Our attention has been drawn to the alleged distribution of some instructional materials to public schools in Kwara State from the Mandate Office of former Senate President Bukola Saraki. These instructional materials have his pictures or some sort of personal identities emblazoned on them and were sent straight to the schools across the state.
Information on social media said those materials were rejected at the schools and there have been calls on the government to speak on the development. We therefore wish to state the following:
• The State Government wasn’t aware of the distribution of these instructional materials in the first instance.
• The appropriate thing to do is to send those materials to the Ministry of Education which has a statutory duty of vetting learning materials for quality control and then approve such for distribution. Not doing so was a violation of a basic rule which is key to strengthening our institutions and keeping standards.
• Besides, it is wrong for anyone to emblazon their images or personal logos on instructional materials made with public resources for distribution in public schools. The said materials were some sort of Constituency Projects which have been approved and funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
• It is instructive to note that the Kwara State Ministry of Education recently approached Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to mass-produce instructional materials with his picture emblazoned on them ahead of school resumption and the Governor rejected the proposal on the ground that there should be no personalisation of projects executed with public funds.
• Flowing from the above, the authorities at the schools were right to have rejected those materials because the Ministry of Education was not aware of such and also because there should be no politicisation of education, whether directly or indirectly, especially at the basic level where the children are very impressionable.
• Since the materials had been produced with government funds, we urge the Mandate Office of Senator Bukola Saraki to return them to the Ministry of Education after having replaced the covers emblazoned with personal photographs or political identities.
Yakub K. Aliagan
Press Secretary, Kwara Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development.