From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has vowed that his administration would not negotiate with the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), explaining that their demands would derail the programmes he has designed for primary school in the state.
The governor stated this at a stakeholders forum organised by the State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) with on theme, “Improving collaboration in the provision of basic education” in Benin City, where he alleged that a segment of the leadership of the NUT has been politicised.
Stressing that there is no going back in his quest to improve basic education, Governor Obaseki said that the last strike by primary school teachers was influenced by a politicised segment of the leadership of the NUT.
‘What we saw the last time were not the teachers, it was part of the leadership of their union that have become political that 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, and 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,’ the governor stated.
‘So, I have advised you that section of the NUT in Edo, we are not going to negotiate all these, we are not going to be intimidated, we are going to fight 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, SUBEB Chairman Dr Joan Oviawe said she came up with EdoBEST (Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation) to reposition basic education in the state.
She disclosed that in the last four years through EdoBEST the state has achieved the least number of children out of school in the country, made Edo State primary schools teachers the best paid in the country with the restoration of all their previously withheld emoluments, adding that plans were on to recruit 3,000 additional teachers soon.