Home Interview It’s On Record That Fayemi’s Government Prioritized Teachers’ Welfare – Comrade Oke...

It’s On Record That Fayemi’s Government Prioritized Teachers’ Welfare – Comrade Oke Emmanuel, Ekiti NUT Chairman

Comrade Oke Emmanuel
Comrade Oke Emmanuel

In this interview with EMMANUEL ADENIRAN, the Chairman of the Ekiti state wing of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Oke Emmanuel who was elected on February 2, 2021, spoke on the efforts of the union in improving the living standard of teachers and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the union among other salient issues. Excerpts:

What are your achievements and contributions since your assumption in office?

Firstly, checking through the records in the last eight years, World Teachers’ Day has never been celebrated in such a grand style in which the best primary and secondary school teachers were given 2021 Kia model car while the best administrator was given a sum of N1million and the best schools rewarded with N500, 000 each. All these never happened in the history of Ekiti NUT in the past eight years.

Secondly, looking closely within the NUT Secretariat, you will see a mighty packaged water factory that will be commissioned soon, we have expended close to N20million on this water project.

Thirdly, I want to state it categorically that nearly all retired teachers that are members of the welfare scheme in Ekiti State have been fully paid. I am a member of JAC and I ensure that all salaries of teachers both in primary and secondary schools are paid as at when due. Teachers in both primary and secondary schools are not owed except the one Governor Kayode Fayemi inherited as a liability from his predecessor in office and when he came on board, he has deemed it very necessary to pay monthly salaries as at when due.

Furthermore, different items such as television sets, washing machines, laptops, and freezers have been distributed at subsidized rates to over 500 teachers in the state while the second batch will commence soon.

I have also ensured that almost all the schools in the state have perimeter fencing with well-equipped instructional materials and teaching facilities with new teachers being employed. We wrote to the government about the acute shortage of teachers and about 600 teachers were employed into primary schools while about 500 teachers were employed into secondary schools in the state since we came on board.

What is the idea behind the establishment of the water factory project and how did you source for funds?

The NUT as a union has what we call ‘check off dues’, it is these dues that we have judiciously utilized to execute our visions and plans for the progress of the union.

We also generate our revenues through the money that comes into the account of the union and that of the teacher’s welfare. The engine at the factory was imported and we have concluded all steps and procedure from NAFDAC office for it to become operational soon.

We are doing this to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the union so that teachers who are going on retirement can be well celebrated. We also have the NUT complex of about 20 rooms and a hostel at Iworoko including some lock up shops. We are planning that if the bottle water factory is operational, people can invest on it in order to get weekly, monthly, or yearly interest.

Do you think the NUT as a union will be able to sustain the water factory project?

Talking about sustainability, it is only about six states that are not having such investment like this. Some states are having teachers’ microfinance banks and they are so buoyant that they do not want any customer again. We are having some states that are having primary and secondary Schools properly managed by the NUT.

Ekiti State NUT as a trade union organization believes in sustainability and whoever will be coming after my tenure will be made to understand the need to sustain the project. I still have less than four year to spend in office and this will afford me to closely monitor the project so that after the expiration of my tenure, my successor can equally build on it. Sustainability is one of our major fundamental targets and objectives as a union.

What is the role of the NUT leadership on the welfare of teachers posted to rural areas?

When you call a place rural area, it means a place that lacks social amenities such as portable water, electricity among others. I do not believe there is any rural area in Ekiti state rather we have less urbanized areas. When you are employed and posted to those areas or towns, there is constant power supply, water and security. In all the 36 States of the federation, Ekiti State is ranking among the best without any security challenges. You cannot be stationed at Ilejemeje and say you are in a rural area. I am from Ijero and when I was employed, I was posted to Efon Alaye where I started my teaching career and that was where I got married. I do not believe there are rural areas any longer in Ekiti state because the state is blessed with good roads, constant electricity, improved medical facilities among other benefits.

What is your reaction to the presentation of awards to the best teachers by the Ekiti State Government?

Well, it was as a result of their dedication and diligence towards their duty. The reward of good work is more work, the awardees that were presented with a new model car including the best schools’ administrators rewarded with cash gifts are all members of the NUT. I am urging our teachers to be more dedicated to their duties because to whom much is given, much is expected because gone are the days when they say that the reward of teachers is in heaven.

The administration of Dr. John Kayode Fayemi has done excellently well, he is a man who understands the values of education. If not for the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the economy last year, the Governor would have done much better hoping that his successor in office will follow his footsteps on teachers’ welfare. It is on record that Fayemi’s government has prioritized teachers’ welfare. Ekiti teachers are excited and they have seen the gesture as a call to service.

What was the state of things in Ekiti NUT when you came on board as the Chairman?

I don’t like to speak about past event or past leaders. I can only talk about myself. The condition of NUT when I came on board was okay but I think there is an improvement this time around. I hope as we go further, we will continue to record more improvements.

What is your projection from now till the end of your tenure?

Let me say that the future belongs to God and the end justifies the means. Permit me to say this in Yoruba ‘Omo to ba ma je asamu, kekere lo ti n seenu samusamu’. I have numerous achievements now and by next year, I want it to multiply 10 times better than this. All of my achievements were recorded during Comrade Akosile’s tenure, who is now the first Vice President of NUT in Nigeria. I cannot predict about the future rather I have to concentrate on the present. Whatever years I will spend in this profession, one thing that I am sure of is that teachers will receive the dividends of this union by the special grace of God.

Your final words of admonition?

Let me appreciate your magazine for promoting teachers’ welfare. My word of admonition to teachers is that to whom much is given, much is expected. It is required that they should be more dedicated, prayerful and watchful and to believe that none of their work would go unrewarded. I want to say that government is doing a lot and teachers need to do more by being more productive.

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