Nigerian Concord Newspaper
Education they say is the bedrock of the development of any society, and Governor Samuel Ortom haven known this said in his policy document that he will make tertiary education strong, secondary education stronger and primary education strongest, by this statement he meant to ensure that the Benue child receives the best knowledge to compete favourably with their world counterparts.
Making primary education strongest was a deliberate plan to strengthen the foundation, as primary education is universally accepted as the foundation laying ground of education for which other systems of education is anchored.
A wide range of evaluation of the landmark achievements of Governor Samuel Ortom in the education sector presents a platform for everyone to appreciate the governor’s overwhelming passion for quality education and the high premium he places on the commitment to guarantee the future of the Benue children as leaders of tomorrow.
The governor’s unprecedented feats in this sector despite the economy set back in the country is a testimony that he truly acknowledges the role of education in nation building as well as the economic, political and socio-cultural development of the society.
A breakdown of the journey of his educational reforms in Benue state is highlighted below
In a bid to halt the incessant strike action by staff of tertiary institutions which bewildered education system and the consistent epileptic academic calendar of tertiary institutions, Governor Samuel Ortom immediately on assumption of office, placed the payment of salaries of Benue State University staff on Firstline Charge ensuring that they collect their salaries as and when due, with this it is worthy to note that the Benue State University has never embarked on any strike action occasioned by the failure of the state government to meet their monetary obligations.
The Governor also made concerted efforts in meeting up with their academic and earned allowances, placing Benue State University (BSU) as the only State University in Nigeria today that is up to date in payment of both earned and academic allowances to both academic and non academic staff.
The Governor through the years have also been able to ensure the graduation over 200 medical doctors from the Benue State University Teaching Hospital Makurdi there by closing the gap on the scarcity of health personnel in the state.
The carrying capacity of the Benue State University was also increased from 4500 to 6000 after obtaining full accreditation for seven courses.
Having understood the need to allow more students gain access to Tertiary education, the Governor has converted Akperan Orshi College of Agriculture Yandev and College of Advanced and Professional Studies into Akperan Orshi Polytechnic and Alfred Akawe Torkula Polytechnic respectively with infrastructural development giving speedy attention.
Just last year there was massive recruitment for teaching and non teaching staff of the Benue State University in other to increase the man power capacity of the institution for effective service delivery.
The secondary schools in the state have also received a fair share of equitable resource distribution and prudency with the following schools receiving wide range of attention.
Government Girls College and Government Girls Secondary school Aliade have been given face-lift as reconstruction work was done on the delapidated structures, as well as the school of exceptional children Aliade.
There has also been retraining of 10,000 primary school and 6,000 secondary school teachers to equip them with the requisite knowledge to impact positively into the Benue child.
Through these efforts, Benue students have come top among their counterparts in many competitions across the country.
In 2019, the second overall best student in University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) was from Benue state, while the state came 3rd in overall performance in Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by West Africa Examination (WAEC)
The PRIMARY SECTOR
When Governor Samuel Ortom said he would make primary school strongest he really meant his words, and upon assumption of Office the Governor had paid counterpart founding that enabled him secured UBEC funds covering four years at a stretch to carry out educational development in the primary school sector making him the first Governor to access UBEC funds for fours interval at a go for educational development.
These funds have ensured the construction, and reconstruction of over 1,000 blocks of classrooms across the 23 local government areas in the state, the primary school sector of the state have received tremendous attention than anytime in the history of the state as blocks of classroom are seen in every nook and crannies of the state.
Also the state has been able to procure and distribute over 50,000 plastic furniture to primary schools across the state.
In 2015, Governor Samuel Ortom implemented the 18,000 minimum wage, capping it with promotion letters recently, a development that served as major motivation for Benue Teachers
May this vision of Governor Samuel Ortom serves as a guide for any future leader that will put the education of the Benue Child at his or her front burner. By Dan M.