FEATURE ARTICLE

Friday, June 29, 2018
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FORGET THE GOVERNMENT, WHAT ABOUT THE CITIZENS?

video circulating on WhatsApp which I received it six times because people thought I should be well informed ;) (See here), shows a primary school in Edo State during a rainstorm. Given that 2/3rds of the roof was missing, perhaps blown off in a previous storm, the students were huddled in the remaining strips of roof for shelter. Of six classrooms in the block, four had collapsed and the two remaining had torn roofs. The narrator called on the government to rescue the school.

Forget the government, several groups of citizens failed Holy Aruosa Primary School:

Parents: Parents whose children currently attend the school have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their offspring. They keep a roof over their heads at home, why not at school? Either as individuals or collective as the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA), they should have done something or petitioned for something to be done.

Alumni of the school: If the school has graduated one set of students, it has alumni who should be compelled to give back to an institution that 'helped make them who they are.'

Teachers and Administrators who come to work in such a decrepit environment and subject their students to the same. Unless they can argue that students learn best under the laser beam of a 90 degree sun or struck by thunder, they should have remedied the situation. Even teachers in the US buy supplies and other resources to make learning possible for their students.

The Community in which the school is located - When you give your address as "opposite Wise Guy Junior Secondary School," make sure your landmark looks good. There are construction workers, carpenters, roofers, and other tradesmen in this community who could repair the roof for payment or even gratis. Why haven't they done so?

Now to the government - The Local Government, that most ungoverned arm of Nigerian government, is responsible for every public school, hospital, and other amenities in its locality. LGA Chairs should be called to account.

Similarly, if the Chair has awarded repair of that school to a shady contractor, then s/he should inspect the work to ensure satisfactory completion. If on the other hand, both the contractor and the chair have colluded to bilk public funds allocated to the repair of schools, the community most concerned should take them to task. A guy who stumbled upon the school by accident, was horrified and made a video; what are those who live with it daily, doing?

The commentator noted that the children appeared happy. Yes, they are children who are used to living on the crumbs of Nigerian society. They don't know better, the adults do.

NB: Governor Obaseki has since the video, directed the immediate relocation of students and administrators to another school pending the reconstruction of school premises. Go Gov!


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