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Revival! Dapo Abiodun’s Strides In Reviving Quality Education In Ogun

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That was the most apt and most resounding word coming from the vocal box of the then gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State. Prince Dapo Abiodun minced no word about his intent to work round the clock to revive education from the near-comatose it had been plunged into in Ogun State, a state which was before then known for being among the best in Nigeria.

Empirical evidence, as well as historical antecedents, pointed to Ogun State as Nigeria’s cradle of civilization. But all that changed over time due to neglect and lack of deliberateness on the part of people at the helm of affairs then. Now that he is in the saddle, Governor Dapo Abiodun has unleashed his ingenuity to bring back the lost education glory of the state which has proudly produced many icons of global repute as well as thought leaders and political gladiators with an impact that has remained indelible for ages.

During the silver jubilee of the historic launch of the Free Universal Primary Education in January 1980, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo addressed the Government and people of Ogun State at the Ogun State House of Assembly. According to the former Premier of Western Region, “Education is a fundamental right, and it is the inalienable right of every Nigerian citizen to be educated free by the state. To treat education as a privilege, the opportunity to acquire which is limited to the children of the well-to-do and the rich, or which must be paid for from loan given to the student by the state, is a most misguided policy. For the avoidance of doubt, by free education we mean the abolition of not only of fees but also of all kinds of levies, by whatever name called that are still being imposed and collected in some parts of the country.”

With this speech, foremost statesman, Chief Awolowo, re-emphasized the significance of popular education of the masses, even though free education had been core of his politics. This ideal has equally been enunciated by Governor Abiodun whose has tasked his administration to get the state back to the enviable top. In his inaugural speech, Governor Abiodun made no pretence about the enormity of challenges in the education section. He lamented the state of the education sector, which he described as so worrisome, particularly in funding, white elephant projects some of which were moribund, unpaid salaries, controversial campus relocation, hasty appointment, among others.

Governor Abiodun brought his sense of duty to bear immediately he assumed duties. He made free education mandatory for pupils in primary and secondary schools. Prior to his coming on board, these groups of students were subjected to paying indiscriminate fees and levies with little or nothing to justify such payments. His declaration of free education put an immediate end to the N3,700 levied on students as adopted by the former administration on the advice of the Parents Teachers Association.

“The fee negates the free education policy of this administration. It is like payment through the back door,” Abiodun said when defending his administration’s decision to take the burden of school fees off parents whose salaries are already stretched.

When questions were raised about the sustainability of the stoppage, he assured that his team was on top of the situation and would be working with school principals and headmasters general to look into the issue and proffer ways in which the gaps created by the stoppage would be blocked.

“I hereby suspend the payment in all our schools. We will also look into the issue of principal and headmaster generals. I have told them to go and look at and how we can make it work without having to charge anybody because we promised we are going to offer free education.”

This has put paid to indiscriminate charges in primary and secondary schools, an initiative that has seen an increase in the rate of student enrolments in primary and secondary schools.

Governor Abiodun in his maiden address after the resumption, made it clear that his administration was going to tackle the hydra-headed challenged headlong. “We are going to bring our education sector up to standard.

“Yes, we have the largest number of tertiary institutions in this State, however, the performances of our students are not encouraging and we have to change that so we may be declaring a state of emergency in the education sector.”

One of the earliest actions Abiodun took as Governor was setting up visiting panels on tertiary institutions in the state to assess the challenges facing the institutions, evaluate them and recommend actions to be taken to address the issues. These Panels have been submitting their reports; and the governor has alluded to the fact that his administration has resolved the issues at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, and the embattled Tai-Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu, Ijebu, adding that the state government has set up a Government Delivery Unit for education in the state.

Governor Abiodun has also demonstrated that he is for all institutions irrespective of their ownership structure. He has continuously visited and celebrated wins of privately owned institutions as well as those owned by both Ogun State and Federal Governments while also has pledged infrastructure development to aid their operations.

