Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is also the People’s Democratic Party governorship flag bearer in Imo state, Hon Emeka Ihedioha stated yesterday that free basic education for Nigerian children was a constitutional and fundamental objective of the state and as such should not be made a political gimmick
Hon Ihedioha who was the guest speaker at 2014 Champion Newspapers Better Society Lecture accordingly criticized Governor Rochas Okorocha over poor health system, dismal standard of education and abolishing local council system in the state
He promised to reverse all the many ills of Governor Okorocha’s administration and set the state on the path of sustainable development and economic prosperity if elected governor in 2015.
Hon Ihedioha argued that as a constitutional issue coming under Fundamental Human Rights it was incumbent on every government to provide as a matter of right free basic education to every child
He said: “With respect to Education, the National Assembly enacted the UBE Act, which guarantees free and compulsory basic education. The proposed Constitution Amendment now makes basic education not just free and compulsory but a Constitutional right. We believe that free education should not be a political gimmick”
He denounced what he termed rapid deterioration of standard of education in Imo state since the inception of Governor Okorocha’s administration with reference to 2013 WAEC examination which ,according to him, the state scored a dismal average of 46 percent
He promised that jf elected Governor he would not only reverse the poor state of education in the state by making education qualitative but also ensuring that the free education is anchored on law
He said: “this shows that free education must also be made qualitative. As a legislator , I believe the best way to make free education irreversible is to anchor it on legislation”
He expressed regret over the manner the state government has destroyed the local government system by altering the three tier structure of government provided for in the constitution, ascribing the development to ignorance
“This tier of government has suffered considerable setback over the years as a result of persistent interference by the State government. It has resulted in Local government Councils being perceived as mere appendages of the State”; he said
Hon Ihedioha however bemoaned the bleak state of health care system in the state, noting the inadequate facilities and lack of qualified medical personnel
He advised Governor Okorocha to get his priority right by embarking on the revitalization of the health sector instead of erecting structures on major high ways in the name of building new hospitals.