7th January, 2022
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echobo, has retired after spending 35 years in service.
During a brief ceremony to mark his exit from service in Abuja on Thursday, Echono said he is grateful to God and the country for the opportunity to serve in such a capacity.
While handing over to the Director, Human Resource in the Ministry, Mr David Gende, Echono appreciated the opportunity and trust he enjoyed from the Ministers of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and all senior management staff of the Ministry.
In his valedictory speech, he stressed the need for more attention to be paid in educating the larger population while stating that such was the panacea to the high rate of insecurity and unemployment in the country.
According to him, “we must be prepared to compete in the knowledge economy that is ruling the world.
”A lot of things are being unraveled by technology, and we can no longer pretend not to be aware of what’s happening.
“We must, unarguably, provide quality education that would help our people fend for themselves and contribute to the socioeconomic development of Nigeria and the world.
“If we train our people well and give them the relevant education, they would create employment for themselves and not wait for us on the highway to kidnap us.
”It is the responsibility of all to achieve that, and we must prepare our citizens for the challenge ahead,” he said.
Echono added that he served in most of the difficult Ministries, saying “God helped me through the journey to record great success.”
He thanked God for leaving the ministry without a query or an invitation from the EFCC or ICPC to clear issues concerning the ministry.
”However, my experience and knowledge of Nigeria and public service would have been totally different if I was not posted to serve in the Ministry of Education.
”My serving here exposed me to lots of things I never knew.
“I had the privilege to work with different people including development partners, SUBEB, Commissioners and several other stakeholders. The education sector is the largest in the public service. Our staff alone is the quarter of the entire civil service workforce,” he added.
He, therefore, appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his support throughout his stay in the ministry.
Responding, the Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, thanked the outgoing Permanent Secretary for his service to the Ministry and the entire country.
“We tried all we could to either extend his stay or give him another opportunity to continue service but that did not work.”
Nwajiuba said the outgoing permanent Secretary would not be far from the ministry as he would be engaged in one way or the other to help the ministry succeed.
He also assured him of continuous support and collaborations from the Ministry.