Finally, a new Education Secretary (ES) has resumed duty to oversee the affairs of the Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) in Ikorodu division after about six months of protracted struggle among political leaders on who take charge of the institution that oversee the affairs of primary education system in the division.
Mr Amusa Afolabi, a former Principal, recently took over the administration of the LGEA from Dr Olumide Fasakin, the Head of Human Resource & Administration, who has been directing the affairs of the education authority in acting capacity since the immediate past Secretary, Lion Taiwo Oduloye, completed his five – year second term tenure on Friday, January 24, 2020.
The newly appointed Education Secretary has since been performing his official duties.
Amusa and his entourage, on Thursday, May 21, paid a visit to Teachers House, Ikorodu, where he was warmly welcomed by the Ikorodu Branch Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Fakolade Oluwafemi Oluwaseun, JP, and the entire members of the Union’s Executive Council.
Also in attendance to receive the new ES was the immediate past Chairman of the Union, Comrade Ambassador Babatunde Oduguwa.
Amusa also monitored the Modified Homegrown School Feeding programme across the 16 centres in Ikorodu division on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
Intrigues Of His Emergence
THE IMPACT gathered that the confirmation of Amusa as the new ES by the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LSUBEB) was due to a letter written by Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, a former Secretary to the State Government and member of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC), to the education board in March this year.
Other sources revealed that aside the letter, that opposing political leaders and groups agreed on consensus with involvement of some traditional rulers that led to the emergence of Mr Amusa as the new Education Secretary.
It was also gathered that the six Council Chairmen also made wider consultations on their consensus candidate which also happened to be preferred choice of the former Deputy Governor, Prince Abodun Ogunleye, and former Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun.
The Chairman of SUBEB, Hon. Alawiye King, on March16,2020, had written a letter, with no. LASUBEB/CON/289, to the Executive Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government, on the appointment into the office of the Executive Secretary of the Ikorodu Local Government Education Authority.
He copied Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, Asipa Kaoli Olusanya and the Executive Chairmen of the five Local Council Development Areas in Ikorodu Division – Ikorodu North, Ikorodu West, Igbogbo/Baiyeku, Ijede and Imota.
In the said letter, the SUBEB Chairman charged stakeholders to resolved their differences by harmonizing candidates presented and pick one that is acceptable to all interests.
“To this end, the Board, having considered the various positions, hereby, resolves that all stakeholders: the Party, House of Assembly Members, Member House of Representatives, Royal fathers and Leaders, should harmonize the process of appointing a single candidate for the position of Education Secretary, Ikorodu LGEA”, Alawiye said in the letter.
THE IMPACT gathered that the letter from the SUBEB Chairman gave Asiwaju Basorun the much need opportunity to take up the issue surrounding the delay in appointing a candidate that would be acceptable to all interests as stipulated by the SUBEB law.
In his response, which was stated in a letter (a copy of which THE IMACT has), Basorun reminded the SUBEB Chairman of a joint letter written in December 12, 2019, by the six council chairmen in Ikorodu Division over the candidate they jointly nominated for the Executive Secretaryship position as stipulated by the SUBEB law.
“My decision to reply to your letter, which is a reply to the letter the six Council Chairmen jointly signed and sent to you since December 12, 2019, is to state that you prevaricated on the matter before you wrote and you need to know the details of the procedure adopted by the APC Ikorodu Apex Body in arriving at the choice of the candidate whose name was forwarded to you in the December 12, 2019 letter.
“For avoidance of doubt, please let me reproduce the relevant sections of the SUBEB Law of 2005 on this matter here:
“Section 16, the Authority shall consist of:
(1a) A part-time chairman, who shall be a seasoned primary educationist and shall be appointed by the chairman of the Local Government;
(3) The Secretary of the Authority shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Local Government and his appointment shall be ratified by the Board.”
It was gathered that the six chairmen had forwarded the name of Mr. J.A. Amusa, who scored 88% in the screening setup by the Apex body of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in lkorodu Division, to SUBEB.
The screening committee was headed by Alhaji Babatunde Rotinwa, the Chairman, Lagos State Local Government Commission.
We gathered that Chairman of the committee was nominated by the Apex body, while other members of the committee were nominated by the council chairmen.
