All Southwest states should follow Oyo’s Governor Ajimọbi & return primary & secondary schools to former owners – Tola Adenle

While it is understandable that there must be people who would not like the idea of Oyo State’s Governor Ajimobi returning all schools in the state to their former (mostly mission) owners, it is my opinion that it is the right thing to do once the interest of the kids is central to planning and policy-making.

  1.  It was wrong for government at “federal” and state levels, starting from Obasanjo days for government to take over what individuals, states and mission churches started with private funds: universities like Ile-Ife, now OAU, for example and the Liberty Stadium both founded and built by the Western Region government.
  2. After the MISappropriation of such private institutions at “federal” and state levels, I am unaware of where or when compensations were paid.
  3. Governments at state levels have had problems of meeting their financial obligations to the extent that paying salaries of workers in secondary and primary schools have become impossible in the last year or more. In fact, I attended a party at Ibadan for a retired teacher who turned sixty, and nothing seemed to have been  party chat more than back-logged teachers’ salaries as many of the attendees were teachers.

When missions and private people ran schools in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, students had teachers who were more dedicated than what obtains now, a situation that cannot be separated from the financial situations that states have found themselves as student populations grow and the need for infrastructure development accelerated.

I cannot claim to know the reason(s) for teachers and pupils/students’ revolt at this return-to-owners’ new policy but I believe that whatever they may be, would be a matter that would be resolve-able in the short run and looking at the long run, a return to the former owners is not only just but would benefit teachers and students alike.

The governors’ motives which are not stated in news reports as well as opponents’ preference to remain government-owned institutions need be put before a selected group by the Oyo State government which should include parents where reconciliation would be tabled. Monies and other obligations owed to teachers, the owners to whom schools are being returned and creditors should be worked out as to timeline of payments and settlement of the obligations.

Parents’ participation will be important because a situation that has parents not wanting to be involved financially in any expenditure concerning the education of their kids would constitute big set-backs for education in the state. After all, parents did pay tuition in primary schools up to 1954 and even now in parts of Yorubaland, parents willingly pay levies and other expenses for their kids. Anything of value has a price and our appreciation of things seem to be higher when we pay something in return for any them.

A few years back, two schools in my native Iju in Ondo State had two elementary schools devastated by a rain storm that led to the schools’ roofs being blown off. For over a year, the schools were not given a look-see, a situation that had nothing to do with non-reporting of the situation by the locals. An older retired sibling took the matter up all the way to the Governor’s office, and if truth be told, the governor swung into action. Despite contractors being employed for the Methodist and R.C.M. Schools – the two affected schools – nothing much was done. It was then I got to know about the situation and my brother turned over documents about the school. I was able to see the governor and the Permanent Secretary. Today, the RCM School has been renovated and added to as a Model Primary School for Iju while the Methodist School has been roofed and renovated.

Here is the reason for above example: During the long period that those two schools were not repaired by government, MOST of the pupils were transferred by their parents – farmers and other rural dwellers – to private schools, an unusual situation that had the  town’s government schools having less number of pupils than private schools!  The statistics had been compiled by my brother and school authorities at Iju and passed the stats to Ondo’s Governor Mimiko through the State’s Ministry of Education.

This is the first time I am narrating the story of a situation I got peripherally involved in only because of its relevance to the story at hand.

Now, two final points.

Sometimes despite government’s willingness to do something, this was not done in the above case as the contractor paid to do a job took the money but did not perform until a public-spirited person in the community took up the matter. And somewhere along the chain of command, somebody or some people did not do their job by supervising that contractor, and hundreds of kids in two schools got short-changed.

And despite the fact that two schools became abandoned which led to kids’ interests not being served, parents did not fold their arms but all scraped and scrounged and removed their kids to avoid catastrophe.

Our people must wake up to their responsibility of taking interest in the life and education of their kids because – let’s face it – government as presently run in Nigeria, and CONSIDERING THE RUNAWAY POPULATION EXPLOSION, cannot be expected to handle the education of kids and do it all at no cost for the hundreds of thousands of kids in most Yoruba states.

I am no policy wonk but I feel this new direction in education at the lowest levels may take some time before the positive results start showing but will see great improvement in education as we all have yearned for over many years.

