Okorocha, Zuma Sign MoU On Child Development

The president of South Africa Jacob Zuma Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rochas Foundation to jointly work on giving free education to indigent children in Africa.

The Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha during the event said that the best gift and legacy that can be given to any child is free, quality and quantitative education.

Addressing the children, Okorochas said the purpose of the visit of the South African president to Nigeria is not for politics but for the children.

“President Zuma is not here in Nigeria for any social interaction or any political reasons, he is in Nigeria for Humanitarian reasons.” he said.

READ ALSO: South African President, Jacob Zuma, Visits Imo

Okorocha said the purpose of the MoU signed with Jacob Zuma Foundation came as a result of his dream to touch lives and provide free education to less-privileged children.

“17 years ago, this dream came to me to touch the lives of the less-privileged children. For reasons of my background, I almost could not go to school due to poverty. Then I asked God to bless me so that I may bless others.”

He added that he shares many things in common with the President of South Africa who did not have a formal education due to the poor background.

“I read a bit about your history and it looked like I share things in common with you growing up and the challenges you had as a child who was not privileged to go to a formal school or to see the four walls of a classroom but rather had to study in prison. I was not imprisoned but I was a prison of poverty,” Okorocha said.

Court Declares Free Compulsory Primary And Junior Secondary Education

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Malabu Oil To FGA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declared that every Nigerian child has the constitutional right to free and compulsory primary education, and free junior secondary education.

The court, presided over by Justice John Tsoho, also declared that the federal and state governments have constitutional duties to provide adequate funds for it.

The court held that failure by any government to fund free primary and junior secondary education will constitute a breach of the constitution.

The judgment was delivered in a suit filed by a non-governmental organisation, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), against the Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney General of the Federation.

LEDAP had asked the court to determine whether by the combined effect of section 18(3)(a) of the 1999 Constitution and section 2 (1) of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, (UBE) 2004, the right to free and compulsory primary education and free junior secondary education for all qualified Nigerian citizens are enforceable rights in Nigeria.

Justice Tsoho who relied on a 2002 decision of the Supreme Court, held that by enacting the UBE Act, the National Assembly has made the right to free and compulsory primary and free junior secondary education contained in Chapter 2 an enforceable or justiciable right.

Reacting to the judgment, the lead counsel to LEDAP, Mr Chino Obiagwu, said that the court has now given life and hope to over 28 million Nigerian children who are currently out of primary and Junior Secondary School or who are at risk of being withdrawn from school.

This according to him, is because of the inability of many parents or guardians to pay the tuition fees and school expenses. Some on the other hand, he believes are withdrawn from school so that they can be given out in early marriage or be sent to the streets to hawk or beg for alms.

By this judgment however, any child not enrolled in school or who is withdrawn from school can exercise his or her constitutional rights against the parent or guardian or against the government.

Illegal Fees: Delta To Sanction School Heads, Others

benue, renovation, government schools,Erring school heads, teachers and non-teaching staff in public primary and secondary schools in Delta State who flout the state government’s directive of zero tolerance on illegal collection of levies would be adequately sanctioned, the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie has said.

Mr Ebie, gave the warning in a Statement on Wednesday.

Suppliers Of Uniforms

He said that the zero tolerance on illegal collection of fees in public primary and secondary schools in Delta State was still in force.

“The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education will not hesitate to invoke relevant sanction on any erring school head, teaching and non-teaching staff in public primary and secondary schools across the state that flouts government’s directive on zero tolerance on illegal collection of levies under any guise,” he stressed.

While expressing shock over reports that some school heads and teachers had devised various means of exploiting school children, Mr Ebie said: “Even more worrisome is the fact that some of them have become suppliers of uniforms, textbooks and other materials while compelling unsuspecting school children, parents and guardians to buy same from them”.

The Commissioner further stated that such unprofessional conduct would not be allowed to continue, warning those that engage in the despicable act to desist forthwith.

He urged parents and guardians not to succumb to intimidation from any quarter, adding that they should report any form of illegal levies and where in doubt, seek clarification from the ministry.

Free Education, Best Gift For A Child – Okorocha

Free EducationThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said that the best gift that can be given to any child is providing them with free education that will help them attain maximum height in their desired endeavours.

The Governor said this during the 7th convocation ceremony of the Imo State University in Owerri the Imo State capital.

He said that the Imo State government remains committed to the free education programme which has benefitted many families.

The Governor urged Nigerian universities to invest more in vocational and skill acquisition programmes that will produce graduates that will be employers of labour rather than job seekers.

The Governor rewarded the overall best graduating student, Chigozie Ekenze from the Optometry Department with the sum of two million naira, a scholarship abroad for post graduate studies and an instant appointment as a lecturer in the Imo State University.

Kaduna Govt. Introduces Comprehensive Free Education Policy

Free EducationThe Kaduna State Government has unveiled a comprehensive free education policy for public primary and secondary schools across the state.

The policy is aimed at improving the fallen standard of education in the state and also to make basic education affordable and compulsory for children.

The State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, disclosed this at the end of a 3-day policy retreat for commissioners and other top government appointees.

