Residents including teachers and students of the coastal area of Ondo State have appealed to the government, humanitarian organisations and public spirited individuals to compliment the efforts of the Ondo State Oil Procuding Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) so as to make life better for dwellers in the riverine areas of the State.
This appeal was unanimously expressed when the Commission, in collaboration with the 1 Million Teachers Group toured selected communities and schools across the Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas of the State in late March.
1Million Teachers is a Canadian based social Enterprise which specialized in the training of teachers across the world. The organisation works in partnership with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Education, the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and other international bodies.
The Chairman of the Commission, Elder Sam Erejuwa had on different fora assured that the Commission under his watch will leave no stone unturned in complementing the efforts of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration to correct the deficient stardard of education in the coastal region of the State.
He has equally expressed the readiness of his administration to partner with governmental and non-governmental agencies in Nigeria and beyond to realise the aspiration.
The Community leaders, school authorities, teachers and students could not hide their feelings as they freely expressed their daily challenges and plights, appealing for urgent rescue from concerned individuals, governmental and non-governmental agencies in Nigeria and beyond.
Amongst the multiple and similar challenges confronting the schools visited include: shortage of teachers, inadequate and outdated classrooms, lack of accommodation for staff, lack of portable water and basic facilities such as toilets, teaching aids, libraries, laboratories and equipment.
The first point of call was St. Arenibaro Memorial High School, Amapere with over 500 students. The school Principal, Mr. F.F Soriwei lamented the hardship faced by his staff and students. According to him, despite the large population of the students, the school can only boast of 14 staff aside from the 2 Teachers deployed by OSOPADEC.
Other schools visited at the Ese-Odo axis of the Niger Delta region were: Community Comprehensive High School, Sabomi, Apoi National High School, Igbotu and Ojuala Community High School, Ojuala. Again the problem of inadequate manpower and non availability of facilities were glaring. The schools lacked functional toilets, making both staff and students rely on nearby bushes for defecations.
Speaking with OSOPADEC Media Crew, the Vice Principal, Community High School, Sabomi, Mr. Etofo Festus and the Senior Prefect Girl, Miss Moyinoluwa Jonathan appealed to relevant bodies to come to their rescue.
The team further navigated the Ilaje axis of the region with a more pathetic living conditions owing to the coastal nature of the environment and intermittent sea encroachment which has majorly contributed to acute shortage of manpower as potential teachers and corps members deployed are often discouraged.
The state of the school environments, outdated walkways (cranes), dilapidated buildings, lack of facilities and equipment are replicates in all the school visited.
The management, staff and students of Molutehin Comprehensive College, Ode Imoluma, L.A Primary School, Awoye, Community Grammar School, Obedapo, Community Grammar School, Idiogba and Community Grammar School, Ori Oke Iwa-Mimo all narrated their daily ordeals in their schools and communities. They solicited for help from all available quarters to make life easier and more meaningful.
At the Community Grammar School, Zion Pepe, the Principal, Mr. Nehemiah Igbayisemore commended OSOPADEC for its positive gestures, especially the deployment of teachers to reduce the acute shortage of personel. He however appealed to the Commission and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to complete the abandoned projects in the school.
Community heads and leaders including Oba Alaafia II of Ori Oke Iwa-Mimo, His Holiness Jabez Alebiosu Ikudehinbu Ogbonolorun Okunajiri JP and the King of Zion, Oluwagbade of Zion Pepe, Dr. J.A Oluwole (JP) both lauded the Commission and its partner for the visit. They however demanded for more visible projects and government interventions in their respective communities.
While interacting with OSOPADEC correspondents after the exercise, the Southwest Coordinator and Director of Learning Hubs, 1 Million Teachers, Mrs Adebukola Orofin- Arowosegbe commended OSOPADEC for the partnership. She further explained that the mission of her organisation is to focus on the most under resourced community across the world by empowering teachers to enhance learning outcome for students through various reward based teachers’ professional development programmes.
Arowosegbe said the Group is excited to partner with OSOPADEC to train the teachers in Ilaje and Ese-odo Local Government Areas of Ondo State.
Similarly, OSOPADEC Director of Community Welfare who led the visiting team disclosed that the partnership with 1 Million Teachers was part of the Commission’s corporate social responsibilities towards improving the quality of education in Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas.
He said OSOPADEC as an interventionist agency will continue to play its part in mitigating the challenges of the mandate areas and its people.