The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has refuted report in an online publication, WazobiaReporters, which alleged that he described the car gifts by Governor Ayodele Fayose to teachers as a waste of public funds.
The Minister described the report as a tissue of lies.
The report by an anonymous writer in the online publication had claimed that Fayemi at the weekend held a meeting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders at his Isan-Ekiti country home where he allegedly lampooned the success of Ekiti State in the last NECO results.
He was also quoted as purportedly saying that instead of car gifts and United Kingdom study trip for teachers, continuous competence tests should have been a better option to post excellent results.
But Fayemi in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Yinka Oyebode, described the online report as baseless and a cheap blackmail concocted by Fayose’s media men in their desperate bid to mislead and misinform the public for fraudulent political advantage.
He said contrary to the report suggesting that Fayemi held a meeting at the weekend in Isan-Ekiti, the minister was nowhere near Isan-Ekiti at the weekend, as he returned to Abuja via Akure after he distributed relief materials to Ekiti people who lost their homes to floods and rainstorms at the NEMA office Ado-Ekiti.
“Thursday’s event where Fayemi fulfilled his promise to help facilitate relief materials for the victims of rainstorms and floods early in the year while the state government left the people to their misfortunes by misapplying ecological fund for selfish purposes must have shocked the sponsors of that malicious report to put the minister in bad light among Ekiti teachers and by extension Ekiti people who ordinarily should celebrate the last NECO result where Ekiti State came first.
“We should expect more of this because this is a desperate moment for Fayose’s propagandists to look for who to blame for the rot, poverty and misfortune the administration has wrought among Ekiti people, particularly workers, who are being owed salaries ranging from six to eight months.
“How can Fayemi who gave four cars out as gifts to best teachers in primary and secondary schools every year in his four years in office and sent more than 50 public servants on various in-service training programmes at the Royal Institute of Public Administration in London, UK, and the African Leaderhip Centre in Kenya, be quoted as saying he does not believe in overseas training for teachers?
“Even now as a minister, staff in his ministry have benefited from an unprecedented level of staff development programmes in and out of the country,” Oyebode explained.
He said Fayemi had nothing against gifts to performing teachers, stressing, however, that the minister believed that N100m gift to teachers was just to grab momentary headlines, while leaving the hard working teachers to grapple with misery and poverty as a result of unpaid salaries and allowances.
“Ekiti primary and secondary teachers are roughly 23,004; meaning that sharing N100m among them will amount to each teacher getting N4,348.00, that is if eventually they get it as announced by the governor to the teachers who are owed legitimate salaries running into billions of naira.
“This may help to grab momentary headlines but only perpetuates the poverty of the teachers because shared individually, assuming it is distributed at all, hardly would any of the about 23, 004 teachers get more than N4,348.00, yet primary school teachers totalling 11,475 are owed for eight months and secondary school teachers with 11,529 in number are owed five months salaries.
“For the records, Fayemi did not owe primary school teachers any outstanding salary when he left office and only a month salary was owed to secondary school teachers due to Fayose’s intimidation of the various banks that were in partnership with the state to ensure salaries of teachers were paid without fail.
“It is also on record that Ekiti teachers had the best of times when Fayemi was Governor. They got three pay rise and also additional benefits, including 20 per cent rural teachers allowance and 20 per cent core subjects allowance,” Oyebode explained.
He said as for the lies on NECO result, the minister was delighted that Ekiti people had begun to witness the success of the various reform programmes introduced by the Fayemi administration in the education sector, which earned Ekiti State major support, including the World Bank $50 million education grant which Ekiti State is still enjoying.
Noting that even those gullible enough to believe such lies in the past had now seen the difference between a leadership that is bereft of any idea and a purposeful leadership whose focus on education as a tool for transformation is recognised worldwide, he said propagandists should realise that Fayemi’s record in the field of education is unparalleled in Ekiti State, no matter the falsehood and distortions they spread to unsuspecting outsiders.
“Instead of turning governance to a joke, deceit and deliberate falsehood to malign Fayemi because the governor lacks the vision to offer good services to the people, Fayose and his handlers are advised to note that Ekiti people can no longer be fooled again after coming face to face with stark poverty in the hands of the administration that thrives on blackmail,” Oyebode concluded.