Other members of the Screening committee included – Alhaji Lawal Animashaun, former Party Chairman of the then single Ikorodu Local Government (Ikorodu Local Government), Otunba Olasunkanmi Tijani, former Council Chairman of Ikorodu North LCDA (Ikorodu North LCDA), Bishop Olajide Odusoga, former Secretary to Ikorodu Local Government (Ikorodu West LCDA), Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, former Lagos State Head of Service (Igbogbo/Baiyeku LCDA), Mr. Olanrewaju Kuye, Director, Information & Public Relations, Lagos Polytechnic and Secretary of the Committee (Ijede LCDA) and Hon. Muse Odumosu – Former Supervisor, Imota LCDA (Imota LCDA).
Below are the candidates that appeared before the screening committee and their scores:
Mr. J.A. Amusa (88%), Mrs. Kokumo Buraimo (72%), Mr. W.O Anibaba (72%), Mr. Yekinni Aregbesola (71%), Mr. Lukman A. Sonibare (70%), Mr. Mukaram A. Raheem (70%), Mrs. M. Olaide Oduloye (65%).
Others were Adegboye A. Odofin (62%), Mr. B. Olayinka Owolabi (60%), Mrs. B.O. Ogunleye (60%), Mr. Olasunkanmi A. Onafowokan (60%), Mr. S. Okanlawon Orefuwa (59%), Mr. J. Olasunkanmi Afolabi (53%) and Mr. Williams G. Olalekan (50%).
THE IMPACT gathered that it was based on the above result that the Six Council Chairmen forwarded a letter, jointly signed by them, approving the appointment of Mr. J.A. Amusa as the Ikorodu LGEA Education Secretary to the Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, on December 22, 2019, for ratification.
Asiwaju Basorun, in his letter, charged the SUBEB Chairman to act accordingly in tandem with the extant law that regulates the appointment which has been fulfilled by the Chairman of Ikorodu Local government and the five chairmen of the LCDAs in nominating Amusa for the Executive Secretaryship position.
“Unless you are making the case of Ikorodu an exception, which should not be, I implore you to take the excellent procedure adopted by the Apex Leaders of Ikorodu on this matter as sacrosanct coupled with the fact that the six Chairmen complied with the SUBEB Law 2005; and accept the name, Mr. J.A Amusa, jointly submitted by the six Ikorodu Council Chairmen, and let the Board headed by you ratify same as the next Education Secretary of Ikorodu LGEA”, the old Awoist stated authoritatively.
When contacted, Asiwaju Basorun, who was surprised on how our reporter came about those letters, confirmed that he actually wrote one of them as response to SUBEB Chairman’s request and added that he cannot state anything further on the mater except that he did what was required in other for Ikorodu not to be denied what is due to her.
The scramble for the position in the past months, according to report, has further divided the leadership of the ruling party in the division with many seeing the matter again as the usual battle between the Justice Forum and The Mandate Group.
It would be recalled that another screening committee, headed by the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly and representative of the Ikorodu Constituency I, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, and had the backing of the State Vice Chairman of the APC in Lagos East Senatorial leader, Asipa Kaoli Olusanya, also conducted another screening where Mr. Yekinni Aregbesola, a former Head Teacher, Lagos State Polytechnic Staff School, Ikorodu, and APC Ward B Chairman in Ikorodu, emerged as the most preferred candidate.
Other members of the committee headed by Hon. Agunbiade were the representative of the Ikorodu Constituency II, Hon. Nurudeen Solaja, former Secretary to Ikorodu North LCDA, Hon. Matthew Adesanya, a senior education officer with the Lagos State Government, Alhaji Kabat Ajalogun, an APC Chieftain, Captain Benson, two-term member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and two-term Chairman, Ijede LCDA, Hon. Saheed Hassan Adefarasin and former acting Commissioner for Tourism, Special Adviser on Arts & Culture and former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and former Special Adviser and acting Commissioner for Tourism, Hon. (Chief) Mrs Adebimpe Akinsanya.
Sources also informed THE IMPACT that Amusa was also backed by major stakeholders in Ikorodu Constituency II which reportedly claimed that it was their turn to produce the Education Secretary after Ikorodu Constituency I had produced late Alhaji Oredein and Lion Austen Taiwo Oduloye as occupants of much coveted position.
The new Education Secretary is an indigene of Ijede and Igbogbo/Bayeku Local Council Development Areas of Ikorodu Division, though, some have argued that his immediate predecessor, Lion Oduloye, also related to both Constituency I and II.
It was also gathered that at least three Royal Fathers in the division out of the six, lobbied heavily for one applicant or the other for the Education Secretaryship position.
