A popular saying in saner climes has it that "if you can spell your name, thank your teacher". In nations where teachers are accorded due respect, held in high esteem and adored, the saying stands tall and holds sway. In Nigeria, especially in Abia State, this saying has, over the years, become a cliche or refrain used to mock and make a caricature of teachers.
On the backdrop of teachers recognition, 5th of October every year is set aside as World Teachers' Day. This is to recognize and pay tribute to the efforts of those who have devoted their lives, time, talent and treasure to mould destinies, package lives, enlighten and brighten the society.
In no small measure men and women have made sacrifices to ensure, that those whose lives would have been wasted or derailed are brought back on track. Presidents, Heads of States, Ministers, Governors, Lawmakers, Commissioners among others in one way or another, have teachers to defer to for where they are and for what they have become. In no small measure, these people have to be appreciated, adored, recognized, rewarded and adequately remunerated.
In the developed world, this has always been the case but in an underdeveloped nation like Nigeria, reverse has always been the case.
Abia State, the supposedly God's own State where devils rule, which has also turned out to be the poverty capital of the nation Nigeria, remains a state where teachers have no pride of place and are constantly trampled upon. Especially, SEMB teachers. Whatever their sins are, those in power and at the corridors of power in the state, have sworn to impoverish and suffer this category of teachers by owing them seventeen months(17) salaries.
The NUT and it's cohorts in the state, having been compromised and bought over, are silent over the situation; ANCOPPS, an umbrella body of principals in the state is not left out of this wickedness. They remain silent and mute which signifies it's accomplice nature.
Yet back to back four years running, Abia State has taken first position in the just concluded SSC Examination. The state government has continuously taken glory for this while relegating those that made it reality to the background.
Teachers are supposed to be celebrated today as done the world over but the state is silent as schools are "ghostly". No usual fanfare that accompanies such a day. Is it the Governor's watery address, read by a "stoogy" representative that would assuage the hunger faced by Senior Secondary School teachers that brought them to where they are today? Truth be told, this administration has failed in Education
To this, I ask, is it guilty conscience for withholding their salaries unjustly or sheer wickedness?
(Written By Ijeoma Ekeleoma Ph.D)
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