History till date gives credence to Ogun State as the cradle of civilization. The earliest access of the state to education enabled it to take the lead ahead of its contemporaries in the nation. This, no doubt, informed the reason the indigenes of the Gateway State are known to be trail blazers in many areas of human endeavours.
The nation called Nigeria cannot forget the first Premier of the then Old Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who set the tone for development by adopting free education policy for residents of the region. This stride put the children of both the rich and poor at par since the government did not compromise standard in its educational drive. Without attempting to be selective, the government in the Western region afforded all and sundry the opportunity to go to school irrespective of ethnicity or religion. The government went as far as giving free and quality meal during school hours to ensure that no pupil or student attended class on empty stomach.
It is on record that the place of Ogun among the comity of nations is second to none given its commitment to education in order to remain atop of others. Invariably, it is not out of place to conclude that education is more of a cash crop which the Gateway State exports to other parts of the country and the world at large. This gives cause to the sons and daughters of Ogun to stand tall ahead of their counterparts anytime.
The Prince Dapo Abiodun-led government came on board with the “Building our Future Together” mantra which encompasses every form of human life with education at the front burner. As such, within the first week of the present administration, Governor Abiodun declared a state of emergency on the sector with a firm pledge of ensuring that the pride we used to have in education is completely restored.
Without wasting time, the government swung into action by setting up committee to look into issues relating to tertiary institutions such as the establishment of Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology, Abeokuta, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ipokia as well as the crisis rocking Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu-Ijebu which had reduced it to a comatose institution in the past years.
The various committees were able to present their report and recommendations to the governor ahead of the stipulated time. And the state’s helmsman in living up to his words creatively made efforts that have laid the crisis to rest. For example, the reversal to status-quo of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta was greeted with encomium by both the students and workforce of the school as they expressed appreciation to the governor for such decision.
Within this short time, the government has begun the rehabilitation of 236 primary and secondary schools across the state in a bid to tackling infrastructural deficit in public schools. The state government also promised to replicate the gesture in all public schools without leaving any stone unturned.
This move, will in no small measure, enhance learning since the face-lift given to the school environment will boost the morale of the workforce as well as students and consequently promote sound learning.
The recent decision of the state government to suspend Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) Levy in public schools is another step in the right direction that will engender the growth of the education sector. Governor Abiodun who believes that all fingers are not equal assured that his government had come to deliver free education at basic and secondary school levels in public schools in line with his avowed electoral promise.
––Femi Onasanya, Ogun State Ministry of Information, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.