April 14, 2024

Edo: Aftermath of Pupils Protest, Govt. Demolishes Osaretin Primary School, Relocates Stranded Pupils, Teachers

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Osaretin Primary School

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By Correspondent

The dilapidated classrooms block at Osaretin Primary School Uzalla, Edo State which was reported by Midwest Herald on Wednesday October 18, 2023, was demolished yesterday October 19, 2023 by agents of the State Universal Basic Education Board.

Osaretin Primary School is 35 minutes, 19 kilometers journey from Benin City

Uzalla, Uhunmwode Local Government Area

Pupils of Osaretin Primary School begging Obaseki to save them from collapsing school block

The Board has temporarily relocated the defiant school pupils to an alternative school.

A staff of SUBEB who spoke to our Correspondent yesterday during the demolition exercise, said that provision of “logistics to help transport kids and their teachers to and from school upon resumption from mid-term break had been made.”

The Edo State Government has also reportedly accepted to support the community to complete the classrooms block under construction by the villagers.

Gov Obaseki flanked by Commissioner Oviawe (R) and SUBEB Chairman Salami

However, stakeholders are pondering why it took the outcry of a teacher and protesting toddlers to push Edo State Government to take action, despite the hype of EdoBEST education reform in the state.

Joan Oviawe

Salami

“So, with all the Chief Inspectors of Education (CIEs), Ministry of Education officers, Local Government Education authorities, that are spread across the state, in addition to the big elephant EdoBEST staff that are armed with their so-called IT infrastructure, and all the monthly and quarterly reports, it took a random guy, armed with a video in a village to get the govt to take action on a dilapidated collapsing school.

“How do we describe this kind of failed system?

“So, what is the essence of all the investments in ministry of education and all the grammar around ICT here and there?” A stakeholder queried, while asking Governor Godwin Obaseki to the sack Executive Chairman, Edo State Universal Basic Education Board Ms Ozavize Salami and the Commissioner of Education, Dr. Joan Oviawe.

One major reason why Governor Obaseki has failed to reap his expected benefits from whatever reform he may have made in the education sector, is the infighting between commissioner Oviawe and the ministry officials, as well as a power tussle with Salami, the SUBEB chairman.

This discordance relationship led to the embarrassment suffered by Edo State during the last Primary School Certificate exam, which took place shortly after the dissolution of the State Executive Council.

Videos and pictures of parents carrying tables and benches on their heads to examination centres across the state, in an apparent lack of preparation, flooded the internet on examination day.

In their defense, the civil servants blamed the incident on lack of teamwork as they accused Oviawe of running the ministry of education with her external consultants. But the commissioner fired back at her permanent secretary and others, that they were bent on frustrating her because she refused to allow them plunder government resources.

The fight between Joan and Salami escalated over the release of $75,000,000.00 (Seventy Five Million US Dollars) loan by the World Bank.

The bone of contention is that, the latter has come to reap where she did not sow. Joan, as chairman of SUBEB, applied for the loan before she was elevated to commissioner.

Uzalla is 19 kilometers from Ramat Park in Benin City and about 35 minutes drive. Yet, the legion of school inspectors and supervising agency failed to recognise the danger that the horrible colonial school building was posing to the pupils and teachers until their protest.

Curiously, Dr. Joan Oviawe and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Deputy National Youth Leader, Timothy Osadolor are both from Uhunmwode Local Government Area, where Osaretin Primary School is located.

Osadolor is from Isi, and Oviawe claims Obadan as her ancestral home which is less than 15 minutes from the now famous Osaretin Primary School in Uzalla.

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