Addressing reporters at the end of the retreat, held at the Fifth Chucker Polo Club in Igabi Local Government Area of the state, Governor El-Rufai said that the free basic education policy has taken away the burden of tuition fees, school uniforms, feeding at the state boarding schools and primary schools as well as other sundry charges from parents every year.

He stated that the programme would cost the state government not less than 13.7billion naira annually to sustain.

Governor El-Rufai, who warned that he would deal with any school head who collects any form of fees from parents, described as fraudulent, the 3.7 billion naira allegedly spent on school fees by the immediate past PDP government in the state.

The issue of collapse in the education sector, especially in the northern part of the country has become a thing of worry to every well-meaning Nigerian and northerner in particular.

Ekiti Elections: Police To Gather Intelligence On Aspirants

The Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, Mr Sontonye Wakama, has disclosed that efforts are being made to gather intelligence on all aspirants from the different political parties running in the forthcoming governorship election, in a bid to ensure peace during the exercise.

Mr Wakama made this known on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, while speaking on ways in which his command is preparing for the election.

According to him, research on previous elections revealed “evidence of volatility” despite the claim that Ekiti is “the most literate state in the country.” As part of his command’s preparations, information will be gathered on all aspirants from the different political parties and thereafter they would be categorised into two groups of those who want to win democratically and those who want to win at all costs.

He added that members of each group are determined by their nature and tone of their speeches during campaigns as well as the caliber of escorts they keep.

The Police will also check the likely flash points where clashes usually occur and then beef up security in such areas.

Also speaking on the programme, the Parish Priest of a Catholic Church in Ado Ekiti, Reverend Father Emmanuel Akingbade, addressed allegations that religion has done more harm than good in the Nigerian society, adding that such could have been so in the past. “We grow every day and today the story is different,” he said.

“When we meet our brothers on the other side, the Muslims, we say ‘Asalamualekum’ and they also greet us saying Praise The Lord.’

He added that there are many ways in which men are divided but “over time, I think we are getting to know that we are brethren of the same father.” Referring to the Pope’s World Day of Peace message themed Fraternity As Foundation and Pathway for Peace, he stressed that Muslims are brothers to Christians.

As the election draws near, “we are telling our people that whatever their political affiliations, they should still see themselves as brothers and sisters.”

Ekiti Election 2014: We Will Win Based On Performance – APC

Stakeholders in the politics of Ekiti State have expressed confidence that the 2014 Governorship Election in the state would not have any form of confusion witnessed in Anambra State, as the performance of the State Governor guarantees success.

The Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ekiti State, Jide Awe, alongside a House of Representatives Member from Ekiti State, Bimbo Daramola, made the declaration on Channels Television’s weekend breakfast programme ‘Sunrise’ where they discussed the 2014 election in the state.

Also on the programme was a member of the editorial board of The Nation Newspapers, Bolade Omonijo, who was unsurprisingly neutral, expressed fears about the coming elections, not just in Ekiti State but in Nigeria.

Citing the words of his lecturer back in the university, who likened Nigerian politics to a situation of warfare, Omonijo regretted that since then till 2014 nothing had changed, and that can be blamed on the leaders who have made people to lose confidence in the process having cast many votes that did not count.

Making reference to the Anambra State election of 2013, he said he hoped that the leadership of Ekiti State would make the difference to ensure that the Anambra state election scenario does not occur.

Referring to an earlier ‘Sunrise’ interview with the State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, where the Governor spoke about his antecedents and the value he has placed on integrity, Omonijo believed that the people managing Ekiti have something to offer and with their antecedents and pedigree they would be more mindful of the points they want to make to the people rather than get desperate at the polls.

Daramola, also towing the line of depending on personal antecedents and integrity as the tool for political success, stated that what his party, the APC, has going for them in Ekiti is their verifiable performances in all sectors.

Asides commending the State Governor for his performance, he also reeled out his activities as a Member of the House of Representatives, with emphasis on his commitment to service and his fulfillment of pre-election promise to do his best for his people as the driving force behind his confidence. He said: “I know the mandate I carry does not belong to me”

Daramola, speaking about Nigerian politics, decried the gap between the leadership and the followership; he stated that as long as the political leaders remain far away from the people they govern “we are always going to have issues…so we need to close the gap.”

He blamed the gap between both parties as being the reason why money becomes a major feature during campaigns. He explained that when the electorates are aware that they would not matter to a politician when he gets to office, they begin to have the mindset of grabbing what they can before the election when they seem to matter.

This, he said, is why politicians become desperate and willing to do anything to manipulate the elections, as they are aware that they do not have the support of the people. He however assured that the APC in Ekiti State would have no reason to become desperate as they have earned the people’s support.

He vowed that he would stand down from the House of Representatives if any of the developmental achievements claimed by Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, were found to be untrue.

Daramola also blamed the purported failure of the 2013 elections in Anambra and Delta states on lack of transparency from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. He posited that the struggle for power always leads to attrition which also leads to friction, but power means many things to different people and thus the approaches would differ, if only INEC could be fair in its duty.

