School Privatisation in Nigeria: APC, PDP at Dagger Drawn in Ondo
London, August 14, 2019 (AltAfrica)-The alleged privatisation of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Staff School, Owo, Ondo State, has pitched two political parties against each other over the rational behind the action.
The two combatants are the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Firing the first salvo was the PDP in a statement signed by its Director of Media and Publicity in the state, Zadok Akintoye, who expressed sadness that the staff school of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic is about to be privatized by its Governing Council.
The PDP alleged that the school is slated to be handed over to cronies of government.
“Since the inception of the Akeredolu/APC-led administration in this state, the governor has shown manifestly that he is averse to the provision of affordable, subsidized and good quality education to our people,” the statement added.
But in a swift reaction to the allegation, the state chapter of the APC in a statement signed by its State Public Secretary, Mr. Alex Kalejaye expressed disappointment in the PDP’s wrong reasoning which was described as unimaginable level of ignorance.
“The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State is appalled by the seeming resolve of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to paint as evil any policy of the current administration. Unfortunately, the party betrays unimaginable level of ignorance on each attempt.
“The latest is the issue of Staff School, Rufus Giwa Polythecnic, Owo. The opposition party laboured in vain to discredit the APC-led government over a decision of an autonomous body. The State Government has nothing to do with the privatisation,” Kalejaye explained.
The statement read further thus: “In all honesty, one would rather expect the PDP to applaud the Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, for directing the board to immediately commence enumerating all staff of the institution that would be affected by the exercise for admission into the system. This is an uncommon intervention.
“At great pains, the APC particularly views the statement credited to the PDP as an unpardonably abysmal display of shameless hypocrisy. Opposition should not be taken to this level of unconscienable lack of introspective sobriety as exhibited by the PDP.
“The people of the Ondo State have not forgotten those sacked workers of the same Polytechnic that the current administration re-engaged. It is also imperative to mention the sacked University lecturers by the PDP government that were recalled by this same administration.
“How can a party which, out of sheer cluelessness, created additional two universities it could not fund be playing to the galleries on educational issues? For the records, the APC Government has done so much to salvage the situation in less than 30 months!
“While the present administration, as a matter of policy, desires to be more forward-looking rather than decipating energy on the past, Government will not hesitate to be selfless in putting records straight where necessary,” the party concluded.
But the PDP still maintained its stand on the matter saying, “for the avoidance of doubt, the last three years of the life of this administration remains a period of sorrow, tears and blood in the history of Ondo state.”
The PDP’s statement further read that, “since the inception of the Akeredolu/APC-led administration in this state, the governor has shown manifestly that he is averse to the provision of affordable, subsidized and good quality education to our people.
“It is on record, that on assumption of office, Mr Governor set up visitation panels to all tertiary institutions in the state and years after the submission of the report by the visitation panel, the Governor has refused to implement any of the recommendations contained in the report.
“Secondly, since the inception of this government, we have witnessed an unprecedented increase in school fees payable in all state tertiary institutions, with over 400% increment in most cases, thus ensuring that, many of our theming youths are forced to withdraw from school due to the inability of government to alleviate the oppressive poverty that the APC has compelled on the people.
“Thirdly, this government has reduced the monthly subvention to all tertiary institutions, forcing them to find more ways of exploiting the students in a bid to stay afloat.
“As at today, virtually all the tertiary institutions in Ondo State have arrears of salaries to both Academic and Non Academic staff despite the increment in the Internally Generated Revenue which is a burden on its own to the entire citizenry of the state.
“The latest act of deliberate disdain and unconcern to the plight of the people, is the planned sale of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Staff School, which currently provides educational succor to hundreds of children of members of staff and the host community.
“It is also on record, that the management of the institution following the directive of the Chairman of Governing Council of the Polytechnic, Mr. Banji Alabi, has issued letters of disengagement of services to the affected staff of the institution, effectively terminating their sources of livelihood.
“We condemn this anti people policies of the APC-led government and put it on record, that this institution has been existing in that polytechnic to provide quality primary education for the children of staff and others for years and has never had a reason to be closed down, auctioned off or be sold until now.
“We condemn the privatization at this time when lecturers are being owed huge backlog of salaries and call on the governor to immediately rescind such a decision. Our people cannot be made to suffer for the mismanagement of public institutions by crony capitalists masquerading as public administrators.
“Our party therefore joins in solidarity with the members of staff of the affected institution, to demand that justice be done,” PDP’s statement also concluded.