THE Edo State Ministry of Education has become the fleecing channel to swindle Edo people of their resources, through ephemeral projects.
The Ministry of education under Governor Godwin Obaseki is not in short of ideas designed to gift `consultants’ several millions. Trojan investigations revealed the systematic way the Commissioner for Education, Joan Oviawe in connivance with Obaseki, have allegedly taken over N5 billion from the state’s resources.
One of such devices is the recently concluded so-called ‘Education Week’ that brought myriad of ‘consultant’ to applaud the wasteful and imaginary ‘EdoBEST’ program which has drained the state resources without physical evidence in place.
Our investigation shows that, the funds that were budgeted for all the consultants that Obaseki and Joan Oviawe invited were inflated.
A source in the state ministry of education decried government’s preference to seminars and foreign activities against infrastructural provision such as school buildings, furniture, and learning aides.
“We are helpless under madam commissioner as all our suggestions are pushed aside. Over 60% of the ministry budget is spent on seminars, talk shows and her foreign trips with Mr. Governor.
“We have never had it this bad.” The visibly angry senior civil servant told Trojan News Media correspondent.
With a penchant for frivolities, Obaseki and Oviawe took the advantage of the increase in fuel to hurriedly conspire to again fleece Edo people of our commonwealth. Obaseki hurriedly announced reduction of classroom learning from 5 days a week to three days.
According to the plan, pupils in public schools in Edo State were expected to stay out of school for two days in a week, while they will be taught at home via online.
Several stakeholders have questioned the decision of Obaseki and Joan Oviawe to unilaterally take such far-reaching decision without consulting parents and without consideration to the inadequacies in the state.
They argued that, in a state that is mostly rural and with very low economic support from government, the abrogation of learning days will add to the social economic crisis that existed.
They also added that, the internet access in the state is poor and where they existed, the poor parents do not have hand-held devices to join Godwin Obaseki’s imaginary online school.
Trojan New Media search revealed that Obaseki and Oviawe’s interest in the exercise is a donation of $75million from one of the multilateral agencies for the support of physical development of education in the state. The support was granted after the donor considered the pilot scheme of EdoBEST program.
For six years now, parents have complained of lack of school buildings and furniture as well as absence of teachers. All their plea have fallen to the deaf ears of Godwin Obaseki and Joan Oviawe.
The confusion that greeted the Primary School Living Certificate Examination recently is as a result of the collapse of the administration of education in Edo State. The civil servants are working at cross purpose with the Joan Oviawe, and the leadership of the State Primary Education Board.
Joan Oviawe, looking for a conduct pipe as usual, engaged one of her pliant foreign consultant, Mrs Chinelo Adaobi who she contracted to conduct the Primary School Living Certificate Examination that turned out to be a colossal failure.
For instance, Egor Local Government Area has 11 Secondary Schools while private schools in the same Local Government have a total number of 141, yet Joan Oviawe mandated the Ministry of Education to conduct the examination in the premises of the 11 secondary schools owned by the state government. The backlash was that parents had to bring chairs and tables for their children from home to write the examination.
This is against the backdrop counsel to her that the facilities in the public schools in those centres could not accommodate the private school students. Other 18 Local Government Areas across the state have same similar issues includes Esan North East, Etsako West, Etsako East, Ikpoba Okha, Oredo, Ovia North East, Ovia South West, amongst others.
A parent agonised to Trojan News Media correspondent in Ekpoma what they went through. “My baby wrote the examination. I witnessed it. At a point, they had to go look for chairs from a private school for pupils to write examination in a government school. It was a mess”, he said.
The counsel to Joan Oviawe to expand or extend the venues to other private schools did not go down well with Mrs Chinelo Adaobi and the Commissioner because of hundreds of millions at stake for their personal benefits at the expense of the pupils and their parents.
We learnt that the board chairman, Ms Ozavize Salami who had been allegedly sacked by Obaseki’s private company, was brought to head the State Universal Basic Education. Several people have asked why Obaseki will consider a staff he sacked for lack of performance to held one of the lucrative agency in the state.
Since his advent in 2016, Obaseki has made Edo State a recuperation centre for former employees or training ground for his Afrinvest West Africa Limited.