Love Revolution By Okwuchukwu Ndubisi Kenneth

The educational sector is vital to human survival and growth because without it there will be no meaningful growth and development in the country. It is the foundation, upon which other professions stand, grow and excel.

Hence, any proactive government should initiate policies and programmes that will enhance the growth and development of education in the country. However, this is not the case in the country because there are ample evidences currently to show that the educational sector is one of the sectors that are not receiving adequate attention from the government.

Take for instance, from the period 1999 to 2022, the Federal and state governments in the country have allocated less in their annual budgets to the educational sector when compared to other sectors in the country. This is evident in the standard of education that is available to the people. Most of our children are forced to learn in a hostile environment that is inimical to their growth and development. A good number of the schools that are currently in used for learning in Delta State are not viable or conducive for learning.

This ugly scenario is more evident in the rural communities than urban centres. The teachers are not well paid or motivated to do their work. They often work in hostile environment that will not enable them to properly impart knowledge on these students. Most teachers in the State are not promoted at the appropriate time and if promoted at all are not given financial incentives to back up their promotion.

To make matter worse, some teachers suffer terribly after retirement because it takes years for them to receive their gratuities and pensions. Some even die without receiving anything. Even most students in the state are not left out in this malaise because they are not eager to learn good things that will help them in future.

If you take a tour of our state libraries in Delta State, you will discover that few students are found studying in them; which is not the case twenty years ago. No wonder, most pupils in primary and secondary schools are not eager to become professional teachers in future because the present government in power has made them to believe that there is little value in being a professional teacher. This is the ugly trend in Nigeria today due to the government insincere policy towards the educational sector.

Most parents are also complaining of the high cost of sending their children to school in the state. The cost of learning materials needed by the students are rising in an alarming rate and if not properly addressed by the state government will affect the standard of living of the people in the state.

Also, the quality of teaching in most schools is depreciating greatly because more unprofessional teachers are employed to teach our children in most private schools in the state. Even some registered private schools are not exempted from this ugly practice of employing unqualified teachers to teach our children in their schools. This is mainly because most private schools in the state are not willing to pay professional teachers reasonable salaries that is befitting of their professional status. Also, the fall of the naira in the international market has greatly affected the value of the money paid to these teachers in the state because it cannot even take care of their basic needs.

This hostile policy of the government has exposed our children to harmful practices of these so-called unprofessional teachers who are not trained to impart quality knowledge on them. This policy has made a mockery of the teaching profession whereby the learned professionals are not given their due reward as teachers. Labour party will endeavour to change the narrative by working with the National Union of Teachers in the State to see how it can reposition it to meet the yearnings of teachers in Delta State. Another dangerous trend is a situation where the proper educational standard is not properly enforced in our schools.

A situation where examination malpractices, cultism, bullying, drug abuse, rape and other evil vices are increasing in an alarming rate in our schools is a cause of worry. This is mainly because the state government is lax in its duty of providing the best teachers and facilities needed to properly train our children. Ironically, most of our prominent politicians are guilty of sending their children to expensive schools abroad, while they allow most of our public schools in Nigeria to rot away.

This will not be the case again because Labour party will endeavour to put legislation in place that will make it mandatory for a child of an elected representative to attend public school while the person is in office. Also, the party will put a law in place to make it mandatory that before any person can be qualified to be an elected representative of the people in any capacity; the person should have, HND or any other university qualification. We do not want a situation again where people who lack the skills and training are giving the opportunity to lead our people in the 21st century!

Another worrisome issue is that of manual tax collection system that is in place in most Local government areas of the State. This tax system encourages lawlessness and endemic corruption. It is encouraged by most politicians who believe that their allegiance is to these gangs of uncivilized persons and not to the people of Delta State.

It is really appalling to discover that most of these revenue touts make serious money at the expense of the people of the State. The ugly scenario where the State or Local government use touts to collect taxes from keke drivers , bus drivers, market women, shop owners or other taxpayers is not a good system because most of these taxes will end up in private pockets; making these touts stupendously rich at the expense of the poor masses. This is not a good tax system and should be totally eradicated in the State. A tax system that does not allow all Deltans the opportunity to benefit from it is a disservice to the State.

This policy is against the recommendations of the National Tax Policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria that recommends the use of electronic payment (e-payment) systems in all transactions to drive automatic and improved remittances and collection. This tax policy of the Federal government clearly encourages the use of technology and related systems in tax administration particularly in the payment and collection process.

