How Obaseki, Oviawe, Salami allegedly diverted $75m, N129.12bn on Education in seven years- Trojan Report
Aftermath of the horrifying trending video of dilapidated school building hugging social media space last week, the self-described “technocrat capitalist” Governor of Edo State has scaled-down his bulwark of propaganda of phoney achievements in education and hard-headed understanding of governance. Edo citizens, home and abroad are now calling on the Governor, Joan Oviawe, Commissioner for education and Ozavize Salami, Chairperson of Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to account for $75 million World Bank loan, as well as NGN129.12billion Naira approved for education uplift. Mike Ogaga, our Education Correspondent, x-rays budget performances in the last 7 years of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration.
Last week, after the traumatizing horror viral video clips came to limelight, the first call came from no less a personage than Chief Iyere Odiase to our education Correspondent, thus: “Any country or society with this kind of paralysis in education and modern civilization in 21st century, that country or society is lost”. Little did the High Chief envisaged that Uromi Secondary School he attended four decades ago has not only regressed in worst decrepit state than he saw in the abhorrent video, his Alma Mater has sunk into a new hell.
A group under the umbrella of Edo In Diaspora Solidarity Movement (EIDSOM), in terse a press statement made available to our Correspondent through their leader, Dr James Osagie based in Napoli, Italy charged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately prosecute Ms Joan Oviawe and Ms Ozavize Salami for inhuman destruction and diversion of billions of Naira approved for education in the state.
“Since Governor Obaseki has temporary immunity until he exit office next year, Ms Oviawe and Ms Salami should be prosecuted with immediate effect for endangering the lives of young Edo people with the destruction of education in the state”, Osagie said.
More facts has since emerged after the convulsing viral video of parents, elders and pupils spotted kneeling down in the premises of the dilapidated school structure in Ozalla Community in Uhunmwonde Location Government Areas of Edo State that more than 200 of such school buildings are abound across the state.
Reports from Trojan News Media Education Correspondent on sneak peak for 13 out of the 18 Local Government Areas of the state revealed that the State Government deliberately frittered away millions of dollars and billions of Naira on frivolous propaganda of deceptive EdoBEST hogwash, while parents and old students associations are relentlessly burdened with the tasks of fixing collapsed school structures, as well as employment of teachers in their respective communities all over the State.
Our findings in the five local government areas of Edo Central, compromising Esan South-East, Igueben, Esan North East, Esan West and Esan Central was most benighted, reckless and insensitive of an administration with glowing fantasy on how EdoBEST has garned laureates from international community in the midst of evidently collapsed education sector in the face of disappearances of approved and collected fund for education revamp.
A visit to Esan West in Edo Central Senatorial District revealed dilapidated school buildings at Ukpughele Primary School, Ekpoma, Eghoro Amede Primary School, Ukhun Primary School, Urohi Primary, EghoroNaoka Primary School, Illen Primary School, Idoa Primary School, Ujogba Primary, Ukhun Secondary School, Iruekpen Mixed Secondary School, Uhumudumu Girls Secondary School, Iruekpen Grammar School, Ujoilen Grammer School, Eghoro Amede Secondary School, Emaudo Second School, Emuhi Primary and Secondary schools, Ikekugbe Primary School, Uhiele Secondary School Ekpoma, and Akugbe Secondary School, Emuhi Ekpoma.
The story is the same in Esan Central in Uwenugie Primary School, Irrua, Opoji Secondary Commercial School, Eguare Primary School, Irrua, Ewu Grammer School, Ibori Primary School Irrua, Ugbegun Primary School, Umelen Primary School, Ugbegun Secondary School, Eguare Primary School Ewu and Uwesan Primary School, Irrua.
The conditions in public schools in Esan North East were more debilitating. For instance in Esan Grammer School; Ebhoyi Primary School, Ogbedi Secondary School, Uromi Grammar School, Uzea Primary School, Eror Primary School, Arue Primary School, Ukoni Primary School, Olinlin Primary School, Ewoiki Primary School, ID Oza Primary School, ID obodo Primary School, Asaba Primary School, Eko Omonua Primary School, Eko Ibadin Primary School, Akugbe Primary School, Onumu Akpama as well as Idumegbon Primary School, the decript conditions of the school buildings are benumbing.
The story was unbelievably pathetic in Igueben, where pupils were spotted in another viral video writing examination on concrete bare floors in Igueben Primary School. There are harrowing sites of school structures in Amahor Secondary School, Idumogo Primary School, Igueben Primary School, Ugun Primary School, Ekpon Secondary School, as well as Ebhosa Secondary School, respectively where abandoned structures littered entire distended buildings overtaken by grasses.
Teachers and parents in what look more like pigsties in a few of the habitable classrooms visited, our Correspondent told in Igueben, Esan North East Local Government Area that without community efforts and old students associations, many schools would have been permanently shutdown for lack of teachers and physical structures.
Pointing to a set of three collapsed buildings, Mr Ebalu Henry a class teacher said “those abandoned building were put in place during Ambrose Alli days as Governor of Bendel State, as you can see, successive governments up to the present administration, apart from Comrade Adams Oshiomhole with his Red Roof Revolution never thought it wise to invest in education”.
