By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY —THE crisis between primary school teachers and Edo State Government seems not over as Governor Godwin Obaseki has vowed that his administration would not negotiate with the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, accusing NUT of planning to derail the programmes he has designed for primary schools in the state.
He alleged that a segment of the leadership of the union has been politicised.
Obaseki at a stakeholders forum organised by the State Universal Basic Education, SUBEB, with the theme “Improving collaboration in the provision of basic education” in Benin City, said there was no going back in his quest to improve basic education, as it was the foundation of whatever the people are today.
According to Obaseki: “What we saw the last time were not the teachers, it was part of the leadership of their union that has become political and are playing politics with the lives of our children. We don’t have a problem with the teachers of this state, we have problems with a section of the leadership of the union who have decided to politicise the issue and derail what we have started.
“I have said that as the governor of Edo State that was popularly elected by Edo people, I am ready to fight with anybody in the state that will jeopardise our mission, so I have advised you, that section of the NUT in Edo, we are not going to negotiate with this set of people, we are not going to be intimidated, we are going to fight you as long as you want to derail EdoBEST.
“It is not a threat but I just want to assure you that we have the mandate of the Edo people to move Edo forward. I hear they are still threatening that the strike is not over, I wish them luck and I want you the stakeholders to join us to make sure that the right thing is done.”
Earlier, Chairman of SUBEB, Dr Joan Oviawe said, she came up with EdoBEST (Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation) to reposition basic education in the state.
She said in the last four years through EdoBEST, Edo State has achieved the least number of children out of school, made Edo State primary schools teachers the best paid in the country with the restoration of all their previously withheld emoluments and plans to recruit 3,000 more teachers soonest.