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Governor, Minister disagree publicly on supply of computers to schools

By on February 18, 2013

Computers were supplied. No, they weren’t. Thus the drama played out, Saturday, during the National Good Governance Tour of Rivers State, as Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, and State Governor, Rotimi Amechi, disagreed on whether the Federal Government supplied computers to 10 secondary schools each across the 36 states of the federation.

After inspecting Akpajo Model Primary School, a Rivers State project, the Minister told the governor that while he was Minister of Communication, the Federal Government, under the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), provided computers to 10 secondary schools per state every year to bridge the digital divide in the country.

The governor disagreed, saying: “That is not true. If it is, where are the ones meant for Rivers State? Does it mean they have been sold?”

“It is not true,” the Minister replied. “They are here. You are the governor; you can’t know everything. I know we placed computers in Rivers State. You can make a phone call; you will find out that they are here. Last year, we supplied textbooks to all secondary schools. You may not know that these things are going on.

“We have, through the School Access Programme of USPF, provided computers to schools, particularly secondary schools.”

As the argument continued, the governor invited the state’s Commissioner for Education to testify whether the state received computers from the Federal Government.

Caught between Scylla and Charybdis, the embattled commissioner wisely replied: “I can’t engage in an argument with the Federal Government.”

Maku said a major problem facing the country is that primary and secondary education are under the purview of state and local governments. He noted that until these two levels of education are fixed, no miracle could happen at the tertiary level because the latter merely receives input from the former.

He urged state and local governments to revamp education, saying resources must be channeled to where they are needed most.

The minister disclosed that almost all federal universities in the country are being provided with ICT platforms, pointing out that the Federal Government has invested billions of naira on the project.

Maku, who was impressed at the quality of structures and facilities in the school, said: “This is a very good infrastructure. To back up this, you need to focus on teacher training. It has to be sustained by creating an education policy that would ensure that schools are in the hands of teachers that are trained to handle ICT components effectively.”