Teachers in Edo State under the aegis of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), have endorsed Mr Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as their preferred candidate for the September 28 governorship election in Edo State.
The teachers who rejoiced over the extension of the new N25,000 minimum wage in the state to Primary school teachers said teachers in the state have never had it so good.
Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Edo State chapter, Comrade Mike Uhunmwangho who led a delegation of teachers on a visit to Governor Adams Oshiomhole on Wednesday, said, “we the teachers are here today and we will follow your footsteps. What we have in mind is that we will support the new governor in all ramifications. So, we accept another comrade,Comrade Obaseki. That is the name we gave him when he came to Teachers’ House. We will continue to emulate him and we will continue to give him all the necessary support.”
He continued, “We are here to appreciate the APC government under the leadership of our own governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, for what he has done for the teachers in Edo State especially on the issue of payment of salaries. We appreciate him so much. And we also look at it from the other side that they call mammy water in Teachers’ House. From today, when you get to Teachers’ House, it is a role model. So, we need to appreciate him for that. We are here again to appreciate him on the issue of Permanent Secretaries. We have not heard it before that a primary school teacher is now a Permanent Secretary. So, we need to say, thank you, sir.”
Comrade Uhunmwangho further said, “Also again, he has approved twenty special teachers for immediate employment. So, God will bless you, sir. We also want to appreciate our Comrade on the issue of incremental credit for the primary school teachers. He has graciously given us an approval for that. On the issue of the red roof, we don’t know how to say a big thank you for that. It is only the Almighty God that will tell you a big thank you.
“Today, we are very happy. He has looked at Teachers’ House, he has graciously given us another parcel of land for us to build an edifice of Teachers’ House. Again, he has shown us today that the issue of twenty-five thousand naira minimum wage, that teachers will not be exempted.
“He has given us an approval that the twenty-five thousand naira minimum wage will be paid to primary school teachers.”
Responding, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said, “I want to thank you for endorsing our candidate, and I want to assure you that he will do better than myself because the issue in governance today is that the office of the governor is no longer for anyone who simply thinks he can go to Abuja to collect a cheque, come back and pays salaries, award fake contracts and move on.
“Now, you must have the thinking cap and the resourceful brain to be able to generate the ideas and manage your cash flow competently to be able to meet the competing demands of our society. If I was able to do it, coming from my background, Godwin will do better, and that is why I have no doubt in my mind that with your endorsement of his candidature, you will appreciate it in the very near future.”
He continued, “I also want to thank you Comrade Chairman and members of your union for what God has used you and us to do together to reposition education in Edo State. The red roof was meant to attract and to appeal to the imagination of the child so that the child looks forward to going to school, but we know that the classroom by itself, even if you pave it with gold, cannot by itself impact knowledge unless teachers are qualified, motivated and also determined to teach and to impart knowledge.
“I am happy that at the end of some of those contestations we heard about the need to ensure that only those who are qualified are in our classrooms, today Edo people are celebrating your industry, your commitment. Your accomplishment has reflected in the latest result released by NECO and WAEC which shows that Edo is coming second.
“You appreciate that we used to be in the 30th position out of thirty-six. We are now up to the second position. That is the result of your industry, the result of your hard work, the result of your diligence and the result of being the actual parents of pupils while they are in school.”
According to Oshiomhole, “At the end of the instrument that we are putting in place, we want to return to that golden era where bright graduates want to teach rather than going to work in the banks or in the oil industry. That was the case before, but because over the years teachers’ salaries were neglected, many people abstained from teaching and went into other professions. There is no profession nobler. The noblest profession is the teaching profession, and if it is so, the government must do everything to reflect that in our public policy in the kind of welfare packages that are available to our teachers so that we can continue to sustain and attract quality people to our schools.”
He assured, “In the next round of promotion, I assure you, one of your members will be made a Permanent Secretary. These are things we are doing to be able to demonstrate beyond words because as they say, action speaks louder than words. Each time a primary school teacher becomes a Permanent Secretary, people realise that the primary school teacher is not inferior relative to the rest of the public servants.
“I am happy that those of your colleagues that we previously appointed have not disappointed us, they lived up to expectation, therefore, we will appoint more, and I will do so before the end of my tenure.”