Over N3 billion has been spent by Bayelsa State as counterpart fund in the Education sector in the last six years, according to the State Commissioner for Education, Jonathan Obuebite.
The gesture, he stated, was aimed at attracting Federal Government’s support and presence for the state.
Obuebite stated this on Thursday in Yenagoa at the ongoing Inter-Ministerial Briefing as part of the activities lined up for the 6th Anniversary of the Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s administration.
He stated that the declaration of state of emergency and the huge investment in the educational sector since 2012 has continued to yield positive results in contrast to the deplorable condition of schools inherited by the present administration.
The Commissioner said the infrastructures were in a state of decay while the performance of the students at externally conducted examination (SSSCE and NECO) were nothing to write home about.
Obuebite said with the declaration of the state of emergency, the state has now become one of the leading states in the education sector.
He cited the construction of headmasters’ quarters, teachers’ quarters and six classroom blocks in more than 500 Primary Schools, renovated over 160 Secondary Schools across the state, introduction of boarding schools and free school feeding programme.
Others listed include the accreditation of the courses at the state-owned Niger Delta University, establishment of the University of Africa, Toru Orua and Bayelsa State Polytechnic at Aleibiri, and funding of scholarship programmes within and outside the country.
The Commissioner commended Governor Dickson for his vision and commitment, especially in conceptualizing the Ijaw National Academy, and expressed appreciation to the State House of Assembly for passing education related bills into law, which he noted would go a long way to sustaining the laudable educational programmes of the present administration.
Fielding questions from the audience, Obuebite, assured that the state government is working towards ensuring the successful commencement of the Maritime Academy in Okpoama but however warned the public not to pay any money to any person for admission as government has not ordered for such.
He also explained that beneficiaries of the state scholarship to Lincoln University in 2014, followed due process.
Obuebite appealed to parents/guardians to invest in the education of their children/wards as it is the only legacy they can leave for them and enjoined political appointees at all levels to extend their goodwill by investing in the education of at least one youth in the state.
He also called on students to prioritize their education to better their lot, promising that the Restoration Government of Governor Seriake Dickson would not pay lip service to the development of any sector in the state especially the education sector.
Giving the scorecard of the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Commissioner, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Revenue, Treasury and Accounts, Timipre Seipulou said that the present administration has succeeded in increasing the state annual IGR from a paltry N4.7bn in 2012 to N12.14bn as at the end of last year, representing an average of one billion naira per month.
He said, “When this administration came on board in 2012, secondary school teachers’ wage bill was 866 million naira. But as at November 2017 it was reduced to 600 million naira. For primary schools, which had staff strength of 11,355, the wage bill was 757million naira as at February 2012, but through our verification exercises we were able to reduce it 9000 staff with a wage bill of 569million.”
Seipulou enumerated other achievements to include instituting the monthly transparency briefing, anti-salary fraud law, income and expenditure law, and successful restructuring of the bond obligation inherited by the present administration.