Makinde: I’m still communicating with Ajimobi on policies, devotes 10% of budget to education

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State says he has always been in constant communication with his predecessor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, over the past administration’s policies in the overall interest of the people.

Makinde disclosed this on Monday while playing host to a delegation from Foursquare Gospel Church which paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Ibadan.

He said it was the responsibility of any administration to provide good governance, adding that his government would not hesitate to sustain any good policy of his predecessor in the bid to enhance the living standard of the people.

The governor said he won the election without godfathers, adding that this had helped his administration to stabilise.

While congratulating the church on the successful election that brought about the new leadership, of the church, Makinde said politicians and election management bodies have something to learn from Foursquare Church on peaceful conduct of elections and smooth transition.

”I am also glad to note that the General Overseer – Rev Felix Meduoye and the General Overseer-Elect – Rev Sam Aboyeji, are together and that you actually held an election.

” You didn’t impose your successor and you allowed a free and fair process, probably we have one or two things to learn.

”Also when I was elected and became governor-elect of the state, I actually reached out to the governor on the seat at the time and I told him that if it was all about the development of Oyo State;  we must share the vision.

”Even now, we still try to reach out to them (past administration) to say that some of the policies that they put in place were really good, some we need to thinker with, and some were outrightly anti-people.

”But, if we don’t talk, we may not know some of the thought processes that went behind some of those policies.

”So I am glad about what I am seeing in respect of your church, I do hope that the politicians will learn some things that if the goal is the same, it doesn’t matter who is there or who God has chosen.

” I know that I wouldn’t have been sitting on this seat if not for God because I said to people that, at least it is the first time in this state, that I know, I don’t know about any other state, where somebody is elected with no godfather except God the father.

”That is why it is easier for us to run a government that is very simple, we don’t have any complications and that is why we have been managing things without any external interference.

” It’s one of the positive outcomes and we are only relying on God the father.

”So, the godfathers are probably in their shells now trying to strategise to come out again but we know that we will make it difficult for them,” Makinde stated.

Meduoye, who had earlier recalled the visit of Makinde to the church camp site for its convention prior to the election, noted that the prayer for the governor at the convention was fruitful.

He said the church considered it necessary to introduce the new General Overseer to important people in different locations as a way of getting him ready for the task ahead.

Aboyeji, the fifth indigenous General Overseer, who was elected on July 20 and to be inaugurated on Nov. 17, expressed happiness at the reception by the governor.

He said that the church was setting the pace for others, especially in the area of smooth transition.

Makinde also promised to spend at least 10 per cent of the state’s annual budget on the education sector.

The governor, who made the pledge  on Monday in Ibadan at the opening of the 34th Conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, said his administration would increase it annually until it matches the UNESCO standards.

The governor called on the universities and the people of the state to serve as watchdogs by holding  his administration accountable.

He said his doors were open to suggestions that would improve the standard of education in the state, adding  that  he needed partnerships and synergies, especially in the area of quality control.

Makinde expressed  his resolve to revisit a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) signed between the state government and the Faculty of Education of the University of Ibadan about 10 years ago.

He said the purpose of the MoU was to strengthen the inspection of curriculum delivery in public primary and secondary schools in the state.

“The plan is to see members of the faculty conduct independent inspection of teachers in the discharge of their duties.

” This is expected to improve quality assurance in public schools in the state,” the governor said.

Makinde noted that the quality of education in the state when he came into office was low while the quality assurance monitoring mechanism was weak.

He also said out-of-school children were over 400,000, adding that he stopped payment of school fees in primary and secondary schools to encourage more children to go back to school.

Makinde noted that the school fees were the major barrier that kept huge number of children from schools.

While noting that the  quality of graduates produced by universities could be much  better, Makinde said  that the quality of their products was commensurate with the resources at their disposal.

“We cannot be feeding universities with substandard raw materials and expect them to miraculously manufacture high quality finished products.

“If we want better products, we have to up the ante and feed our universities with higher quality materials, ” he said.

Earlier, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, said that Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidates  subscribed to public universities by 94 per cent.

He said private universities accounted for six per cent due to the fact that fees in public universities were cheaper.

“The private universities which do not receive financial support from government tend to be costlier and largely undersubscribed,” he said.

According to the vice-chancellor, the Nigerian university system currently has 174 universities, comprising 43 for federal, 52 for state and 79 for private.

He added that that the nature of each university’s problems differ depending largely on the mode of ownership.

“The public universities are characterised by unstable academic calendar largely on account of incessant disagreements between staff unions, management and proprietor.

“This has made our public universities largely unattractive to foreign students.

“Just last week, most of the federal universities experienced a week-long warning strike from the Joint Action Congress of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU).

“As we are aware, the two major issues in contention comprised the ownership/management of the university staff schools and payment of earned allowances, ” the  vice-chancellor added.

He expressed the association’s optimism that the outstanding issues would be resolved in earnest so that the academic calendar  would not be disrupted further with an indefinite strike by the two unions.

The vice chancellor further expressed the  hope that the conference would afford the participants an opportunity to share ideas on how to cooperate and collaborate for greater efficiency on their various campuses.

The theme of the conference is “Prioritising Quality Assurance: Teaching, Research And Professional Conduct. ”

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