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Atiku’s Visit: Delta PDP and APC Clash Over Closure of Schools for Campaigns

The main opposition party in Delta State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has queried the rational behind the action of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led State Government of shutting down schools in Asaba for campaign purpose.

The closure of schools in the state capital for the PDP presidential rally, had generated heated arguments and concerns from relevant stakeholders in the state of the which the APC lashed out at the PDP administration for playing politics with the future of the future Leaders of Delta State.

However, in a reaction by PDP through its usual Press Statements, the party justified its action, calling the condemnation by the APC as foolish and nonsensical, going further to knock the opposition party in the State, for clutching at every semblance of a floating straw to save itself from drowning in the ocean of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s avalanche of achievements in the State.

Examining the press statements by the two political parties as circulated, ASABA METRO observed that the PDP and APC accused each other of destroying the educational system of the country. While the PDP accused the APC led Federal Government of stalling the learning process in the higher institutions with the prevailing ASUU Strike, the APC decried the state of educational infrastructures and learning conditions of Primary and Secondary Schools in Delta State as overseen by the PDP led Government.

Delta APC in a Press Statement titled, “DELTA STATE GOVERNMENT IS PLAYING POLITICS WITH THE FUTURE OF OUR FUTURE LEADERS AND DELTANS”, signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Barr. Ogheneluemu Sylvester Imonina, on February 1, 2019, reads;

“The All Progressives Congress, Delta State, condemns in totality the playing of politics with the future of the future Leaders of our dear State. It is a known fact that majority of the public Primary and Secondary Schools in Delta State are like Schools of medieval times.

“Most of the schools are without desks and chairs for our future leaders to sit and learn like their counterparts in other climes. In some of the schools, students learn in classrooms with leaking roof. In some of the schools, there are no toilet facilities. Moreover, in majority of the public schools, chairs used by Teachers were/are provided by themselves from their meagre salaries.

“As if the torment, the future Leaders of our dear State are passing through in acquiring education is not enough, the PDP led government, now derives pleasure in closure of public schools, whenever they are to hold their dance of shame, known as political rallies in the affected school. Besides the above, yesterday, the 31st day of January, 2019, PDP led government shamefully and brazenly directed and supervised the closure of both public and private schools in Asaba and its environs, because of PDP presidential rally that was held in Asaba.

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“The above unfair treatment made most parents to go to their places of work with their children and/ or wards, while some of the less fortunate children were left to roam the streets of Asaba. One of the annoying and sacrilegious actions of PDP government in Delta State, was that in some government Ministries, Civil Servants were directed to be at the PDP presidential campaign ground, thereby desecrating the sanctity of Civil Service Rules.

“APC as a responsive and responsible political Party, calls on Deltans and people of goodwill to call PDP led government in Delta State, under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, to order. PDP should be made to hold the educational pursuit of the future Leaders of our dear State, sacred. The skewed and selfish interest of PDP government cannot and must not be allowed to be above the interest of the Leaders of tomorrow, and majority of Deltans.

“Deltans, and indeed the poor whose children are mostly in public schools deserve better treatment from Delta State government.”

In its reaction, Delta PDP on February 2, 2019 in a Press Statement titled, “DELTA APC IS CLUTCHING AT STRAWS TO SAVE ITS LIFELESS CAMPAIGN FROM DROWNING – DELTA PDP”, signed by Dr. Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza, State Publicity Secretary, PDP Delta State, said;

“The Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has dismissed the latest Press Statement issued by the quasi-Publicity Secretary of a faction of the fragmented All Progressives Congress, APC in Delta State, Barr. Ogheneluemu Sylvester Imonina, describing it as a laughable over indigence in alarmist rhetoric and a simplistic interpretation of a globally recognized and adopted tradition, accepted in all civilized societies.

“Responding to the Delta State APC Press statement titled: DELTA STATE GOVERNMENT IS PLAYING POLITICS WITH THE FUTURE OF OUR FUTURE LEADERS AND DELTANS, the State Publicity Secretary of the Delta PDP, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, chided the opposition faction of the opposition party in the State, for clutching at every semblance of a floating straw to save itself from drowning in the ocean of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s avalanche of achievements in the State, even as he flayed the APC for suggesting that the future of our future leaders is being threatened by the PDP, whereas the real future leaders of Nigeria have been traumatized by the flip-flopping of  the Buhari administration in the education sector, which has led to the prolonged strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, since November 4, 2018.

“Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza said: “We read with great humour, the alarmist tirade and bellyaching of the Delta APC as the factional Publicity Secretary, Barr. Ogheneluemu Sylvester Imonina, laboured tediously to patch a worthless argument together in a futile attempt to rake up sentiments where none was required or solicited for. It is embarrassing to remind the spokesperson of Delta APC that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has designated an electoral calendar, which legitimately stipulates the necessity of campaign rallies as part of the electioneering process.

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“Of course we appreciate the fact that the APC in Delta State does not understand and cannot even imagine what it means for the presidential candidate of the most powerful and populous political party in Africa to come for a presidential campaign rally in the State, given their unpopularity and incapacity to attract such an event, but suffice it to say that a responsible government, which understands the huge magnitude of this immense activity on the hitherto pristine existence of the community, will immediately take preventive measures to protect the most vulnerable segment of the society, in anticipation of the intensified movements and robust carnivalesque groundswell of human and vehicular concentration in the short period of the rally.

“To then describe the proactive decision of declaring a one day, safety conscious closure of schools, to safe guard our school children in view of the anticipated extra-ordinary activity in the community, as: “playing politics with the future of the future leaders” does not only sound foolish and nonsensical, even in its badly phrased attempt at tongue-twisting rhyme, but is a crass display of the pedestrian intelligence that defines the manner of leadership and governance the APC is promoting as credential to govern Delta State.”

Continuing, the Delta State PDP Publicity secretary said: “It is even more pathetic to realize that a political party which is crying over a one day holiday in Delta State, declared with the best human interests intentions to secure the safety of our future leaders, is the same political party which has held our tertiary institutions in bondage and punished our future leaders for over two months as a result of its refusal to address the fundamental issues bedevilling our education sector, as championed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

“We will refrain from joining issues with the APC over their baseless vituperation that most of the schools are without desks and chairs for our future leaders to sit and learn like their counterparts in other climes and such hogwash like learning in classrooms with leaking roof as well the litany of outdated political propaganda they have been throwing out for years, but refer them to outstanding and enduring work which the Governor Okowa administration is doing in the education sector.

“While reminding them that the ‘R’ component in the SMART Agenda means “Relevant educational policies,” we are also proud to inform them of the excellent work which Governor Okowa and the PDP have done in the education sector, starting with the very ground-breaking initiative of convening an education summit in the very early days of this administration. Furthermore, in Primary and Secondary education sectors for instance, the administration has recorded giant strides in the areas of massive upgrade of schools across the State, provision of classroom furniture such as desks, chairs and Blackboards, the amicable resolution of the payment of teachers salaries and other related services to boost the morale of teaching and non-teaching staff under this administration, amongst other achievements.

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“In the tertiary education sector, Governor Okowa from the onset of his administration in 2015, has not relented in affirming his resolve to re-position tertiary education in Delta State by embarking on the continuous construction of enduring infrastructure and upgrading of academic statutes and course accreditations in our higher institutions in Abraka, Asaba, Oleh, Ozoro and Agbor campuses. This has also been complimented with the result-oriented revolution in the Vocational and Technical Education sector in Delta State, which has culminated in the massive upgrade and rehabilitation of the Technical Colleges in Ofagbe, Sapele and indeed in all the three senatorial districts. The Three Polytechnics at Ozoro, Ogwashi-Uku, and Otefe-Oghara, in addition to the College of Physical Education at Mosogar and school of Marine Technology, Burutu have also been transformed by the revolutionary initiatives of the Governor Okowa administration under the brilliant SMART Agenda.

“It is sad that instead of devoting its very limited capacity in seeking ways of cobbling and mending its fractured structure, the Delta APC is meddling in matters over which it neither has the intelligence nor the facts to engage anybody in a sensible, reasonable conversation. However, we wish to assure them that we will not be distracted by these silly attempts at creating unnecessary diversions by the penchant to invoke sentiments in their usual bellyaching manner.

“We are completely satisfied that our Presidential rally was not only hugely successful and incident-free, the mammoth crowd that thronged the Stephen Keshi International Stadium and the overwhelming outpouring of love, joy and happiness exhibited by Deltans as they welcomed and embraced our Presidential candidate, His Excellency, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, GCON (Wazirin Adamawa), has proven beyond doubt that PDP is Delta and Delta State is PDP. Even the future leaders and indeed majority of Deltans know that their future is well and solidly secure with Governor Okowa, with President Atiku and with PDP all the way,” Dr. Osuoza concluded with great confidence.

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