In appreciation of what they described as the present reign of unprecedented good governance in Enugu state, over 21,000 teachers in the state yesterday held a massive solidarity rally for Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
The teachers who came from their primary and post-primary schools respectively converged on Michael Okpara Square, Enugu led by the chairman of the state chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers(NUT), Comrade Paul Nnaji and other leaders of the union.
Visibly overwhelmed by the massive show of solidarity by the teachers who also honoured him as Odozi Obodo I of Enugu state, that is, the reformer of society, Governor Ugwuanyi declared that “I will continue to cherish your gesture for the rest of my life” and directed that the promotion of teachers for the 2016 and 2017 be implemented forthwith.
Stating that “from the bottom of my heart I will continue to appreciate this gesture”, Governor Ugwuanyi also directed that a bus be provided for the NUT in the state.
They gave eight main reasons for rallying in support of the governor, enumerating them as “some of the notable achievements, including but not limited to regular payment of Salaries/allowances to teachers, regular promotion of teachers since he assumed office and recruitment of teachers”.
According to the teachers whose collective message was delivered by the NUT chairman, the other reasons for throwing their weight behind Governor Ugwuanyi include “regularization of the appointment of all Volunteer Teachers, resumption of payment of gratuity to Primary School Teachers and the renovation and construction of new classroom blocks as well as construction of new office complex”.
The leader of the teachers also pointed out that in spite of the current economic situation, the governor has maintained “Sustenance of free and compulsory Education policy from Primary to JSS 3 and he has maintained industrial harmony in the Education Sector.
“There is no record of industrial unrest in the Education Sector since His Excellency, the Executive Governor of the State- Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi came on Board”, he posited.
The teachers told the governor that they have never had it so good in recent times, alluding specifically to the recruitment of 2000 teachers into the primary school system, the latest regularization of the appointments of 857 volunteer teachers for secondary schools and the on-going exercise for the recruitment of a fresh 2000 more teachers into the post-primary school system.
Heads of state-owned agencies in charge of education in the state who were also present at the rally corroborated the teachers and also enumerated so many of the good gestures of the Ugwuanyi administration to improve education and the welfare of teachers in the state.
The chairman of the Post-Primary Schools Management Board(PPSMB), Nestor Ezeme, pointed to the release of the arrears of promotion of teachers for 2013, 2014 and 2015 all inherited by the present administration and also approval of the 27 and a half percent of teachers’ enhancement allowance, among others.
Ezeme’s counterparts of the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board(ENSUBEB), Chief Ikeje Asogwa, and Mr. Obi Kama, chairman of the Science, Technical, Vocational Schools Management Board( STVSMB) spoke similarly, praising Governor Ugwuanyi for creating a whole brand new conducive environment for the education industry to thrive.
Hence, the state commissioner for education, Prof. Uche Eze, who also spoke at the rally, told the governor that as he went round to greet the thousands of teachers that took part in the rally, it would have been clear to him that they are happy.
He explained that the teachers are happy because the new education environment in the state caters for their welfare while also providing the needed corollaries that would enhance teaching and learning.
In all, the stakeholders expressed their satisfaction with the genuine attention the governor has continued to accord education in the state since he assumed office, now paving the way for the emergence of state of the arte school buildings, reforms in technical education, enhanced performance of pupils and students in internal and external examinations, among others