Meanwhile, Hon. Wasiu Adeshina, Chairman, Ikorodu Local Government, in a phone chat with THE IMPACT, confirmed that the six chairmen jointly signed the letter that was sent to the SUBEB Chairman on the nomination of Mr Amusa as the preferred candidate for the Executive Secretaryship position.
He added that the initial letter was rejected by the SUBEB Chairman on the ground that there were many petitions on the issue.
Hon. Adeshina also told THE IMPACT that the council chairmen represented the same name to SUBEB for the second time and it was accepted and confirmed as the consensus candidate.
The Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA Chairman, Builder Sesan Daini, also speaking with THE IMPACT, also confirmed that the six chairmen jointly signed for the candidacy of Mr Amusa, but that a consensus was first of all reached by the leadership of the party and other stakeholders on what the council Chairmen agreed upon based on the directive of the SUBEB Chairman.
He confirmed the intervention of traditional rulers in resolving the matter.
When called, the Vice Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Deputy leader, Apex body of the party in Ikorodu Division, Asipa Kaoli Olusanya, revealed that there were initial conflicts before reaching a consensus on the candidature of the new Education Secretary of the Ikorodu Local Government Education Authority, Mr Amusa, due to lack of wide consultations.
He made this revelation while speaking with the THE IMPACT on the emergence of the new Education Secretary.
Asipa Olusanya described the Education Secretaryship position as a political appointment which, according to him, needs inputs from political leaders and other stakeholders.
“If you put it that we agreed on a consensus, yes, we did. Where consensus would be needed to advance the cause of lkorodu division, of course, it is a reasonable thing that anybody can do irrespective of personal interests, ego or differences”, the political leader cum educationists stated.
“To that extent, we allowed wisdom to prevail and Amusa Afolabi emerged”, Asipa Olusanya confirmed.
“Whoever occupy the position of the Education Secretary will be there on behalf of the Ikorodu division as a whole. It’s like a political appointment because it has to go through a political and local government structure and processes.
“Being a political appointment, there are, of course, political leaders that should be consulted widely and not narrow one.
“What happened in this particular case was that the consultations at a particular time had hiccups and wisdom later prevailed and there were interventions and because we all have shared goal and we are stronger together than what divide us, we have to agree in the interest of the division.
“The shared goal is the improvement and advancement of the aspiration of Ikorodu division to move forward. However, the approach could be different. That’s where you would find conflicts, the conflict is not to throw away the baby with the bathing water but rather, to ensure that there is fairness, transparency and confidence and that whoever that emerge would have taken due recognition of those that should be in the know of happenings and consulted them on regular basis because each political leader represents larger number of people”
Speaking generally on the position and expectations from the occupant of the Executive Secretary office, Asipa Kaoli, who is the owner of one of the largest and best private educational institutions in Lagos state, said:
“The position of the Education Secretary of the Local Government is open to qualified professionals. Most often it is for those that have spent their time and years in teaching system and probably who have also retired as principals. Those that have had experience in the administration of education and also familiar with the local terrain, challenges of primary school system in terms of structures, infrastructures, personnel and of course, the pupils”, Asipa Olusanya stated.
“Such people are also expected to have clear knowledge of problems and have solutions to improve situation as it is.
“The tenure of the Education Secretary for whoever comes in is for an initial period of five years and such person is also entitle to another five if he or she wishes to spend two terms. The immediate past Education Secretary, Mr Oduoye, spent 10 years which was productive.
“He was able to improve the school system, interacted very well with the principal stakeholders and attracted the attention of the government in improving the infrastructures.
“That is why we have seen the impact on the school children, but that is not to say that all have been done. There is lots more to be done because as you improve the facilities, so also the number of pupils attending the schools are also increasing, even at higher rate than the rate at which you are improving the infrastructures”, he stated while charging the new Education Secretary to make his own impact on the system.
The situation is that there are still problems and challenges for whomever that comes in to solve.
He stated that all the candidates that showed interest in the coveted position are all qualified, adding that he was concerned about the process that would give them fairness in other to maintain confidence in the system.
“More than 15 eligible candidates contested for the position. When we put down the criteria for the contest, they are all qualified to contest.
“In such case, we should make it a robust process that will show fairness and transparency to all those that have shown interest. This will give confidence in the system, process and in whoever that emerged”, he said
Another reliable source within the Mandate Group confirmed that the emergence of Mr Amusa as the new Education Secretary was accepted by the group and that he would be granted every support to make him have a successful administration.