–Imo Teachers Suffered Untold Hardship In The Last Administration, Says NUT Chairman
By Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq
The Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha yesterday attended the 2019 World Teachers’ Day Celebration held at the Cenotaph (Heroes’ Square) Owerri. The Governor was ably represented at the occassion by the Commissioner for Education, Prof (Noble Lady) Viola Adaku Onwuliri. The one day event, which was organized by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, was themed:
“Young Teachers, The Future Of The Profession”.
In his opening address, the Chairman of the NUT Imo State Wing, Rev. Philip Nwansi, thanked God for keeping Imo teachers and workers alive despite the untold hardship they passed through in the previous years. He said teachers play significant roles in unlocking the potentials in the younger ones, thereby making them useful to themselves and the larger society.
The Chairman harped on the dearth in the recruitment of new teachers in the face of retirement of older ones. He blamed the situation on the poor value attached to the profession and called for an improvement in the status and condition of service for teachers in order to make the profession more attractive.
Speaking further, he commended Gov Ihedioha for his remarkable achievements in his first 100 days in office, stating that it’s a sign of better things to come. He also commended the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, for her efforts to sanitize the education sector, particularly the resolve and demand to make Igbo Language compulsory in State schools. In conclusion, he called on the government to adopt as a working document, the resolutions of the NUT summarily captured in an official paper called , “Our Conference Resolutions”, and to intervene in the challenges enumerated therein.
The Commissioner for Education, Imo State, Prof Viola Onwuliri, delivered the message of the Governor, to the teeming gathering of teachers at the occasion. In his message, the Governor recognized the World Teachers’ Day as a day set aside annually by the International Labour Organization ( ILO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate teachers.
He said teaching is a noble profession as teachers are character moulders. He commended them for their contributions, sacrifices and selfless efforts in the proper upbringing of children. The Governor stated that his Rebuild Imo Government has carried out the training of, Directors and Supervisors of Schools, Principals and Head-teachers, Sports Officers and Igbo teachers, in public schools in order to equip them for effective teaching and learning.
He also revealed that his Administration is passionate about skills acquisition by youths. As a result, the government has embarked on the transformation and infrastructural development of the four state owned Technical Colleges. Therefore, the Governor harped on the need to encourage handiwork and creative art in schools. Gov Ihedioha disclosed that he has approved and commissioned the provision of 100 4 seater chairs for schools per Ward every month.
He assured Imo teachers that their welfare will be accorded priority by government, as they have already been paid 100% salary as against the 65% they recieved from the immediate past administration. Assuring that very soon, pensioners will also recieve their pensions. He called on them to remain dedicated to their duties and avoid any action that will bring the teaching profession to disrepute, such as extortion and collection of illegal levies.
Furthermore, the Governor thanked the East Region Working Committee of the NUT for bestowing on him the Award of the “Due Process Governor” and presentation of copies of the book titled: “History of East Region NUT”.
Finally, he congratulated Dr. Mrs. Bridget Onyeka Ibe of Government Technical College Owerri for winning the 2019 Best Teachers Award of the President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award.
The high point of the occassion was the march past by teachers of the 27 NUT Local Government (LGA) Branches in the State. The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, stood on the podium to receive the salute, on behalf of the Governor, as the teachers marched past. The celebration ended with the award of certificates to the best performing NUT LGA Branches in the march past. The Orlu LGA NUT Branch won the first prize, while Okigwe and Ikeduru LGAs came behind as the first and second runner’s up, respectively.
Some of the teachers who attended the occassion expressed satisfaction with the program which according to them is far better than those organized in the previous years. They also thanked Gov Ihedioha for supporting the teachers to host the programme successfully. Based on the foregoing, it has become crystal clear that the Rebuild Imo Agenda of Gov Ihedioha is not a ruse.
Having rightly appointed an Education Czar, Prof Viola Adaku Onwuliri as Commissioner for Education to revamp the system, it is obvious that things are falling back in place. Therefore, it is pertinent for parents, teachers and stakeholders to support the efforts of government to overhaul education in the State. For without sound education there can’t be any meaningful development and economic growth in the State.
Ekene Bob-Ekechukwu Esq.