–      Urged To Concentrate On Meaningful Over Sight Functions

–      Avoid Being Used By Detractors To Settle Scores In Parastatals

The Chairman, House Committee on Education in the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon Agbasonu, representing Ezinihitte State Constituency, has been accused of aiding and abetting the flagrant violation of civil service rules and guidelines by dabbling into issues that should be handled internally by the management of affected parastatals including the Secondary Education Management Board that has from all indication become the primary concern and focus of his committee for sometime now as if it is his only over sight function to the exclusion of other parastatals under his watch.

Some staff of the Ministry of Education who pleaded anonymity expressed dismay at the way and manner official issues that should be handled internally are now taken to the House of Assembly without exhausting the in-built channels of handling such issues in line with the civil service rules, guidelines and procedure.

They also accused Hon Agbasonu “of being used y some aggrieved staff of SEMB who were compelled to retire against their wish after attaining the mandatory retirement age to make things difficult for the current management of SEMB that has embarked on the process of sanitizing, transforming, repositioning and restoring the lost glory of the Secondary Education Management Board in Imo State”.

A Director in the Ministry of Education who expressed disappointment at the way the House Committee Chairman on Education, Hon Agbasonu  is dabbling into the affairs of SEMB as if it is the only parastatal under his watch said, “there are speculations that some staff of SEMB who have skeletons in their cupboards and others who for sundry reasons are uncomfortable with the sanitization and transformation agenda of the Mrs Tina Azubuike-led management of SEMB have vowed to make things difficult for her by raising all kinds of false alarms and allegations, in addition to sponsoring false, misleading and mischievous publications in newspapers”.

Others who spoke in the same vein, alleged that two former principals of Ikenegbu Secondary School, in Owerri Municipal Council and Naze Secondary School, in Owerri North Local Government Area respectively (names withheld) who allegedly falsified their service records and remained in service years after they were supposed to retire had boasted at different fora that they will use their relationship with the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon Agbasonu  representing Ezinihitte State Constituency to ensure that the Executive Secretary of SEMB, Mrs Tina Azubuike is removed from office despite her outstanding and result-oriented performance within a very short period, because they like Hon Agbasonu, also hail from Mbaise”.

They wondered why the House Committee on Education should accept and deliberate on petitions that should under normal circumstances, be handled by the management of SEMB, the Head of Service or the Civil Service Commission as the case may be and at the same time, make it a media affairs”.

Continuing, he said, “if one may ask, does the over-sight function of the House Committee on Education start and end with the affairs of SEMB? What effort has the Committee made towards ensuring that most dilapidated primary and secondary schools in the state where children are exposed to all kinds of hazards are renovated”.

“What has the committee done to address the issue of proliferation of sub standard private schools in the state, some of which are located in very dirty and unconducive environments, and operated by unqualified and inexperienced teachers contrary to regulatory guidelines. What has the committee done to ensure that the State government holistically addresses the issues of lack of teachers for chore subjects in secondary schools, that has drastically affected the quality of teaching and learning in public secondary schools”.

“The House Committee on Education, should, henceforth distance its self from the activities of SEMB and the antics of some aggrieved members of the dislodged cabal that held the Board to ransom prior to the emergence of the current Executive Secretary, Mrs Tina Azubuike  whose zero tolerance for all kinds of sharp practices has continued to rattle most of those who benefitted from the old order when service records were falsified with impunity and those who were due for retirement were allowed to remain in service based on some ignoble considerations that are not in tandem with due process”.

These, they said, have become unnecessary distractions sabotaging the smooth running of the Board, as some of those who claim to have contacts in the House of Assembly have become very stubborn, insubordinate, arrogant and over bearing”.

They called on the Speaker and other principal officers of the 10th Imo House of Assembly to call the Chairman, House Committee on Education to order and also make him realize that the activities of SEMB should not be the only focus of the oversight functions of his Committee”.

Efforts to reach the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Barr Mrs Ibe and the Executive Secretary, Secondary Education Management Board SEMB, Mrs Tina Azubuike proved abortive as they were said to be busy and their phone lines not reachable.

Several efforts made to reach the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon Agbasonu for comments were also not futile.