Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has condemned the poor state of schools in Lokoja, the state capital.
He also threatened to sack any commissioner who is not in tune with his administration’s new agenda to move the state to the next level.
He made the statement during his unscheduled visit to Government Day Secondary School, Adankolo in Lokoja, for an on the spot assessment.
An executive council meeting had initially been scheduled for that day, until the governor came in later and asked the commissioners to accompany him somewhere for a visit.
Everyone remained oblivious of the governor’s plan or where he was going until they arrived at the secondary school.
Students cheered him in excitement, while the sudden visit came as a shock to the management who never expected him.
Governor Bello, however went straight to the principal’s office to check some files and also find out those yet to receive salaries.
The principal wasted no time in telling him some of the problems the school was encountering at the moment.
“It is only this Government Day Secondary School in Owe Lokoja, that has no fence. – We have tried, the parents have tried also, we have started one close to the exam hall but we are yet to complete it because of our inability to raise fund.
“We seek for your assistance your excellency; in the areas we have mentioned so far, particularly the staff payment,” the principal said.
The situation did not go down well with the governor, who challenged the Commissioner for Education, Mr Sunday Tolorunleke, and asked if he had ever visited the school since he resumed office.
“Honourable commissioner, how many times have you visited this school? – have you ever visited this school since you became a commissioner? How many months have you spent in your office now? You’ve spent nine months – have you visit this school once, do you have any reports on the schools visited?
“As a commissioner you have not been in this school since you assumed office, this is just 200 meters to the government house, yet the school is not feeling the impact of government.
“If the schools in town are not feeling the impact of government what about those outside the state capital,” he questioned.
The governor also visited the accountant‘s office to know how money was being managed.
He promised to audit the account of the school and every other school owned by government in the state, while also expressing dissatisfaction towards any commissioner who was not abreast of the challenges confronting their various ministries and agencies.
Some of the teachers reacted to the visit which according to them, was the first of its kind, since the school was established in 1983.
One of the teachers, James shelika, lamenting, said, “the last time I received salary was December last year.
‘As I speak, from January to date, we have not been paid, but since the governor has promised us we believe him and pray that God should help him throughout his tenure.
Another teacher, Ogu Patrick, Eexplained that “between January and now, I have not been paid but that has not deterred me from doing my work, because of the passion I have for education and for teaching”.
The governor further stated that the infrastructure on ground was nothing to write home about.
He however assured the management that he would do everything humanly possible to fix them before the mid-term.
“When we came on board, education was my number one priority. This is why I paid an unscheduled visit to this school.
“We are taking schools at random with the aim of proffering lasting solutions to the problems confronting secondary education in the state.
The governor then went round the classrooms and admonished the pupils to face there studies in order to pass their examinations in flying colors.
In an interview with pressmen, Governor Bello asked all commissioners to be on their toes if they don’t want to be sacked from their office.
“All my commissioners are supposed to be in the EXCO right now, but I decided that I will begin to visit not only their offices, but also the agencies and departments under them to know the situation of things directly.
“The structures I met on ground in this particular school is nothing to write home about. There has been successive government but they neglected the education sector.
“I don’t know how the students will learn, the condition of learning is so poor. All my commissioners are going to be in trouble – whoever is not sitting on top of his job.
“We are going to take decisive steps to make sure we address that, because it is uncalled for. You are a commissioner and you have not visited schools to see things for yourself, what report are you bringing for me, what are you putting in the budget.
Expressing total dissatisfaction, he said: “honestly speaking, I am not happy with the commissioner for education.
The governor then emphasized his decision to visit more schools for on the spot assessment, as the situation came to him as an eye opener.