FEATURES: Ekiti: Re-Writing The Story Of Our Younger Ones

May 19, 2013

I attended A.U.D Primary School, Oke-Ila, Ado-Ekiti. Most of the structures at the school were dilapidated and I was unfortunate to receive my elementary education in those classes. I wasn’t that lucky with post-primary education either as I had to put up with Anglican High School, Opopo-gbooro, Ado-Ekiti.

What pre-occupied my mind mostly in those days was that God should prevent the structures from collapsing on me and my classmates. God was kind enough to hear my prayer, but not every pupil with the same experience was as lucky as I was.
On Friday, 7 December, 2012, 13 pupils of Layeni Primary School, Ajegunle, Lagos were injured by a collapsed classroom in their school. Luckily, none of them died, but the four students, who were killed in Taraba on Wednesday, April of this year when the classroom in which they were writing SSCE at Alfa Academy, Donga collapsed, were not as lucky.

The two pupils of Holy Child Group of Schools, Benin who perished under the rubble of their collapsed classroom on Monday, April 3, 2006 were also not lucky. These are just a few out of the many cases of school children killed by collapsed school buildings.
It was not because God didn’t answer the prayers of these children not to be killed by the dilapidated structures that housed their classrooms; it is because God expects those in positions of authority to do the right thing that they, as human beings, can do in their power and with the brain that he has bequeathed them, rather than weary him with unnecessary prayers, which most times are more ostentatious than genuine.

Like me, how many of the children in present-day schools in Ekiti would have been lucky if their schools were not renovated by the Kayode Fayemi administration? Like the many who were killed by collapsed school buildings, how many could have been killed in Ekiti had the Fayemi administration kept praying rather than acting, especially in a school like OlaOluwa Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti which the rich would probably not house their dogs in its previous state?

For most of the kids who attend such schools, it isn’t a case of not being brilliant or out of any sin of theirs. Like me, they were there because their parents couldn’t afford better and the society that they lived in was too busy to waste its resources on their likes – children of the poor. So they had to make do with the poor facilities at such schools. During my childhood, this situation bred in most of us inferiority complex whenever we came across privileged kids.

Unfortunately, this situation persisted in Ekiti until the Kayode Fayemi administration deemed it wise to embark on the renovation of 183 public post-primary schools under the Operation Renovate All Schools in Ekiti (ORASE). In most cases, the buildings were completely rebuilt and were fitted with iron doors and windows. The State Government also procured 40, 000 units of furniture for the use of the students and teachers in these schools. Today, when I look at those schools, I feel like travelling back in time (if it were possible) to my childhood to have my story re-written, because that is what the Kayode Fayemi administration is doing. It is re-writing the stories of the benefiting children who cannot afford the gargantuan fees of elite schools. It is giving them sense of belonging and also instilling in them a lasting self-esteem which would make them hold their own against any of their mates, or superiors.

Due to the debasement of governance in Nigeria, it is rare to see any leader rise up to the inner yearnings of the voiceless by giving them a strong voice, which no one can ever take away from them. Luckily for Ekiti school children, the Kayode Fayemi-led State Government has in so many ways risen to those yearnings of theirs that they sometimes cannot even tell their parents. Which child would dare ask his parents for a laptop when the problem of feeding yet hangs over their family?

The Kayode Fayemi administration, like every responsible and responsive government, has taken on the role of the watchful parent who provides those needs that their biological parents cannot. Its one-laptop-per-child and one-laptop-per-teacher policy has taken the kids away from my own days when I didn’t get to see the wonder-working box called computer until my second to the last year in the secondary school, and it certainly was not mine. It belonged to a neighbour who was not kind enough to allow me a touch. Today, the school children in Ekiti are not just touching the computer, they own it and they take it home at will.

Inasmuch as God has helped us to be better despite our rocky childhood, our duty is to encourage responsible leaders like Dr. Kayode Fayemi to continue to give the younger generation a solid foundation preparatory to a prosperous future.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi wrote: “It is a challenge we face both individually and collectively to build a society that can raise its head in the comity of nations that are today dictating the pace in shaping policies for growth and development across the globe.” The time is short; the work is much. The earlier we join the train of laying a solid foundation for the future of our younger ones, the better.

By Dimeji Daniels

This article was first published in the Daily Independent

Last modified: May 19, 2013

One Response to " FEATURES: Ekiti: Re-Writing The Story Of Our Younger Ones "

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