At the 40th anniversary and 19th convocation ceremony of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, the Ogun State Governor offered Miss. Akintola Esther Modupe, the best graduating student of the institution’s automatic employment. Miss Akintola graduated with a cumulative average grade of 3.90 out of the maximum 4. She would commence work immediately after her mandatory one-year national youth service scheme. The same gesture was also replicated during the convocation ceremony of Ogun State Institute of Technology where Governor Abiodun offered immediate employment to the Overall Best Graduating Student with a CGPA of 3.85 on a scale of 4.0, Adedokun Yetunde of the Department of Accountancy.

Governor Abiodun’s administration greatly appreciates the importance of personnel in educational development. As such, he has not only been about renovations and building of a physical structure, even though that has been a front-burner activity for his government. He recently directed that promotional examination and interview for career elongation of primary school teachers to Grade level 15 be carried out. Recently, he approved the release of 2016 and 2017 promotion for 10, 000 teachers.The administration’s monthly commitment to timely payment of salaries and benefits of teachers has always been given 100% attention.

Ogun State Government pays an average of N791million pensions to retired Local Government Council workers and the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, retirees monthly. The present government has vowed to offset an outstanding debt of N32billion in gratuities and death benefits incurred between August 2011 and June 2019 under its Transition Pension Scheme.

Records from the Bureau of Local Government Pensions showed that the present administration has been facilitating prompt release of retirement savings account balance to retirees who had disengaged from the Contributory Pension Scheme with a view to ensuring that senior citizens enjoy better life after meritorious years of service to the councils. Apart from the N791 million being paid monthly as pensions, the Bureau has also paid N4,6 billion as monthly pensions between January and June 2019.

Governor Abiodun’s reinstatement of Deputy Director in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, who was sacked by the immediate past administration for alleged dereliction of duty, shows his resolve to be fair and address all types of injustice meted out to workers. Also reinstated was the former Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Ogun State Chapter, Mr. Dare Ilekoya who had been compulsorily retired for alleged infractions, during the 2016 World Teachers Day celebration. Governor Abiodun, who announced the reinstatement during the 2019 World Teachers Day celebration held at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, said the action was “to encourage teachers and also the right thing to do.”

The Ogun State Governor said that his administration would continue to ensure that the rights of teachers were protected and he called on teachers to be guided by the laws of the civil service.

Abiodun noted that the celebration of the World Teachers Day was a key element of nation-building and a catalyst for the mental, physical, social and spiritual development of humanity, adding that the celebration was a great day of joy for teachers and equally those trained or brought up by teachers.

“I know very much the sacrifices that teachers make on a daily basis to impart knowledge, considering the prevailing socio-economic situation where we have continued to see that students spend a longer part of their days with their teachers. The teachers are fast becoming foster parents as well, and as such, a good student is not just a reflection of the home, but also of the teacher.

Celebrating our teachers is, therefore, not a thing of one, but of all days,” he said.

Abiodun enjoined the teachers to double their efforts so as to achieve better performance from students in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and other examinations, commending the academic excellence and sagacity of professional tutors and teachers at the national level through the exploits of Yewa College, Ilaro; Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro; Ijebu-Ode Grammar School; Adeola Odutola College; Mayflower, Ikenne; and, Abeokuta Grammar School.

In its bid to further encourage teachers in the state to do more, the Ogun State Government has disclosed that plans are underway to have the Governor’s Teachers’ School Excellence Award, with a view to creating healthy and meaningful competition among teachers in the state. Governor Abiodun made this known while welcoming the awardees that did Ogun State proud at the President-Teachers School Excellence Award (an award for teachers across the country) held in Abuja.

Abiodun expressed his readiness to domesticate the award to let the teachers know that they can also get their rewards on the earth before proceeding to heaven to get the ultimate laurel.

“I want to introduce a state challenge among teachers in our state. The challenge will be known as the Governor’s Teachers’ School Excellence Award. We are going to domesticate this. What we will do to those that excel will be bigger than what you got from the President-Teachers Award. We will expand it to accommodate more teachers. Today, you have done us proud, our heads are ‘swollen,’ you have done us proud. It is important we sustain it, and one of the ways is to establish the Governor’s Excellence Award,” he said.

