The Lamentations of Abia State Secondary School Teachers

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It’s so sad that each time I am led to write about my beloved state Abia, I readily find negative stories to talk about. This is pretty sad and extremely painful. It is a situation I will never wish it continues.

I want to state clear here that I’m not saying this because I am not benefiting from the system, hail NO! I also know you know that I know quite a number of you in government, so let’s face the issues.

I am only saying this because it is the truth. A society suffers not because of the wickedness of a few men but because of the total silence of the good men in majority.

This morning, at Umuahia, I was privileged to visit Ibeku Secondary school, one of the most popular secondary school in Abia state. A school that I know has produced most successful people in our society today.

This school seats at the heart of Umuahia, the Abia state capital. One of the most populated and highly recognized secondary schools in Abia State. The school compound is so big, that government functions always, takes place there. When a highly placed government official passes on, often time, Ibeku High School is usually the choice for the Funeral oration because, it has the capacity to accommodate so many people, especially, the elite and the political class.

The majority of the students of Ibeku High school are often children of the poor, house helps, gatemen, gardner’s and what have you. They are often the kids at the lower end of the ladder. During some of these public functions, the students see men and women of caliber come to their school, use their compound for whatever they like and go home leaving them worse than they met them.

This students will wonder if it was destiny that brought them to the level they are now. Who knows?

I type this with almost tears in my eyes and a whole lot of shock over what I saw and was told today. I needed nothing else but to believe that there is huge problem in the educational sector in Abia State and if not properly managed, we all may pay heavily for it in time to come.

This morning, I went to this said school with the head of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) in Abia, to speak to students on the negative effects of hard drugs and also on Torture. This is in commemoration of the United Nations day for Support of Torture Victims and the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which is usually June 26th, every year.

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On approaching the school teachers, they all welcomed me and my team members and they felt a sign of hope. They thought I was one government official until some of their colleagues told them who I was and why I came. Suddenly, they lost the hopes gain.

On seeing how the students where scattered, I started asking questions like “why the nonchalant attitude from both the teachers and the students, then came a very PAINFUL, PATHETIC AND UNFORTUNATE STORY.

Before they could reluctantly gather their students, they already informed me how they were being owed 15months and above. That was the first shock. They went on. This women cried!!! I mean, I saw tears. I imagined my mum being in such situations as a serving school teacher. They told me how their own children are also Victims of this sorry state of education. They said to me Oga, the government have forgotten US!;

they have killed the government school education.

that they have never seen it this bad before.

that they now struggle to eat.

that the NUC is incapacitated.

that all is not well with public secondary schools in Abia.

No zeal to teach.

No motivation to gather the students.

No form of encouragement.

Nothing Nothing!!!

They said to me, the reason you see this school is like this, it is because, non of these politicians, neither their child nor their words are in this school. We are dying in silence. We are in pains. We want to teach but the government is not being fair to us. Who would help us? Which shoulders can we cry on? Who will solve our problems? Who would speak for us?

Honestly, I literally shed a year not because I would say I completely understood, but because I saw these women as my own mother’s and parents. This is the career they choose, why can’t they have job satisfaction? I asked my innocent self.

After hearing some very horrible personal stories, I couldn’t help but ask, where did we get it wrong, oh good lord?

A student chetachim, raised her hand up and said to me “fine Oga, our teachers try to teach us but it’s done for conscience sakes and if they don’t come, we understand them because, some of us come from the same home with them”. This made me cry ???????, she went on to say in broken english this time “No be say we no like school o, but if I see my mates that go to private schools, I wish that I was them”. I felt really, the innocence and sincerity of this girl.

The NDLEA boss as tired as I was, managed to speak to them and I eventually round it it up with some sort of hope.

We concluded with this, the government is to blame for the failure in this sector!!

To you my governor, even if you don’t see this, I know your media men would. Please sir, I know you are willing to work for Abia but please, could you please be more concerned about the welfare of staff and students of government secondary schools? Please Sir, I can’t imagine you being in such position as those teachers and be happy. These are parents and are also humans beings like you and me.

Sir, not everyone will appreciate you, belong to your political party or love your style of leadership but believe me, when you do the right thing, men and women of good will, will appreciate you. God will also reward you.

15months or more of non payment of salary to a family that is solely dependant on this your little pay, is an invitation to anarchy and lawlessness! The drug abuse we came to make students understand how it will destroy their future, will be on the increase and this would lead to more UNKNOWN GUN MEN, BOKO HARAM and lots more of different names and dimensions of insecurity.

No one would be able to close their eyes and sleep well. Things will become unbearable and the truth is, we all will feel the pains.

This teachers are really ready to work. What they need is just that little wage. Even the bible you and I use, spoke about a worker being entitled to his pay. Fortunately, we all are christains.

However sir, I do hope sir, that you will use your good office which was given to you by God after all the struggle, to look it into this matter urgently and give it the seriousness that it duly deserves.

Let your children be proud when you are no longer there, to say that, my father made public secondary school attractive and admirable and became a pride to the nation when he was in charge of the state as Executive Governor.

So much to say, but let it end here for now.


© Kelechi Imo

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