Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State has given an insight into how his administration saved tertiary institutions from collapse for lack of support, saying the previous government totally neglected the schools.
A statement issued on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, said the governor revealed this during a thank you visit by the Kwara State Chairman of Joint Academic Staff Union in Tertiary Institutions, Bilikis Olasehinde.
According to AbdulRazaq, the previous government totally neglected the schools; they were not paying salaries, let alone fixing the infrastructure.
“They did not care about that. The first institution I visited was Kwara State College of Education (Technical) Lafiagi and I was totally disappointed…The state government abandoned its responsibilities over the years.
“We are glad to have met your demands. While we will be glad to do more, it is glaring to everyone that we are coming from a terrible era that no one should ever wish for again.
“The last administration could not even pay when it was N18,000 minimum wage. Now, we have moved up to N30,000 minimum wage. We even made sure that when you were making your demands your salaries were being paid.”
The governor said his administration was determined to restore Kwara’s lost glory in education with the right investments in infrastructure, staff welfare and other support schemes.
“Kwara State was formed at the same time with Lagos and some others. Today, Lagos has three state universities because they managed themselves very well. They are on upper trajectory and we were just sinking. We thank God and the people that allowed us to stop the rots.
“We have stopped it and we are turning things around for good. We will make sure the right thing is done. We have also not increased the school fees since we came in. We have frozen it and that means we are practically giving students discounts despite the inflationary trends. We have also restored subvention to our colleges.
“Since we have put the issues of subvention and minimum wage behind us, our next step is to see how to upgrade facilities in our institutions. We’ll also look into how you will expand departments, schools and facilities. Bye and large, we should put hands together and do the right things to make our education robust and place it where it should be. Kwara used to lead education in the north before. We went down but we are on our way back up and In Shaa Allaah (God willing) we will get to the top again.”
The teachers, however, commended the governor for saving tertiary institutions in the state from total collapse.
The teachers said that their welfare had improved tremendously under the governor, adding that they are proud of their decision to support him in 2019.
Olasehinde commended the administration for implementing the Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Salary Structure which had been pending for several years.
“We are here to show our appreciation for everything you have done for us. Sir, let me go back memory lane. When you came in as governor of Kwara, there were issues in the state’s tertiary institutions. We had issues of salary arrears and we were on strike. Immediately you came in, we said we should suspend the strike on our own and give the new government the benefit of doubt. We thank God that we did that because within 24 hours we met His Excellency you did what you promised. We appreciate you for that”, she stated.
Olasehinde also praised the administration for restoring monthly subvention to the institutions, saying members of JASUTI now receive full salaries every month with the development.
“On the issue of our subvention, His Excellency said going forward, we would be getting our full salaries and that era of percentages is over. This is a reality today. The subvention is released to all our tertiary institutions as and when due.
“Also, we had issues of accreditations across our tertiary institutions and we met His Excellency. He promised us again and did what he promised. We really appreciate that.”