Don’t Use Ogun Students as Cannon Fodders, Group Warns Politicians

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As the scheming for the 2019 governorship seat in Ogun State gathers momentum, a pro-democracy group, Democracy Vanguard (DV), has cautioned students in tertiary schools not to allow themselves be used for the selfish ambition of some disgruntled politicians in the state.

The group specifically called on parents not to allow their children to be used as cannon fodders by unconscionable political demagogues who can sacrifice anything, including the innocence of children, to achieve their morbid aims.

In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Henry Adekanmbi, the group condemned the protest by some students of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) and a few of their colleagues from Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), describing it as politically-motivated.

It, however, commended the maturity with which the state government and security agencies addressed the sponsored protest, noting the adherence to international best practices.

“The premeditated action got off on a wrong note and exposed the unabashed hypocrisy of its political sponsors by comparing Ogun State with a neighbouring state, which receives far more resources from the Federation Account. The vacuity of the politically-inspired rally was further highlighted by the fallacious argument that the state government owed their lecturers Earned Academic Allowance, a contraption negotiated in distant Abuja with the Federal Government!” said Adekanmbi.

“The current administration in Ogun has done far more in the education sector than its predecessors and deserves plaudits not pillory. For example, the Amosun administration has consistently devoted over 20 per cent of its yearly budget to education. This is different from the past practice. Even across the federation, only a few states devote as much to the education sector. This underscores the commitment of the government to the education of our children,” the statement said.

Furthermore, “The current government has installed a new management with good corporate governance at TASUED. This has led to restoration of sanity to the institution. The debt inherited during the last dispensation has been offset. Corruption has been fought to a standstill while discipline has become the watchword of the institution. Rather than leave the institution to fend for itself as obtainable elsewhere, the Amosun administration restored payment of subvention to the school.”

The group observed that the Amosun government reintroduced free education with free textbooks in public primary and secondary schools after over 30 years that residents last enjoyed such social service in the state. It also reduced drastically in 2014 the fees payable by students, and explained the government was not immune to the current financial realities across the country.

While urging to the management of TASUED to conduct a thorough review its fee policy in line with current realities and for government to consider an increase in its subvention to the institution once the finances of the state improve, it expressed the hope that “common sense will ultimately prevail and the political sponsors of the student protests will have a rethink and choose the electoral field for their future battles.”