In his contribution towards the ongoing X-ray of public schools in the state, an Akwa Ibom-born Lagos-based lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, has taken the State governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to task, accusing him of not doing anything to better the condition of education in the state.
“Someone queried me this morning for not referencing the period between 1999 to 2007 when Obong Victor Attah was the governor in my on going campaign to expose the collapse of public education in Akwa Ibom State.
My response is simple:
“Governor Attah was not perfect. He also did not complete some of his projects. But in the area of education, no governor in the history of Akwa Ibom State has a better record than him.
Obong Attah built the only state-owned public university that Akwa Ibom State has today. He gave scholarship to many Akwa Ibom people to study overseas in specialised courses like aviation and so on. Some of the beneficiaries are pilots today. Attah invested in education. He also conceived the Ibom Science Park which was fully paid for but neglected by his successors.
“Attah was the last visionary leader in Akwa Ibom State. Though he did not complete some the legacy projects that he initiated like the Victor Attah Airport in Uyo, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort and so on, one can see the fact that he had a good vision for the State.
In terms of access to resources, we all know that the entire allocation that accrued to Akwa Ibom State during the eight years of Attah was far less than what his successors received.
“Attah received less than 600 billion Naira from the Federation account in his eight years as governor. On the other hand, Governor Akpabio received almost 1.3 trillion Naira in his first term and close to 1.6 trillion in his second term.
As a governor, Obong Attah paid bursary to students and gave scholarship to Akwa Ibom people. He also paid grants to medical and law school students.
Since Udom Emmanuel became a governor, no law school student to my knowledge has been paid grant.
“The point is that no leader in the history of the Akwa Ibom State has invested in education more than Obong Attah.
The fellow who made a sickening insinuation that I excluded Attah’s tenure because of “ethnic” reasons should stop chasing shadows. If we are to talk about tribalism in Akwa Ibom State, every sincere person knows that before 2007, the prevailing tribal divisions in Akwa Ibom was non-existent. We all know who divided the State along tribal lines.
“In Akwa Ibom State, people believe that except you are a politician or occupy a political position, your life is meaningless. This satanic and primitive mindset is caused partly by poor educational system. Akwa Ibom today ranks higher than many States in Nigeria in the out of school index.
A State that does not have a single model public school cannot make meaningful progress.
“Politicians own most of the best private schools in Akwa Ibom State. Akpabio’s wife owns one of those elite private schools. These useless politicians use public funds to build private schools that the children of the less privileged cannot attend.
Yet, most of the so-called political leaders in Akwa Ibom State today are products of public schools. They have destroyed the very system that they benefited from.
Akpabio’s mother was a primary school teacher. Yet, as a governor, Akpabio refused to pay retired primary school teachers and next-of-kin of late primary school teachers pensions and gratuity.
“For Akpabio and Udom, investment in education means renovation of some classroom blocks and payment of NECO fees to students which they fraudulently tag “free and compulsory education”.
If you want to know the level of decay in public schools in Akwa Ibom, please visit public primary and secondary schools and see things for yourself. You should also visit the state-owned tertiary schools like the School of Health Technology, College of Education, Polytechnic and the Akwa Ibom State University.
You will weep for Akwa Ibom State.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel does not know what to do with money.
As a governor, he built a multi-million mansion for himself in his village within his first six months in office. The state government recently commissioned a gigantic new PDP Secretariat. Yet, Udom has not constructed a single model public school in his five years in office.
Until we stop defending politicians in this country and begin to hold the government accountable, we will continue to suffer”.