Kwara gets a clean bill as NASS threatens wandering states

The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services recently concluded a two-day inspection visit on the UBEC/SUBEB intervention projects in Kwara State with the wish to expose the States strays embezzling UBEC walking grants. UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHB reports the committee’s findings in the state.

It was an expression of mixed feelings when members of the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Basic Education and Services a fortnight ago concluded a two-day monitoring visit to the state of Kwara to inspect completed and ongoing UBEC-SUBEB projects in the state.
For some reason, the committee was pleased with the wise use of UBEC walking grants and the level of infrastructure put in place by the state government.

Before Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s “O to ge” administration came on board, UBEC had blacklisted Kwara for seven years, precisely between 2013 and 2019 for misappropriating its grants.

It was an ugly and embarrassing trend that has now been reversed by Governor AbdulRazaq’s government, led by the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Comparing the current development of the state with the ugly experiences of the past, the committee of invited representatives headed by its chairman,
Professor Julius Ihonvbere expressed his displeasure at the misuse of UBEC walking grants by some state governments who he said use the agency as a conduit.
The other members of the ad hoc committee of the National Assembly on the monitoring visit were the Honorable Mayowa Akinfolarin; Hon Bashir Dawudu; Hon Oluyemi Taiwo; Hon Mufutau Egberongbe; the honorable cook Ganiyu Olododo; the Honorable Sylvester Ogbaga; Honorable Usman Abdullahi; Hon Peter Owolasi and Hon Bukola Oyewo.

UBEC was represented on the tour by Dr. Jimmy Equensen and engineer Yissa Yakubu

NASS Considers Tough Sanctions Against Offending States

Speaking during the monitoring visit, Ihonvbere said that no effort would be spared to sanction states that misappropriated UBEC grants, including taking steps to recover some abandoned facilities that the commission has allocated to some failing state governments.
According to him, “there are sanctions for states where UBEC has allocated critical infrastructure to certain state governments, but has been abandoned. We are changing the UBEC law so that UBEC can take over these facilities and make them available to the public,” Ihonvbere added.
“Second, we are looking for ways to compel compliance with the law of the land; a situation in which states that did not access the walking grant or who accessed it but wrongly used it would face penalties.

State Compliance Rewards

Just as the committee pledged to impose tougher sanctions on offending states, its chairman also hinted that state governments that comply with UBEC’s action plans would be rewarded with more support to encourage them. to do more.
“At the committee, National Assembly and UBEC level, state governments that used UBEC grants perfectly like Kwara would receive additional support as a reward, which would encourage them to do more” , Ihonvbere added.

Severe warning to governments

Addressing a stern warning to state governors who are found to be failing, Professor Ihonvbere said: “I would advise state governments to take basic education seriously for their own sake. Bulletproof cars, dogs and barbed wire cannot save them from the wrath of uneducated, abused and marginalized children facing the consequences.

Kudos to Kwara

Assessing the level of compliance in Kwara State, the committee commended the state for the effective use of basic education grants and the determination of the state government to improve the standard of education.
“As an academic and chair of this committee, and I’m sure my members share the same sentiments. We are very pleased and satisfied with the programs in Kwara State. Some states collected walking grants from UBEC and did not roll them out in basic education. A few of these states have abandoned UBEC action plans; they do something else with the money. Some have done insipid works. Over time, this committee would publish a list of our sightings in various states,” he said.
“Without education, you can’t go anywhere. It’s not rocket science. And I think Kwara State seems determined to change the narratives. We are delighted,” he added.
The commendation came barely a month after UBEC itself said Kwara now stands out for its excellent use of grants, a feat the body has seen is a clear shift from its horrific experiences with the state fund in the past when grants were misappropriated, resulting in seven-year state blacklists.
He commended the leadership of the State Universal Basic Education Board and its chairman, Professor Sheu Raheem Adaramaja, for proper follow-up and their insistence on providing quality jobs by entrepreneurs.
“I think the best way to appreciate what’s going on is to have a good understanding of what it was like before and we saw a lot in Kwara,” he added.
“It is not always that we find leadership like AbdulRazaq who understands basic education and its value for national growth and development. If the essential, which is the foundation, is contaminated and corrupted, what it produces can never promote peace, stability, growth and development everywhere in the world; that is why basic education is very important.
President Kwara SUBEB, said the school projects cover the renovation, construction and complete renovation of various structures in at least 605 public schools in the state, including the provision of furniture, public toilets and educational facilities. ‘water.
Some of the schools visited by the committee included Ogele LGEA Primary School, Ogele Primary School and Otte LGEA Otte-Oja (both in Asa Local Government Area); Sheikh Alimi Secondary School (Ilorin West); Amoyo Junior High School (Ifelodun); Gaa-Akanbi Junior Secondary School (Ilorin South); Shao LGEA Primary School, Shao (Moro) and Adeta UBEC Model Smart School in Ilorin West Local Government of the State.
While the committee has continued its watchdog duties across the country, analysts are of the view that it should not pretend to speak to the nation as Nigerians are indeed tired of hollow threats. It is therefore hoped that indeed the committee will make real threats to list and sanction states known to have misappropriated walking grants intended for basic education.
Moreover, as the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU) continue to lay blame during the seven months of industrial action launched by teachers, Nigerians cannot afford to have another crisis. at the basic education level as a point in time, they say, saves nine.

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