From Maduka Ogbonna, Umuahia
The author of an article on page 20, of The Nation, Friday October 17, wrote with great malice and bitterness, trying poorly to politicize grave issues that demand urgent and meaningful attention.
The Governor of Abia state is the most worker-friendly governor in Nigeria.When Ochendo gripped the helms of affairs in Abia in May 2007, one of his first moves was to promote the civil servants massively to the next level, a move unheard of in the state. The general strike embarked nationwide over the minimum wage happened in all the states except in Abia, where the Abia Governor started paying the highest of twenty thousand one hundred against the eighteen thousand generally agreed.
The permanent secretaries and directors in all the ministries get all the civil service perks that were denied them previously. The permanent secretaries have all been given take-home vehicles and schemed into favorable housing schemes. Those in the judiciary are equally enjoying same at home and the office considering their new buildings and furniture. In the medical and teaching departments, the special salary scales of CONHESS, CONMESS and TSS respectively.
The various youth empowerment projects and skills acquisition are all aimed at reducing the stress on the civil servant because any parent saved the heat from our youthful offspring is more likely to enjoy a more stress-free home. There again, have our civil servants been better housed? Take a look at the twin tower secretariat at Ogurube layout.
Mr Ibe A Uche wrote about local government workers who not too long ago were rescued from the jaws of the elected chairmen of Local Governments. If I should remind Ibe, these workers were owed the upwards of ten months salaries until Ochendo came to their rescue where he worked out a payment regimen of liquidating the unpaid.
In May 2014, the Labour in Abia came out with the highest award ever given out since labour experience dating back to the days of Eastern Nigeria. Do I go on?
As you can see, the writer missed the point but he highlighted an important issue with the situation in our turbulent tertiary institutions as none is left out with one problem today and another tomorrow. Therefore, a holistic solution should be sought. It may not be out of place to borrow a leaf from schools abroad. Some people have argued that the experience of the telecommunication industry with the arrival of MTN, AIRTEL, GLO etc, should be extended to the schools. We now have six communication industries functioning successfully and equitably. If we do these to our school system, can the masses afford the bills? Our private schools today are one of the most expensive in world. We really have to undertake a deep study to make them drop their greed and operate at an affordable cost.
One will think that the state governors who are making good efforts to shore up education should be spared these horrors but life is not that way. It has been psychologically noticed that those who struggle to solve problems still have more problems streaming their way.
The drama playing out in Abia polytechnic need more than mere complaints and political cajolery. If I ask again, these private schools abroad, how come they operate successfully without much rancor compared to our private schools where parents pay through their nose to sponsor and train their wards in private universities?
Not being an insider, I wouldn’t know what the case with Abia poly is. The subvention given to the school by the state government was increased from 29 to 95million monthly or there about. The school still collects school fees from students and other things trickling in from donors and the federal government.
Already, they have a governing council. Can’t the council and school authorities work out a formula for sustainability? Or is the governing Council part of the problems? It is a known fact that governing councils peopled by politicians come with their own problems. For instance, they still insist in employment of wards, constituents and cronies as to be politically relevant. The school authorities take advantage of such situation and employ more, fired by their selfish interests, resulting in running a bloated bureaucracy in the school. The case may not be untrue that most of the politicians squeeze much money from the school management most times, piling money to run elections.
Abia has particularly done well in the education sector granted that there are no tuition fees paid in the primary and secondary, doling out bursary and giving scholarships. It has given back some schools to missionary holdings and at the same time paying salaries of teachers in those schools.
There should be a way out. There should be a study on how schools abroad succeed and why we cannot here.
His insinuations that APC and APGA should hasten the evil day for PDP clearly reveal his political background.It is unfortunate that at the present rating, APC and APGA put together cannot work up the muscle to challenge an Orji led PDP. If there is any doubt, let him check the figures of 2011 elections and the just concluded election in Aba where an apolitical housewife demolished all the other parties who only pride themselves as opposition.