The federal tax policy also recommends: entrenching effective and modern human resource management practices in the tax authorities; carrying out continuous enlightenment programmes on the unlawful nature and consequences of tax evasion; encourage effective and efficient collaboration with relevant agencies including law enforcement agencies to identify and bring tax invaders into the tax net; persecute tax invaders in line with the provisions of tax and other relevant legislations; and identify and address the loopholes in the laws to minimize the incidence of tax avoidance.

Once all these solutions enumerated above are effectively applied in both the State and Local government level, it will help to reduce the leakages in the tax system and increase the revenue base of both levels of government. Also, our party will work well with all relevant stakeholders to improve the tax culture in Delta State. The important of tax as an alternative source of revenue to government at all level cannot be overemphasized. Hence, our party will initiate policies and programmes that will help to create, inculcate and sustain a viable tax culture amongst the people of Delta State.

This current trend in the educational sector needs to be corrected if we truly want to give the best education to our children in Delta State. Labour party is posed to give equal opportunities to the people of the State in order to bridge the gap between the rich and poor in Delta State. This is in line with our manifesto and vision for the people of the State. Labour party in Delta State is not happy that most poor people in the State are not able to send their children to quality schools due to their inability to pay for such standard schools.

This narrative can be changed if the people will vote massively for Peter Obi for President and Labour party governorship and legislative aspirants in the State in the 2023 general election. People like Mr. Ngozi Okolie, Mr. Clement Chukwudi Odukwe and other aspirants of Labour party in the State are determined to render quality services to the people of Delta State. These Labour party aspirants are emotionally fine-tuned to understand the needs or challenges of the people and are equally determined to marshal out the energy and resources needed to proffer solutions to them. Your vote is necessary in order to empower them to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.

This is because Labour party in Delta State will endeavour to enhance the quality of education in the State and also provide the enabling environment for all our children to have access to quality education in the State. This will ensure that the students are properly empowered to excel in their chosen career path. This can be achieved if a minimum of 25% is allocated yearly to education in our State annual budget.

It is an aberration to allocate less to this critical sector that can enhance the quality and viability of our children in the global stage. Human resources are the best resources in the world because it can give great value if much is invested into it. Therefore, our party will galvanize its members in the Delta State House of Assembly to legislate a law that will ensure that a minimum of 25% is allocated yearly to education in the Delta State annual budget.

Also, the party will not joke with its oversight functions as it relates to all critical sectors of the economy of the State. The educational sector been one of them will be given its due attention. This is to ensure that the money budgeted for the educational sector is not stolen or wasted. We will adequately put in place legislations that will reduce or eradicate the problem of fraud in the educational sector of the State.

This legislation will also enhance the value and quality of the type of education that will be offered to our children in the State. We will support sanity in the system and ensure that our children are given the best education that will enhance their growth, development and viability both at the local and global stage.

Our party will also support a law that will criminalise the use of unqualified or quack teachers to teach our children in all the schools in the State.

This is to ensure that our students are exposed to quality teachers who are well trained in the teaching pedagogy. I cannot imagine otherwise because the benefits inherent in this system far outweigh its disadvantages! Labour party in the State will also devise other means of generating revenue for supporting its educational policies and programmes in the State. In order to bridge the gap between the rich and poor, the party will endeavour to put in place a special salary structure for teachers in the State.

This will motivate our teachers to do their work very well and contribute their quota to national growth and development. The party will work with all relevant stakeholders to build a good learning culture amongst the students and teachers in the State.

The party will also ensure that a minimum of 35% is taken from its security vote yearly to support: teachers; health officers; judicial workers; environmental workers; security personnel; the elderly; the handicap people; and students welfare in the state.

The party will also put a legislation that will create an educational fund that will be used to support the welfare of qualified teachers in both private primary and secondary schools in the State. 15% of the security vote will be used to support the educational fund that will be created when we get into power in the State.

All private school owners in Delta State will pay teachers welfare tax on each student in their school per term. The tax rate will be a minimum of 1500 naira per student and it will be sent to the educational fund at the commencement, middle or end of every term in the State. Also, our party will tax all public sector workers in the State a flat tax rate of 1500 naira each to support the educational fund. This is to ensure that there will be enough money in the fund to take good care of qualified teachers teaching in private schools in Delta State.