He added that the state government will continue to give all necessary support to teachers in the state, saying that his administration would continue to do all in its power to return the state to its place of pride in the education sector.

“If out of 15 awards, we have won 4, that means there is 11 to share between the other 35 states. That means we have done well. I want to assure you that we will give you all the needed support to sustain all that you have achieved,” he said.

Abiodun also disclosed that the State Government would support the winners with cash gifts as a way of incentives, saying that no goodwill go without its reward.

In another development, the administration is currently embarking on the rehabilitation of Public Schools across the 236 Wards in Ogun State.

With the amount of focus this administration is giving to repositioning and strengthening the educational institutions, it is only a matter of time before Ogun State regains it pride of place in the educational sector nationally and globally.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: APC Governors In Crucial Meeting To Rescue Obaseki

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In a bid to rescue Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, some All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors stormed the National Secretariat of the party on Monday to hold a fence-mending meeting with the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The meeting is a follow-up to a similar meeting held with the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos on Sunday night.

The meeting is currently ongoing at the National Executive Committee Hall at the party National Secretariat in Abuja, with the National Chairman presiding.

The governors present at the meeting include the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, Ondo State governor – Rotimi Akeredolu, Lagos State – Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Gombe State – Mohammed Inuwa – Gombe, Kano State – Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Kwara State – Abdul Raham Abdulrasaki.

Details shortly…

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BIG STORY

Pay Me The N9m I Spent On You While We Dated — Ex-Lover Of Customs Boss’s New Wife Demands Refund [Document Attached]

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Former lover of the new wife of Nigeria’s Customs Service boss, Zubairu Dalhatu Malamai, is allegedly demanding a refund of money spent on her during their relationship.

After Nigeria’s Customs Service boss, Hameed Ali, tied the knot with his new wife Hajiya Zainab Abdullahi Yahaya, his former lover identified as Zubairu Dalhatu Malamai, through his legal counsel has demanded the money he spent on her while they were in a relationship.

Malamai through his lawyers claimed that he had been in a relationship with the new wife of the Custom Boss for about three years. He claimed that during the three years, he invested a lot into the relationship because Hajiya Zainab promised to marry him.
The document stated that while Malamai extends his congratulations to Hajiya Zainab, he is however unhappy with her attitudes a few days to her marriage as she picked up unnecessary fights with him.

However, he is demanding a refund of money given out to his ex-lover as business loans, shop and house rents, flight tickets, personal loans which all run to the tune of N9, 081, 207.45. Also, Malamai demanded that she returns company laptops, ID cards, uniforms, luggage among other things in her possession.

Recall that Hameed Ali married Hajiya Zainab in a low-key ceremony which took place in Kano state, on Saturday, May 30. The marriage came two years after his first wife, Hajiya Hadiza Jummai Ali, died in Abuja on October 29, 2018.

In a telephone chat with INFOTRUST, Sir I. I. Wangida Esq of Buba Partners disclosed that he was surprised that the demand notice leaked to the media.

He stated that it is unethical and he was not the person that gave the media the notice. He however confirmed that the notice was signed by him and the contents therein emanated from their chamber. He confirmed that he has served the Zainab Abdullahi Yahaya the notice.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: FG Reduces Petrol Pump Price To N121.50

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The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has announced a new pump price band of N121.50 from N123.50 per litre for Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol.

The PPPRA, which is an agency of the Federal Government, disclosed this in a circular to fuel marketers dated May 31, 2020, which was obtained by our correspondent on Monday.

The sharp drop in crude oil prices on the back of the spread of coronavirus saw the landing cost of petrol hitting a record low in March, wiping off subsidy on the product.

The pump price of petrol, which is still being regulated by the Federal Government, was reduced to N125 per litre from N145 per litre on March 18, 2020, effective March 19.

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