An Open Letter To All Elected Senators And House Of Reps, Edo State

BNC Decries Edo State Government's Insensitivity To The Plight Of The Less Privileged Edo People
By Edo Benin

Distinguished Senators and Honorable members;

It is a common dictum in civilized societies, and democratic settings especially that government exists to bridge the gap between rich and poor citizens. In the same vein government must be seen to protect the 'weak' from the 'strong'.

The protracted industrial dispute between Edo State Government and the public schools teachers for over one month running has become an insignia of insensitivity on the part of Edo state Government; and we are constrained to publicly express our resentment albeit respectfully because the morale of school children is gradually dampening as they watch their private schools counterpart attend classes unhindered.

Edo state use to be one of the educationally entrenched states of the federation, but all that is history partly because of persistent industrial crises; illegal levies and infiltration of cult groups in our post primary schools. It is incidences of insensitivity to public schools of this nature that has reduced the relevance of public schools in Edo state, to such extent that petty traders and Okada riders over work themselves to maintain the bills of their children and wards in private schools. This could raise the level of criminality, because whenever government abandons its duties, the citizenry take to self-help.

We have formally endorsed the court action filled by the ONE LOVE FOUNDATION on behalf of its members and Edo primary school children against Edo state Governor and the eighteen Local Government Councils; this is because we believe that the state Government was drifting from the part of constructive engagement and purposeful service delivery to the electorates; and we are calling on your good selves to intervene as we will not hesitate to spearhead an earth moving procession across the Local Government headquarters seven days after the receipt of this 'appeal letter'.

We resolved to forward this appeal to you because the state House of Assembly is yet to act in 'loco parentis' (in the place of parents to our school children), because their intentions or desire on the dispute is yet to be known by the concerned public.

The ongoing beautification of public schools by the current administration of Edo state and the federal Government will make infinitesimal sense if adequate care is not taken to maintain conducive teaching and learning. As a social cultural organization, we owe Edo people the consciousness to canvass issues that will strengthen and engender social norms and values on our collective behalf without any political motive, let or hindrance; it is sad that the Government has continue to carry on as if the emotional and educational trauma of our school children does not matter to it over a month now. Yet, Government sing-song is that youths are the leaders of tomorrow! How can they become future leaders when their teaching and learning calendar is uncertain?

This is absurd considering the Labour background of the Comrade Governor; and the amount of solidarity that it enjoyed from teachers and school children (who nick named him Osho Baba at Agbado Primary school in the countdown to the 2012 Governorship election). More so, the lingering hostility between Government and teachers undermines the avowed pledges of the Governor that public schools can be fast racked to compete favorably with their private schools counterpart.

We are reliably informed that the strike is as a result of the national directive of Teachers union, and some states like Sokoto that are not financially endowed as our state and many others have resolved theirs; so why allow are school children to suffer from an issue that bothers on the welfare of teachers, whom are majorly Edo people in the first place?

We passionately appeal to all elected senators and House of Representative members from Edo state to prevail on the Governor to discharge his duties of orderly relations with all stakeholders by seeing to the quick resolution of the industrial dispute because of the immediate and long term implication on Edo school children and their parents. Currently, the children are roaming the streets while others are hawking sachet waters, while the teachers are seating at home.

Certainly, they will get paid after the resolution of the crisis; so is in the children's interest and that of the state Government to get schools resume to ensure that the salaries paid to teachers are justified.

Mr. David Ekomwenreren- Director of Publicity and Intelligence. 10-07-2013

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