By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the total collapse of the educational sector in Rivers State under the watch of Governor Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike as unacceptable, unfortunate, condemnable, wicked and unjust.
The APC in a press statement circulated on Sunday in Port Harcourt by Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the Media Consultant to Dr Davies Ibiamu Ikanya the State Chairman of Rivers APC to media organizations and the general public said, “The total collapse of the education sector of Rivers State was further showcased and buttressed by the Rivers State students of Secondary School cadre in the very heart of Port Harcourt when they decided to take their destiny in their hands by taking to the streets to protest of lack of teachers and classrooms blocks in their schools insisting that they be relocated to the model Secondary Schools built by the administration of Amaechi which Wike has kept under lock and key as they can’t continue to study under unfavourable environment any more. The party noted that Wike who have abandoned education in Rivers State recently donated a whopping sum of ₦500m to a private university and continue in his squandermina of Rivers State funds through disbursement public funds to his party chieftains, cohorts while the future of our children remains bleak and mortgaged.
The party noted with great sadness that the rot of our educational system could get to this disgraceful level that our Secondary school students in Rivers State have to be forced to embark upon public protesting of schools without teachers and lack of classroom blocks while Governor Wike Wike demonstrates his hatred and odium for Amaechi by keeping the 350 model secondary School built by Amaechi under lock and key thereby jeopardising the future of our dear children.
We have not forgotten so soon how Wike wickedly stopped the scholarship scheme instituted by Amaechi to assist indigent and bright children of Rivers State to have a better future thereby forcing most of these students studying abroad into prostitution and other criminal acts in foreign countries. The protest and pleads from some of these students in the streets of London failed on deaf ears.
To worsen the plight of the Education sector of the State, Wike appointed one political jobber named Mr. Tamunosisi Gogo Jaja who spends most of his time sleeping in his office instead of attending to files that have accumulated so much without any space to keep them to completely decimate the education system of our dear State.
The party asks that with a Governor who detests education with a passion coupled with an inept Commissioner who lacks ideas on how to improve the sector why should anybody be shocked of the pitiable condition of our education sector in Rivers State under Wike.
The party reiterated that unlike Governor Wike dismay and abysmal performance, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi had within the first three years in office as Rivers State Governor set Rivers State to the golden path that made it a world acknowledged advanced State in education by declaring a state of emergency on the education sector and completely took over the payment of salaries of primary school and junior secondary school teachers, hitherto the statuary function of local governments, to ensure that education takes its rightful place in the scheme of things. This intervention cost the state government N800 million monthly, to pay salaries of primary school teachers” the APC explained.
To further strengthen and ensure qualitative education in the state, ex-governor Amaechi signed into law five bills brought for his assent by the State House of Assembly. Among them were the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Amendment Bill 2012 and the Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools’ Board Bill 2012. The then governor was upbeat while signing into law these bills, including the one on social services levy etc. Amaechi’s government initiated and targeted building 700 model primary schools and within four years about 250 of these schools were already completed and commissioned. These schools with 20 classrooms costing about N116 million each and equipped with ICT facility, modern library, science laboratory, football field and basketball pitch, volleyball pitch and nursery playground. These model primary schools were built to the standard of the United Nations as obtainable in developed parts of the world” the party explained further.
The statement reads further: “The Amaechi’s Govern
The party noted with proud that, “Under Amaechi, Rivers State became the first state in Nigeria to introduce the study of ICT at the primary school level. All the schools in Rivers State at this period were all equipped with ICT facilities with internet connection, as the state is eager to make all her pupils and students to be technologically ahead of their counterparts in other parts of the country. Our candidates in Rivers State were ICT-compliant and write external examinations like WAEC and NECO.
Under Amaechi, Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) was leading the way in technological drive in Nigerian universities and has shown Nigerians how ICT can easily be used to enhance learning and administration process in the academic environment. All these are to the credit of the great revolutionist of our time – Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi,” the party emphasized.
Apart from retraining teachers, the government of Amaechi employed 13,200 teachers from the 20,000 shortlisted for interview, out of the over 45,000 teachers that applied – a feat uncommon by any other government in Nigeria. Rivers under Amaechi offered scholarships to over 2,000 students in Nigerian higher institutions, and spent about N5 billion on her students in foreign institutions.
The party further stated that It is important to point out here that the Rivers State Government under Amaechi is among the few in Nigeria that offer free education and free health delivery to its people, but stands apart as the only state offering free education, free sandals, free books and free uniform in Nigeria. About 500 new primary schools have been built in 350 communities across the state.
Under Amaechi’s watch, the world acknowledged Rivers State as the heartbeat of Education in Africa by PORT HARCOURT the Rivers State capital becoming the UNESCO WORLD BOOK CAPITAL in 2014 by beating ten other great cities that include Oxford in England and Moscow in Russia. For this to be achieved against all odds and challenges simply demonstrates that Amaechi was a visionary and focused leader who has received accolades in this regard by world leaders.
Justifying the great feats of Amaechi in the education system of Rivers State the party highlighted the testimony of one of the beneficiaries of Amaechi’s magnanimity thus: Dr. Samuel Jonah Abbey one of the beneficiaries of Amaechi’s policy on education wrote and we quote, “It is with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation that I write to humbly say thank you for making me what I am today. The background story might be too long for you to read Sir, considering your busy schedule.
Sir, I had lots of aspirations as a child but the demise of my parents almost crumbled the skyline of my world. As an orphan, I completed my first degree in Civil engineering with upper class in 2010 at the University of Portharcourt.
My horizons were then broadened when I heard about your overseas scholarship scheme during your term as the executive governor of Rivers state. Sir, the transparency of your administration gave me the opportunity to be assessed and awarded the RSSDA scholarship on merit to pursue MSc Civil Engineering in the UK.
I successfully completed my MSc with Distinction in 2013 and today your Excellency Sir, I have completed my PhD in Civil Engineering, Coventry University, UK and now addressed as Dr. Samuel Jonah Abbey.
Sir, I just want to say thank you so much for giving my life a meaning. Thank you so much. My entire family are ever grateful to you. May God bless you richly and protect you. May God shield you on every step and remain your pillar. May he protect your entire family in Jesus name, Amen. I will keep praying for you. God bless you my hero”
“Sadly, Governor Nyesom Wike the incumbent Governor of Rivers State not only stopped the scholarship scheme of the Amaechi’s administration, sacked the 13,200 Teachers employed by Amaechi and discarded all the great schools built by the Amaechi’s administration. He has so destroyed education in Rivers State that he has embarked upon vendetta against all the owners of private schools in Rivers State that over 1,500 private schools have been marked out for demolition in the State.