The Lagos State House of Assembly has tasked corporate organizations on the need to help develop public schools in the state just as a lawmaker in the Assembly, Hon. Olanrewaju Ogunyemi donated a sum of N300,000 to the Lagos State Model College, Badore, Ajah.
Ogunyemi, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Education, made the donation on behalf of his daughter, Dr. Olubukola Ogunyemi, who was a student of the school, during an unscheduled visit to the school by the committee as the new session began on Monday.
The lawmaker, who is representing Ojo Constituency 2 in the assembly, however used the opportunity to call on private organisations in the state to support the government on education.
“Look at what we have done on Security Trust Fund in Lagos State, why can’t we have Education Endowment Trust Fund.
“I have always said that personnel is very important in developing a nation and the kind of people you shun out would determine what your development would be like.
“I would keep telling them that the people we churn out from our public schools would still be part of most corporate organizations. GT Bank, Daystar Church and some individuals such as Chief Adebutu Kensington and Mrs. Alakija have been supporting the state government on education.
“We are calling on more corporate organizations and individuals to support the government on education, and look into our riverine areas to support education there,” he said.
Ogunyemi added in an interview with journalists that it was important to address the issue of furniture in public schools and that and that it was discovered during the visit that more furniture were still needed in the model college in Badore.
According to him, the supply of furniture to schools is ongoing and “we saw that many schools got new furniture during the holidays. I think it is an ongoing process and we told Badore that they would get more.”
He revealed that he was moved to donate the sum after going round the hostels, and seeing some falling ceilings.
He said: “the Principal of the Junior School and a teacher in the Senior School said that with N150,000 each they would fix the ceilings. So, I decided to donate N300,000 to the two schools on behalf of my daughter, Dr. Olubukola Ogunyemi, who also attended the school for her secondary education.”
The politician added that the committee deliberately decided to visit Lagos State Model College, Badore (Junior and Senior) in Ajah, Lagos Island on the first day of resumption to assess the facilities there.
The students, he said, had been away for long vacation, while stressing that they started resuming to the boarding house on Sunday and that the committee members felt that they should go round to see the state of facilities there.
He explained that this was in line with the determination of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state to renovate and improve facilities in public schools.
“We saw some of the renovations that were done in the school. We went round the schools and we discovered that the children and the teachers were in high spirit. We also saw some of the children resuming.
“I think it is all about enhancing the confidence of the people in our public schools. What we have seen is that the government is leaving no stone unturned and we have seen areas, where they have made efforts. We have also seen areas that must be improved upon. What we found was above average,” he stated.
On the issue of security, the lawmaker recalled that a couple of days back, the Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, who is also the state Commissioner for Education, called a stakeholders meeting of parents and managers of schools in the state before resumption.
He emphasised that one of the issues raised at the meeting had to do with security, and that the state government has put measures in place with the Nigerian Police to ensure that all the public schools, particularly those with boarding facilities, were given adequate security on 24 hours basis.
“The principal of the school said that the school is secured. Also, the issue of shanties around the school came up at the stakeholders meeting and we noticed that in Badore.
“Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has given express directive that all the shanties around the schools in the state should be pulled down to ensure security in the schools.
“The government is very sensitive and everybody is on red alert on security in the schools. Even the students are also sensitive on this and we are good to go for the new session.
“On improving infrastructure in the schools, in the last budget, the government pumped about N10 billion into the system and that is what is resulting in the massive renovations in the schools.
“Also, about N6 billion is being pumped into this year’s budget that is resulting in the massive renovation exercise that is going on in the schools with the directive of the government.
“However, we will keep calling on corporate organizations and individuals to come in to help the government on education,” he stated.
Earlier, while addressing parents and students in the school, Ogunyemi said that the committee was on the visit to see what the school looks like on the first day of resumption.
He reiterated that the state government was very committed to giving the best to the education sector in the state, and that the visit to the model college would be the first by the committee.
“We went round some of our model colleges over a year ago, we looked at the facilities there and saw that there was need for the government to do some turn around.
“We have since been to the Model College at Meiran and we are very satisfied with the turn around that is there now. Today, we are here on routine inspection as it is constitutionally stipulated that we do oversight functions.
“We are happy that some of you parents have been bringing in your children since yesterday. We thank you for your belief in public schools and in our government.
“We want to assure you that the government would continue to do the best for education in the state. We will look at the hostels, we would look at the dining rooms and the environment,” he said.
The lawmaker told the audience that the committee would look at the areas to be improved upon in the school and get back to the government and the Deputy Governor of the state in particular as the Commissioner for Education.
He explained further that the reason the committee goes round on oversight functions was to ensure that the budget it approves for education in the state is judiciously put into use.
He said: “We are satisfied with what the state government has done so far, but we want to see what has been done in Badore, we want to see areas we can improve upon.
“Security has also become an issue in our public schools and the government is not resting on it’s oars on this. We want to assure you that your children are safe, they are secure and there is a collaboration between our state government and the Nigerian Police.
“We want to call on you to support the state government by paying your taxes. We are also calling on those of us who are close to churches/ mosques and corporate organizations to influence them to support the government on education.
“Some of the children here today may not necessarily work for the government, they would work with corporate organizations such as banks and other companies. So, we must invest in education, we want to appreciate you for given your children quality education.”
One of the parents in the school, Mr. Olubodun Alausa, while commending the efforts of the government on model colleges in the state, urged the government to ensure that shanties around schools were removed as he said that they harbour criminals.
He also called on the government to provide drainages around the school so that the water could go into the canals, and pleaded with the government to ensure more security around the school as he revealed that armed robbers once escaped around the area after a robbery operation recently.
Another parent, who simply gave his name as Evangelist Adeyemi, spoke about the environment of the school.
He said that one of his friends, who has a daughter in the school, once told him that his daughter and others were called ‘toilet girls’ in the school as they clean the toilet always.
He told the committee that the school should arrange for people to take care of the toilets, adding that even if the students would assist, they should not be called such names.
Ogunyemi later promised the parents that all the issues would be addressed and called on them to pay their taxes regularly to help the government have more money for development.
Other members of the committee on the visit included Hon. Akeem Shokunle from Oshodi/Isolo Constituency 1 and Hon. Jude Idimogu from Oshodi/Isolo Constituency 2.