By Chioma Onuegbu
IF performance would be used to judge governors deserving to return to office for second term in 2019, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State with would not be found wanting.
The Emmanuel government recorded tremendous achievements in the different sectors of the economy especially in the power, road infrastructure, security and the education sectors.
The governor’s strides in the education sector in the last three years, despite the drop in revenue allocation to states, could be said to be highly impressive.
This is manifest in the construction and renovation of classroom blocks in both primary and secondary schools across the state, regular payment of subventions to schools headmasters and principals for the running of their schools and most especially the sustained Free and Compulsory basic education in public schools that impact directly on the citizens especially the less privileged class.
Investigations show that construction or renovations of classroom blocks, hostels, had been carried in a total of 208 primary and secondary schools across the state through the Inter-ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee.
Some of the efforts include renovation/construction of 3 classroom block and office at St. Nicholas Primary School Ikot Ekarain Ikot Abasi LGA, completed 4-classroom block in Oduo Ebuhu in Mbo LGA, renovation of 4-classroom block at Primary School, Esa Atan, Ikot Ekpene LGA; renovation of 4classroom block at Primary School Ibesit in Oruk Anam LGA.
Others are Renovation of Assembly hall at Government School Ikot Eyo in Nsit Ubium, construction of and renovation of Classroom blocks at West Itam secondary in Itu, LGA as well as an ultra-modern sports complex; six classroom blocks at Community secondary school Four Towns, Uyo, completion of 4-classroom blocks and office at St. John Primary School Asong, Mkpat Enin LGA, Hostel block at Cornelia, Cornelly, College Uyo, to mention a few.
It is on record that the Emmanuel administration has so far facilitated the establishment of the Nigerian Navy Military School, Ikot Ntuen Oruk Anam, and even provided the space needed for the school.
Besides, the administration has also facilitated the upgrading of the Akwa Ibom State College of Arts and Science Nung Ukim in Ikono local government area to the College of Science and Technology.
In his passion towards providing education for every Akwa Ibom child, the governor constructed access roads to the Special Education Centre in Mbiabong Ikot Akpan Community in Uyo
There is also the ongoing construction of Modular classroom blocks in 3 schools in each of the 10 Federal constituencies.
Besides, under this administration, a total of seven community secondary schools have been taken over by the state government due to the inability of the communities to continue to manage the schools, and incorporated into the free education system last year.
The schools include Technical College Ikot Udom, Ikot Ekpe LGA, Urban High School, Ikot Akpan Essien Oruk Anam, Excellence Comprehensive Secondary, Ikot Uknya, Mkpat Enin, Migrant school, Emeruke, Eastern Obolo LGA, Community Comprehensive Secondary School Ekeya; Okobo LGA, Union Secondary School Ibiaku, Ibiono Ibom LGA. Community Secondary School, Urua Abo/Ikot Ata- Usung /Ikot Obong Odoro, Ikot Ekpene
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh had described the effort as a further demonstration of its commitment to sustaining the Free and compulsory education policy the current administration of governor Udom Emmanuel.
According to him taking over the schools would ensure they receive qualitative and free education to more communities.
It was also in the realization of the benefit for the free education that the village head of Offi Uda in Mbo LGA, Dr. Clement Ekuwem had last year August appealed to the state government to come and take over the Uda Community Secondary School
He had said, “So government should please cast their eyes of sympathy on us because we have suffered tremendously. Many people world over have said that education is the best thing we can give to our Children. So we value seriously the development of our people educationally. So we need a good secondary education and we ask the government to help us so that we can give our people quality education”
The ongoing construction of Modular private schools, three in each of the federal constituencies is another effort recently introduced by the present administration.
The commissioner for Education Professor Victor Inoka had during a recent media chat in his office said the state government is adopting a holistic approach in the management of the education sector.
According to him, physical infrastructure regular motoring of teaching staff and supervision has been adopted as holistic approaches to “achieving total quality education in the state.”
- Onuegbu and Emmanuel work in Vanguard