A large turn-out of leaders of non-governmental groups from diverse walks of life in Osun State to canvass support for the much maligned state education policy as the catalyst for the socio-political and economic transformation of the State in the near future was the high-point of a one-day stakeholders’ symposium organized by a non-governmental body, Osun Movement for Peace, in Osogbo recently.
Not less than 15 organizations representing different stakeholders’ interest in the state attended the symposium which held at the Ideal Nest Hotels, Osogbo. Among the bodies represented were Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)/Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Parents Teachers Association (PTA), civil coalition groups, Religious groups, traditional institutions and the academia, among others. Scores of print and electronic media practitioners drawn from local and national media outfits also took part in the event.
With the theme, Osun Education Policy: Issues, Challenges and Imperatives, the symposium, according to the organizers, was to serve as a platform for all interested and well-meaning citizens of the state to dissect the policy with a view to engendering robust positive debate and support base for the non-derailment of its beneficial impacts.
In a 48-page presentation that capture the mandate, objectives and components of the education policy, Chief Lai Oyeduntan, Chairman Osun Schools Infrastructure Development Committee, decried the attempt by those he called “Mischievous political jobbers who are adept at creating confusion” to malign the policy and derail the execution of its noble ideals which are meant for the reorientation, empowerment and fortification of Osun children to be able to take a pride of place in the evolving new world order.
“The education policy in the State of Osun is being implemented professionally, responsibly and with the sole aim of empowering Osun children to grow into complete citizens with the Omoluabi (cultured and well mannered) attributes firmly planted in their conscious and sub conscious being so that they can be at the forefront of the vanguard of new middle class envisaged to elevate the Yoruba race and indeed Nigeria in the comity of focused, development-attuned nations of the future”, he explained.
Lead speaker at the event, Prof. Ayo Olukotun of the Lead City University, Ibadan, enjoined Nigerians to cultivate a fresh attitude of objectivity and pursuit of public good whenever public policies are analysed and criticised.
According to him, sensational and politically motivated destructive criticism of policies that are designed to protect and advance the best interests of the public majority is antithetical to development and socio-economic and political liberation of mankind.
Delivering his vote of thanks, Coordinator of Osun Movement of Peace, Comrade Temitayo Bankole, said his group chose to organise the symposium as its own contribution towards the building of an egalitarian and peaceful society where citizens are better informed about policies that shape their destinies.
In the same vein, Chairman, Civil Societies Coalition, State of Osun, Comrade Biodun Agboola, expressed happiness that the symposium was able to halt what he termed “The divisive agenda being secretly championed by irresponsible politicians whose aim was to precipitate disharmony and religious crisis in the State”.
In his words, “In recent times, attempts have been made by irresponsible politicians with the support of a section of the media to present Osun as a state where religious crisis has engulfed the public schools system. This is an attempt to precipitate chaos, make the state ungovernable, and thus prepare the ground for their devilish political machinations as the elections draw near. The efforts of Osun Movement for Peace in organising this symposium where the policy has been well articulated and endorsed by representatives of all critical stakeholders in the education sector has put paid to this nebulous agenda. Our happiness is further increased by the fact that the Osun Movement for Peace is one of our members in the Civil Societies Coalition, State of Osun”, Comrade Agboola enthused.
In her keynote address, Deputy Governor of the State who also doubles as the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Grace Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, praised the organizers for giving an opportunity to stakeholders in the state education sector to come together to brainstorm on a policy the State Government holds dearly as a clear-cut strategy for liberating and securing the future of the State.
“Our administration is most sincerely committed to the liberation and security of the future of our state as the catalyst for the reclamation of the lost values and ideals of the Omoluabi Persona which defined the Yoruba race in the past”.
“To be the epicentre of the future black race that would be able to stand tall and claim its destiny, Osun State and her children must be sufficiently empowered with a holistic education that combines cognitive, affective, psychomotor and technological excellence. Our administration remains totally committed and will not spare any effort to pursue this objective in the interest of Osun children; no matter the attempt by enemies of the state to make us lose focus or abandon the course,” Mrs. Laoye-Tomori disclosed.