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The morality of sharing money to Pupils in Imo (3)

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As October 1 draws near

MIND AND BODY with  Rev. Fr. Vincent E. Arisukwu

Opportunism: Another factor has to do with those whose responsibility it is to share this money. God knows that many Nigerians are opportunists at different levels. When I went to enquire on the modalities for sharing this money, I reliably gathered that agents from the ministry or from the government come to do the jobs themselves. The money is not collected by proxy; it is given only to students present at the time of distribution. When compared with election periods and delivery of ballot boxes to polling centres for voting in Nigeria and the artificial delay that always followed, I came to some conclusion that the lateness in sharing this money could be a consciously manipulated act. It is possible that the so called agents are interested in having some balance because some parents who wouldn’t want to risk their children’s lives would surely pick them up before the agents would arrive. And since no one collects the money on behalf of the other, what it means is that they would pocket the remaining. One may then check the multiplier effect whereby each school has an average of twenty students who fail to collect their 500naira for those in secondary schools or 300naira for those in primary schools across the 1,259 Primary Schools in the twenty seven Local Government Areas in Imo State. The reason why the money, if at all it must be shared, is not given to the principals and headmasters/headmistresses of the schools to arrange a more appropriate time and manner of sharing thus remains unclear.

Substitution of Academic Value: It is common sense that the academic standard in our schools has grossly fallen below per. And this is one area the government whose interest is in education could focus on. The time of attending schools, the quality of teachers, the comportment of students, the environment for studies, etc are most of the things craving the attention of the government. The products that graduate from primary to secondary schools; from secondary schools to tertiary institutions; then from tertiary institutions to the society account for the societal pollution we experience nowadays because it is merely a recycling of half baked or even non baked products. To train a child, one must follow him up from the cradle since formation involves the whole cycle of the child’s development. When a child develops appetite for money from his primary school days, it follows him up through his entire life. A greedy child in the primary school would surely be greedy in the secondary school and so on. That is why the idea of sharing money to the child could indirectly turn him into a business man while already in the university. A little child who is used to money in the primary school pilfers if he lacks while a university undergraduate who is desperate to have money becomes either an armed robber or a kidnapper if he lacks money. Such child simply substitutes his studies for money. He sees education as a mere formality, a means to acquire money and not to improve himself and the society. He values not what he learns but imagines the financial benefits of what he studies.

Mendicant Mentality: Contrary to Governor Okorocha’s imagination, sharing money to kids in primary and secondary schools has an adverse effect of promoting both intellectual and moral poverty in the kids. First of all, there is a sense of poverty created around the children as a driving force for their receiving the money. The children see themselves as poor people from poor parental background to be assisted. This could lead to moral depravity as the Igbo cultural mentality of training a child in the way of hard work, guiding him against scrambling is gradually eroded. The mendicant spirit inculcated into these kids unfortunately could trail them as they grow up. Intellectually, they feel they are begged to come to school and implicitly feel they are going to school on behalf of the person who lures them. They see themselves as belonging to the one who has bought them to be in school. More over, the capacity to study becomes wanting thus leading to mental and intellectual impoverishment.

Distraction: There’s no gain saying the fact that academic activities in schools on any day of distribution of government’s stipend to the children would be completely disrupted. This atmosphere is in tandem with the mentality of kids who are easily distracted by little things. On receiving their own money, some children zoom off to announce the reception of their share to their parents and wards. The prodigal ones rush to look for spots to purchase whatever they could lay their hands upon with while only a very few could compose themselves to continue their academic activities. The school authorities themselves would surely take care of their visitors from the ministry as is customary to Igbo tradition. School would indirectly close for the day.

Infrastructural Neglect: To deny that the administration of Governor Rochas Okorocha has tried to pay attention to the state of schools in Imo state more than his predecessors would be a blatant lie. But to say that the administration has done enough would be a myopic assessment. A tour around most public schools in rural areas still depicts these schools in pitiable states. Most of their buildings have collapsed; roofs are leaking, toilet facilities are unavailable, pipe born water are lacking, inadequate security, lack of science laboratories, Staff rooms wear gory sights, black boards are perforated, etc. Most of the children who receive these monies in public schools don’t know what computers are; some have no good seats and lockers, no games facilities and recreational equipment, etc. Ironically too, access roads into some of these schools have become so deplorable and impassable that the children navigate their entrance through self made routes with difficulty. Yet the government comes into such abject environments to share money. If the entire sum that is used to execute this elephant project is put together, the Owelle administration could go a long way to improving the infrastructural condition of most schools in the state.

Imbalance: The controversy of restricting free education to children in private schools alone without considering those in private schools still remains unresolved since government does not give any form of grant in aid or subvention to her children in private schools. As if that is not enough, the same government now doles out huge sums periodically to share in cash to their contemporaries in public schools. What is good for the goose would have been good for the gander as well. This is an administrative injustice because tax payers in the state are not categorized according to the schools their children attend. Even though this does not justify sharing money to children, it carries with it a sense of injustice towards the children of the same state.

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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