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Monday, January 2, 2023

Amosun conceived Model Schools as white elephant project - OGSG
 ...says Gov Abiodun converting schools to better uses

By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta

The Ogun State Government has debunked a media report that the incumbent administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun abandoned and allowed the 27 Model Schools built by the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, to rot away.

Reacting to the report carried by the Saturday Punch Newspaper of December 31, 2022, Kunle Somorin, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dapo Abiodun, in a statement on Monday, said that the claims in the report that the schools were neglected by the incumbent governor were not only untrue but misleading.

According to Somorin, the idea of Model Schools by the administration of former Governor Amosun, were not only ill conceived, but designed to be white elephant projects from the beginning, noting that it was actually abandoned by the Ibikunle Amosun’s Administration and it would be uncharitable to blame Gov. Abiodun for the abandonment.

The statement reads: "Recall that in 2012, the Ogun State government under Ibikunle Amosun announced the commencement of 26 model schools to be built across 20 LGAs for the sum of N27billion. The flag-off for the construction began with the foundation laying ceremony of Ogun State Model Secondary School, Ilaro. This was done by former Governor Amosun during an occasion to mark his first anniversary as governor. 

"Unfortunately, that same school that was the starting point like other projects has remained a groundbreaking but un-commissioned. The Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Ilaro, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle said so and that so-called pioneer model school has also been declared “structurally defective” by a Committee headed by a former President Nigerian Society of Engineers, Adekunle Mokunolu, that reviewed projects done between 2009 and 2019 in Ogun State.

“Each of the schools cost tax-payers between N1.05bn and N2bn respectively. That humongous money used to construct these white elephant model schools should have been used to renovate dilapidated schools across the state, which were foisted on us when we came in. It is wasteful on the part of the last government to say they wanted to embark on construction of model schools when such money could be easily spent on other things.

“Amosun's administration claimed that the concept was meant to provide 26 model schools in each of the State Constituencies and that the school projects would be completed by 2013. But two out the 15 projects were sited in one local government area, while there are no projects in about six local government areas, contrary to the original plan.

"Odeda, Ijebu North East, Imeko Afon, Egbado North and Odogbolu LGs didn’t benefit from the project. What happened to the remaining 11 for which funds were fully disbursed?"

Somorin, in the statement, pointed out that, like the Model Schools, several capital projects were already abandoned by Amosun's administration all over the state before it left office.

“The buildings were not ready. They were never completed. There are still outstanding debts on it, so we cannot start doing that without trying to make sure we do something about the existing schools. Up till today, only the Akin Ogunpola College remains the only one of the proposed model schools used for academic activities. After the summer camp, the school admitted pupils for the 2017 and 2018 academic sessions. But in 2019, due to dwindling enrolment and the fact that it was a fee-paying secondary school that charged higher than even most private schools in the State, government had to shut down the school that negates our free education policy.  To say the least, the model schools’ project was conceived with an intention for cheap political populism. It was conceived in deceit and hatched with the intention to swindle the public. The Amosun government lacked the kind of vision we have and was only playing to the gallery” the statement added.

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