It may even be more cost effective if accurate census of all pupils are taken so that per/head specific amounts are paid for each child to each Mission as the state’s contribution, which cannot and should not end with the return of schools. The remaining public schools in each state should benefit greatly from much-reduced school populations which would become easier to handle financially and logistically for each state government.

SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2016. 4:30 a.m. [GMT]

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15 Comments on “All Southwest states should follow Oyo’s Governor Ajimọbi & return primary & secondary schools to former owners – Tola Adenle”

  1. tofadelight2002@aol.com Says:

    It’s a shame seeing the building of a MEGA school erected on the field of Osogbo Grammar School, where we used to host Athletics and other Sporting programmes in the 60s, to 90s and even up to 2013.

    The most annoying thing is that there are vacant lands within the premises of the school on which it could have been built but because of the arrogant nature of Ogbeni Aregbesola, the hitherto governor “emeritus” of Osun State, he chose to destroy the beautiful landscape of the school. Hence no field for sports any more at Osogbo Grams.

    There is no single student in the MODEL school built and commissioned in Inisha between Ejigbo and Iragberi up till now because it is too far from the towns unless it becomes a boarding school. The road between the towns is as bad as ever.

    The state governor should swallow his pride and admit that he failed woefully in providing good education policy to our youths in the State. He could redeem his name and image by returning mission schools back to the owners.

    Fatai Bakare.

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Fatai,

      Thanks for your insightful comments.

      It is a shame to tear a sports field down to make room for a building ESPECIALLY when no arrangement existed nor is underway for a replacement.

      I am sure Governor Aregbesola will change his mind because the inability of of his government to pay several months’ salaries, including teachers’ salaries should point to Governor Ajimobi’s bold decision as a way out of reducing states’ burden considering the financial mess the country, but especially poor states like Osun, is in now.

      I was never in support nor have I ever seen much economic wisdom in the idea of the so-called “mega schools” because I believe they divert too much resources to just a few schools while the rest are in very bad shape.

      Sincere regards,
      TOLA.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • folakemiodoaje Says:

        While I don’t agree with everything that Ogbeni Aregbesola’s administration has done with changes to schools in Osun, (impossible to for anyone that loves the state), I think he has at least opened up avenues for important discussion that has been ignored for way too long.

        From what I have seen, in the 23 years of Osun state, he is the only governor till date who has been brave enough to make drastic changes that cut across the state in terms of education. There are bound to be mistakes and the important thing is that the governor listens to constructive criticisms to understand that people complain because he is doing something wrong, and hopefully,he’ll incorporate necessary changes to his plans rather than being rigid…

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      • emotan77 Says:

        Dear Folakemi,

        Thanks.

        Yes, Osun State’s Governor Aregbesola like, perhaps most governors and even presidents in the country since the return to civil rule, believe that once given the mandates to rule, they do not really need the input of the citizens. As retd. General Obasanjo infamously said during his presidency, he does not have the need of advice by advisers he chose.

        I think it must have to do with the military ethos of the preceding decades during which decrees were issued and Nigerians were expected and made to fall in line. Paradoxically, much more was achieved, more development put in place as much relatively-less wealth of the country was stolen during the period.

        The educational mistakes made in Osun might have opened avenues for discussions but they have been at huge cost to a state that has always been one of the poorest in the country.

        The way forward now is for the governor to ensure that whatever time he has left in office is spent to correct whichever of the mistakes are possible, and ensure that scarce resources of the state are allocated to ensure that those who come after him would not have to spend entire tenures first erasing mistakes of the past.

        It is difficult to achieve progress that way, especially in an area as vital as education.

        There is nothing disgraceful in acknowledging mistakes.

        “Mistakes are always forgiveable if one has the courage to admit them” the great, late martial artist famously said but one by Goethe – “A good man apologizes for mistakes of the past, but a great man corrects them” – is in place here as it would be cathartic and would enable the governor to move forward and work towards leaving a legacy. The name we leave behind in whatever position is much more important than the here and now.

        Sincere regards,
        TOLA.

        Liked by 1 person

      • folakemiodoaje Says:

        Totally agree with your line of thoughts here.

        Like

      • emotan77 Says:

        Thanks, Folakemi.

        Regards,
        TOLA.

