Ajimobi admits error in handling of schools’ privatisation
It is against Awo’s legacy, says Mimiko
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State yesterday admitted error in the handling of the planned privatisation of public secondary schools in the state.
Ajimobi, who spoke at the rescheduled stakeholders meeting, which held at the House of Chiefs in the secretariat complex took responsibility for the misgivings that arose in the wake of the planned partnership.
He told the audience, which included traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil society groups and community leaders that the government ought to have met with key stakeholders before holding a larger forum.
Meanwhile, Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, yesterday said any planned privatisation of public secondary schools in the South West should be jettisoned.
The governor said this yesterday in a media interaction with journalists after a meeting at the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja.
Mimiko said any such plan will amount to a repudiation of the legacy bequeathed to the region by the patriarch, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
His words: “Let me just say that I don’t know the details yet. But I hate to believe that Oyo State Government will want to privatise public schools. I don’t know the details yet, I hope it’s not that. Because we are proud inheritors of democratisation of access to public education way back in the Awolowo era. That is the legacy that we inherited.”
According to Ajimobi: “We made three mistakes instead of one that people think. The Ministry of Education has been one of the most supportive of our administration and we have allowed them run the system on their own. When we came to the point of inviting partners to run the school, we had thought they would have called on stakeholders before the enlarged stakeholders meeting was fixed, but they didn’t do it and I also didn’t do it, so it was our mistake.
“Secondly, we made mistake by asking willing and interested partners to pay the sum of N250,000 as expression of interest, even though the maximum we could get at anytime is maybe a hundred applicants, which is even still not enough to run the schools or do anything.
“More importantly, even for publishing the proposal before conveying an enlarged stakeholders meeting, it was a mistake. But for every mistakes that might have occurred, don’t hold anybody responsible, just forgive me.”
In their separate contributions at the meeting, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and Olubadan if Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji lauded the governor for coming up with the initiative as a way of rescuing education from collapse and also assist the government in the face of dwindling revenue.