As part of efforts to ensure Esan boys and girls are taken away from the streets, the Association of Esan Professionals(AEP) has launched a N250 million Education Trust Fundraising to improve the standards of secondary education in Esanland.
This is just as the AEP also gave awards to and also recognised worthy sons and daughters of Esanland.
The N250 million Education Trust Fundraising Award and Recognition Ceremony with the theme, “Securing the Future of Esanland and its People through Education” was graced by notable Esan personalities in attendance was held at the popular Civil Centre in Lagos.
Presenting his welcome address at the occasion, the Chairman of the event, the Adolor of Ewatto and Odolagbon of Warri Kingdom, Chief Leemon Ikpea said that the event could not have come at better time than now, adding that what AEP is striving to achieve as an association is to ensure that there are no out of school children in Esanland.
The Chairman, who is also the Chairman and Group Chief Executive Office of Lee Engineering and Construction Company Limited said that for Esanland to be free of out of school children, quality educational and other necessary things that would help make the standards of education high must be provided for selected schools within Esanland
He contended that if it is left for the Edo State government, the principal objective of education will not be achieved, adding that these challenges necessitated the decision of AEP to assist in its own little way by organising a N25 million Education Trust Fund Raising event.to achieve the desired result.
The Chairman urged well-meaning Esan sons and daughters to donate generously to this course.
He recalled that through the AEP 20 Esan youths were trained in welding and fabrication at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) for nine months as part of its contribution to capacity building in Esanland.
The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki said that with the introduction of the Edo Best education programme the system of education has become the state to beat.
The Governor, who was represented by the Special on Political Affairs, Mrs. Philomena Ihenyen, said that the recent WAEC where the state was declared the overall best is a testimony to the fact that the programme is working, adding that there is more to do and that the state government take education very seriously hence the instruction of EdoBest.
Government, she said is ready to collaborate with AEP to improve education in the state, while thanking the association for its efforts
Earlier, the President of AEP, Mr. Efe Akhigbe in his welcome address said that the event is a unique one and that it is the first in person and virtual fundraising ever organised since the inception of the association 21 years ago.
On why the event was both in person and virtual, Akhigbe said that the essence is to bring about inclusiveness and also ensure that Esan people wherever they may be help proffer solutions to the myriad of challenges facing Esanland.
He informed that this year’s event is a follow-up to the 2021event with the theme, ‘Enhancing Secondary School Education in Esanland Through Teaching Intervention’ that focused primarily on the challenges facing secondary schools in the land.
According to Akhigbe” The workshop and the research carried out by the association brought to the fore the lack of teachers in secondary schools which has become a major challenge to deliver quality secondary education in Esanland. From our research, most of the schools in Esanland do not have teachers, and where they are available, they may just be one or two teachers including the principal.”
Speaking further, the AEP President stated that the previous workshop was to draw the attention of the critical stakeholders such as the Edo State government, parents, teachers, students and community leaders to the problems of secondary school education in the state in general and Esanland in particular with a view to finding long lasting solutions to them.
He explained that having drawn the attention of the state government to these challenges, AEP is hoping that the government will address the situation by recruiting more teachers.
Akhigbe added that in view of this, AEP intervened by providing teachers in 15 secondary schools and paying for three teachers per school spread equally among the five Local Government Areas(LGSs) in Esanland.
In his words, “The testimonies from the principal of the schools where we are intervening have been so heartwarming. Based on this and before the government deploys teachers to these schools, we want to increase the participating schools and also the number of teachers per school. Once the state government does what it should, we will direct such resources to other areas of need in Esanland.”
Also speaking the former Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Barr. Matthew Egbadon called on Esan people to be united, adding that it is by speaking with one voice that we can promote salvage secondary education in particular and improve education in Esanland.
He lamented that a school with about 600 students has only four teachers, adding that he saw boys and girls that were eager to learn but that the lack of adequate teachers is threatening to keep them on the streets.
He appealed to Esan sons and daughters present to support the education fundraising championed by AEP to address the issue.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards by AEP to Esan personalities who distinguished themselves.
They are AVM, Anthony Okpere(Rtd),,Major General Cecil, Esekhaigbe(Rtd), Barr. Matthew Egbadon, Deacon, A. Agenmonmen,Dr. Aghughu Adolphus and Prof. S.E Eromosele.
Others such as late High Chief Ona Ekhomu , Laye Mr. Emmanuel Obinyan and Late Engr. Paul Ezokhale were however given p0s6 houmous awards.