By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”EDO State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has appealed to the state House of Assembly to confirm his nominees for appointment into the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), saying that the N4.4billion due to the state now lying in the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria should not be allowed to lapse.
Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Zakawanu Garuba, had in a letter to the governor, dated June 16, 2009, saidÂ the legislature could not confirm the appointments of Sir J.S.Emuabino (Chairman), Mrs. Mabel Adams, Mr. Joe Ikpea and Mr. Akhigbe Alemoh (members) into SUBEB as the matter was already before the court and would be subjudice to do so.
â€œAccordingly, the House is constrained by Rule 28(5) of its standing Orders in considering the governorâ€™s nominees for confirmation for appointment as chairman and members of the Universal Basic Education Board.
â€œThe rule forbids any reference to any matter on which aÂ judicial decision is pending, inÂ such a way as might, in the speakerâ€™s opinion, prejudice in the interest of parties theretoâ€, the Speaker wrote to the governor while his earlier on the issue dated 6, June 2009.
But in another letter by Governor Adams Oshiomhole, dated, June 29, 2009 and personally signed by him to the Speaker of the House, Mr. Zakawanu Garba, he said:Â Â â€œI am constrained toÂ observed that as at today, the House is yet to set in motionÂ machinery for the confirmation of the nominees, Mr. Speaker has attempted to explain, via media comments, that based on the rules of House, it will notÂ consider any further action because the matter is a subject of litigation.
â€œI strongly urged that the House should give overriding consideration to our public primary and junior secondary school system, rather than the interest of three persons, who are in court to reclaim political appointments obtainedÂ Â from a government declared not duly elected by the Court of Appeal.
â€œMay I recalled that the same House under your leadership promptly confirmed Prof. Oserhieme Osunborâ€™s nominees, even as litigation connected thereto was pending in court. As you are aware, there is no court order restraining the re-composition of SUBEB as of today. Therefore, there is no basis for withholding action in confirming the nominees.
â€œI appreciate the need for the House to operate based on rules that promote good governance of the state and the welfare of its people. However, the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the non-confirmation is that the leadership of the House is elevating the claims of three of Prof. Osunborâ€™s political appointees over and above the interest of our primary and post-primary school children, their parents and indeed the good people of our state, whose welfare and progress is the essence of all arms of government.
â€œThe situation now is that our public school system has been virtually grounded, while the planned massive injection of funding is being delayed by the non-confirmation of my nominees to SUBEB.
â€œAs you are aware, my government had to raise N2.2billion to attract federal governmentâ€™s counterpart money of the same amount towards a comprehensive overhaul of our public school system.â€
Comrade Oshiomhole lamented that the N4.4 billion due to the state government was now lying in the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria attracting no interest, adding that the fund was now of no use to the government and could not be deployed for the planned renovation and equipment necessary to improve the public school system for the thousands of primary school pupils and junior secondary school students.
He again pleaded with the House and its leadership to reconsider their position and expeditiously confirm his nominees and promised to abide with whatever decision taken by the court on the matter.
â€œFor now, we must not allow N4.4billion to lapse, having invested so much effort to source it for the purposeÂ of renovating ,equipping and general reform of our primary and junior secondary schoolsâ€, he said