Public Primary school teachers in Edo State have dismissed claim by Governor Godwin Obaseki that its 19-day-old strike action recently suspended was not politically motivated.
This followed a recent accusation by Governor Godwin Obaseki against some officials of the Nigeria union of Teachers (NUT), Edo State Chapter of attempting to derail the State Government educational programmes.
“Let me make it clear that we do not have any problem or challenges with our teachers. The 11,000 teachers that we have trained for the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme are amazing.
“We have worked together and grown together in the last few years. They have been very supportive, but unfortunately, what you saw the last time was not the teachers. It was a part of the leadership of their union that has become political.
“The union wants to play politics with the lives of our children; we have no problem with our teachers in Edo. We have a problem with a section of the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) that wants to continue to politicise education.
“They want to derail what we have started with EdoBEST in the name of politics, and I have said that as the governor of Edo, who was popularly elected by Edo people, I am ready to fight with anybody that wants to joke with the lives of the school children.
“We are not going to negotiate lawlessness; we are not going to be intimated; we are ready to fight as long as you want to derail EdoBEST”, Obaseki said.
But the NUT, denied the allegation in a Communiqué at the end of an enlarged State Wing Executive Council meeting of the union signed by Pius Okhueleigbe, state chairman, Moni Mike Modesty, the Assistant Secretary General and three others.
The union explained that the strike was the last resort following the failure of the government to meet its demands which was subsequently suspended on February 5, 2021.
“At the end of the enlarged meeting SWEC-In- Session reaffirmed that the state leadership of the union is never in anyway being used politically to derail the programmes of Edo State Government as claimed in some quarters, because the state government was given Eight (8) weeks to attend to the demands of teachers.
“Failure on the side of Government to do so, led to the strike action that was eventually suspended on the 5th of February, 2021”, he said.
It however, called on the State Government not to use the suspended strike action to victimize members of the union for taking part while it lasted.