By Babatunde Opoola
A flashback to the 16 years of decadence of the past administration in Kwara state is a sad chapter in the history of the state that the people will not forget in a hurry. It was an unmitigated disaster. Education was comatose while corruption oozed to high heavens. Kwara state laid prostate, holding thinly onto life on oxygen, having been sucked and sapped of all nourishment for growth and prosperity.
While education and other sectors were crying for attention, the failed political dynasty of the last 16 years was busy celebrating inanities like Kwara Diagnostic Centre,where they had to demolish a multi-million Naira magnificent office of The Herald for a diagnostic centre that could be built elsewhere. They behaved like Nero who slept while Rome burnt.
By the time Mallam AbdulRazaq Abdulrahman took over leadership in May 2019, our education sector was in such a terrible state that it was like starting afresh — rebuilding the broken down infrastructure and lifting the morale of teachers.
In the early days of the administration, When AbdulRazaq visited a dilapidated school, KLGEA primary School, Verna in Kaiama LGA, the state of the primary School was a reflection of our comatose education system. AbdulRazaq was aghast and wondering about the deficits, decay and deprivations that Kwarans have endured for the past years. He was highly miffed and dejected by what he saw. Not only were the buildings dilapidated, they lacked chairs, books for libraries, sporting facilities and just about anything.The situation had deteriorated to embarrassing level that pupils and students in some public schools sit on the floor.
Today, 365 days after, the situation has changed. 31 public schools have been touched with the magic wand of Mallam Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq who is transforming the schools from their state of decay to true citadels of learning.
From complete rehabilitation of Government High School, Ilorin, rehabilitation of blocks of classrooms at Community Secondary School, Baboko, rehabilitation of a block of classrooms at Government Day Secondary School in Ilorin; to comprehensive rehabilitation of Offa Grammar School, Offa ,comprehensive rehabilitation of Oro Grammar School, Oro, rehabilitation of a block of classrooms at Ansarul Islam Secondary School, Ikotun, rehabilitation of a block of classrooms at Ijara Isin, complete rehabilitation of Government Secondary School,Shaare, all in Kwara south; it is a harvest of solid successes. The comprehensive rehabilitation of Government (Unity) Secondary School, Kaiama, Government Secondary School, Lafiagi and Patigi Secondary School, Patigi, all in Kwara North, among so many other public primary and secondary schools undergoing renovation in the state, is a revolution in the education system. The interesting thing is that all the schools come with a standard specification. All the schools either renovated or reconstructed have the symbolic red, blue or green roof which makes them distinct from other structures around. It is a revolution in the education sector because today, every local government area has been touched and the process of renovation is still on.
The dramatic turnaround on the educational infrastructure in Kwara state will have a salutary effect on not just the learning environment but more significantly on performance in national examinations so that we would not have to travel the sordid past of having to pay fines for involvement in examination malpractices again. It would be recalled that this administration has paid N30.5m fines to prevent many public schools involved in malpractices in last SSCE examinations from being blacklisted by WAEC.
So, when AbdulRazaq approved the rehabilitation of 31 Public schools in the state, it seemed like an ambitious project, it seemed a tall order not just for the number but quality expected.
However, AbdulRazaq’s goal is to ensure that no child is left behind or denied every right and privilege to compete with their peers. This has provoked the administration to invest in the future by investing in her children so that the children of the poor must not feel inferior as a result of the school they attend.
Today, 365 days after the Otoge revolution, dreams are already taking a clear and definite shape as more public schools are being transformed; today, public schools in Kwara are wearing a new face and there is a breath of fresh air in education.
Happy one year anniversary.