        Like

  2. tofadelight2002@aol.com Says:

    Dear All,

    If we go down memory lane and I want the SW governors to do this, we would see that the standard of education vis-a-vis the performances of students and on schools basis in the WAEC examinations have been dwindling ever since the so-called take-over of schools by the various State governments.

    Couple with this is the dilapidated conditions of infrastructures in the schools. Buildings are never reinforced or maintained, no supply of science and vocational equipment to schools, and of recent, the recurring non-payments of teachers’ salaries as, and at when due, is now running to several months of arrears.

    It is a fact staring us in the face that the various governments have become overwhelmed with debts due to their over-zealousness to impress the electorates that voted them into power.

    In this wise, some financial burden will be removed off their necks if mission schools are returned to the owners.

    It is on records that the Catholic and the Baptist Missions are in the forefront in the request (Osun State) and have not desisted from taking them back.

    Fingers are not equal, and not all parents will be able to afford fee- paying schools and this is why government public schools are there.

    Presently, many parents are sending their children to fee-paying schools because it is realised that the standard in government schools is nothing but zero. If the mission schools are returned, the government will then be able to take care of the ones left in their care and improve the standard to make sure that students in these schools are not left to suffer inferiority complexes due to the high standard we may have in the private schools.

    If we cast our minds back to the Sixties, there were very few if at all of government schools in our towns and villages. We can only talk of the Government College Ibadan, Queens School at Ede before it was relocated to Ibadan. It was these mission schools that enabled other pupils who could not gain admission to the few elitist government schools around at that time. Students in those mission schools competed well academically with those in the few Government Colleges.

    Such competition can still be brought back to improve the quality of education. The SE schools have been recording high progress every year in the WAEC exams. This is because there are mission schools which give room for positive competition and progress among them and the government schools.

    I appeal to our various governments to shed the toga of pride and return back mission schools for the sake of education in the States and the future of our youths in order to curb youth social problems in the society.

    Fatai Bakare.

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    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Fatai,

      Thank you very much for the time taken to contribute this other well-informed piece to this important matter.

      All the issues touched, including suggestions are really spot-on.

      In these days of economic hardship, handing Mission schools back to the owners is not only better for government but it is the just thing to do.

      Even in places like my native Iju where rural dwellers chose private schools over roofless schools where teachers merely showed up when they liked, jeopardizing kids’ future, it was at great cost that left those families – at least the few I knew in our small town – really impoverished but as most Yorubas know about people in Ondo/Ekiti States, they would rather go hungry than not educate their kids. Imagine if those kids had remained out of school for multiple years!

      I am sure other governors in the SW would see the wisdom and courage in Governor Ajimobi’s decision to return schools to the mission owners.

      The WAEC results from the SE are definitely indicative of what would happen in schools with supervision of teachers which states are not equipped nor structured to provide.

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  3. folakemiodoaje Says:

    Nigeria education is very close to my heart as I was lucky to experience a little bit of the old system when schools were in the hands of missionaries, and I witnessed the rotting impact of Nigeria government take-over which has led to mushroom private schools with individuals setting their own standards.

    When I read the news in Ibadan, I thought that was the lowest any country could get to allow secondary school children to protest on the road for something they clearly had no clue about. Most of them are under 18, why on earth did parents let their children participate in this?

    I know that in Nigeria, parents do not participate nearly enough in school meetings, even most of the private schools are the same. This is partly due to the fact that parents do not know any better, they believe teachers and government are making the best decisions. I think there’s need for school administrators to be encouraged to call for more parent-teachers meetings.

    While the idea of returning schools to churches sounds good, I doubt this will mean what it was. For example my old secondary school is Catholic, Our Ladies Girls High School, purpose built and used to be well run before I joined in 1985, I enjoyed a bit of ‘remnant’ before it all went down hill. Will the Catholic church be willing to take the school back in the sorry state it is in now?

    My Primary school was started by a CAC church in the late 60s. While I was there I think most of the teachers were qualified and loved their jobs, but CAC church now is something completely different, it is all about the money and nothing else.

    My recent visit to the school brought tears down my cheeks, the building I had for my pry 5 and 6 is now a dumpsite for the church. I didn’t even believe the school is still in operation until a church worker said so; only children of the very poor go there now. On the other hand, the church has seen significant facelift.
    CAC has a different ways of managing affairs compared to Catholic. Catholic I trust (albeit Nigeria ones) but CAC, their pastors change a lot and I can’t say I’d trust them with educating my kids. I could be wrong.

