By October 5, it will be exactly one year since the Ogun State Government awarded a house and cash prizes to outstanding teachers in the state.
Newspapers in Nigeria reported that Governor Dapo Abiodun presented a two-bedroom bungalow, at the state-owned Princes Court, to the overall best teacher in the state, Odegbola Ayodele. Mr Ayodele is a Junior Secondary School (JSS) teacher in Abeokuta Grammar School (ABEOGRAM).
The sum of N2.5 million was awarded to Adewale Abayomi from Odua Comprehensive High School, Imoru, Ijebu-Ode for being the best teacher in the Senior Secondary School (SSS) category. Also, N2 million was said to have been given to Mary Adeyemi from St. Paul’s School II, Sagamu, the best primary school teacher in the state.
Governor Abiodun announced the awards while meeting with leaders of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) and the All-Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) in the state, as part of activities to mark the 2020 World Teachers Day.
At the event, the governor reportedly said the state government had instituted an annual awards scheme for outstanding teachers in the state and those who distinguish themselves in carrying out their duties.
“We will continue to celebrate innovation. We will encourage consistency. Our administration will continue to make the welfare of our teachers our priority. Our teachers’ reward will not be in heaven, but here on earth,” the governor said at the event.
The claim of the award of a house and cash prizes came a day before the governor gave N5 million to the 2020 winner of Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) lockdown show, Olamilekan Agbelese, aka Lycon. The governor was also reported to have given Lycon a 3-bedroom bungalow and appointed him as the State Youth Ambassador.
The governor announced this when he received the BBNaija winner on October 6 at the Governor’s office at Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, the state capital.
People later compared the two events and argued over the desirability of the house and cash prizes.
It is however not clear whether the 2020 BBNaija winner has received the house and cash gifts announced by the governor.
When contacted, one of the personal assistants to Laycon and a family member declined comment on the issue saying that he is “not at liberty to answer such questions” of whether his brother had received the gifts.
He promised to get Laycon himself to talk on the matter but has yet to do so a week after.
An investigation by Dubawa revealed that the claim that Governor Abiodun gave a house and cash prizes to the three teachers is misleading.
Our findings are that while the key to a two-bedroom bungalow was given to Mr Ayodele, the documents that will officially make him the owner have not been handed over to him.
Further investigation revealed that the claim that the two other teachers, Mr Abayomi and Mrs Adeyemi, received N2.5 million and N2 million respectively is false.
As of the time of filing this report, the teachers were yet to receive the cheques or cash for the prizes reported in the media almost a year ago.
A source close to the teachers said they have not been able to collect their prizes.
“The teachers are really disappointed and have no assurance that they are going to get the cash prizes again.
“They have been hoping and expecting that they will be given their cheque but this is almost one year now and another (set of) awardees will be announced soon,” the source lamented.
The two teachers declined to comment on the matter.
Also, the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary School (ASUSS), Ogun State chapter, declined comments on this issue. When contacted, the state chairman, Akeem Lasisi, said he would not comment.
But Dubawa was able to get a copy of a letter written by ASUSS to Mr Abiodun appealing to the governor to pay the teachers.
The letter dated June 22, 2021 with reference number, AsUSS/H.025/21 and signed by the State Secretary, Adegbenga Banjo, and State Chairman, Akeem Lasisi, was routed through the Head of Service.
The letter titled: “2020 Ogun State Teachers’ and Schools’ Excellence Awards: Our Deepest Gratitude” commended the governor for handing over the key of the two-bedroom bungalow to “Odeogbola Ayodele who came tops in Junior School category.”
“Flowing from that of Odeogbola Ayodele and the sense of fulfilment it brought, ASUSS is quite convinced that in no distant time, the duo of Adewale Kayode who came top in the Senior Secondary Schools Category and 2nd Prize Winner, and Mrs Akinniyi Mary, who was top in the Primary School Category and 3rd Prize Winner, will also have their rewards delivered to them,” the letter stated.
The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Abayomi Arigbabu, was yet to respond to a message sent to his phone number to clarify why the widely reported cash prizes have not given one year after.
While responding to the inquiry of Dubawa on the issue, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Waheed Odusile, confirmed that the prizes have not been given to the teachers but said they will “soon” be presented with them.
“Very soon…The prizes will be given to the awardees…Thanks for your interest,” the commissioner responded through a WhatsApp message.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...