Engr. Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was on Wednesday sworn in as the new governor of Oyo State, and he declared that all his salaries in office would be dedicated to the welfare of the teachers in the state.
Engr. Rauf Olaniyan was also sworn in as the new deputy governor of the state at a colourful ceremony which took place inside the main bowl of the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Oke Ado, Ibadan, the state capital.
The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, administered the oath of office.
Makinde, who was flanked by his wife, Omini, and children, took the oath of office at exactly 12.17p.m, while Olaniyan took the oath at exactly 11.57a.m.
At the swearing-in ceremony were former governors of Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose; Osun, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and Oyo, Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala.
Others were Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Senator Biodun Olujimi; Senator Hosea Agboola; Chief Bolaji Ayorinde; Chief Jumoke Akinjide; Chief Micheal Koleoso, among others.
In his inaugural speech, Governor Makinde disclosed that all his salaries in office would be channelled towards the welfare of teachers in the state.
He said: “We have to improve the lives and standards of our teachers, we need to give them adequate support. This will go a long way to address a lot of various issues affecting our educational system in the state.
“We all know that in the recent ratings of WAEC, our state was rated at the 26th position.
“We must find something to do with this, this is ridiculous. We need to do something positive to enhance our education sector in Oyo State, both structurally and otherwise to give rooms for effective teaching.
“I have come to sanitize our education system for the betterment of the good people of our state, and those paying the N3,000 education levy will no longer be paying such money again as education in Oyo State is now free from primary school to secondary school levels.”
The N3,000 per session fee was introduced in public primary and secondary schools in the state by the immediate past administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
The governor, while speaking, said he cancelled the education levy in order to increase enrolment in public schools and to take school children out of streets.
He added that the move would encourage children of the poor to have access to education and increase their opportunities.
Makinde further announced that the state secretariat bridge which was shut against the public was going to be opened for public use.
The bridge, which was closed during the Ajimobi administration, and to be used by him (Ajimobi) only, had been renamed as Freedom Bridge by Makinde.
He also promised to find ways to reposition the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, jointly owned by Osun and Oyo states, with a view to reaching out to Osun State and sharing ideas on how to move the institution forward.
The new governor said he had already started working on his campaign promises in the area of investments, education, health, commerce, among others.
“We spoke with parents of children in public secondary schools who, out of their meagre resources, still have to scrounge N3,000 per child so that their children can get an education and increase their opportunities.
“Our region that housed the first university in Nigeria now has a state with the seventh highest number of out-of-school children. Over 400,000 children in Oyo State are out of school.
“Effective immediately, the school fees of N3,000 in state-owned secondary schools is hereby abolished. We want enrolments to go up, we want our children off the streets and in the classrooms.
“We are throwing the school doors wide open. Whoever opens a school door, opens an opportunity. We are opening opportunities for a brighter future.
“We also know that education standards in Oyo State are poor. Oyo State recently ranked twenty-sixth in Nigeria in WAEC performance.
“While we invite the students to come in, we will focus on raising the standard of education in Oyo State.
“We will work on providing needed infrastructure and manpower by increasing Oyo State’s education budget to 10% of our total annual budget, increasing yearly until we match UNESCO’s recommendation of 15-20%. We will be a pacesetter state in education.
“We know that quality education is not possible without quality teachers. Quality emoluments and benefits attract quality teachers.
“We are not ignorant of the plight of our dear teachers. We know the state of the teacher’s pension scheme. During my campaigns, I promised to donate my entire salary as governor to the Teacher’s Pension Fund. I stand by that promise.
“We will seek practical ways to reposition the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso.
“You are aware that the university is jointly owned by Osun and Oyo states. We will reach out to our sister state and share ideas on how to move the institution forward. Our priority is a total takeover.”