Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has advised the people of the state, especially stakeholders in the education sector, to guard against getting enlisted by individuals or groups who peddle misinformation and innuendoes to shoot down genuine initiatives of the government.

The governor gave the advice while addressing members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Oyo State chapter, at the executive council chambers of his office, on Friday.

The students’ leaders had sought audience with the governor on the proposed public-private participatory management of some public secondary schools in the state, an initiative that had pitted labour against the government.

The South-West Zonal Secretary of NANS, Mr. Olanrewaju Oloja, said that the students decided to hear from the horse’s mouth because of their concern for the welfare of teachers and the future of students in the public schools likely to be affected in the new initiative of the government.

He emphasized that students of today were highly cerebral and possessed knowledge that would not made them to be used as instruments in the hands of anybody to cause chaos and disaffection anywhere in the state.

Oloja said, "We decided to embark on this clarification trip, as we are aware that some people would want to derive unnecessary political pleasure in any misunderstanding in the polity. We will not want any of our schools to be privatized.

"The assurances we want is to the effect that your government would not retrench teachers or workers and also ask that no student should be forcefully converted to other religions because of a change in the management structure of the schools in question."

He pledged the support of the students’ body to the Ajimobi-led administration in its bid to revamp and develop education in the state, stating that the students identified with the governor for being the “most student-friendly and approachable” in the history of the state.

Oloja recalled the last meeting the students body had with the government, which, he said, also bothered on consultation and clarification on government policies.

Ajimobi expressed appreciation to the students for toeing what he called the path of honour and civility in their quest for explanations on the proposed initiative of the government, which he said was in the best interest of education development in the state.

He said, “Before any partner can be allowed to get near our schools, they must have met some stringent conditions. Even in the nearest future, government would still monitor the schools to ensure adherence to standards. We will take the schools back if they fail us.

"We are not selling any school. We are not privatizing. Those people will only be our partners and I want to ask you to go out there and help educate our people that Oyo of today is democratic and our policies are hinged on consultation and participation."

He used the opportunity to invite those desirous of playing a role in bringing about major improvement in the state’s post-primary school management to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by next Tuesday’s rescheduled stakeholders’ forum to attend the session and contribute to the discourse.

The governor said that the state government opted for dialogue on the proposal knowing full well that the state alone did not have solutions to the myriads of challenges confronting education and other sectors in the state.

Ajimobi said, "Good governance is anchored upon transparency, consultation and participation of subjects in the activities of the government. Today I'm happy that we have an assemblage of Oyo State students who refused to be used to cause disaffection in our state, especially in our stride to develop education.

"You all know what went down at the last organized stakeholders' meeting, which was disrupted. We invited all those that have stakes in education in the state to jaw-jaw on the partnering proposal in education and those without stake, as shown in their behaviors, went there to cause disturbances.

"The era of brigandage and wanton destruction of public assets has gone. We would not allow any person or group to draw us back. If anybody has issues to present at the meeting, why didn't they participate instead of disruption?"

“Let me use this opportunity to appeal to our people to guard against being used by those spreading innuendoes and misinformation to shoot down government’s genuine policy that will benefit the majority.”

Ajimobi said that it was the target of the administration to keep to its promises on qualitative education, which, he said, was exemplified by the decision of the administration to allocate 30 per cent of the state's budget to education.

The governor stressed that the government meant well by initiating the proposed participatory management of some public secondary schools, noting that the government would not abdicate its regulatory roles over such schools even when such partners came on board.

He said further that infrastructural facilities in the remaining public secondary schools would be upgraded to make them rank at par with any basic private school in the state.


OYSG Communication Team

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