In democracies, quality leadership either is evaluated by the level of dividends of democracy the governed can attest to. Again, Democracy is also better appreciated when the will of the majority is largely enshrined in the both constitution and policies of the government except in some exceptional cases especially when it bothers on the security of the State.
In all espouse on good governance and quality leadership, education has always taken the lead. From the ancient Greek philosophers to the Roman Empire down to the present, education and its by-product of informed, intelligent and productive citizenry, which, if properly designed, will bring forth a developed and near just society.
To make, if not a wholly free and just society, at worse, a distorted but near just State, it takes educated citizenry to know the law, what their rights and civic responsibilities are. It is only educated citizenry that can talk about patriotism, know-how and mental input to create and invent solutions for social and economic problems.
Consequently, the best way to assess any Government, her policy thrusts and its impacts are hinged on adoption of comparative methodology. True it is that Peoples Democratic Party has ruled Imo State for twelve years.
Piqued by the hapless Imolites over the bombardment via media at the Imo State Government led by His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, it is only plausible, rather than begin to engage the PDP hatchet men who have no grace to engage in anything clean as most of them have become innocent of the truth, to objectively x-ray PDP’s achievements in office with their end time arch angels of doom with the present government of Imo State.
Yes! It is true that since the administration of Chief Sir Onunaka Mbakwe’s, except the present government, no other government has come close. How did we arrive at this? It is possible because, people have been able to appreciate what his government did and of course other successive governments put together have not been able to measure up with what Mbakwe achieved. That is comparison between A and B. That is history at work.
Government is a continuum and as such, going by the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, any occupant of the government office has only but eight years at most that is if he is found worthy to come for the second time after single four year tenure. It follows that is mind blowing that Imo people’s traducers are today lining up and taking turns accusing another government that is pro people. Choosing education is only to make it manageable. And comparing immediate past administration is not unconnected with its affinity in resources accruable to the State, Federal allocation, exchange rate, existence of the same political party structures, not-so-much-gap in technological advancement to mention but few with the present Owelle Rochas Okorocha led administration.
During the time of immediate past government of Peoples Democratic Party led by self styled ikiri, Chief Ikedi Ohakim under whose administration, Kelechi Okpaleke and the like held sway, it is incontrovertible that education sector was left to rot. Looking at the achievements of the Ikedi Ohakim, Okpaleke, Duruiheoma as the party chairman, we can appreciate a government that could be described as irresponsible and irresponsive save for any area in education where money could be made. Imo State University was known for a perennial strike action that lasted longer than any known strike action ever witnessed in the history of Imo State and Nigeria.
Imo State University witnessed the worst funding system where it only received Fifty seven million as its monthly subvention. Again, what laurel did the high institutions in Imo State win? Tertiary institutions were summarily subjected to absolutism where schools were shut at will with keys in the pocket of the garrison commander of Imo State. Yes, kelechi Okpaleke clapped and defended the government for her actions.
For primary and secondary schools, the immediate past PDP government declared that it is impossible to have a free education anywhere in the world. This issue re-echoed during the gubernatorial debate at Assumpta Cathederal, where the erstwhile Governor, Ikedi Ohakim reiterated his stance on that issue.
In terms of upgrading facilities in our schools, the PDP led government could only boast of thirty three class room blocks in twenty-seven local governments. These buildings were cited at the entrance of the benefitted schools. Vain glory was the only acceptable norm in school management. In a bid to make electoral gain from Mbaise Nation, the PDP government under Ikedi Ohakim again, conceded permanent relocation of Imo State University to two areas – Ngor Okpala Mbaise axis and Oguta axis. That was the genesis of the confusion and politics of Imo State University relocation conundrum. That vague and ambiguous decision can better be described as ‘the more you look, the less you see’. Were it not for the emergence of APGA government, what would have happened over Imo State University relocation and other sundry issues is better imagined that experienced. I am sure, have we had Chief Ikedi come back the second time; we could have had a near civil war if not a full blown one in Imo State.
In terms of the content of the curricular in the education system in Imo State, the last PDP government cannot boast of any value added policy to the education sector or better still industry as it was an enterprise during their tenure.
In contradistinction, the present APGA Government led by Owelle Rochas Okorocha has brought in so much value into education sector. One of the most important inputs made was changing the psychology of the teachers and other education workers. Ridding Imo State education workers of depravity and accepting the fact that their role remains the key to Nation building and the elusive development of Imo State and Nation at large.
Meanwhile, Education Inspectors are up and doing as they observe evaluate the teachers teaching techniques and the degree of assimilation on the part of the students. They visit regularly to ensure quality teaching and Students participation. There is also room for competition as no school will now depend on one teacher for one subject, which serves as a check to any shoddy job.
Imo State Teaching hospital, which was hitherto left in the state of utmost decay, could not graduate their students owing to accreditation issues. The Medical lecturers in the teaching hospital left for greener pasture as they left to starve and rust away. Research became a thing of fiction as patience were no where to be found. Students stayed for twelve years without graduating. That was a legacy of PDP.
Today, that teaching hospital in Orlu has regained her lost glory. That is APGA Government. That is Rescue Mission in action. That is visionary leadership.
In terms of infrastructure and other facilities to encourage and aide learning, Governor Rochas Okorocha’s effort is unequaled. For instance, shall we be comparing a three class room block built with hollow blocks to three hundred and five precast buildings, where one hundred and six of them will be delivered by the end of December, 2012? PDP’s thirty blocks of three class rooms can not be compared with Township school alone, which can house many students. Where are the areas of comparison? A teacher who fielded question said that there was no room for comparison as the immediate past administration existed only on the internet and nothing more.
That laughing stock of school building of PDP under Ohakim, put thirty of them together cannot build two precast school buildings of Governor Okorocha. Guess what? It may astonish Imolites to know how much that was wasted in those good for nothing cubicles with neither a seat nor a locker.
Aside free education in both primary and secondary schools under APGA led by Governor Rochas Okorocha with free sandals, school uniforms and books, there is a quarterly stipend for both the primary school pupils and the secondary school students. That is patriotism being instilled in our children. And the children look forward to it and are happy to come out best to be rewarded by their State.
Interestingly, teachers now receive a wardrobe allowance of ten thousand naira but the PDP government cared little about the appearance of the teachers and only created room for corruption to hold sway. Their salaries are paid as and when due. This was not the case under the PDP Government in Imo State. Principals are Head Masters for the first time now get their due allowances to effectively run the schools. School Inspectors are armed with requisite knowledge of what impartation of knowledge is and are consistent with their job.
How many times have the tertiary institutions gone on strike and how has been the level of seriousness from the government when the occasion arises. Lest we forget, a serious debt accrued between 2001 and 2003 is being paid back to the lecturers under Governor Okorocha. The outstanding debt to the teachers and lecturers under immediate past PDP Government have been cleared. Let it also be known that the subvention of Imo State University was increased from paltry fifty seven million naira to two hundred and fifty-two million naira. The same is the case with Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo.
Latest among other numerous achievements of present APGA Government is the declaration of free tertiary education for Imo State Students in Imo State owned Institutions of higher learning. Again, this singular feat has closed that chapter of gossip from the PDP and her managers.
In furtherance of the present Government’s policy to make Imo Graduates technically sound and encourage science and technology, Imo College of Advanced Professional Studies with the establishment Young Scientists College to encourage our gifted children and keep them focused.
This is just the miniature of what has been achieved in the education sector so far by Governor Okorocha’s led Government.
It will be a welcome development if anyone in PDP could come with a contrary view with evidence to quash the claim of the writer.