By Rt. Hon. Paul Ohonbamu
General Charles Airhiavbere’s dismissal of the superlative award given to Governor Godwin Obaseki by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), takes some swallowing. If not for the quantum of disinformation by Airhiavbere, one would have ignored him since joining issues with the General is a liability.
First, it is vision that drives a mission and people have sundry inspirations for demanding the mandate of the people to govern their state. Some will balkanize that state, others will brutalize it and depending on clear-headedness, some will lift that state to a higher level and this is the category that Godwin Obaseki falls into.
Governor Godwin Obaseki realised from the inception of the administration that education is rated not based on the form but the content. He knew that a state’s developmental challenges stem from poor education which he set out to address. Since basic education is at the very heart of society’s development, he decided to tackle the rot in our education system by addressing basic education.
Dialectically speaking, the governor has made no error in his decision, because it is the base that informs the superstructure.
Once the base is right, anything built on it whether secondary or tertiary education will be perfect. In this regard, over ten thousand teachers have been trained, leveraging on technology while two hundred and thirty (230) schools have been remodeled by the Obaseki-led administration. The pupils now learn than just schooling.
This feat has attracted the international community as the governments of Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania have sent representatives at different times to Edo State to understudy our Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme. Just recently, Lagos State Government adopted the Edo State Basic Education model after officials of the state came to learn how the programme works.
The award by the NUT is the culminating event of the achievements of Governor Obaseki in the education sector.
So, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere’s action is not only actuated by malice and envy but one in bad faith. To say the least, the glories of our basic education and the primary health sectors in Edo State cannot be rendered nugatory by anybody.
There are some salient questions still begging for answers from Gen. Aihiavbere arising from the 2012 governorship debate between the then Governor Adams Oshiomhole and Airhiavbere which bothered on some antecedent moral deficits of the General when he was in the Nigerian Army. I hope he can give adequate answers to those questions now. Considering the makeup of Gen. Airhiavbere, Nigeria is puzzled to determine whether he is an apostate or an impostor, whether he has abandoned good principles or whether he ever had any.
He was fingered in the fourth interim report of the Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces from 2007 to 2015, which reported that the account Airhiavbere operated while in service in the Nigerian Army had a balance of $0.00, after over $5million was transferred from it to suspicious offshore accounts. For more revelations, the details of this are in the public domain, as can be seen in reports in national dailies.
My greatest joy is that Governor Obaseki is in the positive trajectory and Airhiavbere’s defeat in his third primaries come 2020 is in fixed deposit.
It behooves on well-meaning Edo people to counsel Gen Airhiavbere to revert from this irreversible path of destruction in order to save him from himself. Edo State cannot afford to change the course of this tidal wave of progress, which requires a cerebral personality to sustain. In terms of knowledge, Godwin Obaseki is a multitude.
Rt. Hon. Paul Ohonbamu is the Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation.