Obaseki, FG in talks over kick-off of academic activities at Ekiadolor Federal College of Education
… says govt won’t be blackmailed by ex-staff of defunct COE
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) of the state government’s support for the kick-off of academic activities at the Federal College of Education in Ekiadolor.
The governor gave the assurance when he received the Executive Secretary, NCCE, Prof. Paulinus Okwelle who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.
Obaseki, who noted that workers of the defunct Edo State College of Education, Ekiadolor, are not owed salaries or any entitlements, said the government will not give in to blackmails by the dissident staff of the former state-owned college of education.
According to Obaseki, “This school is significant to us. That is why I personally appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari when it became clear that he was in the process of creating six more colleges of education. For us, we were very specific that we wanted a college of education that will train teachers in technical subjects because that aligns with our plans as a government.
“We are trying to retool the educational system of this country and Edo State. Today, we can proudly say that we have started an educational revolution in Edo. The children being produced from our basic educational system today, in terms of literacy, almost peer with their mates globally and the records are there.”
Assuring the NCCE delegation on the government’s commitment to ensure the school kicks off academic activities despite the antics of some detractors, Obaseki noted, “That school was shut down five years ago; it was shut down for us to start a university. The same trouble that led to the shutdown of that school is what they are trying to make with this new one. They frustrated the school for making progress and they want to frustrate this school too from making progress.
“They are claiming what they didn’t work for because we have set up our own state college of education. When we built our own school, they said we should absorb them into our new school.
“During my reelection, they were acting as active politicians, but we cannot sacrifice the future of our children for their selfish gains. They claimed that we owe them, but it is not true. Till tomorrow, they cannot give you the evidence of the school fees they have collected, but we can show you the evidence of subversions we have put in the school.”
He continued: “They have tried to go to court; they’ve done a lot of publications, and now it’s just blackmailing and as a government, we won’t subject ourselves to blackmails. Even yesterday, they wrote me a letter of apology. But they’ve gone back, front, left, right, and centre. But as a government, we remain focused. We know where we are going and if they have legitimate claims by now they would have gone to court to get court orders.
“Why have they not opted for that option? Why are they going to barricade the road and embarrass people who want to inspect the facilities? For us, I think this is a politically-motivated action and I don’t think it has a legal basis to stop what we want to do.
“If they feel they’ve been disenfranchised; they should go to court. We, as a government, will always obey court orders. So, whatever cooperation you need from me, we will give you. We’ve fought tough political battles; hence, this one is a joke. We’ve brought godfathers down and if the godfathers have gone back to mobilize them, they are just joking.”
“They shouldn’t stop the education and future of our children. We will provide whatever support and cooperation that the federal government needs to ensure that this school can be opened to enable us to begin to train our teachers,” he added.
Earlier, the Secretary of NCCE, Prof. Paulinus Okwelle, expressed appreciation to the governor for providing infrastructure for the take-off of the school.
He added: “Once again, we congratulate you for attracting this new federal institution to Edo. In 2019, President Buhari approved six colleges of education in each zone and the one in Ekiadolor to serve the South-South. We’ve gone round the site of the college and discovered a lot of good things and we must appreciate your efforts.”