March 16, 2023

Student sent home from school over Obi’s poster

•She was distracting others — Old students association boss 

•Lagos govt orders probe 

By Elizabeth Osayande

A Junior Secondary School, JSS, student of Odomola Secondary School, Miss Marvellous Barinaadaa, and her parents got more than they expected, yesterday, when the girl was sent home by the school principal for allegedly wrapping her books with the poster of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi.

Her distraught mother, who took to social media to lament the situation, appealed to Nigerians to come to the family’s rescue, saying the girl was apolitical and just 10 years old. 

Message sent to the student

Part of the message sighted by our correspondent reads: “This is to inform you all that my daughter, Marvelous Barinaadaa, was exited from Odomola Secondary School on March 14, 2023, by the School Principal, just because she used Peter Obi’s poster to wrap her notebook. And this girl is just 10 years old.

“She doesn’t know anything about politics, but she was sent away from school without informing the parents, because they say we support Peter Obi and Labour Party. Please, is this act by the School’s principal good? See what the school principal wrote in that letter. And after we will say we are one Nigeria.”

She also alleged that the family had suffered a lot because of their perceived support for Obi. 

She was distracting others —Old students association’s boss

However, the President of Odomola Secondary School Old Students Association, OSSOSA, Epe, Saka Shola, refuted the claims, insisting that the JSS2 student was sent home for allegedly causing nuisance and distraction through the distribution of posters of Obi in the classroom.

His words: “I have been able to reach the principal. The issue circulating is far from the truth. There is a directive to stop all forms of campaign in the classroom, as some political parties use students to campaign in class. 

“The principal did not expel or suspend the student. She sent her home for causing havoc and disturbance in the class during recess by chatting and sharing LP posters with her mates. 

“Again, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education is on the issue.”

School keeps mum

However, calls and text messages sent to the contact purported to be that of the principal were neither acknowledged nor responded to at the time of filling this report.

Lagos govt orders probe

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has said it is investigating the matter.

In a statement by the Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ganiu Lawal, the government said the principal of the school would be asked to explain what happened. 

The statement reads: “Lagos State Ministry of Education is investigating the complaint of a parent that his child was sent out of school for using the poster of one of the contestants in the last election to wrap his books. The incident was reported to have happened at Odomola Junior Secondary School, Epe. 

“The Ministry has summoned the principal, who will be asked to explain the incident. 

The Lagos State Government, the Ministry of Education and all its agencies will never instruct any school principal, personnel or teacher to act in such a manner.  

“The Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, reassures the public that the matter will be dealt with within the scope of our strict regulations as the reason for sending home the student is unacceptable – if true. 

“Mrs Adefisayo also hinted that another school principal at Odonguyan who was caught on camera, as shared on social media, promoting her political choice to the students has been subjected to appropriate disciplinary measures. 

“The Ministry promotes and runs a public school system devoid of politics and political insinuations. A thorough investigation of the matter will be carried out and anyone found culpable will be subjected to disciplinary measures as laid down in the civil service rules.”