There is one thing I like about the governor of Edo state right from when he was the leader of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) till now he is the number one man in Edo state,he is fearless. This is a man that had the clouts to face the military strategies of the then civilian president. Now as the governor of Edo state,he has brought his wealth of experience to ensure that the state is developed. He is the first governor in this present dispensation to sign the death warrants of condemned criminals and ensured that the convicts were executed. Although there were a lot of outcries from many Human Rights groups and Amnesty International,the truth is that the law of the land must be obeyed at all costs and Oshiomhole did not act ultra vires. Those clamouring for the head of the governor should remember what Ola Rotimi said in his book,THE GODS ARE NOT TO BLAME,that when a frog in the front falls into a pit,others will take caution.
The bane of our society is corruption,terrorism,kidnapping etc and when these criminal elements are convicted then Amnesty International will come to beg for forgiveness possibly for the ex-convicts to go and continue committing more crimes,even in the USA are there not states that are still practising capital punishment? Many of our businessmen today go to some Asian countries to transact their international businesses because they are sure that corruption is a capital offence there unlike other countries where somebody will dupe you and when you want to prosecute him through the law enforcement agents,the dubious element will rush down to the law-court to get a perpetual injunction,with part of the money he duped you,preventing anybody from prosecuting him.
Governor Oshiomhole sent a warning signal to the criminal elements in the state to stay clear from the state and that the state is no longer business as usual. Now, it is the turn of the teachers. There is no gainsaying the fact that our educational system is a total failure. Apart from the industrial actions which are the hallmark of our public institutions,there is this issue of incompetence on the part of the teachers in many of our public schools.As we say in Latin: Nemo dat quod non habet ,meaning one cannot give what one does not have,that is how teachers will not give what they do not have to their students/pupils. What is wrong in teachers going for assessment tests even when other civil servants go for assessment interviews before they are promoted?
We should not politicize what Oshiomhole is doing in Edo state. Good thing is good whether it is by a PDP governor or by an APC governor. Many of these teachers that are afraid of this assessment test must have reached their present positions in the ministry of education by cash-acquired or sexually transmitted arrangements. Many of them might have benefitted from the so-called zoning arrangements from the previous governments such that any commissioner,permanent-secretary, or director of education from a zone in a state would ensure that people in his zone were more favoured than other applicants from other zones. The product of this tribalism,nepotism and favouritism is that we now have teachers who cannot spell their names. This reminds me of my experience while in the secondary school. Our school was recording poor results in external examinations, imagine a school where about 300 students would sit for WAEC (that was the only SSCE-conducting body then) and nobody could credit English language or Mathematics. There were rumours then that WAEC officials were marking our school down but thank God that I saw the light on time hence I started extra-mural lessons on time which was organised by a pharmacist. I was able to meet other students from other reputable schools.
I immediately became outstanding in my academic performances, it got to a point that teachers started pulling their own children from other classes to my own SS2A believing that my outstanding academic performances were a product of my being in that class. I only knew the secret of my success. In fact, a teacher openly confessed in our class that before coming to teach in my class that she would read the topic well because many of my questions could derail a teacher not conversant with the topic. I can vividly remember the number of times teachers invited me to higher classes(SS3) to come and answer questions that my seniors could not answer while classes were going on and I never disappointed the teachers.
The secret that those my secondary school teachers never knew about me was that they were not in anyway contributory to my academic success and that I was just coming to the school so I could register my external examination through the school. This became clearer to them when I rejected the much-coveted post of a senior prefect of the school. A post that teachers lobbied for their children. I reasoned that accepting that responsibility would deprive me of attending my afternoon extra-mural lessons. The news spread abroad that Paul rejected the post of a senior prefect. It has to be noted that my school then had a population of about 3000 students and it was the pride of every parents to have one of their children as the senior prefect of such densely-populated school. The summary is that my WAEC results taught both my teachers and students that WAEC officials had not marked the school down as initially alleged.
Believe you me, if I had not attended that extra-mural lessons organised by the pharmacist, I would have 'perished' academically like my predecessors and my classmates,In fact there was nobody in my class that was not deficient in one or two major subjects even when I smiled home with a lot of A1's. Today, I am a University of Nigeria trained medical doctor as a result of the early academic foundation that the pharmacist laid in my life. Imagine what would have been my academic achievements if I had remained with those our incompetent teachers? Today,teachers in Edo state are fighting the governor for standing for the truth. The teachers have already rushed to the court where an order might have been given that 'status quo' be maintained and I must state here that our problems as a nation have been this clause-let status quo be maintained-as criminal elements in the society now see the law-courts as the safest place to hide. You will see a fraudster who was arrested by the law-enforcement agents, granted bail and later jumped bail, now when the law-enforcement agents are looking for him to re-arrest him, he would rush down to the court to get an injunction preventing the law-enforcement agents or their privies from re-arresting him pending the determination of the frivolous suit he has dubiously filed with the help of his lawyer in order to render the efforts of the law-enforcement agents nugatory.
Any country that wants to develop should not play with her education because education is the bedrock of development of any nation. Today,we talk of terrorism, give these frustrated foot-soldiers of Boko Haram the best form of education, they will understand that the so-called 72 virgins waiting for them in paradise are figments of one's imagination. I want to state clearly that examination malpractice cannot be nipped in the bud without first tackling the problems of the qualities of teachers and the learning environments provided for these children in their formative years because any parent that paid for any external examination for his/her child(ren) does not expect any result less than credit passes in the relevant subjects. We should start first by correcting the entrance requirements for admission into faculties of education in our universities and those of our colleges of education. Taking a closer look, one will find that in the universities those that go to faculty of education are those rejected by other faculties in terms of JAMB admissions,in fact some schools when advertising for their post-UTME,will cut 180 for faculty of education even when other faculties in the same university will cut 200 and above. Also,in the colleges of education,they will cut 160(or 150) for post-UTME interviews and they only require about 3(or 4) credit passes in relevant O'level subjects as their minimum entry requirements. How can somebody who cannot score score up to 200 in UTME or credit at least five core subjects at o'level examinations come to teach students that are expected to score above 250 in UTME or get distinctions at o'level examinations?
Today,parents are more comfortable paying the high tuition fees charged by private schools than allowing their children destroy their academic lives in the hands of these incompetent teachers in some of our public schools, many of which cannot obey the simple rules of English language when teaching these kids that are still in their formative years. Governor Oshiomhole narrated his experience with a teacher under the state ministry of education who could not read out the contents of her own affidavit. Instead of the teacher saying 'I solemnly declare' ,the said teacher read 'I Solomon declare'.The said teacher continued in this show of shame,instead of reading 'judicial province',she read 'Onitsha province'.I am aware that people may think that the above scenario is a political gimmick for Oshiomhole to justify his actions,the truth remains that many of our teachers in our public schools are not competent and I challenge them to prove me wrong by passing through the assessment test organised by the state government and coming out with flying colours
Dr. Paul John
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters