Ooni Of Ife Urges Support For Aregbesola’s Education Reforms


Despite criticisms from several quarters on the education policies of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade has described it as reminiscent of the education reforms of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, during the First Republic.

Making the observations at the public assessment forum tagged Gbangba Dekun in Ile-Ife, Ooni, who was represented at the gathering by Obalufe of Iremoland, Chief Folorunsho Omishakin, said one striking resemblance between Awolowo’s education reform and Aregbesola’s current education reform is that both were antagonised.

A question and answer session, Gbangba Dekun is a platform provided by government for people to meet their leaders and office holders to openly assess the performance of the government on its programmes and policies.

According to the monarch, in 1955 when Awolowo started his education reforms in the then Western Region, people antagonised him but the late sage remained undaunted in his commitment to turning around the region’s education fortune.

The monarch noted that Awolowo’s reform succeeded at last because of his tenacity of purpose and selfless conviction for the future of the region.

Ooni lamented that a few people had failed to see beyond the immediate to see the overall benefit of the school reform process blaming those antagonizing the plans as mixing pure development issues in the education sector with politics and religion.

He therefore commended the bold step of the governor in tackling the rot in this all-important sector, advising him not to be distracted by what some people are doing or saying about the reforms.

“Your programme too will succeed like that of Obafemi Awolowo. When Awolowo started the reform, people antagonised him. They said the programme would not succeed.

“But before our very eyes, Awo’s education programme succeeded. We still can see many of the products of that reform till today. “If other regions had followed what he did in education sector in the then Western region, may be today there won’t be Boko Haram up North or militants in the Niger Delta. Or at worst, what we would have today are educated militants and Boko Haram members.

“So, like Awo, don’t be discouraged by antagonisms and criticisms of few people. Remain focused on your reform programme and you will succeed,” Ooni said.

He also advised the government on accountability through effective monitoring by school inspectors, attributing the collapse of previous education system to the sudden disappearance of old school inspectorate system.