Obasanjo Visiting Rivers To Commission Schools


Obasanjo: stresses need for African infrastructure

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, is expected in Rivers State on 17 February  on the invitation of the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, to commission some of 300 schools built by his administration.

Amaechi disclosed this at the public presentation of the Rivers State Ministry of Education sector strategy plan and the education service charter at the Conference Hall of Port Harcourt Technical and Vocational Centre, Old GRA, with the theme “Enhancing Sustainable Development in Education”.

According to him, training for teachers and their salaries form the bulk of his administration’s education expense. This is in addition to providing a conducive learning environment in model primary and secondary schools across the state.

Governor Amaechi maintained that despite the challenge running a free education system in the state, he is prepared to continue with the policy and provide welfare for all teachers.

“What the teachers do is to mould the characters of the children; I hope that the teachers will be able to pay us back in equal terms the amount of money invested in education.”

“We started with training,we continued with employing teachers and creating a conducive environment for teachers to be able to impart knowledge to the children.

He disclosed that the recent fall in the state’s revenue seriously affected the execution of the state’s education policies, but assured that his administration would not back off from its resolve to provide quality and sustainable free education.”

“I never thought that there would be a time our revenue would fall from N20 billion to N13 billion and in the past six months that’s what we have been suffering, so you are literally struggling to pay salaries, that is what you need to maintain and you know all of you here workers are ready to receive the money and you are not ready to make any sacrifice”.

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He said Rivers State pays the highest salary to teachers in the country and also promised to fund the quality assurance department to enhance its effectiveness.

He said that his administration is working hard to ensure that all the schools built during his tenure are equipped with computers and other necessary Information Technology facilities.

He regretted that due to massive corruption at the federal level, states are having dwindling revenue allocation making it a big challenge for his administration to complete some of the projects and even pay about 13,230 newly employed teachers.

The expected visit of former President Obasanjo to Rivers State would be his first after the “K-Leg”saga,( a sarcastic coinage by Obasanjo explaining why his administration denied Amaechi Governorship ticket in 2007).Amaechi reclaimed his mandate from his cousin, Celestine Omehia, usurped through a landmark Supreme Court on October 2007 after nine months legal battle.

In his reaction to the proposed visit of former President to Rivers State, Bright Ameahule, the President General of Grassroot Development Initiative, GDI,a group loyal to Nyesom Wik,the Supervising Minister for Education, described the visit as a mere reconciliatory union between the Governor and Obasanjo because of the soured relation between the two since 2007 over the “K-Leg saga.”

“The schools Obasanjo wants to commission have they not been built for the past four years?”

However, Mrs Ibim Semenitari dismissed Amaehule’s comment as “hypocritical and panicky”. She noted that the opposition are in forefront accusing Governor Amaechi of not performing because he had this policy of not commissioning any project executed by his administration.

“Now that the Governor wants to show the world just a few of the quality schools out of the lot his administration built, they are panicky”.

However, political observers point to the fact the visit of the former President will be a litmus test for the new Commissioner of Police newly posted to the state, Johnson  Tunde Ogunshakin, who is expected to provide adequate security during the visit.

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