The Interim Chairman of the APC in Ekiti State, Jide Awe, also corroborated Daramola’s views about the election.

He said that the aims and objectives of any political party are to participate effectively in elections, which is like the examination to assess their performance, assuring that as far as the 2014 was concerned “we are well prepared for the election” adding “this is not our first election.”

He said that what the Governor has done in the state has made the job easier for the party, so “we only need to mobilize people at the grassroots to pay back the government for the good job they have done, there is no way the opposition can override us.”

He said that the 3years of APC leadership in Ekiti State has been far better than the 7 previous years of the opposition in the state, boasting that “we are sure the people will reward us”, adding that for the APC to maintain its strength in the state, it would only need to maintain its current leadership.

Awe also expressed reservation about the electoral commission, INEC, but said that the APC is making efforts under the aegis of Congress of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP in collaboration with other agencies to ensure safe and fair elections in the state.

While Omonijo also expressed concerns about security, Daramola warned that the next 6 months would be the most important for Ektiti state to move forward. He appealed to the Chairman of the INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, to be transparent.

The Party Chairman, Jide Awe called on INEC, Police and the people to be open. He emphasized that INEC should ensure that voter registration is done well and the list of voters are displayed on time as experience should come to bear in this coming election.

Daramola sounded again that the election would be won on the basis of performance and Governor Fayemi has delivered that.

I’ve Delivered At Least 80 Percent Of My Promises- Fayemi

The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi on Saturday assessed his performance in office which he scored at 80 percent, adding that he has delivered on every category of promise he made in his inaugural speech and on the “Road Map To Ekiti Recovery: The 8 Point Agenda.”

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, Governor Fayemi who had secured his mandate as governor after several court cases said the struggle was worth it as “any opportunity to serve the people is a worthy opportunity.”

According to him, “public service is the highest form of duty that any citizen can render to society.”

He said that “In spite of the difficulties on the journey to power, I have found it immensely worthy of the struggle we waged in order to get here.”

Governor Fayemi who recalled his days of activism said the “the opportunity that being in the seat of power offers to fundamentally affect lives is something you can’t really get outside of being in public service” and that his involvement in politics has afforded him the power to affect lives.

“I’ve been an activist all my life. I still consider myself an activist. My politics is an extension of my activism,” he said, adding that things he was not able to do as an activist became easy as governor. He highlighted some of his achievements in office including free education up till secondary level, free health care for the vulnerable segment of our population, the first social security benefit scheme for the elderly.

He challenged critics to examine his inaugural speech to critique the promises he had made against his 3 years and 3 months stay in office.

“I am delivering on all the promises I made. I have not delivered completely on all of them but on each and every one of those promises, known as Road Map To Ekiti Recovery: The 8 Point Agenda, you will find that they are at least 80 percent completed.”

“I’ve been able to affect lives. I’ve been able to deliver on our socio-democratic agenda as a political party that believes in pulling up the weak and vulnerable in society. That, without a doubt, is what I’ve done in office.”

Despite the fact that Ekiti is renowned for breeding many top scholars in the nation, critics have said its current state of education has reduced it to the bottom five. However, Governor Fayemi said the claim is not fact but opinion. He stressed that “Ekiti today has had one of the most meteoric rise in terms of performance in public examination.”

He further noted that: “When I became governor in 2010, Ekiti had a 20 percent pass rate in public examination. 20 percent of those who sat for WASCE had 5 credits including English and Maths” but the latest results in the 2013 edition of the same examination revealed that the percentage had moved to 70 percent.”

“Christ School in Ado Ekiti moved from nine percent to 99 percent.”

Asked the strategies implemented to achieve the increase, he said a task force chaired by late Professor Sam Aluko had been commissioned to help improve the quality of education.

Also, the infrastructure had been rehabilitated to create conducive learning environment. 183 secondary schools and 856 primary schools were renovated and refurbished. The system of administration was also changed which ensured that one principal was in charge of a school as opposed to the former system which had “one principal for junior secondary school (boys), junior secondary school (girls), senior secondary school (boys) and senior secondary school (girls).”

Okorocha slashes tuition fee of non-indigenes by 50 percent

In furtherance to his free education programme in the state, the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha has slashed down by 50 percent the tuition fees of non-indigene students schooling in the state owned tertiary Institutions.

The Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha

The governor made this declaration at the government house in Owerri, the Imo state capital during a courtesy call by leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Student Union government of all tertiary institutions in Imo state.

Mr Okorocha noted that quality education remains the best gift that can be given to any child in order to secure their future and as a result of this, his administration do not want to limit the free education programme to only indigenes of the state but to non-indigenes as well which has wararanted the reduction of their tuition fees by 50 per cent.

He however urged his counterparts in other states to adopt similar measure towards creating opportunities for Nigerian students in other tertiary institutions to quality and qualitative education.

Meanwhile, the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Dauda Mohammed, commended the governor on his commitment and contribution to the advancement of education in the Country.

The governor was given an award by NANS as Commander of free education for his contribution to free education in Imo state.