ASUU STRIKE: GROUP CARPETS UMAHI, SAYS HIS REMARKS EXPLAIN POOR STATE OF EDUCATION IN EBONYI

Association of Ebonyi Indigenes Socio-Cultural in Diaspora (AEISCID) has chided the State Governor, Dave Umahi, over his recent condemnation of the strike by the universe teachers in the country.

 

Governor Umahi was reported to have condemned the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) for allegedly holding the government to ransom and said “University education is not for everybody and that is the truth.”

 

President of the (AEISCID), Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, in a statement said the remarks of the Ebonyi State Governor were unfortunate.

 

The group declared that by his stance on the ongoing ASUU strike, the Ebonyi State governor has only vindicated those who have adjudged his performance in the education sector in the last seven years in the South-East state as a colossal failure. The AEISCID noted that it was not surprising that Ebonyi is categorised as an Educationally Less Developed State.

 

“It’s justiciable to bring to the fore how the man who is advocating for at least Basic and Secondary education for citizens indeed killed education at those two levels before eventually burying the two State-owned tertiary institutions- Ebonyi State University and the Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo.

 

“We are aware that Umahi had inherited an Ebonyi that had a near excellent performance in academic examinations such as WAEC, NECO and other competitive academic contests like Debates. The State’s Debating Championship team led by Professor Okpata made Nigeria proud even at the continental level.”

 

Professor Oluchukwu lamented that the gains in public education in the South-East state under the predecessors of Governor Umahi have since nosedived as a result of poor funding of agencies like the Universal Basic Education Commission, (UBEC) under the present administration.

 

“The history of education in Ebonyi state is such that the first civilian Governor, Sen Dr Sam Egwu deliberately offered free and compulsory education for all Ebonyians at least up to Secondary level with the government registering at least NECO for finalist students.

 

“Majority of today’s PhD holders and Professors particularly in the State-owned University were products of Egwu’s HIPACT programme- a carefully planned foreign Scholarship programme designed by the education-loving administration of Dr Egwu.

 

“This was further consolidated by his successor, Chief Martin Elechi who felt the need to sustain the education legacies. His government brought Ebonyi to the limelight with proper remunerations for teachers and attracting funds and investments in UBEB from the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC. This was, in addition, to fully supporting and funding the State’s Literary and Debating Society, the State’s Scholarship Board and prompt payment of bursaries to students including sponsoring and supporting Law students to Law Schools.

 

“AEISCID is still abreast that it was so seamless that even a Local Government Chairman or a Development Centre Coordinator could pay tuition fees and procure laptops cum other supports for law students going to the Law School. The teachers, particularly at the Primary School level were properly remunerated even through the 74 Development Centre Coordinators in the State.

 

“In WAEC performance under Elechi, Ebonyi came only second after States like Anambra in the entire South East region and maintained top in some academic competitions like Debate.

 

“Upon ascending to the number one seat of power, however, Umahi immediately turned the table. The State government first accessed and allegedly misappropriated billions of naira paid into UBEB by UBEC just before Elechi’s exit from power in 2015.

 

“Since then, Umahi has plunged the education sector in Ebonyi into a deeper mess. It is so bad that in his over 7 years reign, it has never been reported that he made a brief stopover in any of the public education facilities- be there Primary, Secondary or Tertiary institutions in the State.

 

“The only time he visited Ebonyi State University was to harass the managers to up their revenue games. He even taxed the institution after reducing its subventions by over 50 per cent. He only laments that the place can only be run as business and that he’s not making enough profits from the School because the management is not good businessmen and women.”

 

While describing tuition fees in Ebonyi as “criminally outrageous”, the statement said Ebonyi public Secondary Schools are now very unaffordable and that it costs over N15,000 to obtain a common Junior Secondary School Certificate. Parents pay through their noses to see their children and wards through the Senior Secondary classes up to SS3 when they are eventually forced to break banks in order to register their children and wards for WAEC and NECO.

 

“It’s verifiable that some, if not most of Ebonyi public schools have only two or three teachers teaching different subjects from Junior to Senior Secondary level. This is simply because no recruitment of teachers have been carried out in the last over 7 years when Umahi took over power.

 

“The resultant effect is that Ebonyi now arguably ranks the least in entire Southern Nigeria in terms of WAEC performance as indicated in the recent result released by the body wherein many Ebonyi School’s results were withheld over allegations of malpractice and inability to pay outstanding fees and levies to WAEC.

 

“Parents and guardians in Ebonyi have been groaning with their affected children and wards over this ugly development but the Umahi government has maintained deafening silence on the WAEC performance – preferring to focus on building more flyovers than investing in education in a State as Educationally-backward as Ebonyi.

 

“The teachers still teaching in Ebonyi Schools are left without any remuneration by the Umahi government who feel they, including ASUU doesn’t deserve to be paid while agitating for better conditions of service. Most of them have found other more desperate means of surviving.”

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