Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on Monday accused the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), of trying to derail the programmes he has designed for primary school in the state with some of their demands.
The governor, who alleged that a segment of the leadership of the union has been politicized, vowed that his administration would not negotiate with them.
He made the vow during a stakeholders’ forum, organised by the State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB), with the theme, ‘Improving collaboration in the provision of basic education’.
He said there is no going back in his quest to improve basic education which he described as foundation of whatsoever the people are today.
According to the governor, the last strike by primary school teachers was influenced by a segment of the leadership of the NUT.
He said, “Let me make it clear that we do not have any problem or challenges with our teachers. The 11,000 teachers that we have trained for the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme are amazing.
“We have worked together and grown together in the last few years. They have been very supportive, but unfortunately, what you saw the last time was not the teachers. It was a part of the leadership of their union that has become political.
“The union wants to play politics with the lives of our children; we have no problem with our teachers in Edo. We have a problem with a section of the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) that wants to continue to politicize education.
“They want to derail what we have started with EdoBEST in the name of politics, and I have said that as the governor of Edo, who was popularly elected by Edo people, I am ready to fight with anybody that wants to joke with the lives of the school children.
“We are not going to negotiate lawlessness; we are not going to be intimated; we are ready to fight as long as you want to derail EdoBEST.
“It’s not a threat; I just want to assure you that we have the mandate of Edo people to move Edo forward and nobody will stop us. I am sure that all the stakeholders here will join us to make sure that the right thing is done for the sake of our children.”
The governor however assured of continuous collaboration and capacity building for teachers, as part of his administration’s commitment to improve the standard of education in the state.
Earlier, Chairman of SUBEB, Dr. Joan Oviawe, said she came up with EdoBEST (Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation) to reposition basic education in the state.
She said in the last four years through EdoBEST, Edo State has achieved the state with the least number of children out of school, made Edo State primary schools teachers the best paid in the country with the restoration of all their previously withheld emoluments and plans to recruit 3,000 more teachers soonest.