RE: Edo BEST or Edo Worst?
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RE: Edo BEST or Edo Worst?

By Ik Osamede

Edo - BEST is short for Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation.

I only stumbled on a shabbily written article on Edo-BEST by one Douglas Ogbankwa by chance in a certain WhatsApp group - and I couldn't but notice in his lines how dearth of political patronage coupled with the APC's reverberating loss in the last Edo guber could make a grown man oblivious of reality. In his blatant disregard for the facts, he sought to
hoodwink unsuspecting members of the public to thinking Edo-BEST was just an abstract rhetoric. To nip such deliberate disinformation in the bud, it became a given that this rejoinder be penned.

The administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State is not one wont of unnecessary fanfare as he lets his achievements speak for themselves. That is the reason why his epithet 'Wake and See' has garnered much public appeal which culminated in his overwhelming victory in Edo 2020 governorship election. For the education sector, the same mien is applicable. Indeed, teachers are the critical stakeholders of this sector and as such they have the most unbiased opinion on the matter not Douglas and his rantings. At this juncture, the submission of the body of teachers in Nigeria, the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) will suffice. 

According to the NUT who named Governor Godwin Obaseki as the best performing Governor in Nigeria in education, Obaseki has transformed basic education in Edo through Edo-BEST to an enviable height. He has also invested heavily in the retraining and welfare of teaching staff in Edo State. The body hoped that other Governors in Nigeria would take a cue from Obaseki's commitment to the education sector.

True to their admonition, Ekiti and Lagos State Governments have since sent teaching parties to Edo to learn from the program and replicate same in their home states.
Edo State also received foreign parties from Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, among others, who came to Edo for the same purpose. Infact, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State in a public forum recently gave credit to Governor Godwin Obaseki for such brilliant reforms in Edo State's education sector through Edo-BEST program and averred that he copied the Lagos State version from Edo. The Edo-BEST program has also received accolades from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Bank and the Finnish embassy, because of its perfect status of serving as a template to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) which is targeted at inclusive and quality education.

Given such accolades from the education sector's stakeholders, it becomes clear that Douglas is merely chasing shadows and still brooding from the loss of last year Edo guber.
Without mincing words, education in Edo is now digital as opposed to analogue - this actually sums the personality of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State as a digital Governor. In Edo, schools have been supplied with modern desks, chairs and textbooks. As education is only optimal in an aesthetically pleasing setting, the Governor has invested heavily on the infrastructure in these schools. For example, it was uncommon in the past for public schools to have play grounds with recreational facilities, but now public schools in Edo State are now equipped with such facilities to aid the all round development of school children. As a template, all schools have been remodelled and renovated with sturdy and long lasting fixtures such as iron panel doors and windows.

This is diametrically opposite to the gloomy infrastructure picture painted by Douglas or it could be that he deliberately chose to ignore them for political reasons. As a matter of fact, Governor Godwin Obaseki earmarked 6 billion naira for renovation work of schools in Edo State. For example, renovation works are at various stages of completion at Ezoti Primary School, St Paul Primary School, Obaseki Primary School which is now covering Ekpenede Primary School, Okai Primary School and Obakhavbaye Primary School. Others include Ojirami Primary School in Ojirami, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area (LGA); Ugbogo Primary School in Igarra, Akoko Edo LGA; Amegor Primary School in Uwelu, Egor LGA; Eweka Primary School in Egor LGA; Olua Primary School in Egor LGA; Ivbiyeneva Primary School in Ikpoba Okha LGA; Aduwawa Primary School in Ikpoba Okha, Uhie Primary School, Egbokor Primary School, Idunmwingun Primary School, Iguere Primary School, Evboeghae primary school and Oza Primary School, in Orhionmwon Local Government Area, and over 200 other schools across the three senatorial districts of Edo State. Given Governor Godwin Obaseki's knack for quality projects, these schools are in for a total transformation.

The Edo-BEST program also has rich curriculum that has greatly enhanced the aptitudes of pupils. For example, pupils in basic 3 are now as smart as their peers in other states in basic 5. Numeracy and literacy capabilities have also greatly improved in these youngsters. The program has seen the training of over 11,300 teachers in 918 public schools who now deliver lessons with digital tablets in line with 21st century expectations. To add to the number of teachers recruited in the State, Governor Obaseki recently announced the recruitment of 1,000 more qualified teachers to serve the 18 local government areas of the State. These teachers were recruited under the Edo Supporting Teachers to Achieve Results (EDO STAR) program. Edo-BEST 2.0, which is designed to cover secondary schools and higher institutions in Edo was recently launched and will replicate in these tiers the successes recorded in the basic education level.

With the testimonials and verifiable projects adduced in this piece it becomes obvious that Douglas has failed in his attempt to discredit the successes of the landmark and legacy education reforms in Edo State led by the forthright reformer, His Excellency, Mr Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki. As a piece of advice, Douglas, playing opposition is not all about discrediting truths or propagating falsehoods, opposition politics must be responsible and integrity based.

Ikponmwosa Kingsley Osamede (Ik Osamede), a multiple national award winning writer, writes from Benin City.

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