    I do completely agree with community getting more involved, I know I will gladly join alumni for both of my pry and sec schools and contribute happily if I am sure the church or organisation are providing quality work.

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Folakemi,

      Thanks a lot for this, especially the insight and suggestions.

      Involvement by parents and even the wider community in which schools are located are very important as you mentioned. The case in my hometown school where the involvement of a sibling by taking photos, compiling stats and taking these to the state’s Education Ministry yielded result, even though after about two years. Ditto your willingness to be involved in your former primary and secondary schools which should show others what we can all do to improve education quality.

      As for the rioting kids, I was shocked to read the report, too that teachers and/or whoever pushed the kids out in the streets to do such. What if police started to shoot or even run after rioters with tear gas and kids fell down and trample each other down?

      One hopes wise counsel will prevail.

      Sincere regards,
      TOLA.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  4. funshoabiri@yahoo.co.uk Says:

    Dear Dr. Opawoye,

    I am on the same page with you sir.

    Best Regards,

    Funsho

    Chief Funsho Abiri
    P.O.Box 2789 Garki,
    Abuja FCT, Nigeria

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    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      Thanks, Chief Abiri.

      I removed the phone numbers.

      Regards,
      TOLA.

      Like

      Reply

      • emotan77 Says:

        Dear Folakemi,

        Thanks.

        Yes, Osun State’s Governor Aregbesola like, perhaps most governors and even presidents in the country since the return to civil rule, believe that given the mandates to rule, do not really need the input of the citizens. As retd. General Obasanjo infamously said during his presidency, he does not have need of the advisers he chose.

        I think it must have to do with the military ethos of the preceding decades during which decrees were issued and Nigerians were expected and made to fall in line. Paradoxically, much more was achieved, more development put in place as much relatively-less wealth of the country was stolen during the period.

        The educational mistakes made in Osun might have opened avenues for discussions but they have been at huge cost to a state that has always been one of the poorest in the country.

        As you pointed out, the way forward now is for the governor to ensure that whatever time he has left in office is spent to correct whichever of the mistakes and ensure that scarce resources of the state are allocated to ensure that those who come after him would not have to spend entire tenures first erasing mistakes of the past.

        It is difficult to achieve progress that way, especially in an area as vital as education.

        There is nothing disgraceful – though it will be embarrassing in acknowledging mistakes.

        “Mistakes are always forgiveable if one has the courage to admit them” the great, late martial artist famously said but one by Goethe – “A good man apologizes for mistakes of the past, but a great man corrects them” – would be cathartic and would enable the governor to move forward and work towards leaving a legacy.

        Sincere regards,
        TOLA.

        Like

  5. laiopawoye@comcast.net Says:

    When schools were forcefully taken away by the government, some proprietors were paid off. However, Retired Arch Bishop Alaba Job, remained adamant that the Catholics under his watch never took any money from any government. Quite often he challenged them to produce any paper to show that whereas he has documents with him showing the mutual agreement reached then which many of these clueless government disregarded.

    The result of WAEC coming from the Eastern part of the country where schools have been returned is testimony to good decision .

    Ajímọ́bi is taking the right decision that will finally change education improvement for ever. The lazy teachers who cannot even compose a letter will never be in support of a such move.

    Courage is needed by the sitting governors to face squarely the lazy teachers. We do have some knucle head governors who arrogate all knowledge to themselves. History will not be kind to them.

    Let CAN in the S.West wake up from slumber and borrow a leaf from their counterpart in Kwara State. This battle can be won by them if not compromised. It is just a question of ignoring the noise coming from the lazy teachers’ union.

    Opawoye

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Doctor,

      Thanks v much for the insight. I am sure all will work out well and the kids need it but the present crop is being misguided by – apparently – the teachers.

      Archbishop Alaba Job would never deny payment if the Catholic Archdiocese got reimbursed.

      The important point now is that the teachers need to be prevailed upon to think of the larger picture – the greater good which is the interest of the kids – and choose the right path.

      Regards, as always.
      TOLA.

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      Reply

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