By Deacon Monday Enudi
Coming to terms with the thickening ongoing political campaigns booming across the length and breadth of the country in readiness for the upcoming 2023 elections, political parties have been upbeat in upscaling their political activities and strategies, and promoting their candidates before the electorates whose votes will determine the outcome of the elections.
However, it is popular opinion that the lately anti-people policy of governor Ifeanyi Okowa that caused a sudden rise in tuition fees across state-owned tertiary institutions will impede every effort by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to retain its stay in Osadebe House in the coming political dispensation, and pave the way for the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, DSP Ovie Omo-Agege to clinch victory at the polls.
Bringing to mind the increasing hardship and pains students in tertiary institutions in the state go through every day, occasioned by the inconsiderate decision of governor Ifeanyi Okowa to increase tuition fees in the state-owned institutions of higher learning, this writer forsees a boomerang effect of the anti-people policy on the governor Okowa-led PDP government in the upcoming 2023 gubernatorial election.
The 2023 gubernatorial election surely will be a payback time – a veritable opportunity for the knowledge-hungry students, their parents and the good people of Delta State to take their pound of flesh by using their ballots to make a stern statement and express their frustration and disenchantment against the governor Okowa-led PDP government for damning all appeals by Deltans to make the governor rescind his odious policy.
With nostalgia, this writer recalls the zeal and courage with which the students relentlessly pressured the governor to listen to their plights and quash his plan but to no avail.
Deltans were taken aback at the unbendable stand of the governor to stay firm with his policy, and never to beat a retreat. Such bold defiance brings to the fore the governor’s inexorable inclination to inflict hardship and pains on the citizens with relish.
The scant reasons the governor adduced to justify his thoughtless policy speaks volume of his government’s insensitivity to the plights of poor families who bear the burden of footing the bills of their children’s education.
The sore point in this sad narrative is that poor families will find it difficult to afford the cost of university education for their children and wards now and in future.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa must be told the salient truth that the world over, the rudimentary role education plays in the development of our society is enormous, so much that we can’t imagine life without it.
In climes where the government understands the indispensable role of education in the development of society, large chunk of state’s resources is put into the education sector to catalyse wellbeing of society.
Small wonder, the free education policy of the Premier of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria, the legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo (of blessed memory) suffices as the catalyst for the high literacy rate of the people of Yoruba extraction till date.
As a reminder for Governor Okowa, Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right affirms the people’s right to education and further underlines that education is not only Human Right but also a prerequisite for the development of society and the individual.
Therefore, the unpopular policy of hiking tuition fees is injurious to the sensibilities of Deltans, just as it seriously violates section 18 sub-section 3 of Nigerian constitution.
On a final note, this writer posits that as the drumbeats of the 2023 gubernatorial election sound louder, the payback time for the governor Okowa-led PDP government cannot be wished away by the party’s jamboree-like campaigns.
Deltans are aggrieved and will take their pound of flesh at the polls. The stage is set for a positive change to happen.