By Adebayo Adedeji
At a period one would think the former Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, would be busy reconciling with his creator following his recent anti-party activities and political debauchery with the opposition party…, the “enfant terrible” of Alimosho politics was reported to have launched another attack on the person and administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola. The day was Thursday, 22nd September, 2022. Venue was the Conference Room of the Ministry of Interior, Abuja. Guests were minister’s former “comrades” who came to bestow an award on him.
Labouring to make newspapers’ headlines, Aregbesola, characteristically, made some uncomplimentary remarks about Governor Oyetola. But for want of space and time, this piece will focus on the minister’s “assessment” of the current governor in the area of education. According to him, “Osun was ranked as 2nd highest in schools enrolment, next to Lagos with enrolment moving from 15 to 45, and later to over 65 per cent by the time I left. But sadly today, situation has changed. And it pains me that the vision and capacity that we demonstrated in delivery services to the people have been arrested.”
How true are the claims of the minister? The most recent data on basic school education in the country, including Out-of-School Children (OOSC) population, is the 2018 National Personal Audit published by the Universal Basic Education Commission ( UBEC) in October 2019. However, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, in his 2020 Annual Ministerial Press Briefing held January 2021, quoted some interesting statistics in relation to the Out-of-School Children population. I will return to this later. Back to the UBEC’s report: whereas the population of the primary school age children was 619,749 in 2018, only 454,635 children had access to primary education in the state. The import is that OOSC population in Osun in 2018 was 165,114, representing 26.7% of the children of school age. Osun was equally ranked 27th out of the 36 states of the federation!
The stark reality of the data as presented above, vis-a-vis Aregbesola’s claims, is that former governor lied. Official data does not support his narration of excellent and masterly management of education….
Now, I return to the Minister of Education: the population of Out-of-School Children decreased from 26.7% in 2018 , when Aregbesola was in charge, to 13% in 2020 during Oyetola’s governornship. The foregoing figure, of the Federal Ministry of Education, has been quoted copiously by notable data warehouses, including StatiSense. Go and verify!
So, why did Minister Aregbesola lie to his audience as to his performance in office? Why did he have to make those provocative remarks to diminish and demonise his successor? Is Oyetola the reason for the incessant jailbreaks in his ministry of interior? Rather than reducing himself to a pathetic lying-machine he is transitioning to, Aregbesola should buckle down to face the task of re-arresting over 5,000 inmates who escaped under his nose and have now become security threat to everyone in Nigeria.