Our goal is to create the enabling environment where qualified teachers in both public and private schools are given equal opportunities to excel in their chosen profession. This will also help us to create and sustain a middle class group in the society because teachers are more in population than any other professionals in Delta State.

It will enhance their purchasing power and help to stimulate entrepreneurship activities in the State. As a party, we believe in putting in place proactive policies, programmes, and measures that will enhance the living conditions of our teachers, health officers, judicial workers, environmental workers, the elderly, the handicap people, security personnel and students etc. This will enable us to groom our children properly because the best qualified teachers will be used to train them.

The party will endeavour to put in place an automated electronic tax system in both the State and Local government; to assist it to raise more revenue to support its educational policies and programmes. The citizens will have access to current information about the sources of revenue for the government and its expenditures for a given period. This will help to reduce wastages and corruption; which will invariably boost the citizens confidence on the system.

This tax revenue meant for the educational sector will be used to enhance the infrastructural development of the educational institutions in the State. The rural communities will not be left out in this programme because Labour party will see to it that the best teaching facilities are built and installed in their communities. This will radically improve the living conditions of people residing in these communities and reduce the rural-urban drift. Teachers posted to these rural areas will be motivated to stay when they are exposed to modern facilities in those locations.

Teachers will be given good incentives to motivate them to do their work properly. Labour party will make sure that a law will be put in place in Delta State to ensure that teachers, medical personnel, pensioners and all government workers in the state are paid their salaries and other entitlements before the Governor or Legislators in the state are given their salaries or welfare packages. The governor or legislators are elected to serve and not the other way round.

That is why they are called; Servants of the people. Hence, it is not proper to see teachers or pensioners being owed their entitlements for months and the elected members in the state swimming in comfort and luxury. This narrative must be changed if we want to enhance and promote the dignity of labour in the State. It is time to truly give power back to the people! Therefore, the government will support the removal of any bottle neck within the Delta State Civil Service that is preventing pensioners from processing their files on time. At least, a minimum of one month should be used to process a pensioners file in the pension office in Delta State to enable him or her receive their entitlements the next month. This will protect the elderly ones from satanic exploitations! Any civil servant working in the pension office in Delta State found to be delaying or frustrating the filing process of the pensioners will be sacked from office.

Also, a law should be put in place in Delta State to make it an impeachable offence to owe pensioners or government workers in the State. Hence, any governor found owing teachers, pensioners and government workers in the State their salaries and other entitlements should be impeached from office. This will help to protect the elderly ones and government workers from satanic exploitations. The pensioners are usually old and weak, and they should be given the opportunity to live a good life after retirement. Likewise, government workers are entitled to have their salaries as and when due to enable them to plan and take good care of their families. To ensure accountability for tax and other revenue collected according to the National Tax Policy of the Federal government, Labour party in the State will put in place legislations that will: ensure regular and timely publication of revenue collected in widely available mass media, such as newspapers, magazines, National Television, State Television, Radio Stations and the internet; ensure storage of revenue information in electronic format, which is accessible to the general public; ensure holding of regular forums, where there is interface between revenue authorities, Government and the taxpayers to discuss disbursement and utilization of tax and other revenue generated in the State; and ensure proper utilization of tax revenues, given that the revenue is generated and utilised by the Government in trust on behalf of its citizens. Hence, tax revenue will be utilised in a manner that ensures the achievement of the objectives of the Nigerian tax system. This will invariably boost the taxpayers confidence in the tax system and also enhance the tax culture amongst the people in Delta State. Those who seek power must do so to render quality service to the people. The educational sector is vital to the growth and development of Delta State. Hence, a good government should endeavour to initiate policies and programmes that will develop the sector and make it viable and productive.

My sincere appreciation goes to Mr. Ngozi Okolie, Mr. Clement Chukwudi Odukwe and all other aspirants of Labour party in Delta State for their dogged support for the change mantra of Peter Obi. Please, I will soon form a pressure group for professional teachers in Delta State that will assiduously promote good policies that will enhance the growth and development of teachers in Delta State. All the ideas contain in this document are some of the vision that I have for professional teachers in this State and I will do my best to support candidates who can do these and even more for professional teachers in Delta State. As a registered member of Labour party, it is my duty to articulate ideas and policies that will make Delta State and Nigeria prosperous and great. May God give us the grace to contribute our quota to the growth and development of Delta State in Jesus Christ name! Amen! I remain your humble servant; Okwuchukwu Ndubisi Kenneth.

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