By Etim Etim
Nigerian Union of Teachers, the trade group for all the 30,000 Primary and Secondary school teachers in Akwa Ibom State, has unanimously endorsed Senator John James Udoedehe of NNPP for governor in next month’s election. Speaking in a meeting with the NUT officials from the 31 LGAs in the State and Senator Udoedehe in Uyo this afternoon (Thursday, Feb 2), NUT State Chairman, Comrade Edet Emenyi said that among the governorship candidates in this year’s election, Udoedehe possesses the ‘’attitude, aptitude, latitude and the character’’ to lead the state and bring about development in many fronts. The Union then unanimously passed a motion to endorse the NNPP candidate for governor.
Speaking at the meeting, Senator Udoedehe had made two important pledges to the NUT leaders that excited them: to appoint a Permanent Secretary from among the NUT members and clear the backlog of pensions and gratuities of retired civil servants ‘’even if I have to borrow’’.
This would be the first time a teacher would be promoted to the highest cadre in the civil service in the State. No NUT member had ever been appointed Perm Sec or Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State. Recall that next-of-kins of some retired primary school teachers who had unfortunately passed away have been crying to the state government to be paid their entitlements. But their cries had fallen on deaf ears. Last year, the NUT went on strike over unpaid entitlements. The strike was called off on March 17 after the Union met with the government.
Senator Udoedehe’s blueprint also contains innovative plans for our education sector. He plans to modernize Akwa Ibom Schools; implement qualitative free and compulsory education with provision of books to the students; build more classrooms to decongest overcrowded schools in Uyo metropolis; eradicate cultism from schools and work with the teachers to improve our WAEC performance from 17th position to top five in his first term in office as governor.
This endorsement is coming on the heels of similar approvals of the NNPP candidate by other professional groups, business associations, traditional institutions and various stakeholders which he had consulted in the last few months. Senator Udoedehe had visited the 329 wards in the state during which he engaged with over 800,000 voters. After the tour, he has been meeting with various groups of people, voters and supporters everyday as parts of his daily engagements.