L-R: President, Association of Esan Professionals (AEP), Mr Efe Akhigbe; Special Political Adviser and a representative of Edo State Governor, Hon. Philomena Iheyen; Special Guest of honour and Chairman/Group CEO, Owei-Linkso Group, Engr. Charles Osezua and Chairman and CEO of Kohl Engineering Ltd and ZEEK Group of Companies Ltd, Chief Ezekiel Ainabe, at the N250m Educational Trust Fundraising.
As part of efforts to ensure Esan boys and girls are taken away from the streets, the Association of Esan Professionals (AEP) has launched the N250 million Education Trust Fund, ETF, to improve the standards of secondary education in Esan land.
This was just as the AEP also gave awards to and also recognized worthy sons and daughters of Esan land.
The N250million Education Trust Fundraising Award and Recognition Ceremony with the theme, “Securing the Future of Esan land and its People through Education” was graced by notable Esan personalities.
Presenting his welcome address at the popular Civic Centre in Lagos, the Chairman of the event, the Adolor of Ewatto and Odolagbon of Warri Kingdom, Chief Leemon Ikpea, said the event could not have come at a better time than now, adding that what AEP is striving to achieve as an association is to ensure that there are no out of school children in Esanland.
The Chairman, who is also the Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, Lee Engineering and Construction Company Limited, said for Esan land to be free of out-of-school children, educational infrastructure, technical tools and other necessary inputs that would help make the standards of education high, must be provided for selected schools within Esan land
He contended that if provisions of qualitative education infrastructure are left exclusively for the Edo State government, the principal objective of education will not be achieved.
He averred that these challenges necessitated the decision of AEP to assist through its own modest contributions hence, organizing the N250million Education Trust Fund Raising toward the desired goal.
The Chairman urged well-meaning Esan sons and daughters to donate generously to this noble course.
He also recalled that through the AEP, 20 Esan youths were trained in welding and fabrication at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) for nine months as part of its contribution to capacity building in Esan land.
The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, said that the state government with the introduction of the Edo Best education program has made Edo State education standard shoulder high above others.
The Governor, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Mrs Philomena Ihenyen, said the recent outcome in the 2022 WAEC performance by the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, FFCT, Abuja, which scored Edo State as the overall best was an eloquent testimony to the priority the government accorded education.
She added that the state government is not resting on its oars as there is more to do while the EdoBest program will continue to be fine-tuned for its continuous relevance.
The government, she said was ready to collaborate with AEP to improve education in the state, while thanking the association for its patriotic efforts.
Earlier, the President of AEP, Mr Efe Akhigbe, in his welcome address said that the event was a unique one as it was the first in-person and virtual fundraising ever organized since the inception of the association 21 years ago.
On why the event was both in person and virtual, Akhigbe said that the essence was to bring about inclusiveness and also ensure that Esan people wherever they may be, help to proffer solutions to the myriads of challenges facing Esan land.
He said that this year’s event was a follow-up to last year’s, 2021 event which had as its theme, “Enhancing Secondary School Education in Esan land Through Teaching Intervention.” It focused primarily on the challenges facing secondary schools in the land.
According to Akhigbe, the workshop and the research carried out by the association brought to the fore, the lack of teachers in secondary schools which had become a major challenge to deliver quality secondary education in Esanland.
He announced that “From our research, most of the schools in Esan land do not have teachers, and where they are available, they may just be one or two teachers including the principal.”
Speaking further, the AEP President stated that the previous workshop was to draw the attention of the critical stakeholders such as the Edo State government, parents, teachers, students and community leaders to the inherent challenges in secondary school education in the state in general and Esan land in particular with a view to finding long-lasting solutions to them.
He explained that having drawn the attention of the state government to these challenges, AEP is hoping that government will address the situation by recruiting more teachers.
Akhigbe added that in view of this, AEP intervened by providing teachers in 15 secondary schools and paying for three teachers per school spread equally among the five Local Government Areas (LGs) in Esan land.
In his words, “the testimonies from the principal of the schools where we are intervening have been so heartwarming. Based on this, and before government deploy teachers to these schools, we want to increase the participating schools and also the number of teachers per school. Once the state government does what it should, we will direct such resources to other areas of need in Esan land,” Akhigbe enthused.Share