Bribery allegation rocks recruitment of teachers in Enugu
Applicants who participated in the recent recruitment of teachers exercise in Enugu State, are calling on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to cancel the entire exercise and order a fresh aptitude test, alleging that officials of the State Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), collected between N150, 000 to N200, 000 as bribe, from some applicants before offering them jobs, through their cronies.
According to the aggrieved applicants, the payment of bribe ended up being the criteria for gaining employment, and not the outcome of the written tests held throughout the state, or the possession of valid qualification.
They alleged that the board chairman, Ikeje Asogwa, looked the other way when reports of the bribery scandal and sundry sharp practices, were brought to his knowledge.
ENSUBEB in an advertisement recently signed by Asogwa, had asked qualified candidates to apply for teaching vacancies in primary schools within the 17 local councils of the state.
The board chair was also said to have promised that the board would make use of the employment window to ensure that only the “best brains were employed”, so as to correct anomalies in the primary school system.A recent report showed that several primary schools in the state, especially in the rural areas were without the full complement of teaching staff. In some cases, only one teaching staff was found handling an entire school, and in others, it became the responsibility of the communities.
“I knew that certain things were not right from day one. You can imagine a situation where the names of shortlisted candidates were pasted just on the eve preceding the examination. So, all the applicants staying out of Enugu were automatically shut out of the process,” said one of the applicants in the exercise, where over 10, 000 applications were received.
“Secondly, on the day of the examination, there was no sign of preparation for the exercise at all. We reported at the CIC by 7 am, but at the end of the day, we managed to start the test by 5:30 p.m.“We had no seats and nowhere to place our writing materials. I just placed my answer script on my laps, even as there were thousands of us in a hall that shouldn’t take more than 200 persons.”
Another applicant, who also declined to give his name said they would mobilise to the Governor’s Office should the board go ahead to publish any list of successful applicants.“I want to tell you and we have it on good authority that cronies working for members of the board of ENSUBEB demanded payments from some candidates in order to get the jobs. They asked us to pay N150, 000 for the teaching job. We now understand why, from the onset, the process was not made in such a way that the best would emerge.
“If they had organised the test very well; if the process had been credible, it would have been easy to pick the best out of the many applicants. But as it stands, they are just interested in the money they would make. You know how much they would get by collecting such money from thousands of applicants?”Asogwa has, however, vehemently denied the allegations, insisting that persons who performed below expectations during the process were the ones making such allegations.
“There is nothing like that; nobody is bribe from anybody. We have warned people severally that they should not fall victim to fraudsters. We have also been announcing on radio, for about two weeks, now that nobody should give money to anybody.”Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Observers, has called on the state government to probe the bribery allegations stressing that, “doing the right thing is the only way Enugu can get the best brains to handle her primary school pupils”.
In a statement signed by its president, Nwokolo Jeremiah, the group expressed disappointment that this was happening after several unfulfilled promises to address the educational needs of the state, especially at the primary level.“We have watched several governments come and go and none deemed it necessary to address the imbalances in the primary school system, especially as it relates to teaching staff. This is the only state where you enter a school and find only two teachers handling the entire school; this is the only state where communities are meant to task themselves to be able to pay part-time teachers in primary schools.
“We were delighted when the pronouncement was made and we discovered that action was actually being taken to recruit qualified teachers. Now, what we hear concerning the exercise is bad. It will be an injustice to our children if the right persons were not engaged for their upkeep. It will amount to nothing if we allow this development to stand by sweeping the allegations under the carpet.`
“What is not debatable is the fact that there are no jobs anywhere, and the people who are desperate can cash in on any development to gain something, no matter their qualifications. Let us not give room for mediocrity to run down our system for us, and plunge us into further crisis, the group stated. The group promised that it would continue to monitor developments at ENSUBEB, and implored Ugwuanyi to jettison “politics” and bring perpetrators of the crime to book