BreakingNews 22/10/13: The Problem with Okey Ndibe

[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] – As far back as we can pry into history, we found man desiring to know. Philosophers claim that the urge to know was at its foundations. The search for knowledge is why people often advise those that say that education is costly to try ignorance. Education is a priceless possession that people seek crossing mountains and hills. Trying to differentiate between the educated and the uneducated, Aristotle said: “the educated differ from the uneducated as the living from the dead.” Making the same differentiation, Aristophanes remarked the differences were like those between broken and unbroken horsesAs if this were not enough, on seeing an uneducated man sitting on a stone, Zeno said “behold a stone on top of another stone.”
 
 
I deliberately decided to start thus to show how important education has always been throughout the history of civilization. Realizing this, Governor Peter Obi has invested so much to get it right in Anambra State. It was dead before he became Governor.
 
 
O yes, looking at the state of education in Anambra State before 2006, one can say that it was not just dead, it had been buried. There was no school in the state that had good structures, functional laboratories, computers/INTERNET, generators and other basic things that make for sound learning. In terms of human infrastructure, teachers were not purveyors of values, morals and manners they were supposed to be. In turn, rather than train animal to become men, our schools ended up training them to become wild.
 
 
This was the situation that Governor Peter Obi met. He proposed radical measures to restore education in the State to what it used to be. When some people complained on the extremitiesof the radical measures he proposed, he said to them “A twig is cut with a pen knife, while trunks are cut with axes.” He insisted the problems in that sector were complex and needed radical measures to solve.
 
 
This was how he single handed, against overwhelming contrary views, decided to return schools to the Churches. This singular move was acclaimed as the most radical action ever taken in the education sector in the whole of the South-East, if not Nigeria. So earth-quaking was it that the  World Bank commissioned a team led by Prof. Paul Collier to visit Anambra State and evaluate what Obi was doing. The result of the evaluation was recommended as a template for other countries to follow.
 
 
Obi has continued to offer all manner of support to the Church. The last money he gave to them was N1.5 billion, to repair the primary schools returned to them. It is not just a question of giving them money, but he is encouraged because studies commissioned by the State actuallyshowed that their achievement doubled what Government accomplished with the same amount of money.
 
 
Today, Obi has provided water to the schools, rehabilitated many of them, and provided them with internet connectivity, and generators, among others. He employed 2000 teachers as well as 200 computer teachers for Anambra Schools.
 
 
Those on ground are united in pouring encomiums on our State as the light of the State, but people like Dr. Okey Ndibe, righteous indignation here and there, believe that the Light must be extinguished.
 
 
In his last piece in his column in the Sun Newspaper of October 15th, he questioned the rationale for the award of Exemplary Good Governance and Leadership bestowed on Gov. Peter Obi by ASA-USA at its just concluded 2013 Convention in Tampa, Florida. Let him speak in the first person: “ It’s sad to see Mr. Obi’s handlers count among his achievements the donation of buses, computers, and desks to school. Point to one serious location in the world where such approach to statecraft is held to be praise-worthy.”
 
 
This statement merely reminded me that it was the same man, who upon seeing the new, imposing teaching hospital at Awka, built by Governor Obi declared that it was not even fit to house prisoners! Thus, how can those aware of his antecedents be surprised at his latest quip?Tell me when measuring success has become uniform in the entire world.  If an American Government provides computers to its schools, certainly it is not news, but if they lunch their students to the space it is news. But we are talking about a clime where even chalk to write used to be a problem and someone came with radical measures that have transformed the place and someone else says it is not praise-worthy. Ndibe has to tell us whether what he wants is for Peter Obi to ignore those basic things and concentrate in sending students to Mars for his likes to applaud.
 
 
Supposing we analyze a State whose citizens have not heard about education since creation and one of them was brave enough to introduce education to them, would the one not be complemented for an outstanding achievement? Obi met a dead education sector and is spending billions of Naira to revive it. He started by providing basic things that are desiderata for learning. If those basic things were there, he would have pursued other things. It was St. Theresa of the Child Jesus who said that virtues do not mean doing extra-ordinary things, but doing ordinary things in an extra-ordinary ways.
 
 
The buses which Ndibe was referring to were not 10 or 20 in number, but 500, which at 5million a piece is 2.5billion naira. On computers, we are not talking of 5,000 but 25,000 pieces, with accessories, which are worth over 2 Billion Naira. As for INTERNET connectivity in all the Schools, the State is paying over 700 million (with subscription to last till 2015 in order not to encumber his successor). For support to sports, the State spent 700 million naira on the schools. The Governor has ordered a container of Chinua Achebe’s Trilogy for Secondary schools in the State. Each secondary School in the State has equally received 10-20 million naira for rehabilitation – this also runs into billions. There was never a time anybody said tha
 
html add here