The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reaffirmed that his government will continue to prioritise the welfare of teachers in the state, urging the teachers to, in the interest of the progress of the state and the need to preserve the future of Edo children, return to the classroom.
The governor, in a live broadcast, noted that his administration is prepared to and will do more for teachers in the state in spite of any provocation.
He expressed worry that some elements within the Edo State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) have been sowing seeds of discord to cause disharmony and strife within the ranks of the teachers.
Obaseki noted: “You know that education is our priority and we have demonstrated it in the last 4 years by prioritizing the welfare of teachers almost above those of other public servants. We have done so because we know that if you can read and write, you should thank your teacher.
“We are confident to say that we have done more for teachers in Edo State than any other government in the state in recent history and perhaps in the entire country. We are prepared to and will do more for you in spite of any provocation.
“Since we came into government 4 years ago, we approved and carried out all outstanding promotions of teachers from 2013 to 2020. These seven promotions in four years is unprecedented in the history of the State.
“In line with our stance on adequate remuneration for staff, we ensured and implemented incremental annual increase in salary (stepping) for teachers, which was stopped by the previous administration. We have also ensured that Teachers Salary Allowance for Higher Grade Level Teachers are paid in full. This means that very many teachers now earn upwards of N150,000 a month in salary and allowances. These allowances were stopped by the previous administration.
“We made sure that the Leave Transport Grant (LTG), which is the annual leave bonus for teachers, has been restored and paid up to date. This was not paid by the previous administration.
“To ensure that primary schools run without hitches and that essential supplies are ready and available, we approved the payment of Subvention to Primary Schools, which was last paid in 2012,” he added.
Reaffirming his relentless commitment to the welfare of the teachers, the governor stated: “We are committed to the welfare of our gallant teachers and will continue to encourage them to deliver their best in classrooms because without their commitment, we cannot achieve our goal to make Edo great again. We sponsored some Teachers and Head Teachers’ to the UK and USA in 2018 and 2019 as part of our efforts to reward excellence in the teaching profession. The best performing Head Teachers in the state was given a brand-new house in 2019.
“Also, 21 teachers and one outstanding Education Secretary were recognized and given awards and gifts during the 2020 edition of World Teachers Day Celebration. In addition, an outstanding NPower Teacher was recognized for sterling performance and rewarded with One Million Naira (N1, 000,000) and automatic employment into the EdoSTAR Teachers Fellowship Programme.
“To ensure that teachers enjoy hassle-free retirement, pension processing by retired teachers have been reformed and made easy as teachers now get their pensions immediately they retire from service. Our desire is to include teachers in the Contributory Pension Scheme which civil servants are currently enjoying in Edo State, but some of your Union leaders are frustrating our efforts through disinformation to you.”
He continued: “With your support and despite the impediments of some of the union leaders, we were been able to completely overhaul the basic education sector of our State and retrained more than 11,000 teachers and restored you dignity as teachers. This is in contrast to the humiliation of the previous administration which was requesting for competency test from you.
“We did all of these for our teachers in Edo state at a time when some States are owing more than a year’s salary and are struggling to pay Teachers, Edo State has continued to pay Primary School Teachers as at when due.”
Noting that the planned strike action was politically motivated by the godfathers who are not interested in the growth and development of the state, Obaseki said: “My dear teachers, you can see that the action of the few elements within the NUT, Edo chapter who called you to go on strike has very little to do with your welfare. Rather, they have aligned with The Godfathers and are playing politics with your careers as well as the future of our primary school children in pursuit of their self-centered ends.
“They clearly have corrupt, selfish and parochial interests in pushing on with this despicable and unreasonable agenda. It is unfortunate that they would mortgage their ethics and integrity for political leverage.
“With the teeming support from you, our great and dedicated teachers, who have always kicked against oppression and intimidation, we fought and defeated those who wanted to derail our progress at the polls; we defeated them again in the courts. I assure you all that with your support and by the grace of God, we will defeat them yet again in the classroom.”
Obaseki further commended teachers who dissociated themselves from the ill-intentioned strike action, noting that adequate arrangements with relevant security agencies have been made to secure and protect the teachers and the pupils as well as school properties.
He said: “I thank the numerous teachers who have called and sent messages dissociating themselves from the so-called strike. I am assuring you that there will be adequate security in all our schools when you resume and anyone who attempts to cause disturbances would be dealt with in accordance with extant laws of our state. We have made adequate arrangements with relevant security agencies to secure and protect you, our children and school properties.
“For those who unfortunately may decide to stay away from school, please know that government would implement the ‘No Work, No Pay’. Anyone who refuses to show up for work would not be paid for the period they did not work.
“With your support, Edo state is now acknowledged globally as one of the states in Africa which is transforming its educational system. Edo State was the only sub national out of the top 5 countries in Africa that got an award from the World Bank and Gates Foundation last year. Clearly some people are not happy with the progress we are making and are bent on slowing us down. By the grace of God, they will not succeed.
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