Radio Classroom: A Distinction For Ikpeazu - Don Norman Obinna

By FN Editor on 13/05/2020

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Amongst the statutory everyday jobs of a journalist is to call the government's attention to it miscarriages and dilatoriness as well as commend its responsiveness and people-oriented policies and actions. It's called dispassionate reportage of news.

Digital natives know me as an ardent knocker of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu's government; a function that has earned me both friends and enemies. However, my love for Abia State and passion for my job (journalism) would not allow me to quit, not anytime soon.

One area that has been of immense distress to me is the abysmal epistemic shortfall among Abia youths. It's not hyperbole to avow that majority of Abia graduates/undergraduates cannot effectively compete with their contemporaries from neighbouring states.

Aside from some of our tatterdemalion school buildings and unpaid salaries, one albatross for this shortfall is the rigid dichotomy between the government and pupils/students. Over time, this polarity has led to diffidence and false-dualism.

However, Governor Ikpeazu seemed to have identified this encumbrance considering his one-off interaction with our students. But the one that caught my attention and worth commendation was his biology class aired live on several radio stations in Abia State simultaneously and on social media.

His passion, patience and analytical precision while taking the class were classical. My high point was when he capped it with a mandatory assignment for the students. Of course, every student would want to partake in a governor's homework. I am sure we will be amazed at the number of compliance.

It might be the governor's escapism but unknown to him, he has given the student a rare sense of belonging, and I want to recommend that it shouldn't be a one-off class. It is going to be a morale booster because challenge, they say, brings out the best in a man.

I remembered my primary and early secondary school days (at Amuzukwu model and Holy Ghost Technical College in Umuahia) when it was mandatory for pupils/students to mount a guide of honour for presidents and governors wearing well-ironed school uniforms.

The joy was unfathomable. I still recollect in one of such occasions when I was privileged to shake hands with the former president, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and the defunct former eastern premier, Dr Michael Okpara of blessed memories.
The desire to be like them rekindled my love for education even when my late father wanted me to learn "mechanic & driving immediately after my school certificate exam (primary six). Trust the then Ibeku men who saw education as a waste of time. But thank God I held unto my dream given respiration to by the achievements of those elites who later became my role models.

The government ensured that pupils/students ritualistically observed those memorable days in history such as Children's day (May 27) Independent day (Oct. 1). The State governor or seldom, a top government official - a representative of the governor - stood still on a podium while pupils/students from different schools performed a guide of honour. Every school devoted weeks preparing pupils/students for this marching competition. Winners (from first to third) went home with trophies.

That relationship created a discipline among pupils/students and gave us a real sense of belonging. Knowing that our governor or inspector from the Ministry of Education would visit unannounced and asked us questions made us so dedicated to reading.

That excellence is what Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is about to revive with his online biology class of yesterday. Please, I urge you to make it a part of your itinerary my governor. Visit the schools more and mandate the Commissioner for Education to create a programme that will bridge the gap between government and our school system/management.
Bring back the memorable dates, replace the trophies with cash rewards for triumphant schools. Personally honour the march past/salute from Abia pupils/students. It will revive the spirit of competition among them and give them a real sense of belonging.

Nothing happens by a providential stroke of serendipity. Sustaining this uncommon idea of yours would return the excellence of past years and eliminate the abysmal epistemic deficiency among our children. I will be very unfair to you to ignore this effort. So, I give you a distinction on this one Sir. But no be say if I come criticize you tomorrow, Agbazuere go begin dey write a petition, n'acho otu oga iji vudum Abuja. Warn kwa ya oo!



Posted on May, 13 2020

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