29th August, 2011
Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, has advocated that only quality and appropriate education can guarantee freedom for peoples and the development of any nation.
The governor in a paper titled â€œEducation is Freedomâ€, he delivered in London at the weekend during the 2011 Isaac Boro Day Celebration organised by the Ijaw Peoples Association (IPA) of Great Britain and Ireland, also listed education as the â€œsolution to all societal illsâ€.
The governor told his audience that he has spent quality time reflecting on the trajectory of the development of the â€œIjaw and how we can best exploit the resources at our disposal to ensure that Ijawland becomes the glory, not only of Nigeria, but of the entire world.”
According to him, â€œthe Ijaw people are known for their love for justice and independent mindset. These two qualities have largely defined the relationship of the Ijaw people with their neighbours and the entire Nigeria nation.â€
He noted that for several decades, the energies of the Ijaw people were channelled towards challenging injustice â€œfrom the Adaka Boro era of 1966 to the Kaiama Declaration of 1998, pointing out however, that â€œtoday, we can say some progress has been made in the struggle for social justice.
â€œFor the Ijaw and, indeed, the Niger Delta, I make bold to say that the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President is the fruit of our first struggle for freedom. Education is the second struggle for Niger Delta peoples.â€
He stated further: â€œNow is the time for us to decide how to leverage on the political development which is now in our favour to propel Ijawland out backwardness on a sustainable basis.
â€œToday, what is fashionable and has proved to be most effective and efficient is the weapon of intellect. With intellectual power, men have overcome environmental limitations, broken seemingly insurmountable barriers, and held up the human being as the greatest resource of development Mother Nature has given to the world.â€
Sylva restated his administrationâ€™s commitment to the promotion of quality education, stressing, â€œthe principal challenge of our time is how to get our people to acquire the right knowledge and ideas to make them productive and competitive in the global economy.â€
The governor listed his administrationâ€™s achievements in the education sector to include the introduction of the Education for Qualitative and Indigenous Professional, massive renovation of secondary schools, payment of WAEC fees, securing of accreditation for courses in the Niger Delta University, establishment of the Bayelsa State College of Education, Okpoama, postgraduate scholarships for students of Bayelsa origin, among others.
President Goodluck Jonathan was represented by his Special Adviser on Research and Strategy, Barrister Oronto Douglas; the three serving senators from Bayelsa state, Emmanuel Paulker, Heineken Lokpobiri and Clever Ikisikpo; four members of the Federal House of Representatives from Bayelsa State (Warman Ogoriba, Nadu Karibo, Henry Ofongo, and Foingha Jephtah); Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Nestor Binabo; former president of the Ijaw National Congress, Professor Kimse Okoko and HRH Beatrice Agama (mother of the Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke).
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt