…laments shortage of teachers, high rate of drugs intake, alcoholism among youths
Ahead of the 2024 governorship election in Edo State, Anslem Ojezua, former state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Joe Ikpea, a former commissioner during the administration of Adams Oshiomhole have indicated interest to contest for the position.
BDSunday reports that while Ojezua is aspiring on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ikpea is doing the same on the platform of the APC.
The duo made their intentions known during a visit to the secretariat of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in Benin City.
Speaking on his aspiration, Ojezua promised that his administration would put in place policies that would not only improve on the healthcare delivery system, but also make the sector attractive in order to reduce brain drain in the sector.
The former chairman of APC in the state and now a chieftain of PDP, attributed the shortage of teachers in public primary schools to the abrogation of the Teachers Training College (TTC).
He noted that if given the mandate to govern the state, his government will reintroduce the programme to address the dearth of teachers in the state.
He also promised to reintroduce bursary and scholarship schemes, especially courses that are essential for the existence of the state such as medical sciences.
“I acknowledge the difficulties parents now go through in paying their children school fees, especially at the tertiary level. I appreciate the relief bursary brings to students and parents alike.
“If elected, our administration will bring back bursary and make it a policy to assist students and their parents in footing the bills in tertiary institutions.
“The problem with the policy on NCE as against the old TTC, was that the NCE limited the number of subjects a teacher with that qualification could teach, “a teacher is trained to teach as many subjects as are offered in the class where he or she is the class teacher.
“I know there is a federal policy on that. But the most important thing is the education of our children no matter what they say in Abuja. I don’t think it is an offence to do things differently,than the misconceived manner these things are being done”, he said.
He noted that any sector of the state’s economy where there are shortages of personnel, government must stimulate it by way of direct investment.
Ojezua, who said he was a beneficiary of bursary in his school days in University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Nigerian Law School, said that if need be, his government may raise special funds by taking bond to fund the schemes in order to have enough teachers, nurses and doctors.
While noting that the Governor Obaseki government has laid a solid foundation for the educational growth of the state, he opined that the shortage of teachers in the state needed to be addressed if the gains in the education sector could be sustained.
The PDP governorship aspirant who also lamented the high cost of accessing healthcare, described the situation unacceptable, and could spell doom for the majority of the people if the development was not adequately addressed.
On his part, Ikpea, who described himself as the best aspirant on the platform of APC, lamented the high numbers of youths that are into drugs and alcoholism in the state.
He promised to tackle the menace headlong by investing in mental healthcare, when given the mandate to govern the state in the next September governorship election.
The former commissioner for Oil and Gas during the administration of Adams Oshiomhole as well as the former chairman of Esan South-East Local Government Area, noted that if the menace was not checked on time, the future of the youths will be jeopardized.
According to him, the future of our youths is in doubt. The reason why it is in doubt is that, most of them have gone into alcoholism and drugs. The reason why many of them have gone into alcoholism is because they are Idle.
“So, under healthcare, if given the opportunity, I will look at mental healthcare. I will give the youths to play a major role in our government”, he stated.
Ikpea, who said he was one of the founding members and financiers of the party in the state, insisted that he will continue with his aspiration to be the party’s candidate in spite of not be among the three aspirants streamlined by the leadership of the party in the Edo Central senatorial district where he hail from.
He opined that, he deserved to be rewarded and compensated with the party’s ticket as a result of his contributions to the growth and success of the party in the state.
“We were invited for a meeting in Abuja where we were asked to provide our membership card, voter card, and proof of support for the party over the years. And if we go by that, I think, I should be the person to be considered.
“If you look at the history of the party, I am one of the founding members, and not just founding member, but one of the financiers of the party.
“But like I said earlier, the party can do whatsoever they wish. But I believe in God, I am going to push my course and leave the rest for God.
“Though, the party has the final decision on who to fly the governorship flag, but expect that my labour for the party, over the years, is recognised by giving me the ticket”,he added.
While promising to give support to whoever the party gives the ticket, he opined that his interest was to address the economic, infrastructural, unemployment challenges among others in the state.
He promised to prioritize the agricultural sector, if elected to improve on the internally generated revenue of the state away from over dependence on monthly allocations from the Federal Government.
Ikpea explained that, he will woo management of banks in the state to plough part of their annual profits on agriculture with the payment of counterpart funds by the state government.
He also promised to encourage investors in the oil and gas industry to harness the abundant gas and oil resources in the Edo South senatorial district to set up modular refineries to create jobs for the youths.
“If I have the opportunity to be governor of the state, I will have discussion with the banks to invest their profit in agric in our state. I will discuss with them on the area they have interest in the agric sector and ask them to invest in such areas.
“I will also discuss on how the profit will be shared among us. It will be a kind of partnership,” he stated.