Olayiwola Planrewaj, Ilorin
Screening for Kwara State commissioner-nominees entered day two, yesterday, with the cabinet picks dazzling the lawmakers with their eloquence and clear roadmaps of how they thought the government could deliver basic amenities and reposition the state for greater heights.
The nominees discussed various strategies to tackle the menace of teachers resisting deployment to villages or quackery, local government administration and grassroots development, tax and revenue generation, provision of water, and raising funds to build durable infrastructure and attract investments.
The six nominees who appeared were Murtala Olarewaju (Oyun); Aremu Abosede Deborah (Irepodun); Aisha Ahman Pategi (Pategi); Florence Olasumbo Oyeyemi; Lafia Aliyu Sabi (Baruten); and Ahmad Fatimoh Bisola (Ilorin West).
Sabi, whose huge contributions to the Otoge struggle and humility were hailed by all the lawmakers, was asked to bow and go — a rare exception to the rule of the 9th Assembly which had earlier ruled out the practice.
Speaker Yakubu Danladi explained the role Sabi played in his own life as a young man and his contributions to smoothening the victory of the ruling All Progressives Congress. Both men sobbed as Danladi extolled the qualities of Sabi, leading to minutes of silence in the chamber.
Oyeyemi, a teacher, called for the establishment of a teachers’ training institute in Kwara to develop the capacity of teachers.
She, however, said self-motivation and proper welfare package would be required to drive interest in the profession. She also called for investment in educational infrastructure which she said was lacking in public schools.
“Motivation goes beyond just paying the teachers. They need the right environment, training and retraining, they need to be told that we care for them,” she said, adding that a deliberate policy is in place to end a culture of teachers staying away from rural communities.
Olarewaju, local government administrator and retired teacher, blamed the crisis of development at the grassroots on nepotism, lack of enough qualified manpower and low commitment to place public interest above other agenda.
He also said anyone without teaching certificate has no business in the classroom.
“If you can’t allow a non-medical doctor to treat a patient, it is unfair to ask anyone not trained to teach to be in the classroom,” he said, responding to the arguments over whether government should retain holders of Ordinary National Diploma or Higher National Diploma as teachers in the state.
Bisola, another teacher, was also asked to bow and go, the second time since the screening began on Tuesday. The last batch of the nominees would appear before the lawmakers today.