By Bushrah Yusuf-Badmus
Ilorin – The Mandate Office of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has explained the capturing and implementation process of its distributed instructional materials misunderstood by the Kwara State Government.
Otukoko Ibraheem, Director of Project and Empowerment, Saraki’s Mandate Office in a statement on Tuesday, said the government has a misconception of the true picture of the process and rejected the donation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the state government had accused Saraki’s Mandate office of personalising constituency project, which it frowns against.
The state government also said the distribution of instructional materials to Kwara public schools did not follow due process of passing through the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development.
”We have just read a release by Kwara State Government, through the State Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, stating the position of the state government on the distribution of instructional materials to Schools within the Kwara Central Senatorial District by the office of the immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, CON.
”From the published positions, it is clear that the state government has misconceptions about the true picture of the processes involved in capturing and implementation of projects of this nature.
“For the purpose of clarity, the distribution of the instructional materials is a constituency project facilitated by Saraki through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
“It is a commission constituted by law as an agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to build and develop capacities of students in Basic Schools in the constituency.
”And the constituency projects with UBEC is not limited to distribution of books, it includes: Construction of classrooms, provision of Pupils and Teachers’ furniture, distribution of customized notebooks and textbooks (as it appears in the UBEC documents).
”It also includes the distribution of Science Laboratory equipment, distribution of Mathematics kits, distribution of computer systems and generator sets.
”Then, during the needs assessment conducted by the mandate office, we collaborated with the LGEA offices, which are directly in charge of Basic Schools (Primary 1 – 6 and JSS 1 – 3) across the four Local Governments for capturing of schools with basic infrastructure and material needs and same was communicated to UBEC by Mandate office for implementation.
”And prior to distribution of the items, the mandate office informed the LGAs offices again to invite the selected schools, as shortlisted by UBEC to Mandate office for collection of “approved” items for their respective schools.
”So, to say the State Government is not aware of the distribution will throw many unanswerable questions to one’s mind,” Ibraheem said.
The director added that no picture was emblazoned on the materials as claimed by the state government.
On the standard of materials distributed, according to him, it pleases us to inform the ministry of Education that the materials are of the UBEC standards across the country,
“It was published by the Federal Government approved publishers such as RASMED Publishers Limited, BINANI publishing Limited, STRAIGHT GATE publisher Limited and others as they are in the UBEC database as approved publishers.
”So, for the ministry to say the items are “substandard” and need vetting would mean that the ministry is not aware of these processes undergone by the UBEC already or that the Ministry decided not to know to allow it dance to the tune dictated by the payer of the piper.
”On the emblazoned pictures on the instructional materials, it is to be noted that no picture was emblazoned by Sen. Saraki or his mandate office on the distributed items.
”It is a standard used by MDAs for some projects of both the Executives and the Legislators, especially when it has to do with training equipment and material supplies.
”If the state government has any biased issue with this, it is advisable that she communicates the UBEC and other MDAs involved on the need to change the approach,” he said.
The director explained that the state government has no substantial position to reject the items on a mere guess that Saraki emboldened picture on the items without a deep consideration of the values this will add to the lives of the pupils.
He added that this would be perceived by the masses as venting of unnecessary split on a perceived political rival, which is unhealthy for our overall developments. (NAN)