“We have only the Principal and the Vice here on the payroll of the state government without science teachers, with only one Youth Corper, the rest five are engaged by the community and old students associations body in order to provide education for our children”, Mr Ebalu lamented.
The rotting from the head of the collapsed education infrastructure was unimaginably visible at Comprehensive Secondary School, Ekpedo, Ogun Primary School, both in Akoko-Edo, Umede Primary School with only one building standing in Aviosi Old, Ilpomaza Grammar school and Afegbua Primary School both in Okpella, Fugar Mixed Secondary School, Fugar, Osagbe Secondary School, Ekperi, Sobe Primary School, Owan West; Olegauma Primary School, Iuleha Primary School, Holy Trinity Grammar School, Ozalla Primary School, Emai Grammar School Okpokhumi, Ajama Modern Primary School in Akoko-Edo, all in Owan East and West, Akoko-Edo and Etsako Central.
Ogbe Secondary School, Uwelu Secondary School, Osasere Primary School, Ogba, Ofunmwegbe Primary School, Okada, Orhua Mixed Secondary school (shutdown by Obaseki), Osakpamwan Primary School with only two teachers, Orhua-Ghide Primary School in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area where the Chairman of the Local Area comes, as well as Hon. KC Osamoyin, the member representing Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of Edo State.
The condition of Ogbe Secondary School at the heart of Benin City is a basket case. A member of Rotary Club of Nigeria, Benin chapter told our Correspondent in Benin City that she was drown to tears when the students his told her group who visited the school on an enlightenment campaign mission that their classes and lockers are daily littered with excrements because the school buildings have no doors and windows and that touts have turned their classes to smoking tervan every night.
Take a look at these figures:
Edo State Ministry of Education [Capital Approved Budget Estimates (NGN)]
EDO-SUBEB [Capital Approved Budget Estimates (NGN)]
Had it been there were concerted and honest efforts to implement the budgets in line with the aspirations and intentment of these budgets, more would have been achieved in the renovation of these dilapidated structures of primary school buildings across the State. For instance, NGN15m could be used to renovate, de-roof, and re-roof a block of 6-classroom block, including provision of toilets, staff office, and furniture. In a capital provision of NGN3b, this amount can produce 200 blocks of NGN15m each. This means that NGN3b can conveniently rebrand 200 distress primary school buildings in one year. Across the 18 Local Government Areas, in three years, each Local Government Area could witness at least 32 rebranded primary school buildings in a space of three years costing just NGN9b. It is doable.
Mr Osaigbovo Iyekekpolor confided in Trojan News Media Correspondent that the present administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki is the very worst he has witnessed in nearly 90 years of his existence.
“For the first time, I’m witnessing a generation of failure in leadership because your own generation could not sustain General Osaigbovo Ogbemudia and Professor Ambrose Alli’s legacy they left behind in education infrastructure development.
“Once upon a time, these leaders instilled in us the hope of new Nigeria and livable society, now you have allowed our education system to sink into hell.
“These are dark days for Edo State unbeatable history in education development, and those in positions of authorities must keep the light of hope aglow is the will make meaningful progress.”
“As always, the devil is in the details because Governor Obaseki would be saying investment in education is not white elephant projects that will attract humongous instant kickbacks.
“With his disruptive policy in the state, the Governor has effectively written off the bottom third of society, as well as ruining the education system and fully subjecting it to his ideological imperatives of non-existent e-learning because he’s clearly in the education-destroying business”, the nonagenarian roared
In June this year, we reported that Edo State Ministry of Education has become the fleecing channel meant 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. Our investigations then revealed the systematic way the Commissioner for Education, Joan Oviawe, in connivance with Obaseki, allegedly collected 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 further 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 for seminars and foreign activities against infrastructural provision such as school buildings, furniture, and learning aides and employment of teachers.
“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 advantage of the increase in fuel to hurriedly conspire to again fleece Edo people of our commonwealth. Obaseki hurriedly announced a reduction of classroom learning from 5 days a week to three days, which he lifted a few days ago.
Our search revealed that Obaseki and Oviawe’s interest in the exercise is the $75 million loan from the World Bank to uplift physical development of education in the state. The loan was granted after they considered the pilot scheme of the EdoBEST program. For seven years running, parents have complained of a lack of school buildings and furniture as well as the absence of teachers. All their plea have fallen to the deaf ears of Godwin Obaseki, Joan Oviawe, and Ozavize Salami.
The confusion that greeted the Primary School Living Certificate Examination recently is 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 Ozavize Salami of SUBEB. 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, tables, and writing materials 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 pupils. Other 18 Local Government Areas across the state had the same similar issues, including Esan North East, Etsako West, Etsako East, Ikpoba Okha, Oredo, Ovia North EastOvia South West, amongst others.
A parent agonized 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 looking for chairs from a private school for pupils to write an 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, 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 hold one of the lucrative agencies in the state.
[Culled as published from TROJAN NEWS]