MONITOR YOUR BUDGET
N30M Allocation yet Ogun School Pupils Learn under Mango Tree
Akere, a riverine community located in the interiors of Idiroko Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Ipokia Local Government Area, Ogun state boasts of a population of 3,000 inhabitants. The community which shares boundaries with Badagry in Lagos State and the Benin Republic is home to the Ipokia Local Government Primary School, Akere. On 20th September 2017, the Tracka team paid a visit to the school. About half of the school population--students from three out of its six classes--were learning under a Mango tree. The classrooms were in bad shape--roofs were sunken, windows and doors were missing and the floor was bare and sandy, exposing pupils to health hazards. There was also a dearth of furniture as about seven pupils squeezed themselves on a bench meant for two pupils while others sat on the bare floor. There is also shortage of staff as only four class teachers, one assistant headteacher and one headteacher catered to 281 students. Despite these, the primary school provided elementary education to children in the community as well as neighbouring villages namely Wheke, Ilasa, Ajaluto, Gbodota and Zebe. The failure of the government to provide good learning conditions has led most of the community children farther from their community; some take thirty-minute ferry rides across the ocean and go as far as Apapa and Badagry in Lagos state. The only private school in the community, built by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, is beyond the reach of many parents in the community. During a recent visit, Tracka observed the removal of roofs from one of the already dilapidated classrooms by the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), making the situation direr. We was also learned that the headmaster from his meager earnings single-handedly concretized the floor of the class for the primary one pupils due to his awareness of their high susceptibility to feeble pathogens. The Tracka team sensitised the school and community on the proposed project for the school which is the ‘Renovation of Blocks of 8 Classrooms in Akere, Agosasa, Ajegunle and Idogo’ for N30M. This could, in turn, be interpreted as the renovation of a block of two classrooms for four schools, at a sum of Seven million and five hundred thousand naira per block. The disclosure of this information impulsively raised the people’s hope, but Tracka maintained that they must inform their representative of their awareness of the project and demand implementation. They did. However, feedback from the community leader, Chief Gandonu Joseph has not been positive. He stated that Honourable Akinlade Adekunle Abdulkabir, the lawmaker representing the area at the National Assembly neither picked calls nor responded to messages--a development which started since the community became aware of the project. This story was published on our blog and also on the Nation Newspaper. The news went viral on social media and drew the attention of the state governor. A query was issued to the headteacher from the Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board to appear before a panel. The implementation of the school project began immediately. The project has been completed, however, we are still not convinced that the students are learning within best conditions as the classrooms are not sufficient for all the students. It must also be stated that the budget item to renovate of blocks of 8 Classrooms in Akere, Agosasa, Ajegunle and Idogo for N30M remains unimplemented.