Oyo State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Barr. Abdulrahman Abduraheem, has reacted to insinuations that the state government was planning to return some schools to their original owners, be they missionaries or individuals.
The Commissioner, who clarified the State Government’s position in a statement at the weekend, maintained that the government at no time indicated its readiness to return schools to their original owners.
He declared that the only recent event where Governor Seyi Makinde spoke about ownership of schools was at Loyola College, during the commissioning of a Hall named after the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu.
According to the Commissioner, the governor only advised members of the Old Students Association of the school to direct their request to the Ministry of Education.
He added that the state government had drawn up a Memorandum of Understanding to guide the planned takeover of Government College, Ibadan, by the Incorporated Trustees of the Government College Ibadan, comprising the Old Students Association and government nominees, adding that the new regime of control at the Government College, Ibadan, is meant to serve as a litmus test for the necessary template on the matter.
The statement quoted the Commissioner as saying: “There is clearly no truth to the story making the rounds that the government of Oyo State was about to return schools to their original owners.
“The government does not have the such intention and there was nowhere His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, made that statement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the governor was confronted about a possible return of the Loyola College, Ibadan, to the Old Students Association and he asked the association to direct its request to the Ministry of Education for necessary engagement.
“He did not give any directive on the return of the school or any school, whatsoever.
“It is true that the state has developed a proof of agreement with the Incorporated Trustees of GCIOBA, but that does not in any way amount to a blanket return of all schools to their original owners.
“While the state will not shy away from productive partnership with stakeholders in the education sector to support its policy of free and qualitative education, it will not take any step capable of upsetting the cord of alliance already existing in a highly treasured sector like education.
“Let me use this opportunity to address some interests, who appear bent on twisting the submission of Mr. Governor on this subject upside down, to look for other things to do as it is clear they will not succeed in the inglorious path of attempting to whip up religious sentiments on this issue.”