Once can be a mistake but two or more cannot be happenstance. This is the way I received the positive news of Ekiti coming tops of NECO results again in 2017.
The state had achieved the same feat in 2016. In popular football lexicon, Ekiti has scored a brace; another win next year and it will be an ace! Many are those who are surprised at this achievement by Ekiti and the reasons are not far fetched.
While it is generally acknowledged that Ekiti people are “book worms”, having the highest density per square metre of professors in the whole country, not many expect this kind of a feat under the administration of someone like Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose.
The Ekiti governor is better known as the master of “stomach infrastructure” It would have been more like it if Ekiti had recorded the NECO feat under the erstwhile APC-led government of Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Not only does Fayemi parade a Ph.D., compared to Fayose’s HND, the former governor, who is now Minister of Steel Development, is generally seen as an academic of international repute. So, it was expected that Ekiti would soar educationally under him. Indeed, that was one of the promises made by his government; but, alas, it was not to be! Instead, Ekiti ranked among the least successful educationally during the Fayemi administration.
Despite the fact that Fayemi’s second deputy governor after the demise of Adunni Olayinka was a University professor, it did not impact positively on the fate of Ekiti in the educational sector. As an insider, I can give reasons why this was so.
To start with, Fayemi’s ill-motivated and poorly-conceived examination for teachers in Ekiti alienated the teachers from his government. Whereas the Fayemi administration said the examination was meant to upgrade teachers, the general belief in the state was that it was a ploy to sack teachers en-mass.
This led to a face-off between teachers and the Fayemi administration and the downing of tools by the aggrieved teachers until the government backed down. But the harm had been done! The general belief was that Fayemi’s backing down was tactical and deceitful, meant to allow him win re-election before coming down hard on Ekiti teachers.
That accounted in part for why Fayemi woefully lost his 2014 re-election bid. The face-off between Fayemi and the teachers had a deleterious effect on Ekiti’s educational sector. Without job security, how can teachers give their best? The cat-and-dog game between teachers and the Fayemi government impacted negatively on students. Little wonder, then, that Ekiti recorded some of the worst results in the education sector under the Fayemi administration.
It is indeed ironic that it is under Fayose that Ekiti has blossomed educationally. When Fayose was first elected governor in 2003, he met the educational sector in comatose, with Ekiti ranked 34th and 35th in WAEC and NECO out of 36 states.
Fayose immediately called an educational summit under the leadership of Chief Afe Babalola, proprietor of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD); the results came quickly, with the state moving up to 8th and 7th position in WAEC and NECO nationally by 2006 when Fayose was forced out of office.
In the South-west, Ekiti led the entire pack. With Fayose’s exit, Ekiti regressed again into the backwoods and backwaters, such that by the time Fayose returned as governor in 2014, only 25 percent of the candidates presented for WAEC examinations had five credits, including English and Mathematics. Fayose called another educational summit again in 2014 and the results were also quick in coming.
In 2015, Ekiti recorded 36.5% in WAEC, coming 11th in the Federation; 42% in 2016 (the same 11th position nationwide) and 73.86% this year 2017. The state’s position nationwide is still being awaited. In NECO examinations, Ekiti recorded 58% in 2014; 74.5% in 2015 (coming 10th); 96.48% in 2016 and 85% this year 2017; coming first nationwide on both occasions.
The Fayose administration has introduced a lot of programmes and incentives to encourage teachers; on of such programmes is the “Best Teacher in Ekiti” award, which has become a yearly ritual with car and cash gifts to deserving teachers.
Teachers no longer feel neglected and rubbished; their rewards are no longer in heaven but here and now. Another factor working in favour of the educational sector in Ekiti is the accessibility of Fayose to every sector of the society. He explains himself and also fields questions from the people. This sense of belonging fires the patriotic zeal of teachers to bend over backward to make the state proud. When, years back, the state’s educational fortunes dipped, we felt really sorry and embarrassed.
Our fore-fathers, who were world-acclaimed academic giants, must have stirred in their graves. Now that Ekiti has bounced back and is riding high, all hands must continue to be on the deck not only to maintain the feat but to also ensure that we go higher still by recording similar feat in WAEC and other examinations.
Among others, Ekiti students came first in the Genius Illumina International Competition, 2016; 1st in the National Junior Water Price Competition held in Sokoto, 2016; 1st in the 2016 edition of the Inter-State STAN National Quiz Competition; Overall Best Science Student in the 2016 STAN-organised competition; 1st in JETS Inter-State Science Quiz Competition, 2017; 1st, ANCOPPS-organised South-west debate competition for secondary school students in February 2017 held at Akure, Ondo state; and 1st, Young Nigerian Scientists’ Presidential Award 2017. This, indeed, is the golden age of educational attainments in Ekiti. (Vanguardngr)