By Omon-Julius Onabu
The Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, has described the leadership style of his Delta State counterpart, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, as unique and “beyond pedestrian governance,” which many people would not be able to understand.
Ikpeazu stated this yesterday while inaugurating the multi-billion Naira Teachers Professional Development Centre (TPDC) at Owa-Oyibu, the administrative headquarters of Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State.
He stressed that the concept and magnificence of the TPDC and many other projects initiated or executed by the governor showed that Okowa is a visionary leader who is deeply concerned about his people and their future in a fast changing world.
Ikpeazu advised Okowa not to be distracted by criticisms of those who were not knowledgeable or patriotic enough to realise that this is a man on a mission with deep and forward-looking.
While harping on the invaluable place of training and retraining of teachers in line with trends in the education as well as science and technology in the world, the governor of Abia State identified four components of quality education that must be considered in establishing any modern educational institution.
These components, according to Ikpeazu, were the quality of the pupils, the teachers, the curriculum and the environment for meaningful learning.
He said looking at the gigantic edifice built by Okowa made him “almost emotional as it has revealed Okowa is simply exceptional.
Ikpeazu said: “This is beyond pedestrian governance. A lot of people will not understand because you are doing something different.
“The teaching profession communicates or speaks the international language, and the education system is in a constant flux as learning is continuous process and therefore constantly changing to meet the dynamics of a changing world.
“It is only a leader who loves his people (and) who wants children who can compete with others globally that would understand the passion behind the programme and projects of Governor Okowa.”
In a brief comment, Okowa said his decision to invite Ikpeazu to help inaugurate the TPDC was advised by the background of the Abia State governor as a lecturer.
Okowa said that he was fascinated by the fact that Ikpeazu still found time to go into the classroom to teach despite his crowded schedule as a state governor.
He, however, observed that the centre had the features and facilities that would make it a world-class training and academic retreat centre, and appealed to those saddled with the task of managing the place to ensure that its good use for teachers from within and outside the state.
In his remarks, the Obi of Owa Kingdom, HRM Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor II, said that Okowa has been bringing light into Delta State and his kingdom of Owa in particular, through his various educational and vocational programmes and projects because education is true light for any people living in the darkrness of ignorance.
Efeizomor, who is also the Chairman, Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers, expressed the hope that the teachers’ centre would usher in prosperity for the people.
Earlier in his welcome address, the State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Patrick Ukah, noted that the TPDC was derived from the Delta State Education Summit held in Asaba in January 2016, which was the brainchild of Okowa, to look into all issues in the Education system in Nigeria and Delta State in particular.
He noted that the contract for the first phase of the centre was signed in November 2017, less than two years after the education summit, following approval by the State Executive Council while contracts for the second phase were awarded in 2019.
Ukah disclosed that academic activities have already kicked off at the centre with six courses that would involve 4,500 teachers as beneficiaries.