even as he observed with dismay that many agencies spend the bulk of their resources on conferences and workshops.

Wike pledged to support the council to achieve its objectives, but urged the board of NERDC to avoid anything that would lead to in-fighting within management.

Earlier, the chairman of NERDC board, Dr Stephen Dike, said the constraint of fund was affecting the council in discharging its mandate, appealing that the minister should mobilise the private sector and donor agencies to contribute towards repositioning research efforts.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Information, who is also overseeing the Ministry of Defence, Mr Labaran Maku, has stated that loyalty to the president is not negotiable when placed in a position to serve.

He said this on Thursday while taking over from the outgoing Minister of State for Defence, Chief Olusola Obada.

Maku enjoined those in positions of authority to exhibit absolute loyalt to the authorities, pledging his total commitment in the leadership of the ministry during the period he will be there.

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