If the news emanating from the state ministry of education is true, Governor Dapo Abiodun may have taken off the administration of Ogun State government on a faulty start.
It is not cheery at all to have reneged on a campaign promise to provide free education in the state, 100 days after assuming a four-year term as governor. Does that show that the governor did not do his homework well before promising free education during his electioneering campaign?
Or was the purported circular from the Ministry of Education a hoax to cast the governor in bad light? If that is the position, a strong rebuttal must be put out, lest the impression will be abroad that the Abiodun administration conned the state electorate. It will then be dubbed a fraud and a lazy administration lacking in honour.
Why should the state government go back on its promise to offer free education, the basis on which the education-hungry citizens of Ogun State voted for the APC? Was sufficient home work not done before the promise was freely given during the rancorous electioneering in the state?
Or, was government calculation altered because the Amosun administration before it had cleaned the treasury out? If that was even the case, a man that sought for and planned its entry into government, must have prepared for such eventuality.
Situations such as this, make one recall the Jakande phenomenon in 1979. A similar scenario played out in Lagos State when the grand old man was about to assume office as the first civilian governor of the state. After he had won a landslide in an election during which his party made the provision of free education a major issue, the outgoing military administrator then, Navy Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, counselled that Jakande, the governor-elect at the time, should renege on his campaign promise once he now knew there was no money in the state coffers with which to fund free education.
Officials of the state ministry of education had recommended to the Ukiwe administration that school fees should be increased from the school resumption date in September, 1979 while his successor was promising to make education free soon as he was sworn in as governor in October, 1979.
Jakande thanked Ukiwe for his advice but rejected it and insisted on going ahead with the implementation, saying that no man of honour would go back on his words, especially when the people with who he had entered into a social contract, had fulfilled their own part of the bargain.
With ingenuity that was uncommon, Jakande launched the free education programme from his first day in office with gusto and never looked back on the implementation, which won a number of national and international accolades.
If Jakande could go ahead in spite of evident paucity of funds to finance free education in his time, there’s no earthly reason why Governor Abiodun should not go ahead and implement free education in a state that bred apostles of free education like Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his first minister of education in the old Western region, Professor Stephen Oluwole Awokoya. Let Abiodun put on his thinking cap like Jakande did in 1979 and he will discover that there can be a way out to keep his honour intact and give his people what he promised them – wholesale!