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Return schools to missionaries, Bishop tells Adeleke

By Michael Ofulue, Osogbo

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo, Most Rev John Oyejola, met with the Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, on Thursday and furnished him with details of the areas his administration needed to quickly fix for the overall benefit of the citizens.

Oyejola disclosed that the state government needs to focus more on grassroots and hard-to-reach communities in the state by providing stable and efficient local government leadership, water, security, health facilities and better welfare package to rural dwellers.

The cleric informed the governor during his courtesy visit at the Stage Government House, that many schools, especially in rural areas are not conducive for learning and teaching activities, and appealed to him to urgently fix the rot in the education sector.

He urged Adeleke to return some public schools that the government ceased from the Church as a way of revamping the education sector in the state.

Addressing the governor further on state of education, Bishop Oyejola said: “There is still a long way to go in revamping our education in Osun State. While we commend the State, especially, the efforts of Governor Aregbesola’s administration in the construction of befitting structures in some of our schools in cities across the length and breadth of the State, there is an urgent need to match the physical structures with the quality of instruction in the schools so that the learning outcomes of the pupils and students will reflect the heavy investment of the Government.

“In this regard, I strongly recommend that your administration focuses on improving the quality of teachers employed by the State, their training and retraining, and welfare packages. It must also be noted that many schools, especially in rural areas are not conducive for teaching and learning activities at all.”

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He canvassed for return of public schools to their original owners saying the would greatly help in revamping the education and reposition the State for a better future.

“In the desire for the furtherance of our contribution to human development, we want to reiterate that we are interested and are fully prepared to have some of our Catholic Secondary Schools back. No doubt, this will greatly help in revamping our education and reposition the State for a better future at your own time. The performances of our Mission schools are a guarantee for this. Our schools have consistently produced one of the best results in external examinations throughout the country. We produced the best candidate in Nigeria in the WASSCE of 2012, the first runner-up in 2015, and the best male candidate in Nigeria in 2020.

“In the NECO SSCE, we produced the first, the second and the third placed candidates in Osun State in 2013; the first and the second placed candidates in the State in 2014 and 2015; and the overall best candidate throughout Nigeria in 2015. In 2018, one of our students participated in the Population Media Centre Video Contest. The competition attracted entries from Nigeria, China, the USA, UK, and nineteen other countries. Our student won first position. Our schools have represented the State at the national level of several competitions and brought honour to the State.

“As a result of their excellent performances in external examinations and competitions, many of our students secure scholarships for their post-secondary education both home and abroad.

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“We also prepare our students for the world of innovation, creativity, skills acquisition and technological advancement through our co-curricular activities like seminars, workshops, projects, etc. One of the projects of our students at our biennial 2024 Science Week is being packaged by Cooperative Information Network (COPINE) under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology for recognition by UNESCO.

“Our education also takes human formation seriously. At the end of his administration, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola decorated one of our schools as the Best in Private School Management. In a similar vein, in January, 2024, the Centre for Ethics and Self Value Orientation conferred on the same College the national award for the Most Ethically Responsible, Corruption Free Private School in Nigeria, while the Proprietor, Most Rev. John Oyejola, was conferred with the Ethics and Integrity Ambassador award.

“Your Excellency, the above few instances were cited to show how catholic schools have inscribed the name of Osun State in national and international academic hall of fame, and as a guarantee that if our mission schools that were forcefully taken over by the Government in the 70s are returned to us, their fortunes and the fortune of education in Osun State will be turned around for good. We, therefore, request for the return of three of our mission schools as pilots in this regard,” Oyejola told Adeleke.

The bishop drew the attention of Governor Adeleke in the activities of some agents of the state government that constitute distractions to the Catholic Church’s efforts of putting the state on national and global maps in the area of education, noting that such development should not be allowed.

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While commending the governor for renovating Primary Health Centres in the state, Oyejola urged him to provide sustainable electricity and water at these facilities.

He sought partnership with the state government in order to train youths and economically empower them with basic life skills and vacations.

In his remarks, Governor Adeleke said his administration was working on partnering with investors in areas of agriculture, power generation to boost the economy of Osun, noting that his government has performed so well on areas of abandoned projects by previous administrations.

Adeleke said his government has invested greatly on healthcare especially in the rural areas, insisting that his administration has not borrowed a dime since inception.

While expressing optimism on the request for return of schools to the Church, Adeleke solicited for continuous prayers of Bishop Oyejola and his entourage for him to deliver the good vision he has for Osun people.

The governor commended Bishop Oyejola and his entourage for the courtesy visit and hailed the Catholic for all their efforts so far.

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Return schools to missionaries, Bishop tells Adeleke

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