Delta State PDP Gubernatorial Candidate for 2023 general elections, Sheriff Oborevwori has promised teachers in the state a better deal if elected Governor in the March 11th, 2023, governorship election.
At interactive session with members of the Delta State Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), on Thursday, at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba, Oborevwori, said that well-structured and efficient educational system is critical to nation building and sustainable development, adding that experts agreed that human resources constitute 65% of national development, while infrastructure and natural resources make up 10% and 25% respectively.
According to the Governorship candidate, teachers play a crucial role in this process since they are largely responsible for the development of a nation’s human resources, saying that; “They are next to the family unit when it comes to imparting the right knowledge, skills, and values imperative for national development. In the words of Sir John Adams, Scottish education scholar, “a teacher is a maker of man. He is foundation of all education, and thus of the whole civilisation of mankind, present and future. No nation reconstruction is possible without the active cooperation of the teacher.”
“My meeting with you today is in recognition of the invaluable role of the teacher as a critical stakeholder in nation building. As you know, I am aspiring to be the Governor of Delta State under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. I have set forth my social contract with Deltans under my M.O.R.E agenda, which is an acronym for Meaningful development, Opportunities for all, Realistic reforms, and Enhanced peace and security. The M.O.R.E agenda comprises programme priorities that will advance Delta to the next level of growth and prosperity”, the Governorship hopeful said.
He added; “I have served this state in various capacities, starting from the grassroots as a local government councillor. I also worked in the executive arm in two previous administrations as Special Assistant and Special Adviser before being elected to the House of Assembly in 2015, to represent the good people of Okpe State Constituency. By the grace of God, I have the singular honour of being the longest serving Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly. Under my stewardship, the House has forged a strong partnership with the executive arm of Government to deliver the dividends of democracy to our people”.
He also said that; “This brings me to the matter of the next presidential elections taking place less than ten days from today. Our amiable and hardworking Governor, His Excellency, Senator, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa is on the ballot as Vice-Presidential candidate of our party. The NUT, I know, has had an excellent working relationship with Governor Okowa all through his tenure. He has been a listening, caring, and compassionate governor determined to improve the lot of our teachers. Not long ago, the Governor released the sum of N5b for the payment of pension arears to local government retirees, many of whom are teachers. In addition, the Governor has set-up a committee headed by the Head of Service to facilitate a bond arrangement to accelerate the payment of pension arrears and discussion is on-going with ARM ASSET COMPANY in that regard”.
Rt Hon Oborevwori lamented that some misguided elements had allowed themselves to be used by an irresponsible and desperate opposition to politicise the pension matter, and said that; “I think the current administration deserves commendation for its untiring efforts to clear the backlog of pension arrears, which was over N86b when Governor Okowa assumed office. I know that to date, a total of 79bn has been released for accrued rights pensions settlement and 10% employer contributions to serving workers Retirement Savings Account between May 2015 to January 2023. Furthermore, this administration subsidises the local government councils with N500m monthly to pay retirees even though it is the duty of the various councils to pay, being their employers”.
“One of my priorities, if elected Governor, is to continue the process and ensure that the backlog of pension arrears is cleared within the shortest possible time”, he said.
According to him, if elected the next Governor of the state, he would also prioritise, the following in the basic education sector: Teaching excellence through training and retraining of teachers, Periodic curriculum revision to ensure that the learning process incorporates digital literacy, online learning, critical thinking skills, independent learning skills, team work and leadership skills, Carry out comprehensive audit of physical infrastructure in our primary and secondary schools within 100 days of assuming office to enable us know where there are gaps and respond accordingly, Continuous recruitment of teachers to address staff shortages for schools, and enhanced welfare package for teachers so that they will be motivated to put in their best and reduce their distractions to the minimum.
The Delta State Chairman of NUT, Okotie Titus, lauded Rt Hon Oborevwori for the opportunity to interact with teachers, saying teachers are going to partner with him just as he implored him to carry teachers in the state along in his administration if elected Governor of the state.