The Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has promised to hand over mission schools to owners who have genuine proposal for the development of such schools and proven commitment to education advancement.
The governor made the promise in his address at the archdiocesan reception for the 34th council of Bishops at the Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu House, Molete, Ibadan, at the weekend which was attended by bishops and archbishops of the Methodist Church across the country.
He said this in response to a request by the Prelate of the church, Dr. Samuel Uche, for the return of mission schools to their original owners for what he called proper running of such schools.
The governor stressed that any religious body or organisation without a questionable intention would be allowed to run such schools inasmuch as they meet the requirements that might be set by the government.
Ajimobi said: “The government will look critically into this request, as we believe that the church and the mosque are veritable socio-political avenues to reach out to the people with government’s programmes and policies.
“Your request, however, would receive favourable consideration if they are found to be genuine and in the greater public interest. If we receive genuine proposals and we are convinced of the commitment of such schools to education development we will consider it.
“The current state of economy in the country requires the collaboration and cooperation of all and sundry for us to progress. Any organisation or group willing to partner the government in any sector to accelerate such progress will be welcomed.”
Ajimobi urged the congregation and the church in general to rededicate themselves to God and to continue to pray for the uplift of the country, while advising the people that only a combination of hard work and prayers would lift the country out of the abyss of poverty.
According to him, finding solutions to the economic recession confronting the country was no longer the responsibility of the government alone, but a collective obligation of all citizens and private institutions.
The governor added: “It will be to everyone’s joy if the Methodist Church in Nigeria can continue to propagate patriotism and oneness with the support for the government towards enhancing productive economy and general development.”
He also commended the church for what he called its huge contributions to the spiritual rejuvenation of the people, which, he noted, had contributed immensely to the peace and tranquility being enjoyed in the state.
Earlier, the Prelate had said that the Methodist church would continue to partner the state and federal government in all spheres of development.
Besides, he vowed that the church would continue to pray for the government and the people of the country to get out of the prevailing economic challenges, stressing that whatever affects the people would also affect the church.
Uche said: “The church will continue to give spiritual support to the government to overcome the current financial mess, since the church is peopled by citizens and whatever affects the people affects the church.
“It is in this regard that we are appealing to the governor to give serious consideration to the return of mission schools to their owners. We believe that such schools will be well managed while the products will be imbued with the fear of God.”