Controversies have continued to trail the newly approved Federal College of Education in Osun, as the state government was accused of embarking on surreptitious move to change the scope of the approval for political consideration.
It was alleged that while the Federal government’s approval stipulates a newly established Federal institution of learning to train teachers, the Osun State government is lobbying for the upgrade of the existing State College of Education located at Ila Orangun, the home town of All Progressives Congress, APC’s chieftain, and former governor of the state, Chief Bisi Akande.
According to Daily Post, in order to increase the number of qualified and trained teachers in the country, the Federal government, as at late December 2019, approved the establishment and immediate take-off of new six Federal Colleges of Education in each of the geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
According to the Public Relations Officer of National Commission for Colleges of Education, Mr Ameh Isaac, the newly approved institutions would be situated in Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Osun, Sokoto, and Edo states, where there were no presence of Federal Colleges of Education.
Isaac, however, appealed to the host communities, where the institutions will be sited to give maximum supports that will aid smooth take-off of the institutions.
A reliable source within the government circle in Osun, who told Daily Post correspondent, that some government functionaries had swung into action to manipulate the implementation of the approval for political and pecuniary gains immediately the news of the approval filtered into town.
The source added that the government in the state is also negotiating covertly with the Federal government for billions of naira as the value for the existing state institution.
According to the source : ” I must confess to you that the issue of where the newly approved Federal College of Education will be sited will cause a lot of political disharmony and even snowballed into communal crisis, because of the way the state government is going about it.
“There are evidences of how some government officials have started pressurising senior officials from the Federal Ministry of Education to key into the idea of upgrading the existing State College of Education at Ila Orangun, to service certain interest at the detriment of other communities, instead of establishing a new one as directed by the Federal government.
“To me, nothing could have been more parochial than such mindset. I know for sure that asides the major focus of educational advancement, one of the benefits of locating a higher institution of learning of that nature in a particular environment is to facilitate development and enhance economy ; how come no other communities merit such new opportunity except Ila Orangun, which had been enjoying the same privilege for over two decades”.
In the same vein, an educationist, Mr Adekunle Ishola expressed worries over the issue, he wondered what could have informed such thinking of denying other towns in the state array of opportunities inherent in project of that magnitude, adding that ” It is better to be imagined than becoming a reality, because there would always be a backlash for selfish moves like this.
” Planning to upgrade the State College of Education at Ila Orangun to a Federal College, against the Federal government’s approval for a new one is myopic and self-centered. I don’t expect any serious government to think in that manner.
” I believe such plan will never see the light of the day, it will die a natural death as mere wishful thinking”, Ishola concluded.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Osun State Governor on Education, Jamiu Olawunmi, in his reaction debunked any move by the government to pressurise the Federal government for the upgrade of the State College of Education at Ila Orangun, in lieu of the newly approved Federal College.
He explained that the state government is yet to get the details of the approval from the Federal government let alone deliberating on it, dismissing the allegation as mere speculation.
He said: ” There is always a process in establishment and hosting of Federal Government agencies and institutions.
” After the announcement of approval, the next step is approaching the host State for site and commencement of activities.
“Osun has not received the details from the Federal Ministry of Education, and the government could not be talking of appropriation of the said College of Education now. Even where we have received such, the State Ministry of Education will properly brief Mr Governor who will in turn made it to be presented to the Executive Council via a memorandum, for debate and approval of location.
“Governance goes beyond speculation. What I can assure you is that our government will be appreciative to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for extending good and developmental projects to our State.
“The College of Education in Ila is doing well and running worthy programmes and we treasure the very good legacy symbolized by the institution. However, we are not opposed to different communities showing interests to host the Education institution. Democracy is about competition and healthy rivalry”.
Our Correspondent, through investigation however gathered that there is a robust political machineries put in place by gladiators in the state to get the project situated at Ila Orangun, against any resistance.
It was reliably deduced that some powerful politicians in the state, especially members of the National Assembly from the state are working assiduously to negotiate and persuade the Federal government, to upgrade the State College at Ila Orangun to the status of Federal College of Education and collect billions of naira for the property.
For instance the Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Dr. Bashiru Ajibola, in an interview with a blogger on Thursday said he had presented a bill to the red chamber for the purpose of the said upgrade.
Ajibola, who boasted to have sponsored three bills and a petition at the upper chamber within the space of six months argued that the need for the upgrade became necessary in the face of the fact that, while the other two senatorial districts in the state have Federal Institutions in their domains, it is only the central district that is left without Federal institution.
The lawmaker was quoted as saying “the bill seeks to upgrade the Osun State College of Education, Ila Orangun to the status of a Federal College of Education.
“The reason for the introduction of this bill stems from the fact that there are Federal institutions already in the East and West Senatorial Districts of the State and, it is only charitable and utmost necessary that the Osun Central Senatorial District should have the presence of the Federal Government in the form of a Federal institution through the upgrade of the Osun State College of Education at Ila Orangun”.
Reacting to Ajibola’s revelation on the proposed upgrade of the State College of Education at Ila Orangun to a Federal status, as fulfillment for the approval for new Federal College of Education in the state by the Federal Government, a Civil Society organisation, Advocacy for Peace and Harmony in Africa Initiative has berated the lawmaker over his statement.
In a press statement signed by the State Coordinator of the group, Comrade Adams Ajayi, the copy which was sent to Daily Post on Sunday, Ajibola was described as being “clever by half”.
Adams opined that the senator by his comment was arrogating undeserved glory and accomplishments to himself.
” In as much as I consider the statement credited to Senator Ajibola as very unfortunate and unbecoming of a political stature he claims, I take solace in the fact that the comment exposed those who are behind the satanic move to cause crisis in the state.
” I became seriously worried on the rationality of the senator’s thinking when he was justifying the proposed upgrade of College of Education at Ila Orangun to a Federal status, citing establishment of Federal institutions in other senatorial districts.
” For crying out loud, there are other nine local governments in that senatorial district, in which many of them can not be proud of befitting and standardized secondary schools not to talk of any tertiary intuition, so, if Ajibola is premising his argument for the planned upgrade of College of Education at Ila Orangun on equality, the rationality of such argument is deficient as well as lame.
“While we will not oppose his bill to turn the College at Ila Orangun to anything he desires, such proposal should not be made to change the scope and tenets of Federal government’s directive for covert political considerations, and shut out other communities out of deserved benefits “, the statement read.