Oshiomhole makes U-turn, cancels teachers’ competency test

  • Restores pay of 936
Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole
Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole

With the defeat of incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi in the Ekiti governorship election of June 21 still fresh in mind, the Edo State Government has seen the wisdom in sheathing its sword against public sector workers in the state.

To this end, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has cancelled the competency test for teachers in the state even as the government recalled the 936 teachers whose names were deleted from the payroll over certificate discrepancies and age falsification.

Also, the government announced the immediate extension of the relativity to teachers in the state public schools.

Making the announcements on Thursday, Oshiomhole during a meeting with the teachers unions and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said “On assumption of office, it was very clear to me and my colleagues that our future is defined by the level of investment in education and the quality of the basic education we provide for our children and that is why we have devoted resources to the rebuilding of our Primary Schools, Junior and Senior Secondary Schools.

“For me, it was clear coming from my own background, I had obligation to restore dignity to the educational sector in the state. Basic Education is like the foundation of a house. If the foundation is weak, the building will collapse but if the foundation be strong, it will withstand the test of time. It is easier to re-roof than to rebuild a complete house.

“The need to ensure the future of the state is not compromised by compromising the future of the Edo child necessitated the action to redefine the educational system in the state. State government’s commitment to carry out competency test was informed by these broad facts having discovered that some of our teachers were not qualified or up to date with recent teaching methods. Our insistence on the fact that competency test must be seen in this light.

“However, having listened to all suggestions and consultations with various groups, government has agreed to set aside the competency or assessment test in order to re assure Edo workers that government has no intention to sack anyone.”

Oshiomhole said in place of the competency test, government will introduce training and re-training for teachers and all others civil servants in the state, promising that welfare package will be provided during the training exercise

According to him, “On the teachers with falsified age declaration with criminal intentions to cheat, government has resolved to pardon them and retire those whose records show that  they are above 60 years while those below 60 years are to return to the classroom with their names returned to the payroll and will benefit from the training programme.

“Following investigation, the alleged ghost workers in Ovia North East Local Government Area who have been found to have actually been on ground will have their two months pending salary paid. I will discuss with the local government chairman on how to effect their payments.”

Responding, the trio of the leadership of organised labour, NLC, (Trade Union Congress (TUC), and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) expressed thanks to the Comrade Governor adding that the prolonged crisis faced by leadership of the organised labour as it affects teachers and workers in the state will now be a thing of the past.

It will be recalled that teachers in the state shunned a competency test organised by the government on March 22, 2014, despite the service on the government of an injunction of the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja, restraining it from conducting the said test.

That action drew the ire of the NLC, TUC, NUT, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other groups which labelled the government’s action as irresponsible.