By Ibraheem Solaudeen.
The Mandate Constituency office of the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has faulted the Kwara state government for rejecting instructional and other learning materials distributed to schools in the state by the ex-Senate President.
Recall that the state government, through the Ministry of Education condemned the distribution of the items, describing it as an attempt to politicise education in the state.
The ministry, through its spokesperson, Yakub Aliagan, stated that the state government was not informed before the instructional materials were sent to schools for distribution, adding that Senator Saraki constituency office ought to have sent the materials to the Ministry of Education for vetting and subsequent approval for distribution.
It also frowned at the emblazoned images and logos of the former Senate President on the instructional materials.
“Besides it is wrong for anyone to emblazon their images or personal logos on instructional materials made with public resources for distribution in public schools. The said materials were some sort of Constituency projects which have been approved and funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria,” a part of the statement said.
Reacting to the development, the constituency office of Dr. Saraki, through a statement issued by its Director of Project and Empowerment, Otukoko Olayinka Ibrahim tackled the state government for lacking legitimate reasons to reject the school materials.
The statement added that rejecting the items on a mere guess that Senator Saraki’s image was emboldened on them without deeply considering the value the materials will add to the lives of the pupils could be perceived as unnecessary vendetta which is unhealthy for the overall development of the state.
Ibrahim noted that the distribution of the instructional materials was a constituency project facilitated by the former Senate President through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) a commission constituted by law to build and develop capacities of students in Basic Schools in the constituency.
“During the needs assessment conducted by the mandate office, the office of Dr. Saraki collaborated with the LGEA offices which are directly in charge of Basic Schools (Primary 1 – 6 and JSS 1 – 3) across the 4 LGs for capturing of schools with basic infrastructure and material needs and same was communicated to UBEC by Dr. Saraki’s office for implementation.
“Prior to distribution of the items, the mandate office informed the LGAs offices again to invite the selected schools, as shortlisted by UBEC to mandate for collection of “approved” items for their respective schools.
“So to say the State Government is not aware of the distribution is will throw many unanswerable questions to one’s mind”, the statement read in part.
Addressing the issue raised by the Education Ministry regarding the emboldened images of the ex-Senate President on the instructional materials, the statement said, “It is to be noted that no picture was emblazoned by Senator Saraki or his mandate office on the distributed items.
“It is a standard used by MDAs for some projects of both the Executives and the Legislators, especially when it has to do with training equipments and material supplies. The pictures below show clear evidence of SDG project for PMB and UBEC project for ABS.
“If the state government has any unbiased issue with this, it is advisable that she communicates the UBEC and other MDAs involved on the need to change the approach.”